Christmas is a sensual holiday. Golden turkey roasted to moist perfection. Bowls of brilliant-colored candies that melt away on your tongue. Cinnamon and clove spiced apple cider. The smell of pine wafts through the house, from a tree decked with baubles and lights and more sweet treats. Gifts wrapped in color and cheer enticing the imagination. The comforting warmth of indoors after a cold winter chill.
We fill ourselves with the smells and flavors and sounds of the holidays, savoring every bit that we can possibly take in. Here’s the real question: How does it make you feel? I’m not just talking about joyful, anxious, loving – though that is a big part of this. But what do you feel like, through the senses, as you experience the holiday season and everything it means to you?
Let me offer an example.
One of my favorite moments this time of year is at the end of the day, as I wander off to bed. The tree is lit, the fireplace crackling, the room warm and inviting. Rather than turning off the tree, I yield to the scene and loll on the couch. From there, I indulge in the sensations…
I feel relaxed and comfortably heavy, sinking into the cushions of the couch. I also feel safe in that relaxation, as if all of my organs have suddenly started to breathe and sigh with relief. My belly feels particularly calm, secure and carefree (unless I’m really full). I breathe the scent of pine, gaze on the beauty of the decorations, and the moment layers with all the great holidays I have experienced over the years…a flood of feelings that relaxes me even further. I feel as if I am melting into the scene while filling the room and the house. Instead of simply the smell of pine, it feels as if every breath brings in the entire scene.
Overall, the sensation is one of both melting and expanding. I feel more connected with the people I love. If my thoughts wander, I am often hit with sparks of inspiration. I find myself wishing good cheer for everyone, and sending good wishes even to people that I normally don’t think about. In that sense of expansion, I almost feel as if I am with them too, could reach out and touch their cheek or give them a hug filled with honest love and encouragement.
Eventually, I extract myself from the couch and wander off to bed, with the sensations and connection of the moment still lingering with me. Later, if I want to, I can conjure that moment and its feelings again.
Would you like to try it?
Find a place that really captures the spirit of the season for you. In addition to sitting next to my tree, I also like walking at night and seeing all the Christmas lights, or pausing in a crowded street of shoppers (yours may be similar or completely different).
- Now, take a moment to experience the scene – notice how it makes you feel, what it may inspire, what thoughts might come to you. Particularly note the way your body feels – the sensation of how it soaks up the panorama. Imagine that each of your cells desperately wants to remember what it feels like to be in this place. Put effort into feeling it and remembering it with your body. This allows you to more easily recall it later and grounds you more deeply in the sensuality of the moment.
- Spend as long as you like here, though I would recommend at least several minutes. Later in the day, try to bring back the moment. Breathe in the scene, and imagine that you are actually there again. Or, with all the fabulous spots available to you this time of year, do the same thing in a different place. The more often you do it, the more often you will allow yourself to connect with the feelings of the season.
I would love to hear what happens! Feel free to post your experience in the comments below.