What You ACTUALLY ‘Need’ This Holiday Season


We are taking a little pause in our current blog series this week because I feel like it’s incredibly important that we take a moment to really witness and validate how intense this time of year can be for a lot of us.

The reality is, we live in a culture that is pretty much ALWAYS driving us to feel that we are inadequate, incomplete, that we don’t have enough, that we aren’t enough, that we aren’t doing enough - and we have talked about this manufactured sense of discontent a lot around here - how our culture is set up in a way where certain people legitimately DON’T have enough and how those people are perpetually blamed for their own circumstances even when, to a large degree those circumstances are caused by systemic inequity, and how those who DO have enough are constantly made to FEEL like they don’t via the constant messaging that no matter who we are and what we accomplish we are still not measuring up on some level.

With that, again I feel it’s really important to acknowledge that at this time of year in particular, all of this messaging, all of this inequity, all of this pressure we all feel to have, do and be more, is turned up in intensity about a million fold.

A lot of us have been doing our 'inner work' to a degree that has allowed us to be conscious and aware of the more ‘secular’ versions of this messaging, and we’ve become aware of how it may ‘trigger’ us into those feelings of inadequacy. For many of us, we’ve started to develop the requisite capacity to pull back, to reject culture and to find our own sense of worthiness even if we aren’t participating in all the latest trends and values of culture - which is HUGE.

But what can be much more challenging to resist, what can still be something that draws us into this feeling of ‘never enough’, that hooks us into a state of navel-gazing and self denial that we may even think in the moment is actually self love or self care, is the pull of the self help, wellness and personal growth worlds.

Now more than any other time of the year, the message that you need to be figuring out how you’re going to end the year ‘right’, and how you’re going to set yourself up to be your ‘best self’ next year is going to be louder than ever.

Every life coach, spiritual guide, personal growth teacher and person with a course to sell is going to be telling you that there is SO MUCH MORE to you, that they know you have goals, dreams and aspirations for the person you ‘really want to be.’ That they know you have this massive potential you’re not reaching and that they are here - ready and able - to support you in becoming that TRUE version of yourself - and all you have to do is join their $777 mastermind, get in their downline, sign up for their meditation course or otherwise participate in their ‘secret method for success’ in order to FINALLY step into the life you’ve always dreamed of having.

At this time of year, the wellness and spirituality industries are all working to capitalize on the marketing of the more ‘secular world’ that KNOWS that a lot of us FEEL a sense of underlying dissatisfaction with life, that knows that we feel an underlying sense of unworthiness, that we are lovable, that we aren’t living the lives we really WANT to be living - and rather than providing TRUE alternatives for how we can mindfully explore these feelings from a vantage point of TRUTH, they swoop in with their OWN version of ‘the answer’ which seeks to look and feel different from the ‘mainstream’ but in actuality is just the flip side of the same shame based coin.

They may not be selling you that if you just had a bigger house, more brand name clothes, more of a social life or more sex, drugs and rock and roll that you’d be happy (though some are! Making all of this part of the 'abundance' you're supposed to 'manifest' when you're living in 'alignment') - most of us can see that these things aren’t really going to bring satisfaction and most of us aren’t really attracted to those things - but rather they tell us that what we NEED is more ‘purpose’, more ‘alignment’, more ‘abundance’ and more ‘tapping into our potential’ in order to feel how we want to feel, and in order to get rid of those pesky feelings of looming inadequacy that haunt us as we lie in bed at night.

The wellness and spirituality industries are pulling out all the stops this time of year, just like all other industries, in order to sell as much as possible on the backs of our feelings of insecurity - and THIS is why I wanted to write this article today.

What You REALLY Need This Time Of Year

The reality is, we don’t feel inadequate, unloveable, like we aren’t living up to our potential or like we aren’t good enough because we aren’t living our purpose enough.

We don’t feel that deep, dense feeling of not being worthy of love because we aren’t ‘in alignment’ enough.

For the most part, we aren’t missing a ‘Master Class’ on how to be a ‘master manifestor’ and we aren’t lacking motivation because we are just giving into our ‘lower selves.’

In real reality, in our culture, the reason MOST of us feel this sense of hollow not enoughness, is because we’ve been separated from our humanity.

We’ve been driven to a state of manufactured discontent because we’ve been convinced that the way to happiness is through constant pushing, forcing and trying to ‘fix’ ourselves.

We’ve been trained to see our negative emotions as something that are ‘wrong’ with us, and we’ve been trained to believe that we have to fix them/ourselves in order to have a happy life.

We’ve been trained to see our self sabotage, scapegoating behaviors and the ways we cope and numb as ‘the problem’ that we must be constantly trying to fix/heal so that we can finally live as our ‘true selves.’

We’ve been trained to be in a constant state of competition with everyone around us - to see other humans as either stepping stones that will help us achieve what we want to achieve and get what we want to get or impediments to that end - and we’ve been trained to treat one another in alignment with those assessments.

We’ve been trained to see our bodies as constant problems to be managed. As parts of ourselves that are NEVER living up to a standard that we must ALWAYS be monitoring, manipulating and trying to mold into acceptable shapes.

We’ve been trained to see our personalities and natural ways of being as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ - feeling like we have to be perpetually ‘growing’ and expressing our ‘good’ parts while rejecting, denying and again, trying to ‘fix’ all the bad parts.

We’ve been trained to see all spirituality and self help not as tools to support us in navigating real life, finding who we really are and expressing that, problem solving or learning how to be humans who are having a human experience through a higher vantage point - but as weapons we must wield against ourselves - as new measuring sticks to make us feel that we’re either doing life ‘right’ or doing life ‘wrong’.

We’ve been trained to dissociate from our humanity, trained to reject and deny that which makes us who and what we are, and we’ve been conditioned to believe that if we just do this long and hard enough, eventually we will end up in a place of total life satisfaction where we have perfected ourselves to such a degree that no bad things ever happen to us again and where we constantly feel a sense of lightness, rightness and purpose.

The values of the spirituality and wellness worlds are the exact same values as the secular world - perfect yourself via measuring up to these external set of rules and in so doing you will finally be free of all of your pain and will have all the love you’ve ever wanted.

This is the drumbeat of our society - take personal responsibility, ignore your body and your feelings, push, force, get rid of, have shame and guilt about who you are and work to fix yourself - and once you do, you will finally earn that right to feel like who you are is enough.

The problem?

In this system, we will never be able to perfect ourselves enough to actually feel like we’ve ‘made it.’ And this is by design.

The Spiritual Caricature That Takes Us Off The Real Path

This time of year more than any, we are being told again, that the reason we feel lack, unworthiness, dissatisfaction and pain is because we aren’t living as our highest selves.

We aren’t doing the right practices.

We aren’t measuring up to the ideal image of the spiritual or actualized person who has the dream career, the perfect body, the conscious relationship, the picture perfect meditation practice, the abundance that proves that we are ‘in alignment’ or because we haven’t done enough self sacrifice or discipline to EARN those feelings of enoughness.

Again, if we can, I feel like it’s really important that we all take a step back and recognize this for what it really is.

This is the same message of mainstream culture, having been run through spiritual language.

It’s the same old same old message that who and what we are is fundamentally flawed, that we feel shitty because we are lacking something inherent, that the solution is to fix ourselves and that the sense that we all have that we legitimately aren’t good enough is TRUE - but that there’s a ‘spiritual’ solution to this vs, a secular solution. 

It’s all still rooted in the ‘you are lacking something, you must consume or participate in something in order to fill that void, you aren’t enough but I can teach you to fix that so that you will be.’

Do you see?

This messaging is so common, it’s so pervasive and so much built into the very fabric of our culture that even when we think we are doing something RADICALLY different - when we peel back the layers and get critical about what we’re looking at - we find the same core we thought we were taking ourselves away from.

This is what we have been indoctrinated to believe so deeply, that to actually see it, to actually question it, and to actually move in a new direction takes a LOT of practice, awareness and ultimately, a lot of willingness to wade into the scary, murky often confusing waters of the unknown in order to find an actual path of truth.

One that is truly, radically different - one that is founded on the idea that we are already enough, so that we can start to work from a place of self SUPPORT vs. a place of self FIXING.

Enter, the self love path.

So What Do We Do This Time Of Year To Avoid Being Sucked Into Manufactured Discontent?

The reason I wanted to write this blog today was to remind you that there IS another way.

There is another path.

To get on this other path, you don’t need to buy anything.

You don’t need to consume anything.

You don’t need to produce anything, manufacture anything, become anything, fix anything, change anything or otherwise improve yourself. 

To get on this path, the path that is going to lead you BACK to your  humanity and back to what may actually bring you true fulfillment and a sense of worthiness, all you need to start is the willingness to pause, and the willingness to feel.

Now, I know this sounds too simple, and I want to remind you that this self love path IS complex and that it does contain lots of nuance and other tools that will help guide you, support you and bring you into deeper and deeper levels of self understanding, system understanding and capacity to build a life that feels good for you over time.

But at the end of the day, if you start with these two fundamental tools, or if you choose to return to these two fundamental tools, especially at this time of year, you’re going to have a MUCH easier time navigating the waters of what’s being sold to you day in and day out, and you’re going to have a much easier time recognizing that which is ACTUALLY supportive of your path and your growth, and that which is simply MORE of the same ‘not enough’ messaging that will only lead you towards MORE dissatisfaction.

What I want to encourage you to practice over the next few weeks as you wade your way through the closing of this year and the opening of the next, are the two following exercises.

Exercise 1. Allowing Yourself To Pause: As many times as you can throughout your day, I invite you to take a step back from the constant pushing, forcing, doing, striving, engaging, checking out, dissociating and so on to simply PAUSE and NOTICE. 

By giving yourself moments during your day to simply STOP - you are taking a HUGE step towards reclaiming your humanity and your power.

Again, a huge part of the way our culture causes us to be in a constant state of fear, lack and discontent is by having us live in a perpetual state of RUSHING. Moving to the next thing. Never taking time to actually PROCESS anything we’re experiencing.

We are encouraged to AVOID stopping at all costs. We are taught that to stop is to fail, to risk missing something, to fall behind. 

In this never pausing, we lose our ability to really assess the messages we’re being sent. We lose the capacity to actually take stock of the results we’re getting as we participate in culture and all the things it tells us to do and be. We lose the ability to notice effects. We lose the ability to appreciate the journey.

When we never learn how to pause, we again never learn how to process what we’re experiencing. Meaning we never get to healthfully move through the things that make us sad, angry, upset, joyful, hopeful and confident. We wonder why we are a culture that has SO much fear and resistance to so many aspects of the human experience (death, illness, intimacy and true connection just to name a few) - while never really taking a step back to realize that it’s because we have no tools for actually INTEGRATING any of these experiences.

We learn to fear our emotions and anything that will stop our productivity because again, we never learn to be WITH our emotions. To feel them. To allow them to move through. To allow them to teach us what they are here to teach us. We never get to reap the benefits of being beings that are more than just logic because we are too busy pushing ahead.

By being in that constant state of rush, we have little to no capacity to connect with reality. 

We lose the space to truly think critically about the messages we’re being handed all day every day. We lose the ability to connect with ourselves and others. We lose the ability to challenge the narratives and status quo that are ‘normal.’

We lose our power to stop and say ‘ok just because this spiritual or seemingly successful person is saying something, does that make it true? Right? Helpful? Is it actually benefiting me or is about trying to fix me?’

Learning to pause, taking several moments throughout the day to just stop and BE with what is, is how we start to turn this ship around.

Would you be willing to include several moments of stillness into your day throughout this season? This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can literally look like setting a little timer on your phone for every 3-4 hours - and when it goes off, simply pausing where you are (or waiting until the end of a conversation or a natural break in between tasks) to simply BE in the moment. To breathe. To check in. To notice your thoughts. Notice your body. Notice your surroundings. Notice the messages you’re taking in.

To just pause the motion, come back to your experience and LOG what that experience IS.

Can you have compassion for yourself in these pauses? Can you simply pause, notice, and then send yourself some gratitude for existing, for trying and for taking the time to pause?

Even if all you are able to do is pause first thing in the morning, and before you go to bed at night - this is enough. This is a start and it counts.

Any amount of time where you allow yourself to simply BE in your moment, notice it, and allow yourself to tune into your EXPERIENCE is a step in the right direction.

This is tool number one, and although it may sound overly simple, I promise it will have profound effects the more you allow yourself to practice it.

Tool Number Two: Allowing Yourself To FEEL: From here, during that pause you are going to be taking a few times a day, would you be willing to simply drop into your body and notice what you are FEELING when you do so?

Again as simplistic as this may sound, the fact that many of us walk around like we are disembodied heads all day is a part of how we end up feeling so separated from ourselves, our intuition, our true feelings, to others and to a sense of purpose and ease. 

Our culture is one that is ALL about being ‘up in our heads’. It’s all about thinking, reasoning, following what others are doing, assessing with our MINDS. 

This isn’t always a bad thing, and our intellects are something we should of course be appreciative of and celebrate. We are not, in this step, trying to get RID of our minds or intellect, or otherwise trying to ‘stop thinking.’

Rather, we want to remember that another MASSIVE part of our ability to ‘figure out’ what’s right and true, to learn, to assess what’s actually helpful and what isn’t, to process what we’re experiencing and to fully integrate those experiences so they don’t get ‘stuck’ in us as half-digested moments, is tied up in our ability to actually FEEL our feelings.

A huge part of connecting to our internal guidance is wrapped up in our ability to tune into what the BODY has to say about what we are doing, pursuing and engaging in.

A huge part of learning to discern what messages contain seeds of truth and what messages are fully out of sync with reality is our ability to notice how the body responds when we take in the messages coming at us.

A massive part of finding a life that FEELS good for us is to become aware of HOW we are feeling.

A massive part of PROCESSING is learning to FEEL what we feel, and learning to embrace those feelings so that they can either move through us and then move out, or so that those feelings can INFORM us.

Giving ourselves permission to take time and simply NOTICE and BE with what we are feeling is going to give us SO much empowerment.

Learning to get to know how your body speaks to you, learning to understand how your emotions speak to you, learning to open up to the information that your feelings have for you and learning to become used to ALLOWING your feelings to move through you and to guide you instead of seeing them as impediments to your path is something that, in the long run, can turn into something that makes you look like you have super-powers of wisdom, guidance and awareness.

When the reality is, you’re just actively USING one of the many senses that everyone HAS, but that most don’t know how to actually utilize. 

Feeling your feelings and allowing yourself to get CURIOUS about those without having to KNOW or UNDERSTAND right away?

What if you just made ROOM to FEEL what you feel when you’re doing your work? Interacting with certain people? Listening to spiritual or self help advice? What if you allowed yourself to just FEEL what you feel when you think your thoughts? When you’re doing your normal day?

What do you FEEL? 

Can you be OPEN to the feeling? 

That’s it.

Again, I know these two practices may seem at first glance to be overly simplistic, and like they couldn’t possibly be all that powerful.

But when practiced with consistency, when given time to work, these two practices can and will be the catalyst for you to come into a much closer and deeper connection with true reality, yourself and what is ACTUALLY going to help you feel fulfilled in this lifetime.

As you reconnect to these essential parts of your humanity, you are going to be disconnecting from a lot of the unhealthy narratives and patterns of our culture that keep us stuck in that ‘always striving, never arriving’ place.

This time of year more than any other, if we can use these tools, we may just save ourselves from starting ANOTHER year on the self improvement train that goes nowhere. 

With these two foundational practices, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to step into another way of life - one that can and will lead to a whole new way of life if we give them long enough.

These practices will become the foundation for a new way of living - which will lead to more tools, steps and guidance as you go.

So what if, during this time, you didn’t add more fixing, changing or improving to your list of things to do, but rather allowed yourself to simply pause and feel?

What if you gave yourself permission to reconnect to your humanity, and allowed yourself to see where that led you?

With that, I want to wish you a happy end of the year, and a truly self loving start to the new one.

You are enough, just as you are.



Author perceptiontrainers

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Mary Anne says:

    ……lovely post….I am definitely doing this and loving doing it…..so consciously aware of the need for this….fits right into the solstice and slow gain of longer days of light…..like time is standing still now…..we had a beautiful and bright Christmas Day….was lovely…..since Christmas it has been rainy and cloudy but not, too, cold. The days leading up to Christmas were spend in humble preparedness and now this rest is wonderful…..looking forward to January when I will begin again slowly….answering the rightful demands of life as they appear….for now…..loving the peace, quiet and rest….Happy New Year Aliyah…..always wishing you the best❣️

  • perceptiontrainers says:

    Love this reflection Mary Anne, and that you are so willing to honor the seasons as they are – both at large and in your personal life. Take the rest. Take the time. You are so worthy. <3 <3 <3