Living with Vitality column: Take time to cultivate joy this holiday season | VailDaily.com

Living with Vitality column: Take time to cultivate joy this holiday season

Karen Anderson.

VAIL — As the winter solstice nears, we may find ourselves facing challenging times. The days are shorter and colder. We find ourselves spending more time inside and less time connecting with nature and other people. The upcoming holidays can be delightful, but they can also be stressful in terms of work schedules and family dynamics. Plus, many of us are reeling from the election results and anxious about what the future holds for our country.

What nourishes us

To me, this is the perfect time to cultivate joy. When we are joyful, we can access our wellspring of energy and resilience. When we're devastated, we don't have the inner resource to be helpful. I'm not saying that we shouldn't feel sadness; processing and integrating our full range of feelings is necessary. But we don't need to wallow in feelings of helplessness or anxiety. Instead, we can practice turning toward what nourishes us, to embrace our ability to act in the world.

How can we find joy in such times? Many of us find solace in yoga and meditation. Whether we practice alone or in community, these practices are designed to take our attention away from the negative and discover inner well-being. Many of us turn to nature, community, pets, physical activity, dancing, music or art.

The idea isn’t to just let anxiety drop away and stay insular in our newfound peace. That is neither sustainable, nor ethical, nor satisfying.

Lasting gratitude

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The idea isn't to just let anxiety drop away and stay insular in our newfound peace. That is neither sustainable, nor ethical, nor satisfying. The idea is to pull ourselves out of despair and into empowerment. We need to be able to get in touch with our feelings and the feelings of those around us, without being engulfed or overwhelmed. Cultivating joy is a way to be present with what's happening and to buoy up and support those around us.

One way to find joy in any given moment is to connect to gratitude and appreciation. We can appreciate the people in our lives and our beautiful surroundings. Those who endeavor to create positive change in the world can inspire us, and then we can offer our own joyful and creative action.

If you would like to cultivate more joy in your life, consider joining me for a meditation workshop on the evening of the solstice. This special meditation workshop will explore "Being Joy." We will discuss both the causes and obstacles to joy and engage in a meditation practice to cultivate joy and share it with those around us.

Karen Anderson is the yoga director at the Vail Vitality Center. She has successfully completed 10 month-long silent meditation retreats in Asia and the United States. Noah Levine certified her to teach basic meditation in the lineage of Jack Kornfield. For more information about the Vail Vitality Center, visit http://www.vailvitalitycenter.com.

If you go …

What: Being Joy: A Meditation Workshop with Karen Anderson.

When: 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Where: Vail Vitality Center, 352 E. Meadow Drive, No. 3, Vail.

Cost: $10 for members or $20 for nonmembers.

More information: Call 970-476-7960 to register.

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