Do all sorts of magical creatures find you during the holidays, especially when you're offering cake and beer? Who are they in your circles? You know the ones, the Snakes who always bite you when you least expect it, because it's instinct? Or the Bring Downers, who simply get a kick out of making your life hell and bringing you down? Does it always shock, horrify, disappoint or upset you when they do it, again and again? What if you gave up expecting everyone to be nice like you, and instead played this game? First, recognise who the Snakes and Bring Downers are in your life. Then you can choose to stay out of their way. And, when they do enter your life, see them and acknowledge them for being great at what they do. How? When they start with the biting and the bringing down – without heat – say “Wow, you're really good at doing that!” When they ask “What's that?” reply “Whatever you're doing now. What is that?” Then listen with “interesting point of view” energy, or walk away.
How much of the holidays do you spend listening to people tell you directly, or indirectly how much rubbish you are? Is that fun? Is it true? If not and you'd like something different, play this game. Whenever you sense someone is looking to criticize, hurt, insult, or provoke you, smile, nod gently and – without heat – reply “interesting point of view”. You are acknowledging their viewpoint and allowing them to enjoy it. You're not agreeing they're right, and you're not being distracted by falling into an angry, emotional reaction, which is often what they really want so they can control you. If you need to pull the heat out of an intense onslaught, say “You're right. I'm wrong” three times. Our addiction to right and wrong, good and bad is one of the strongest we have. These two magic phrases will invite the energy of allowance into your holidays. Just think, if everyone were in allowance, could family feuds, neighboring conflicts, and even war, fall over like dominoes?
Do you have crowds of people overrunning your house during a holiday season? Or just ONE person sucking up all the air or boxing you into a corner? Here's another game to play at these times. The rules are simple. Whenever you start to feel you're folding, stapling, mutilating, or contracting yourself to fit into someone else's holiday box, or you're gasping in the vacuum because they've sucked out all the air in the room, or you feel pinned beneath the weight of your family's baggage and expectations expand outwards. How? Just consciously ask your edges to move out. How far? As far as you need in all directions until you become lighter and spacier. Can anyone hang their baggage on your hooks if you're pure space? Will you have any hooks left? Practice this game. When you master it, you might even find people fall straight through you, flat on their face. And who said slapstick wasn't funny?
How do you normally approach the holidays? Do prepare yourself to grin and bear all the things you think you're supposed to do? Do you go to places you'd rather not, or stay longer than you enjoy, because someone in your family has decided it's required? If you'd like to enjoy the holidays more, next time play a game of Nurture You Monopoly. The rules are: whatever arrangements your family has made, pre-plan a time and place to do something you really enjoy. Would that be a massage, pedicure, coffee with friends, a walk up the mountains or along the beach? Or something else? Then devise an exit. Ask a friend to call you with an excuse. Pre-arrange a taxi to come and pick you up. When the phone call or taxi arrives, say: “Thank you so much for today! I just have to pop out now to help my friend. I'll be back to enjoy it even more a bit later!” Then smile, LEAVE and nurture you.
Are you about to enter a holiday season? How much stress do you normally experience when you spend time with your family or in-laws? Have you got relatives who give you a hard time? Maybe you married the favourite cousin and you're “not good enough”? Or do you have the plain mean ones who know you're an easy mark? If you dread family gatherings because you know someone is out to get you, trying to control you, or just not fun to hang out with, try these games and create a difference. Are your get togethers full of fighting? How many fights are really just individuals crying out for more attention? So give the ones giving you the hardest time, the attention they seek. With gentleness and allowance say “I'm so grateful that you are in my life. You are such a gift.” Then ask them questions and listen. No one will have paid them so much genuine attention in a long time. Being totally open, vulnerable and present with them will knock them over like a house of cards.
Who in your life right now are you doing your best to help, support, love, care for, work hard for, or contribute to? Do you get the results you know are possible? Or are you saddened, disheartened, disappointed, puzzled, upset, frustrated, annoyed, or even angered by how little impact you seem to be having? Are they treating you like rubbish? Who do you make wrong? Them, or you? Do you re-double your efforts and go out of your way to do whatever you think is required, to no effect? Do you feel like rubbish? If you'd like to create a different possibility, ask “Have I made this person greater than me?” Then acknowledge how great YOU are, regardless of what others would have you believe. What if no one were greater? What if everyone were just different (including that some simply won't choose change, no matter how great you can see it could be)? Would you be willing to be the greatest you are first? And then invite others to play?
How often have you been told that you must meet deadlines at any cost, or finish everything you start otherwise you're a failure? Do you think if only you didn't procrastinate you'd be happier, more successful and make more money? Just because other people tell you something, does it mean it's true? Only if you agree with them. So what if procrastinating wasn't what you thought it was? What if it was an expression of your awareness that the energy had moved on and something else was required? What if it indicated your boredom and prompted you to find something you truly enjoyed, to make an even greater contribution? Or maybe it was telling you that you lacked the resources to do the job that was actually required? So next time you find you're beating yourself up over not doing things “on time” or telling yourself you're no good because you didn't meet someone else's expectations, ask “What's right about my go slow?” and “What else is possible?”
Has anyone ever been angry with you to try and distract you from seeing what was true, either so you wouldn't see it, or so they didn't have to look at it? For example, when you questioned someone because you sensed they were lying, did they get angry or indignant, and say things like “I can't believe you are questioning me!” Did that make you angry? Do you get angry when people say things about you that aren't true? One useful thing to know about anger is that it can indicate a lie. So next time you feel anger rising, ask yourself “Is there a lie spoken or unspoken here?” You will know. And if you'd like more clarity, stop and ask the other person “What do you mean by that?” and listen. Asking questions in the face of anger will move you from the auto-response of reaction, to the freedom of action so you can create what you'd really prefer.
Do you like change? Do you get excited when a new gadget is announced? When your company restructures? When your insignificant other moves your holiday plans? When someone you regard highly does something you didn't expect? When your favourite coffee shop closes? Or do you become annoyed, worried, frustrated, even angry? Do you try to make someone right or wrong? Do you start thinking something is “wrong with the world” and “only if things didn't change”? What if nothing were wrong? What if change was needed to create something even greater? So next time you feel uncomfortable about a change, ask “What if change were required?” Then smile and enjoy what shows up next.
On a scale of 1-10, how grateful are you for people and things in your life? Your job, your company, your boss, your employees, your fellow workers, your family and friends? How often do you let them know? When someone thanks you, how do you feel? Good? Does it make you want to work harder, longer, smarter, and do whatever you can to contribute to them and their business? This is the energetic vibration of thanks. It's warm, fertile and prosperous, and it can infect people and replicate. So whatever is showing up in your life, acknowledge it by asking “How did I get so lucky?” It's a great way to say you're thankful and to invite more great stuff to come your way.
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