As I anticipate the horrors of holiday shopping—the lines, the malls, the parking-structure hell—I think of a piece of advice from my Kundalini yoga teacher that stuck with me. Her counsel was to look at every situation as a chance to bless those around you. Even just standing in line at the grocery store, if you make a conscious choice to send a prayer to everyone there, you are adding light to an otherwise unremarkable moment. You are uplifting the energy with your prayer.

It’s easy to get cynical and overwhelmed as we get into the stress and obligations of the holiday season. The collective patience level is a thread ready to snap. It often does, as tensions run high, consumer pressure mounts, and we find ourselves in never-ending lines. Whether at the post office, the grocery store, or the gift-wrap counter, (where the clerk clearly seems to have all the time in the world to chat with her colleague, as seemingly endless hours of your life slip by as you watch her run her scissors along the ribbon curls, and are on the brink of snapping them out of her hand telling her where to shove them!) take a moment. Take a breath. Slow down and recognize your own power. You— in fact, all of us—have the power to change our energy and our intention from a curse into a blessing.

I think of this often when I stand in line at Trader Joe’s, or idle along in endless traffic, because it is a remarkable shift in perspective. This act of blessing has made me realize that too often we stand there cursing each other. We catch ourselves thinking, “Damn you all for holding up my time, for making me wait, or causing me boredom as I sit trapped here under these hideous fluorescent lights listening to Wham, sing Christmas carols from the ‘80s!” But if you take that opportunity of waiting to shift your focus on actively giving good energy to those around you, you will in turn alter the situation into one that feeds you instead of depletes you.

It is the simple act of being proactive rather than reactive, and then taking it just one step further to actively wish others well. When we can share in the holiday season with just a simple shift in consciousness, we change our whole perspective.

When you give a prayer you are directing your energy, your beliefs, and your consciousness into extending beyond your own needs. It is an act of sharing. Inherent in every act of sharing is infinitely more that we receive. When you don’t know how to help yourself, help others. When we take the focus off ourselves and our immediate needs, we are creating space outside of our own narcissistic bubble and releasing ourselves from the illusion of separation of the ego. We can see each other as all links in the same golden chain. From the weakest to the mightiest, we are all connected.

So as we find ourselves standing in the endless tedium of the inevitable holiday lines, give yourself the gift of sending prayers rather than curses to those around you, ahead of you, and behind you. They may never know that you did, but the act of praying is never wasted energy. You will know you made a better choice for the use of your energy in that moment and you will feel better.

Sat Nam and Happy Holidays!

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