5 Intention-setting Ideas for finding Comfort and Peace during the Holiday Season

“Grief never ends . . . but it changes.  It’s a passage, not a place to stay.  Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith . . .It is the price of love.” – Elizabeth I

With the holiday season upon us, many of us might not be feeling the joy of the season.  The holidays tend to bring visions of gatherings of friends and family, with the intention of spending time with loved ones and creating heart-warming memories to carry with us throughout the year.  However, this time of year may also bring back painful memories of the loved ones we may have lost this year or around this time of year in the past.

I recently lost both of my beloved furbabies, Eclipse and Mocha, who brought me so much comfort, love and light over the past thirteen years.  I miss their tangible presence in my life.  I know they are forever with me in my heart memories and yet visiting those memories brings both joy and sadness.  Grief is a tricky emotion, as Elizabeth I so eloquently describes in the quote above.  It is the price we humans pay for experiencing love and I believe that the experience of love, no matter the source, is priceless!

Therefore, remembering that as long as we are alive, we will experience loss, so create space for yourself to experience the grief knowing you have been blessed by the presence of love that came before it.  Below are some intention-setting ideas to bring you some comfort and peace as you may find yourself traveling through the passage of grief:

  1. Create a ritual.  When we find ourselves in the throes of grief, we may feel vulnerable, uncertain and even anxious.  Research has shown that engaging in a ritual can reduce those feelings.  Consider setting aside a day and time to maybe write about the love that you felt or to look at photos that reflect the joy you felt.  You might light a candle and listen to your (or their) favorite music.  Give yourself permission to allow all emotions to be expressed.
  2. Watch your favorite movie.  If you are concerned that once you open the flood gates the tears won’t stop, plan to have your favorite movie cued up and set a timer.  When the timer goes off and you have to get up to shut it off, take that moment to begin to watch your favorite movie.  Movies, no matter what genre, have a way of helping us to transcend time and space, soothing our minds and hearts in the moment, even if only for a short time.  Experiencing only a moment of transcendence reminds us that our emotions, like life, flow and change constantly.
  3. Go to bed early.  At this time of year, when the sun sets so early in the day, we may find ourselves thinking about heading home from work and climbing in bed, while thinking that there is something wrong with us for having such a thought.  We might even try pushing past what our bodies are asking for, finding ourselves making plans that prevent us from going right home after work.  If we stop for a moment and observe nature at this time of year, the cycles of life reflect how much goes dormant or hibernates.  My beloved furbabies were a constant reminder that when it got dark, it was time to go to bed, no matter what the clock said!  So, if the comfort of your bed calls, heed the call!
  4. Take a walk.  Go to your most favorite local outdoor place, whether it’s a mall, park, beach or garden store.  Plan to walk around for a half hour, maybe setting an intention to notice something new that you hadn’t noticed before that makes you smile.  Watch what happens when you surround yourself with the comfort of the familiar while opening yourself up to something new that might bring you joy in the moment!
  5. Reach out.  Undoubtedly, we will all need time to ourselves to navigate through the passage.  And, just as undoubtedly, we will all need the comfort of others to stay on course through the passage.  Therefore, identify one person that you have felt comforted by in the past, that you trust will understand, and pencil it in your calendar to reach out to that person to share with them what you are experiencing.  Let them also know what you might need, from them or others, such as just someone to listen (and not fix), a hug, or a visit to your favorite coffee and tea shop.
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