Finding Contentment This Holiday Season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year or so the saying goes. We are entering a time where all of us are being encouraged to eat more, buy more, do more, stress more which may not feel so wonderful to everyone. Though there are some wonderful things that happen this time of year from people being a bit kinder to one another to the simplicity of magic that seems to fill the air during the holiday season, there is always the possibility of overindulgence looming about like snow flurries that threaten to turn into a snowstorm at any moment.
Many people tend to over-indulge for the sake of it being “the holidays” and set some date for the future that is not promised to start their diet and make amends to their bodies for the heavy lifting that was required to digest their holiday season. And still others who prefer to avoid the discomfort in their lives and instead choose to seek pleasure-filled moment after pleasure-filled moment through shopping, food, or other indulgences. Some people might find that no matter how much they have or how much they get-it still doesn’t feel like enough and so they are always left wanting more.
Don’t get me wrong, this way of living isn’t just a “seasonal” thing. We are bombarded constantly with advertisements telling us that we are somehow not enough because of what we are seemingly missing, and we live out our lives seeking instead of being able to find the joy and abundance of our present circumstances. There is a Chinese proverb which states “People in the West are always getting ready to live.” To me, we cannot truly be living if we are constantly worried about the future or reflecting on the past and avoiding what is right in front of us. To truly live means being present with where you are in the here and now. It is a bit of gratitude mixed with a healthy level of detachment and the complete awareness that the only moment is present moment.
I know that this might be easier said than done, but this holiday season I want to invite you to practice with what the yogi’s call Santosha or contentment. In her book The Yamas and the Niyamas, Deborah Adele states “Santosha invites us into contentment by taking refuge in a calm center, opening our hearts in gratitude for what we do have, and practicing the paradox of not seeking.” If we live with the knowing that all things by nature are neutral-we give ourselves an opportunity to stay present by releasing the emotional perceptions of each passing moment.
Just one small example of this could be regarding the food we get to take part in as we celebrate the holidays with friends and family. As a Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a focus on holistic nutrition I will never tell someone not to eat their favorite foods. In fact, not doing that only leads to feelings of deprivation and the drive to eat more. Here is what I will suggest though. Let go of labeling food as good or bad. Something as simple as that gives you the power back because by nature food is neutral. Of course, there are foods that are more nutritionally advantageous to us, but the reality is that it’s still just food. By taking the label of good or bad off the food you eat, you are letting go of the emotional charge involved with it as well, thereby giving yourself an opportunity to just enjoy the moment or to be cliché, enjoy what’s on your plate.
Instead of feeling shame for every bite of pie that you take, you can give yourself permission to just enjoy each bite as it comes. Slow down with it, take your time with it, taste it and then when you’ve had enough or when you have found contentment- let it go. Recognize the moment for what it was, let go of the story about not enough or labels or good or bad and just be joyful for the present moment because it is the only moment promised to you.
That simple practice can be done at any time of course so feel free to start experimenting with that now. You can do this with other things too such as buying new things or feeling envious of what other people have. Can you be present with your own life and all the good things you already do have? Can you find santosha with the abundance that you are already living in?
Contentment does not come from outside of us-it comes from within. Everything that we give power to outside of ourselves such as gifts and food only leads to feelings of powerlessness. You have the power within you to feel good any time of year, thereby allowing the true magic of the holiday season to add to your happiness instead of draining you and leaving you feeling worse about yourself at the end of the day.
Contentment means being grateful for what you already have, seeing all things as neutral and being willing to stay present with each moment as it comes. I think all of us could use more living instead of just getting ready for it, don’t you?
Natalie Sophia enjoys writing and teaching about wildly unpopular topics like trauma, life through the lens of depth psychology and metaphysics-with smatterings of personal experiences. Natalie is pursuing a Doctorate in Metaphysical Counseling (Mc.D.) and currently offers tarot readings, divine feminine and shadow work coaching, EFT, Alternative Medicine, and other healing resources. Her desire is to help everyone remember the deeper truths that exists within! Follow her on Facebook, Instagramand TikTok.