21 Dec 2012
How to Open Your Heart this Holiday
“Open the window in the center of your chest, and let spirit fly in and out.”
— Rumi, 13th century mystic poet
The holiday season is considered the season of love. But the question is, Are you feeling it?
Though it’s the time when we gather with friends and family, put our attention on giving, and donate our time or money to those in need, it can also be a season of high stress.
Every year, I go into this season with mixed feelings. While I love the spirit of openness, love, and giving, I also feel the pressures of the season. I imagine you do too.
So how can we plug into love this season? By consciously opening our hearts – which is the only way to fully experience the juiciness and joy of this season.
I’ve been so fortunate to have interviewed hundreds of Love Luminaries for my book, Love for No Reason. I’ve seen how they keep their hearts open in all circumstances and seasons, and here are some of ways their tips:
1. Let Love In. Receiving from others is an act of love and connection that opens your heart — and benefits your body. Research shows that when you receive, your levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter of well-being and happiness, rise just as much as when you give. When someone offers you a gift — whether in the form of a present, a compliment, or some assistance — graciously receive it. Smile and say thank you, while letting their loving intention sink deeply into your heart. Truly register and savor the feeling of appreciation.
2. Anchor Yourself in Safety. Feeling stressed, unsupported, or fearful essentially takes love off-line. It’s impossible to activate the physiology of unconditional love when you’re experiencing stress and your body is in fight or flight. To quickly switch out of stress mode, take a few deep breaths and consciously relax your pelvic floor, located at the base of your body. This kick-starts your parasympathetic system and sets the stage for what mind/body health expert Dr. Eva Selhub calls your body’s “love response.”
3. Plug into a Larger Heart. Love thrives when we feel at peace inside. During the hectic holiday time, recharge your spiritual batteries by investing even just a little time each day in silence, meditation, or prayer. Tapping into this inner wellspring of spirit connects you to the energy of unconditional love and boosts your capacity to experience Love for No Reason by a factor of infinity. (It also helps you stay centered when dealing with any challenging family members-if you happen to have any of those.)
May your holidays be filled with the gifts of an open heart and the true spirit of the season.