7 Practices For Creating Your Most Wonderful Time Of The Year


How To Get Your Holiday S.W.A.G.G.E.R. On.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love challenging the status quo when it comes to how we define things in our culture. One of my favorite ways to do that is by redefining words in the language I use for my own self talk. Words are probably the most powerful tools I use in my life and I’m very mindful about how I use them and how I allow them to influence me.

Despite my early teachings, I prefer a good beating from sticks and stones over somebody poisoning me with their bullshit stories any day of the week…especially around my holy days.

Even the word, swagger might stir up some shit in you like it used to for me. I used to see it as meaning arrogant and aggressive but as usual, that was someone else’s story.  As a creator of my own story I get to define things in ways that empower me so that’s what I’ll do.

I choose to define swagger as the way a confident, powerful man carries himself in the world.

I also can use it as an acronym to anchor certain thoughts in me so I can access any one of those powerful archetypes that lives in every man. My hope is that there may be something in here you can use too as we head into that beautiful mix of candy and turds for the holidays. If not, that’s cool too because at the end of the day this is about me fulfilling my mission as a man.

So let’s rock and roll.

1. Silence and Stillness.

This is where every day begins and ends for me. My morning silence is for guidance and my evening silence is for reflection. This allows me to take that 18 inch trip from my head to my heart and access the man I truly am as opposed to the man my noisy brain tries to tell me I should be. My brain will even try to fuck this up with questions like, “How do I know that I’m doing it right?” and shit like that but here’s a tip I discovered along the way.

Just shut the hell up and listen to everything you hear without judging it and you’re doing it right…PERIOD!

When you’re done you may want to take some notes about what came to you or you may not. Either way, you did it right and you started momentum for your day whether your brain agrees or not. I have a whole list of routines I try to do regularly and I almost always fall short of doing them all but my meditation is non-negotiable. I challenge you to start each day with a few minutes of quiet reflection and see if your life changes within a couple weeks. 5 minutes a day is a good enough start.

2. Why

Before you finish your morning stillness, take time to focus on your “why.” Why are you going through with your plans for the holidays? If you’re putting yourself in challenging situations, why are you choosing to do it?

Is it because of your own core values around what makes you the man you are or is it somebody else’s version of “the right thing to do?”

Perhaps you’re doing it for your kids and your ex-wife is going to be there to push your buttons. Can you stay focused on your reason for being there or are you going to allow your environment to sabotage you? Create a vision of yourself showing up as that powerful man you are who doesn’t allow anyone or anything to stand in the way of your mission. Picture your inner warrior, magician, and lover having a meeting with you, the king, and give them all their assignments before setting out on this mission. Are you showing up as a man of service or a little boy trying to get his needs met at all costs? It’s time to get honest with yourself here because, otherwise, I promise you won’t like the result.

3. Anchor Yourself.

Every man needs anchors to keep him grounded. Don’t bullshit yourself into thinking everything is going to go off without a hitch. When has that ever happened? The anchors I’m referring to in this case are some things I learned in NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) training. They involve subtle little gestures you can do with your body that will bring you back to center when Uncle Charlie cracks a racial joke or your ex brags about her new man’s libido.

Something as simple as pinching an earlobe or scratching your palm can be the difference between staying on course with your mission or falling back into that dark place you worked so hard to get out of. I love the quote from Mike Tyson that says, “everyone comes in with a plan until he gets punched in the mouth.” Anchors will help keep you from getting knocked out. Click here to find out more about anchors in Dr. Drake’s article. It tells you everything you need to do to put anchors in place.

4. Gratitude

I feel like a broken record with this one. Gratitude is such a key part of my life today and it’s because it works for most anything. Gratitude refuses to share space with negativity. It’s like my personal bouncer. No matter what kind of self defeating thought strolls into the gray matter saloon, I can always call on gratitude to escort it to the exit door. The more specific and targeted you get with it, the more powerful it is.

Find the gratitude in the very thing that’s triggering you in the moment. Maybe you have a former wife who loves to push your buttons as a way of dealing with her own pain. You could decide you’re grateful for the beautiful children she delivered to you.  Or you might find gratitude in the fact you no longer share a roof with her. Either way, the shift is the same. You can return to your “why” and fulfill your mission.

5. Give.

This one took a while for me to catch on to. When I’m feeling attacked in some way, it’s hard for me to default to a place of giving. It wasn’t until I understood that giving is for the benefit of the giver and not the receiver. Receiving is the result that comes from giving. I don’t expect everyone to get this because, as I said it took me a lot of practice before I saw the evidence for myself.

If you’re not there yet, that’s cool. Perhaps you want to just dip your toes in from a safe place first like I did. I started by going to the grocery store every time I was feeling needy. I’d buy a bouquet of flowers and pass them out to strangers. That’s when I realized how powerful it was. In the 12 step rooms they say, “we keep what we have only by giving it away.” I never understood that until I did a little acting as if on myself. As they say, When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

6. Exercise and Eat Right.

I know what some of you are probably thinking because this one is my Achilles heel as well. I do a dance with the perfectionist shadow in me and think I have to go vegan or Paleo or whatever new shit I see on social media. And then I have to become a gym rat and work out 5 times a week (ow! that hurts just saying it). The truth is, it starts by replacing a couple bad eating choices with some good ones and then just putting my body in motion.

Walking, swimming, and sex are some good places to start. Scientists used to think that your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts worked independently of each other but they now know better. They’re all wheels of the same vehicle and if one is flat the whole machine slows down. What’s one healthy delicious choice you can replace sugar with? What’s one fun way to move your body that you can add to your day?

I get that the holidays are probably the toughest time to implement this one. Perhaps a smaller slice of mom's apple pie and a walk after dinner is in order.

7. Rest.

This one is my favorite. I like to think I was a lion in a previous life because I love to chill. The problem is, if I don’t move my body enough during the day I don’t get the peaceful rest I need to function at my best. There has been a lot of science around this recently and they found the highest achievers get an average of 8 hours sleep a night. I don’t need a scientist to tell me that when I’m tired my chances of getting my desired outcome in any area of my life, are compromised.

I hope this is helpful. To be honest, I don’t like writing articles in the form of lists, tips, or the 7 whatevers but my editor tells me I have a better chance of getting my message out when I do. These are just a few things that I’ve found to be helpful in creating the life I choose for myself today.

The message I strive to deliver is always the same.

We are each creators of our own life stories.

Whether your holidays suck or they’re the most wonderful time of the year it’s because of a story YOU created and you can recreate it any time you wish. What story are you choosing for yourself today?

Rock On!

This article was originally published at Life Beyond Clean. Reprinted with permission from the author.