Christmas is here again. It seems to come around so fast. Somewhere in the human psyche we seem to use Christmas as a marker of the ending of the year. I suspect that this goes right back to the pagan rituals and the solstice that acknowledged the end of darkness, because we are at the point when we change the longest night and the shortest day, to the lengthening of days. Christmas, as the end of darkness and the beginning of light, is also used biblically as marking an ending and acknowledging a new beginning.
So, for many Christmas is that time when we look back at what was. To what has happened in this year and how it has effected us. Whenever we look back over the past there will be things that jump out at us. Depending how it has been for us, or how we see life, we will either see good things or bad things. Whatever we look at as our experience of the year we tend to see it as ‘that is the way that it is or was’.
In mindfulness we begin to realise that it may not be true. We realise that it is not what happens to us but how we deal with it that will make our memory of it good or bad. Simply it is the way that we see it. As Epicticus put it…
…we are not effected by events, we are effected by our response to those events…
What was your experience of 2017?
For me, during this year of 2017, the world seems to have been a troubled place. I guess that we could say that the world is always a troubled place but some how it seems too have been a bit worse this year. For me the reality of Brexit is coming to pass and I don’t like that. Then we had Trump spreading his wings and spreading his own brand of destabilisation across the globe and I don’t like that. Then we have North Korea…. I could go on. It seems like there might be quite a lot to let go of this year.
Then there have been losses. Friends and family dying leaving an empty chair at the Christmas dinner table. There is also the annual role call of all the celebrities that have passed on this year.
The really big negative one for many of us in Britain this year was the Manchester bombing at the concert. I had two families that were caught up in it to deal with. Luckily none of them were physically hurt though, they had seen people who were killed and they were showing high levels of post traumatic stress disorder. That scar will remain with many people for such a long time. Yet, amongst all the potential for hatred and retribution came the love and forgiveness of a collective concert of those refusing to be cowed by terrorism. The deeply emotional experience as Oasis sing…
…don’t look back in anger…
there are no words more appropriate to this event and to us all as we look back on our years. We have a mindful choice, do we feed the negative events of the years with our anger and allow them to grow in our mind and our emotions. The other option is to feed the positive events of the years with our love and allow them to grow in our mind and our emotions.
That concert also made me stop to consider all those people around the world that have been or are living in war zones. They have been experiencing such bombing on a daily basis. Sometimes, we only truly appreciate the plight of others when we experience the same thing ourselves.
Forgiveness and letting go
At this time of year we have a golden opportunity. We can let go of whatever is holding us back, those things that keep us stuck in the past. These negative emotional attachments to unresolved events limit our ability to move forward, they stunt our creativity and weigh us down. To let go, to forgo, to forgive allows us to move forward unencumbered into the New Year.
Just as in the Step One, from the Live In The Present course and book, we need to let go of all our negative attachments right back to the moment of our birth. Holding onto negative past is a choice, though we may not realise it. In mindfulness we can choose to be different, to let go and enjoy this wonderful thing called life. If you haven’t already then visit step one and complete the exercise focussing on this year. That mindful journey begins right here. Let go of your negative years and embrace your positive year.
Whatever you faith, religion, ethnicity, nationality, orientation, or belief enjoy this moment as we move from darkness into light and consciously leave the darkness behind you.
Take care and have a fabulous Christmas, solstice or whatever you call it.