Scrooge, the Grinch & Charlie Brown might be onto something.
My family and I celebrate Christmas. I was watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) and “The Grinch” (1966) with my daughter and I was struck by their commentary on the commercialism of the holiday. These were both made a decade before I was born and yet there was sentiment that this celebration had been infiltrated by a corporate machine telling us we need stuff and more stuff and better stuff. I seriously can’t imagine what the writers would think of Christmas today.
I know that this is a Christian holiday in its origins and that there are many in the United States that don’t celebrate it and I also know that you cannot avoid it if you live here. Personally, I love the holiday and begin our home decorations early. I was reflecting on what I love about it and why it’s still so magical for me. I love that I can be more intentional in this time and to spend time with family and friends while eating tasty food. I love that my daughter is 100% on the holiday and has been dipping into her piggy bank and giving her dad $2.50 and her teacher $1 (in quarters). I love the giving spirit that can be present if we are intentional about how we spend our time, money and resources.
As I have shared in past blog posts, awareness is big part of yoga. This phrase had come up a lot for me lately, conscience ________ (fill in the blank). Conscience spending, conscience eating, conscience of where you are and what you are doing (ie not walking and looking down at your phone). Just being where you are and that can be difficult in this season. We have our to-do lists and we snap at our loved ones because our bandwidth is maxed out.
In Samkhya Philosophy and also the Bhagavad Gita they talk about the Gunas (meaning quality, peculiarity, attribute, or tendency) as the three aspects of all of creation (Prakriti).
The Three Gunas:
- Tamas: inertia, dullness, heaviness, depression
- Rajas: activity, passion, desire, longing, anxiety, fear, worry
- Sattva: harmony, balance, joy, self-control, empathy, trust
As I was reflecting on the Gunas and the holiday time, I can see these all play out so easily and, in my life, and others lives. It’s just a lens to help be aware and make choices in my life and can change the outcomes for me and my family.
Are the holidays difficult for you? Do you not want to celebrate because of hurts or pain? Do you want to just lock yourself at home and pretend they aren’t happening? Do you have grief around this time? This might tamasic energy. Can you take a walk? Can you add some motion in your life that creates joy?
Are you running around and burning that candle at both ends? Are you packing in every kind of activity or event and finding the holidays exasperating and exhausting? Are you fighting the traffic and lines while you shop and shop and shop? Are you making long lists of what you want for Christmas? Are you anxious to see your parents or the in-laws? Are you being short tempered with your kids? This might be rajasic energy.
Are you able to be present for your family and friends? Are you able to enjoy the beauty of the decorations, the company of your partner, or the complex tastes of a homemade meal? Are you able to sleep with ease and have patience for you kids? Are you making space for yourself to reflect? This might be sattvic energy.
I read the gunas and thought of the movie Scrooge and the ghosts of the Past, Present and Future. Scrooge is given a chance to reflect on his life and make different choices that alter his future. I don’t know that the gunas line up perfectly, but Scrooge had pain and heaviness in his past. In his present he is attached to his wealth and grabbing all the money he can, working nonstop. In the future he makes the choice to give and in his giving the essence of his spirit is more at peace and balance.
We all have an opportunity to makes choices as we enter the holidays this next week. Can we do it with a spirit of balance and peace? I hope you have time to reflect and enjoy this time no matter where you are or how you celebrate. Happy Holidays!
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