Tell A Heroic Tale!

Winter solstice, the longest, darkest night of the year brings back childhood memories. Growing up, we celebrated the mark of each season. Winter is brutal in Tehran. Those days we had limited ways to warm our rooms. Hot coal was one of the ways. We’d sit under a large blanket that covered a square table. Underneath was a metal pan filled with hot coal. Persians call this korsi. A way for the family to take refuge from the merciless freezing winter as the city got covered with snow. Running home from school, after struggling to take off my yellow plastic boots, I’d crawl under the korsi to warm up my frozen hands and feet. After supper, my father would tell heroic tales of knights and kings. My favourite tale was how princess Manijeh saved Bijan, a warrior knight, who had fallen into a lion’s pit. So compassionate, she threw her long thick wavy black hair into the pit to help the knight climb up. Of course, the how-to of this was left to our imagination! That story always got my eyes widened and my heart strengthened.

Winter is naturally a down time for most. It also is a precious time to warm up to family, celebrate holidays and show generosity. For some of you, holidays are painful. Growing up may not have encompassed heroic tales of courage and kindness. Some of you have to pretend to having fun or avoid seeing family all together.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can consider that no matter how unskillful a parent, a sibling or a friend has been that they too are fragile humans.

Just like you can feel abandoned, so can they. As you can anger, sadden, judge, fear impermanence, they too can suffer from these difficult conditions.

And Like you, they are trying to find happiness, need to be loved and cared for, to feel they matter, to feel confident and proud, no matter what the surface may look like. These are basic human needs.

So, how do you navigate the terrain of human heart and mind in difficult situations? How do you care for your mind when it’s caught up in negativity?

Here are some suggestions: Use them even if you have are wonderfully happy.

Be mindfully attentive to your inner dialogue.

Do not push your experience away, rather give it some room and space. Breathe.

Experience both negative feelings or fantasies within you.

Notice how they could determine your mood and reactions.

Loosen your grip around discomfort so it can pass.

Feel the natural flow of your breath.

Imagine, how it would be if negative thoughts or feelings were not a problem, rather just a passing experience like the melting snow dripping from a pine tree.

Tap into your heart so you may understand.

Take a different path from the past and respond to what is here in this moment with warmth.

Tell a heroic tale to a child or an elderly. Smile.

Enjoy your holiday. It’s here now.