Complements of the season!

Complements of the season!

No, it’s not a spelling mistake; just play on words. Complementary means “that which goes with” or “interrelated”. It kind of “goes with” the human experience – across the broadest range of cultures – to stop, to take a break from the business as usual mode and to acknowledge the shortest days of the year. That global turning of the season and a moving back – depending upon which hemisphere we are living in – in the direction of the light.

Most cultural traditions have their winter festival – and what ‘goes with’ festival is family, gifts, games and feasting. Personally, I really value some simple ceremony to acknowledge the winter solstice (Dec21/22) – that gives a little bit of pre-Christmas space to mark the turning of the year. I became very disillusioned with the commercialisation and rampant mindless, consumption that I first witnessed staying in California one Christmas 1979. Subsequently the marketing has become just as pronounced here in the UK.


One Christmas I tried to escape it all by going off to camp in my van in the new Forest over the holiday period. I enjoyed my solo solstice experience, but on Boxing Day morning – watching families and friends sharing their morning walk – I felt so alone I rushed back to my friends family & community as a latecomer to the party. There is good stuff in this mass cultural phenomenon that we wouldn’t want to miss.

 

And hazards too – typically we will be spending unusually long periods of time with family members that can “press our buttons”. It’s worth remembering that at the same time we are almost certainly pressing theirs. Staying mindful at those potential flashpoints does both of you – and the whole family – a great service. Drinking mindfully helps. Eating mindfully too. Speaking mindfully. Dancing and wholeheartedly enjoying yourself – yes!

And later – The New Year’s resolutions? Before setting your goals for the year – reflect for a while on the underlying personal values those goals serve. If you were to achieve that goal, would it contribute to the value meaning and purpose of your life? If the answer is yes, then you have some “pulling power” associated with your New Year’s resolution – you won’t have to rely entirely upon the “pushing power” of ‘oughts’, ‘shoulds’ and ‘have to’s’. Haven’t we all got more than enough of them?

Come to think of it – perhaps the best New Year’s resolution of all is to learn to be more kind to our selves. And what “goes with” that, an “interrelated” phenomenon – is that we will then tend to be more kind to others. It’s a complementary ticket.

Consider doing yourself the kindness of joining our 8 week mindfulness course – either in Woodbridge or Ipswich. Or if the idea of a group is not to your liking, I work one to one in various formats and by various means.

Enjoy

Martin

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