Happy Holidays!  

The holiday season can be a bit of a conundrum. Although this is supposed to be a time to slow down and reflect on that which matters most, it often seems as though there’s so much that needs doing that there’s nary a moment left for contemplation, and time to connect with our true self. 

It is essential that offer ourselves compassion and time to reconnect and recharge, in order to really show up for those that we love. Sometimes we need to take a walk outside, prioritize extra rest or talk to a good soul-friend when we are feeling stirred up emotionally. 

We don't need to struggle. we don't need to fall into the patterns of stress and overwhelm. We can chose ease instead. We can slow down, simplify, and be mindfully present to our life right now, with all of its blessings and abundance. We can seek rest even amidst all that we need to do, and practice kindness towards ourselves and others that’s born of a deep knowledge that we’re enough, in every moment, exactly as we are. 

Mary Oliver speaks to this beautifully in her poem, Wild Geese:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

I think Mary Oliver is right: we don’t need to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting, we just need to be completely who we are. The world needs us, our strengths...and our "imperfections." 

This holiday season, when it seems as though there’s too much to do, let’s stop, just for a moment, take a gentle breath, and ask, “Is ease available even here?” Let’s look for the place of rest right in the middle of the chaos. What if nothing at all “out there” needs to change, and perhaps we don’t even need to change? We can discover that place of surrender where everything is alright just as it is, and where we’re all perfectly imperfect, and exactly enough, just as we are.

MEDITATION: Take a few moments to pause in the next few days. Each time you feel yourself start to fall for struggle, simply stop whatever you are doing. Take a few moments and sit with yourself, finding the place of ease within. Close your eyes for a few moments and imagine breathing in through your heart, and spreading the energy of loving kindness through your entire being with each exhalation. With each inhale, feel as though you were taking in the breath through an opening in the heart, and with each exhalation, let this glow of love spread. Melt into the warmth of your own heart-----trust me....you have time. 

Glowing Heart Guided Meditation (8 minutes)

Mayuri Gonzalez is the Director of the School Yoga Project for Little Flower Yoga and Co-owner of Prasanthi Studio: Family Yoga & Wellness in Pelham, NY. She teaches weekly meditation and yoga classes and is available for private mindfulness and meditation session in person and via phone and Skype. 

Choose one room of your house and for one week try leaving no trace that you've used that space. The bathroom or kitchen works best for most people. If you've been doing something in that room, cooking a meal or taking a shower, clean up in such a way that you leave no signs that you've been there, except perhaps the odor of food or the fragrance of soap. (From the book "How to Train a Wild Elephant- and other adventures in Mindfulness"  http://www.amazon.com/How-Train-Wild-Elephant-Mindfulness/dp/1590308174

The exercise puts a spotlight on our tendency to be lazy. The word lazy is a description, not a criticism. If we live less than wholeheartedly, we often leave messes for others to clean up. We enter and leave rooms completely unconscious. We are always rushing, rushing, rushing----buried under our massive, unrealistic to-do lists.  It is so easy to wash the dishes but not put them back in the cupboard. It is so easy to skip our meditation or prayer when our life gets hectic, without even skipping a beat. This practice demands us to fully begin and end our tasks----to uni-task. We often are juggling multiple activities in every moment, unable to efficiently complete any of them.  It makes us feel stressed and insane! So much peace can be gained from simply devoting our self fully to the task at hand and completing it through till the end.

First practice leaving no trace. Than practice leaving things better than you found them.

Mayuri Gonzalez teaches yoga, mindfulness and meditation classes, workshops and trainings at Prasanthi Studio-Family Yoga & Wellness in Pelham, NY. (www.prasanthistudio.com) She is also the Director of the School Yoga Project for Little Flower Yoga, bringing yoga and mindfulness programs to school children throughout the greater NY area. (www.littlefloweryoga.com)  For more information or to schedule a private session, email [email protected] or call 914-380-4668.