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However you celebrate this time of year, chances are you are feeling pretty spent as you read this. Is it possible for you to stop long enough to take a moment to appreciate everything that is good in your life? I hope so because such a perspective will help you fully realize exactly what it is we are supposed to be celebrating this time of year.

Given our culture, it is nearly impossible to keep the true meaning of our winter holidays in perspective, especially for those who tend to languish in rich memories of “the good old days.” Making sense of the current approach to the holidays can be challenging. But it is worth a try. Here’s a little experiment I’d like you to consider, sitting right here, right now. You don’t have to move a muscle!

Take a couple of deep breaths and think about what is of personal value to you. Is it your family? Perhaps it’s dear fiends or neighbors who make all of the difference in the quality of your life. Maybe it’s the fact that you still have a job? Your health? Your faculties!

Pausing for a moment to fully reflect on exactly what is positive in our lives is beneficial to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. But how many of us actually take the time to allow our good fortune to seep deeply into our pores?  Oh, I know, in many ways, there is nothing about this time of year that promotes introspection, in spite of what this season is supposed to be about.  We’re too busy keeping up with the demands our culture seems to have imposed upon us.

But stop for a moment and consider that oops …  we are our culture! And therefore, we have the capacity to approach this time of year however it might best suit our own needs and values.

So, sit back, close your eyes, and relax. Think about holidays gone by. Which ones float into your memory? What made them special? Meaningful? Now, take stock of your current life. While it is probably not perfect – there is no such beast – what is actually good about it?

Given these economic times, your budget may not be what it once was but do you still have a roof over your head? Perhaps you’d much rather be spending this season with your children who live across the country? Certainly, it’s disappointing not to be together but how wonderful is it that we have things like telephones and web cams! (How did the pioneers do it?) Perhaps age is forcing you to slow down these days. Frustrating, I know. But are you still able to live a fully independent life?

Forgive me if I sound like a real Pollyanna! Trust me, I know it can be very difficult to find the positive when things are stressful. But, it’s worth remembering that by simply shifting our perspective, life can look a little brighter.

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