This year has been especially rich in family time for us, with my mother’s 80th birthday a few weeks ago bringing loved ones in from seven different states. Shared stories, photographs, and poetry were deployed to honor our matriarch, who exclaimed at one point, “It’s like getting to enjoy my own funeral!”
Celebrations around our table on Christmas Eve (this time including my husband’s clan) and at my in-laws’ on Christmas Day rounded out the month like bookends of family blessings.
Somebody once said, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”
This statement always struck a cord with me, since I used to allow resentments and old emotional baggage with family members to dampen my enjoyment of holiday gatherings.
And frankly, it’s often easier to be nice to people you don’t know very well.
The good news is that this year I enjoyed every minute of our family-infused December.
What made the difference?
Having a year’s worth of meditation and mindfulness practice under my belt. Over the past twelve months, my daily meditation and other types of mindfulness training have helped me to:
- Accept things as they are;
- Be less judgmental;
- Develop empathy;
- Approach people with compassion;
- Achieve a deep sense of calm and clarity.
By no means do I get it right all the time, especially with family members. But I’m getting it right more often than I used to.
The funny thing is, I had no idea that meditation would impact people beyond myself when I started this journey a year ago. I thought meditation would be all about me, but the opposite seems more true.
With barely a year of daily meditation under my belt, I am still in the early stages of a practice that I hope to sustain the rest of my life. But I’ve already experienced real, though often subtle, results that manifested in an unprecedented level of contentment this holiday season.
As 2013 draws to a close, I am overcome with gratitude for my family, friends, and kindred spirits I’ve met here on the blog and elsewhere in this odd universe of social media.
My wishes for you in the coming year are best expressed in this poem by D. Simone:
“May LIght always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
Happy New Year everyone!
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