By Anna Gatmon, PhD
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza, the holiday season is filled with the promise of joy, connection with family and friends, and meaningful, uplifting experiences. Too often, however, it is reduced to material indulgence and frantic demands. We wind up feeling lonely, dreading family gatherings and office parties, spending money needlessly and accumulating stuff that doesn’t bring true happiness and will eventually have to be disposed of in a garage sale.
How about creating this holiday season meaningful experiences that nourish both your body and soul and provide true fulfillment? I have a formula, which will always provide deep satisfaction. It combines three elements: You + Something Spiritual + Something Material. I call this the Wholly Trinity.
Here’s how you can use it this holiday for gift giving, celebrating, and feasting:
Experiences are more fulfilling than things, so step beyond you comfort zone and be creative. Make your own gifts and provide ongoing enjoyment for the receiver. To create meaningful gifts use the Wholly Trinity:
You + Creative Experience + Making Your Own Gifts = Joy, Fun, Gratifying
- Create perishable gifts, special food items like jams, chutney, candy, nut-mixtures. Wrap them beautifully.
- Offer plants to uplift the spirit: herbs in a pot for the windowsill, or a bonsai tree.
- Create your own holiday cards and write rhymes or riddles on all your gifts, so that people have to guess what the gift is.
JOY OF LIGHT:
The holidays are filled with sacred symbols and themes, such as light, birth, and giving. Reflecting on these themes together with friends and family can imbue the occasion with profound meaning. To celebrate the joy of light use the Wholly Trinity: You + Light + Gathering with Loved Ones = Connection, Belonging, Meaning
- During the holiday meal, each person can light a candle, go around the table and share their hopes and wishes for increasing light in the world.
- When gathering with friends and family, each person can offer a lit candle and a blessing to someone else in the room, going around until everyone has received a blessing from someone.
- Purchase materials to create your own candles, or paint on glass that will serve as candleholders. Then light the candles and each person can voice a personal wish.
Traditional holiday dishes have the power to evoke memories and bring people together. It can also be a cultural adventure. To enjoy festive food use the Wholly Trinity:
You + Honoring Tradition + Holiday Food = Nourishment, Enjoyment, Celebration
- Prepare favorite holiday dishes and during the meal, ask each person to share a memory related to one of the dishes.
- Learn about traditional dishes from other parts of the country or other cultures, and add one of them to your menu as a way of expanding the experience of your palette and heart.
- In the spirit of sharing, open your heart and home to friends and acquaintances from other traditions, or to someone who is alone this holiday.
You can find inner fulfillment without having to give up life’s material comforts. Using the Wholly Trinity, you can invest greater meaning and relevance into the traditional activities of the holidays. Play with it and be spontaneous. Come up with your own creative ways to imbue this season with your unique spirit. However you choose to celebrate, may you find joy, fulfillment, and lasting peace.
Anna Gatmon, PhD, is the author of Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World: Four Keys to Fulfillment and Balance. She is a visionary educator and spiritual innovator. The founder of an alternative elementary school, she is a former international fashion model with a multicultural background that spans the USA, Sweden, Israel, and France. She holds a doctoral degree in Transformative Learning from the California Institute for Integral Studies. For additional information on how to live your calling using the Four Keys to spiritual-material balance visit www.annagatmon.com