HOW NOT TO HATE YOUR FAMILY THIS CHRISTMAS

Ok - maybe hate is a bit strong. But lets face it, for many of us this time of year is testing for many reasons....and some of them can be our nearest and dearest.

Next time you feel in danger of telling someone what they could do with that bit of tinsel, consider doing this instead....

🎅 Find a quiet place. Sit. Focus your awareness on your breath. Let go of any thoughts or feelings that arise. Whenever you're distracted, bring your mind back to your breath. Spend a few minutes here.

🎁 Allow yourself to connect with the patience and compassion that exist deep within your heart. Imagine your heart overflowing with these qualities.

🎄 Identify someone with whom you are having difficulty at the moment. Imagine they're standing in front of you and gently accept their presence. If it's tough, go back to noticing your breath until you feel relaxed again. Be gentle with yourself and with that other person. Can you maintain a sense of patience and compassion in your heart.

⛄ Remember a time when they spoke or behaved in a way you found challenging or disturbing. Imagine the agitated emotions that were running through *their* mind. Allow yourself to explore the suffering that *they* were going through. Proceed slowly and gently, in a spirit of patience and compassion.

🌟 Recall a time when you felt anger, jealousy or any other negative emotion towards this person. How did that feel in your heart? What effect did it have on you? What impact did it have on them? Did either of you gain from that situation?

🔔 Now imagine that the person is trying to have an argument with you. As an experiment, decide that you are willing to lose the argument, that you won't answer back, score points, or attempt to control how they behave. Do your best to be genuinely kind, open, patient and compassionate.

🍪 Trust in and enjoy the process.

💗 Close with the wish 'may all beings be happy'

Andrea Edwards