Holiday Madness Without; Ease and Wellbeing Within

(It is possible.)

We’re entering Holiday Madness. The external signs (the music, sales, signs, advertisements…) are already obvious.

The internal signs… perhaps not yet quite so obvious. We’re still on the edge of the holidays, after all, not right in the middle of them.

Internal signs?

Yes. That sense of impending doom, of stress and overwhelm descending, of just that much extra added to an already full schedule.

Sure, there may be a sense of excitement as well. I mean, the holidays aren’t just about stress and obligation and tons of Fattening Food and Forced Family Fun, right?

I know I’m excited to be able to visit my family in Kansas this Christmas. I’m really looking forward to spending time with my siblings, my nieces, my parents and extended relatives. I can’t wait to just hang out with them, to be goofy and play silly games and make fun of each other.

And, I already feel this intense pressure to be buying gifts or making presents, sending cards, supporting friends and colleagues, figuring out which holiday parties I’m going to attend… the list is endless.

My clients are starting to feel and mention the extra stress already as well.

One client described looking at her schedule and feeling completely overwhelmed and panicked by how little space there was.

No space or time for her to do the things that were meaningful to her. Just work, work, and more work but with the additional stress of a week-long family trip that felt more like an obligation or an inconvenience versus a relaxing, restful vacation. And that’s just her November!

Let’s take a step back and take a second look at the external signs.

The festive music, the bright advertisements, the cheery colors and the sparkling lights. All meant to evoke certain feelings (or qualities) within us, right?

The holiday qualities of joy, celebration, peace, wonder, connection with others, love…

It is so easy to buy into the idea (that’s what we are told to do – buy, buy, buy) that buying gifts, eating special treats, going to parties, etc will somehow magically transport us into that place of holiday cheer.

So often, it doesn’t.

My question is:

If the holidays are all about joy, peace, celebration, etc, why is our internal experience often so different?

Speaking for myself, it is this time of year when I’m most likely to feel super cynical, jaded, alone, pressured, overwhelmed, bitter and resentful.

I’d much prefer to feel connected, peaceful, joyful, and loving. Not just now, actually, but throughout the entire year.

The holidays, however, tend to cause me to swing further from those qualities versus closer. And, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has this experience.

So, how can we access more of the qualities that would allow the holidays to truly be a time of connection, wonder, joy and peace?

I have a couple of ideas. :)

Choose a quality you want to experience more of over the next couple of months – the Holidays. Da-da-da-doom. I’m choosing Ease… because ease makes everything easier.

Now, let’s work from the viewpoint that qualities are magical things that are readily available to us in any situation, at any time.

And, that although external things (like music, sparkling lights, etc) can evoke certain qualities or feelings within us, whatever we feel is actually ours. Our feeling. Our response.

Now, we have options, just to name a few:

  1. We can simply pay attention and notice when we do feel our particular quality. For instance, I often feel Ease when I am with my clients.
  2. We can consciously interact with things that represent our chosen quality. For me, flowing water evokes the sensation of ease so perhaps I can spend some time beside a creek or watching a fountain.

    Or, we can be more active in our interaction – perhaps through music or artwork of some kind or through collaging using images that remind us of our quality.
  3. We can spend time in meditation and ask to connect with and experience our quality (or qualities – there is no need to limit ourselves to one!). What sensations do you experience in your body when you connect with your quality? Where are they?

Through conscious interaction with our desired qualities, we truly can experience a holiday season that is filled with less madness (overwhelm, obligation, stress) and more ease and wellbeing.

Want to take this concept deeper; to really *get it* in your body?

Learning how to access and connect with the qualities you want more of in your life is one of the most important self-care skills you can have. Join me for a one-day Taking the Madness out of the Holidays workshop here in Portland on Dec 12th.

You will learn how to identify the qualities you need more of in your life. And, you will learn and practice a variety of fun, simple, practical ways to connect with and work with the qualities directly.

And, of course, there will also be Crazy Monkey Dancing (Shiva Nata), a lot of laughter, and tons of new connections and other awesomeness to help this holiday season be the best ever.

Click here for details.

Comment Magic:

Your stories, thoughts and comments are adored and appreciated. As are hellos. :)


  1. Sarah says:

    Another great newsletter – and excellent announcement of your workshop! I’ll be there, and I’ll be sure to tell friends about it.


  2. Larisa says:

    Thanks, Sarah! I’m so excited you will be joining us. Yay!
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  3. Kylie says:

    This is a wonderful piece, Larisa. I’m going to keep it in mind throughout the next couple of months. My “busy” season has already begun, because my partner’s birthday is next week. It’s both so exciting (I love celebrating her!) and a little stressful (I reeeeally want her to have a special day!) all at once.

    I’m not sure yet what my qualities will be this season. But I love the idea of inviting them to visit me during meditation (and the idea of meditating at all during this season, for that matter).

    Oh, and one more thing. I wish I could be at your class on the 11th. I’m going to be in Portland for two days starting on the 20th, so sadly I’ll just miss it. But I wish you and the participants ease and magic for that day.
    Twitter: kyliewriteshere


  4. Larisa says:

    Ease and magic! Two of my favorite things. :) Thank you.

    And, yay! You’re going to be in Portland. How awesome.

    Also, yes, I really love playing with qualities in meditation. It is quite incredible how different each quality feels in my body when I take the time to sit and allow myself to experience it. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes!
    Twitter: larisakoehn


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