The Purpose of Holidays

The purpose of holidays is to bring us to a moment of gratitude and reverence for all the blessings bestowed upon us. The irony is that the more  obligation that’s piled on to manufacturing that moment, the farther removed we are from the original intent. The obligatory fulfillments lay upon us so heavily that it feels like wearing a heavy garb. It feels more difficult to carry around as the event looms near. It certainly is contradictory to the original intent.

Expectations are the mind’s way of capturing the specialness of a moment, embellishing it, and demanding to experience that feeling the same way again. It’s a trick. There is no way to live up to the mind’s distortion. It feels like a cruel trick.

There is an unwritten demand year after year, to strike an impression on the hearts and minds of our loved ones. In doing so, we are competing with memories of the wonderment of Santa Clause, and seeing every sight and sound for the first time. It’s also not feasible to expect the same response from ourselves as when we were at a younger vantage point.

With Valentine’s day, it’s no different. We are bombarded with love stories and Hallmark commercials showing us what we should be experiencing. Who doesn’t get happy when they see all the red hearts and flower displays in all the stores. There is happiness until the day looms near and the realization sets in that your personal script isn’t going to quite play out like the Hallmark commercials.

A trick to enjoying the holidays is to realize that the process of preparation, is part of the experience and joy. The mistakes are your signature on the day. If you are focused on one defining moment of perfection, it is more likely to be disappointing. It’s like zooming in the lens so close to a object that you miss the whole picture.

Also, think about the years of holidays you remember. Is it the times when everything was perfect that stand out? Or was it the times when everything went wrong yet the loving relationships endured? If you can relax a little bit and let go of some of the ritualistic duties, enjoy the relationships more and spend more of the time interacting instead of reacting, you may enjoy the process a little more.

For this Valentine’s Day, a passive way to create a Hallmark moment is to just agree to sit and watch love stories for a night.  This, along with a love token fulfills the requirement of the day. It also alleviates the pressure to participate.  Because with the proper intent, YOU will be participating. And if you want to be a little bit rebellious, give an unconventional gift to make the day memorable.

I’d like to share a technique that I use to feel the sacredness of each day. I pretend each day is a holiday. It puts me in the mode of reverence and expectancy that calendar holidays used to provide. Now I use my own imaginative skills and memories of past holidays to recreate the reverence of Christmas each moment. It’s a powerful technique that illicits the actualization that every day is sacred.