Monday, December 22, 2008

Breathing Through the Holidays

Last month I left you with a Vision collage of my Santa Cruz life. Once the collage is made, the next phase is working with each of the images. This is done in a variety of ways. One way is to reflect on a collage image.

I use these methods daily as my spiritual practice: that is, I stop to quiet myself and listen to my Self. Collage images are our internal images glued down on paper. Right brain exercises refocus my energy if I’m overwhelmed by my To Do list. Taking several breaks throughout the day also reminds me that I am a human being, not a human doer. As I move through my tasks, I typically get more head focused. Right brain processes move us back into our bodies, or the present. The body is also the place that stores our emotional history. This premise is the crux of this work.

For example, I made a decision to spend the month of December at my mother’s home. Though I have been looking forward to spending time with family, as December grew closer I felt myself growing anxious. For many of us, regardless of age or worldly accomplishments, when we enter the familial home we are suddenly wearing our childhood play clothes. If we have not processed childhood incidents through healing modalities, then the role we played in childhood is instantly activated. Emotional memory is stored in our body, literally. That is, our child self can be activated simply by being around the people and environment of our childhood. As adults our job is to be AWARE of our internal hurts - which is also known as the Inner Child* - and to heal or release this pain. If the pain energy feels overwhelming, then we can ask for help.

Gratefully my collage has an image that will help me manage my energy over the holidays. The first step after completing any Visioning® Board is to look at it 3 times a day for at least 15 minutes per session. This keeps the feeling of the image in our minds eye. Visioning® is about manifesting the feeling of what you want, although specific intentions will manifest as well.

One of the collage images is a photo of two swans. This symbolizes a park near my mother’s house where I often walk. It is important to note that when I was grabbing images that reflect the topic of the collage, “My Santa Cruz life is joyfully peaceful,” the process was extremely fast. I didn’t realize until the collage was finished that I can ground myself during the holidays by specifically walking at this park. Walking is my preferred method of exercise and this also reminds me to stick to my routine. One good surprise of following this image is that I was given tickets to a Christmas play from someone at the park.

Moving our emotions through physical activity is important because it grounds emotional energy. The image also tells me that during the holidays walking is a way to channel any reactionary feelings activated by visiting family. During the often stressful holidays – this is good to remember. Feeling edgy by a brother-in-law? Instead of telling him to jump in the lake, walk around the lake instead. Want to yell at your sister for forgetting that you are a vegetarian - again? Run to the restroom and do a little jig. Look in the mirror. Hug yourself. Tell yourself how fabulous you look. Breathe.

This holiday use your breath to soothe the hurt that statements by your brother in-law activated. These hurts are activated because they need our tenderness. They need the breath of life to be brought fully into the light and released. Fortunately, the holidays are the time when we can resolve our painful past. I say fortunately because being human, we need pain to show us what feelings need to be transformed. Reactionary pain is our reminder to transform the past into our joyful present. So this holiday, use your breath to move through reactionary feelings and give yourself and your family the gift of your loving presence.

Happy Holidays and many blessings to you and yours,


*For a terrific book regarding Inner Child and Inner Family work read
Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione: