Ideally, spending holidays with family brings us great joy. But for some people, holiday travel to see family is something to endure. It can trigger challenging feelings, miscommunication, fear, and sadness.
If you are one of the people for whom holidays are sometimes less than delightful, what I’d most like you to keep in mind is that you are stronger than your feelings and you are more than your past. What you focus on grows. You could focus on what happened in the past, and your holidays could be the same old rehash of outdated roles and ways of behaving. Or you could try using the tools below, They can help you flourish in circumstances where you might have expected to whither.
Four Tools for a Healing Holiday
1. Set an intention. Before you even get out of bed in the morning, set an intention for your day. Keep it simple and positive. After you think it, imagine how it would feel to actually live it. Some possibilities:
“I intend to be kind to myself and others.”
“I intend to respond rather than react.”
“I intend to let my best self lead.”
2. Ground, center, and protect. Before I met the amazing Sharon Gardner, I thought that anyone who was truly healthy could set an intention in the morning and then be Little Miss Sunshine all day. And since I often forgot to act on my intentions, I would start beating myself up. But now I know that when we are healed, we forgive ourselves and we use tools to keep us on the path we want to be on. You can use these tools for yourself, and also for others.
Ground: Imagine or visualize that something wonderful flows from the sky, through you, and deep into the earth. Lately, I have been imagining a gorgeous tree, with vibrant leaves filling the sky above me, the trunk running through me and keeping me steady, and the roots flowing deep into the earth. Some other possibilities: a column of light, a waterfall.
Center: Imagine that you and the source of all life are one. I do this by imagining that the tree of me is also filled with shimmering light. For you, another image may work. Think of what helps you feel connected to the best in others.
Protect: Visualize that this grounded, centered you is also surrounded by a beautiful protective bubble and that only the experiences that truly serve you can enter that bubble.
3. Breathe. Remember. Repeat. Since you’re breathing anyways, if you can let your breath be slow and deep, it will help you to stay present and figure out your next move. Remember that you have set an intention, and that you are grounded, centered, and protected. You can repeat these visualizations many times a day, any time you need support—they take only seconds.
Also remember that you don’t have to react to everything that happens. If repeating the tools isn’t working, practice the art of healthy distraction. Go for a walk. Wash the dishes. If there are pets and children, play with them!
4. End your day with grace. While you brush your teeth or pull back the covers, consider what went right today. Rather than noticing the challenges, what if, just for a few moments, you think something like:
“Well, X situation went better than it did before (even if it’s just the tiniest shade of better)”
“I am proud of myself because, even though I started to say X, I stopped myself.”
“Tomorrow is going to be even better.”
Remember: What you focus on grows. Take this opportunity to demonstrate, to yourself and others, how much you’ve grown.
Here’s to your healing.
Hi, I'm Deidra
To me, transformative travel means traveling in a way that connects you to places and people in a profound way., being real and present with what is happening while you travel and recognizing the impact travel has on your life beyond your journeys.