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Seek refuge...

Jamieson Van Loan

The holidays are filled with joy, laughter, sharing, kindness, compassion and love...mostly. They are also filled with sadness, regrets, depression, stress, anxiety and the more darker emotions. For me, they are a mixed bag.

Like right now, I need a break, a pause. I want to be sitting on a deserted warm beach drinking a mai tai and worried about what time is sunset. Living up the pura vida. But I’m not. And that is ok...with a caveat. If I’m not seeking refuge in travel, I must seek it elsewhere. I must be aware of what I need to recharge, reset and move forward.

I realized how important this is after speaking to a friend who is more of an internalizer and tends to deal with issues in his own head. To some, this may completely work and be fine. I am going to go out on a limb and say that this isn’t the healthiest way to deal with the rollercoaster ride of life. And I told him that.

Humans desire connection and that is made through vulnerability and openness. A major part of being vulnerable is allowing people into the places of your life that aren’t the prettiest. Having humans in your life that can be your sounding board and help you through tough times is of utter importance.
Finding that tribe, the people you connect with on a deep soulful level, is where you can find your refuge from difficult times. I am so so fortunate to be blessed with such an amazing tribe. And they are all over the world. They do not need to be right here, right now (hello facetime). Do not be afraid to reach out during the tough times. I repeat, do not be afraid to reach out during tough times. If not to your tribe, to me. Stranger, friend or client, I am here for you. Always. You are never alone.
Refuges do not have to be just people. They can be a space. I tend to go to my meditation altar or the beach. Certain spaces can be healing and help realign the chaos inside. We need a space to stretch our sanity. Seek those places whenever you need to.
Personal refuge can also be found in the most menial tasks. I love pausing during the day to make myself my favorite tea (umm have you tried Trader Joes’ Winter Wake up- yum!). Or pausing for a two minute meditation- no matter where I am. Deep breathing for ten breaths. All easy to do and all help me move through my day. What little tasks make you feel better?
Although refuge seeking is a major part of self-care, there are also physical ways to self-care during the holidays that help alleviate stress. Figure out what these are for you and add them to your day. For me it is yoga. I do not let anything mess with my yoga schedule this time of year. As a bonus, I love going to the infrared spa, Inner Light in Darien. I always feel so much better after a session there.
Do not be afraid to drop plans during this schedule-packed time of year to find space to heal. As a people pleaser, I find this the most difficult to do. To say no when I need to. Say no to what does not fill your soul. I have to ask myself this all the time, “is this going to make me happy or stressed out?” And there are some stressful things that have to be worked through but if the ultimate answer is not bringing you joy, say no and move on.

So seek refuge. Find your person. Your tribe. Your place to heal. Your work out. Your daily task. Your sanctuary. Find it and own it and appreciate it. Be grateful for the people you can vent to, do not take advantage of their kind ear. Listen to them without wanting to respond. Reciprocate their kindness. We will all survive this holiday season, especially if we do it as a compassionate community. That is the importance of the holiday season- the coming together, reconnecting, fueling each other’s spirit and sharing love.
Be love, share love.
Jamieson xo