As we approach the holidays, we often find ourselves triggered by feelings of: Overwhelm (How will I get it all done?); Worry (How am I going to handle this family member?); Self-pity (I feel so alone; no one loves me!); Shame (Will they ever forgive me and trust me again?); or Resentment (Why does she/he get so much more attention, money, love than I do?)
I know these feelings well. Just let me get too afraid, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, and the negativity goes on a spree inside my head.
Since the holidays are ripe for such challenges, I want to share my two favorite ways to restore my sanity and balance when I’ve lost it. I’ve memorized each of them and they really work!
Whenever you have a negative thought or action toward anything or anyone, pause, remove yourself from the situation (if possible), and repeat the phrases of “Loving-Kindness” or “The Activity of God.” Then notice how you begin to calm down and gain a new perspective. When you return to the situation you’ll find yourself thinking and responding differently.
The loving-kindness practice Buddhists call metta calms your mind, opens your heart to goodness and love, and connects you with the power within your true self. The practice also asks for the healing of your fears, worries, and negative thinking so you can serve others’ growth.
1) Say the words aloud:
- May I be at peace. May my heart remain open.
- May I awaken to the light of my own true nature.
- May I be healed. May I be a source of healing for all beings.
2) With one or more of your loved ones in mind, say the prayer again changing I to you: “May you be at peace. May your heart….”
3) Next, change you to we: “May we be at peace….”
4) Now use the “May you” version of the prayer for a person you feel is causing you worry, frustration, or pain: “May you (name) be at peace…”
The Activity of God, by Sig Paulson, Daily Word (Unity Church)
This affirmation reminds me that negative thoughts are making my problems appear bigger than they are; and these appearances are just that, figments of my overactive imagination. It shrinks my fears by reminding me of who I truly am: an individual expression of a loving power.
- The activity of God is the only power at work in my mind, heart, and life.
- All false beliefs, all negative appearances are dissolved right now by the loving, forgiving action of God.
- I am whole, strong, and free, as God created me to be.
1) First, you assert God (or higher power, true self, etc.) is bigger than your past wounds, stronger than your worries and fears, and wiser than your intellect. This benevolent power is the only one you want to influence your life.
2) Next, you claim your loving power has dissolved your negative beliefs and fearful imaginings. (I love the image of dissolving; I see it as washing out, softening, and reducing the sludge-like fears and worries of my mind.)
3) In this same sentence, you encounter the words, forgiving action of God. This forgiveness doesn’t refer to sin or any other dogma. It simply means releasing the negative thoughts and actions that separate you from others.
4) Finally, you claim the truth of who you are; not the person you may present to the world, but your true self, endowed with positive power, whole, strong and free.
This holiday season, I wish you patience, acceptance, and kindness—and the ability to attain peace of mind when you get triggered into negativity.