The infectious feelings of the holidays – feeling alive, feeling hope, the swelling of goodwill and outpourings of kindness.
It’s a time of year when communities come together to foster feelings of love and peace. It’s a time of year when we’re all focused on engaging with each other. The aspect that draws me so deeply into this time of year is the atmosphere: the holidays burst the feeling of being alive, experiencing joy and what I call “flow.”
Flow is a feeling. It’s energy. It’s when life feels in harmony, joyful and “happening” (to borrow a phrase from the 70’s).
When we experience flow, we feel alive, vibrant and excited. We’re engaging: listening, connecting and expressing our honest emotions to those we interact with. We’re not zoning out on too much holiday wine or eggnog. We’re not giving in to soft addictions to numb ourselves. We’re alive and our hearts are full!
I love attending holiday events, listening to holiday music, looking for gifts for loved ones. You see, this time of year we’re all focused on connecting with others and bringing out our best.
The holidays may be one of the few times a year we spend with loved ones. It’s a time when we’re focused on giving. We’re empathizing and putting ourselves in the shoes of our friends and family: “What would he want for Christmas? What message should I write on her Christmas card?”
Our focus is on wanting and giving. We think of our holiday list and we diligently decode and brainstorm about the lists of our loved ones.
How to Feel Alive & Find Your Flow
I’ll admit, I love Christmas. In fact, my staff teasingly calls me the “Christmas Angel” as I’m always looking for ways to imbue all I touch with the spirit of the season. (Those who have read the Soft Addiction Solution may notice I purposely didn’t list “collecting holiday décor” as a soft addiction, so I wouldn’t get caught!)
But for me, the holiday season is so much more than trimmings and trappings. The holidays are full of light, connection and opportunities to engage those around us with love and positive intentions. I fill my holidays with meaning at every turn, because I’ve learned over the years with a busy life, I can’t afford to let the holidays pass me by.
The holidays can be a difficult time for some. Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to feel alive and connect with those around us – especially during the holidays. Facing the passing year can leave us with a sense of regret or sadness. We’re faced with social interactions where we worry we won’t connect with others or we may face resentments and emotions we need to address amongst our families. As the days and world get colder, the time of year also presents challenges for those who struggle with short, dark, cold days.
Every action we take to bring more of the spirit of the season into our lives reframes our outlook and helps us find joy in the holiday season. If we want to discover our holiday flow, we simply need to take actions to bring it into our lives.
Celebrating the joys of the holiday season and capturing your flow doesn’t need to take time. It simply requires intention. Rather than viewing your holidays as more clutter on your to-do-list, look for the tiny moments of pure celebration. When we view the holidays as a hassle or stressor we miss out on the opportunity to feel the holiday aliveness and abundance at every moment.
For example, I carry inspirational holiday books with me. I tuck them in my bag, I put them on the coffee table at home, and the shelf in my office. When I need inspiration or find a spare moment, I take a conscious break to feel uplifted by an inspiring story.
I also watch for opportunities to experience holiday moments no matter where I am. I watch newspapers and local listings for upcoming holiday plays, concerts and performances. It’s amazing how once you start looking, you’ll find them anywhere and everywhere. A small choir performance at a country church, or holiday jazz in a coffee shop is just as moving as a professional concert performance.
I watch for small windows to fit holiday spirit into my regular daily activities. I may spend 15 minutes at an art museum basking in Botticelli’s painting of the holy family. I’ve enjoyed lunch on a bench under the biggest holiday tree in the city. I’ve changed my commute, so I enjoy the best holiday decorations in town. I’ve spent time meditating and participating in holiday services of many faiths and denominations. I’ve led and attended wonderful networking events here at the Wright Institute (one of my favorite holiday activities).
On date nights, Bob and I watch holiday movies, attend performances and go for walks in the crisp air. I play holiday music at home, in my office, in my car—any chance to add cheer to my day. I love decorating our home with all the symbols of the season: angels, Santas, lights, scented candles. I honor my annual traditions of baking and decorating cookies to share with family and friends. I write cards and wrap gifts with a fire crackling in the fireplace and White Christmas playing in the background.
Each year, we adopt the office tradition of sharing our wish lists. Everyone on staff writes down a full holiday wish list for the upcoming year. Anything can go on the list—from over the top hopes and dreams for the world, to longings from their soul, to items as simple as jewelry or a book. It’s a great practice for setting forth intentions and asking for our yearnings to be met. It’s also a chance to get to know each other even more deeply.
As I go throughout the day, I think of each of these special friends and allies in my life, their wishes and yearnings for the season. I may see an item for them while I’m shopping. Picking up a gift feels very deliberate and joyful. I may wish them positivity and light during my prayers and meditations. I may write them a card, reflecting on my gratitude for their role in my life.
Getting into the flow of the season, doesn’t need to be time-consuming or stressful. It’s simply a time when we can connect with our loved ones, focus on meeting their needs, and expressing gratitude for the light they bring to our lives.
The holidays hold a special place in my heart. As you enter into your holiday season—whatever your faith or tradition—I encourage you to look for creative possibilities to add inspiration and energy to each of your days.
For more on connecting with others and bringing more flow and aliveness into each and every day, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Join us for a holiday networking event, a course or weekend of transformation. Make your holidays bright!