Stressful Holidays? Don’t Miss This Opportunity

The red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, are spectacular.

But they are at the height of their beauty only once or twice a year–when it snows.

It is a photographer’s dream to capture these red rocks in snow. But the problem is that you never know what day of the year it will snow. And the snow only lasts for a day or so. So there is no way to know in advance when to plan a visit to Sedona to photograph the snow.

Pretty much the only way to photograph the snow on the red rocks is to live there, as I did for one year, and to pounce when the opportunity presents itself.

Likewise, The Holiday Season Provides A Rare Opportunity For Seekers

It provides an opportunity for stressful thoughts, that lie dormant all year, to surface. And it provides an opportunity to learn from them.

The holiday season is supposed to be the most beautiful time of the year. It’s supposed to bring out the best in everyone. It’s a time for families to come together and share good times together. It’s a time of good food. And good music. And great gifts. And lots of love.

So what happens if the holidays don’t live up to these grand expectations? What if you’re stranded all alone with no good times to share? What if there’s no tasty food? What if there’s no love? Or what if being together with your family makes you get irritated, or melancholy?

Then What?

Then the holidays become a time of great frustration. A time where we beat ourselves up, or beat up our family members when they push our old buttons once again.

Maybe there’s a reason why we live far away from our families. And when we come together again, old issues may flare up, and drown out the holiday cheer.

But An Opportunist Relishes These Challenges

Most of us would rather avoid the experience of stress at all costs. We might try to avoid the holidays completely. Or we might try to pretend that all is well while we’re with our families, while ignoring the bristling feelings inside us.

But if you’re serious about your own spiritual development, the holiday season can be the perfect catalyst for growth. Especially if you use The Work of Byron Katie to question your stressful thoughts.

What Is The Work of Byron Katie?

The Work of Byron Katie is a unique approach to spiritual growth that starts with stress. Many forms of spiritual development focus on peace and how to expand it in your life.

The Work of Byron Katie focuses on stress. It focuses on your complaints and troubles. And it uses them as a starting point for spiritual inquiry. When you use The Work regularly, you find yourself looking forward to stressful situations because you learn so much by doing The Work on them.

That’s Why The Holidays Can Be Such A Boon

Like the snow on the red rocks of Sedona, holiday stresses are special. They only come up once a year, and maybe not every year. When else can you feel the unique sadness of remembering a lost loved one during the holidays? When else do you get a chance to spend time in close quarters with siblings and other relatives who are skilled at pushing long forgotten buttons in you?

It’s a rare opportunity to uncover stressful thoughts that never surface during the rest of the year. And when you capture on paper the unique, stressful thoughts of the holiday season, and do The Work on them, you can gain deep peace indeed.

This Holiday Season I’m Visiting Family In New York City

And, as much as I love my family, it’s not always stress-free to be with them. You see, I like a quiet life where I’m in control. I lived in an ashram for about a decade, and I still structure a very simple, routine life for myself at home.

Coming to New York City challenges me in every way. It challenges me to adjust my routine and my diet without compromising my health. It challenges me to stand up for myself when I don’t want to go shopping sometimes. It challenges me to not look for approval from my family members, and to not get down on myself when they don’t give it.

And For Each Stressful Situation I Write A Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet

In fact, I’ve written half a dozen Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets in the last week since I’ve been here. A Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet is the first step for doing The Work. It is a chance to get your stressful thoughts on paper so they can be questioned.

I’ve worked some of these worksheets, and I’m saving others for when I return home. I love to work Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets slowly over weeks or months. I love to tease apart those stressful situations with the four questions and turnarounds of The Work. That’s why I’m gathering as many as I can now for later use.

Who Knew I Would Feel Like A Kid In A Candy Store Actually Looking For Stress!

I’m on a scavenger hunt for stressful situations. And so far the harvest has been rich and plentiful. And I invite you to do the same.

Whatever your holidays plans may be, keep a notebook handy, or a special document on your computer. And keep a list of the stressful situations that come up for you this holiday season. Write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet for each one. Then, either work it right away, or file it for future work this January.

The Time For Photographing Red Rocks In Snow Is Limited

And so is the time you have to write down stressful holiday thoughts. You may not get the same opportunity to find fresh, stressful situations next month.

When the family issues have been swept under the carpet again, you may have to wait until next year, or even later, to have a crack at them.

If you haven’t subscribed to The Work As Meditation newsletter already, subscribe by clicking the big red button below, and start getting articles like this every week. Or continue browsing more articles by clicking on one of these links:
What is The Work?
Relationship and Family Issues
Money and Job Issues
Body Issues
Deepening Inquiry
My Process Exposed