Tools for Facing the Holidays
By Rev. Aliah K. MaJon, Ph.D.
Author of “What’s Good About Loss?”

The holiday season can re-stimulate grief and bring up feelings of sadness because these times remind us in ways, both big and small, that we have experienced a loss. The absence of a loved one, and the inability to have a special occasion be ”like it used to be" is the simple explanation as to WHY the sadness happens. The question then is not "why" this happens, but, WHAT exactly can be done to help us survive and begin to feel better?

Every person is different in terms of what is appropriate and/or most useful as they address such trying times. As a Professional who had a personal experience in this area, I know this to be true, probably better than others who have not lived through such a time. To share my story, I lost my only child to suicide in 1994, my son Sean, who at the promising age of only 24, right GO TOafter becoming a father for the first time, was suddenly gone!

As a specialist in the areas of life mastery, grief recovery and spiritual development, my job is to not only facilitate healing, I am committed to supporting people like you to reach for new meaning and fresh possibilities in your life. This article is designed to create a “bridge” until you are able to discover what comes next as your life continues to unfold and take new turns. It may be hard to believe right now, but you can feel good again and life can be rich and exciting. I am a walking testament to such a possibility… You can do this too -- as soon as you are ready!

More than a decade ago I lived through a similar time of great "churning" during the holidays. This stretch between the middle of November and the first two weeks in January contained four birthdays, three major holidays, several special seasonal gatherings and way too much fun for someone who was experiencing sadness! When I think of it now, I am awed that I successfully - and with some semblance of peace - faced this concentration of what had been the "fun times" and I not only survived them, but I went BEYOND SURVIVAL… I can help you do the same:


With all the back-to-back reasons for an emotional unraveling and having the worse time of my life, one things stayed with me… I TRULY WANTED TO BE OKAY AGAIN, AND I KNEW THAT THIS SPECIFIC DESIRE WAS THE FIRST STEP IN MAKING IT POSSIBLE! Here are some powerful steps that you can take to face this festive season and surprisingly get through it:


• Several days (or a week or two) before the impending holiday or special date allow yourself to really be in touch with what feelings -- Assemble photographs of previous years when the loved one you just lost was with you, and allow yourself to REMEMBER all that those times may have meant to you.

• WHAT I LEARNED: Remembering and telling stories about your life with your loved one is an excellent way to celebrate the past and, most importantly, to release so that you can move into the future. Getting in touch with the fact that memories live in you supports a healthy integration of reality and, most importantly, acceptance.

• Picture the impending day in your mind. Plan consciously how you will face it by imagining everything that will come up or what will probably happen, and decide beforehand how you want to handle these experiences and your feelings… In other words, PREPARE consciously and work with yourself… Facing it is the key.

WHAT I LEARNED: Choosing is one of the most powerful things that we do as human beings, although at a time like this we may not be aware that we can work with our selves in a conscious way to take command. This is not about forcing something; it's about looking inside yourself to discover what resources may be there waiting for you to harness and assist you. Mastery is possible, no matter what.


• Don't be afraid to do what is most meaningful to you, no matter what it is! This includes things that may seem outrageous or even insane to others, like wearing something that clues people in on what is going on with you, or allowing yourself to fantasize or pretend about something that others may think is weird. Most especially, bring your tender feelings out in a way that you feel celebrates them and your loving. You may do this in a ritualistic form that supports you to be authentic, honoring and, particularly, vulnerable.

WHAT I LEARNED: "Living your truth" frees you to move beyond what can become frozen or stuck inside of you, specifically, the sorrow and sad emotions that you may begin to be imprisoned by if you don't let them out -- not emoting is much more harmful than emoting in honest healthy ways. Please don't ever hide your feelings from yourself or others.

• Be compassionate with yourself and look at things with curiosity and in a forgiving manner. Grief is an exercise in self-reflection and an excellent time to look deeply into yourself to uncover the things that live within your heart of hearts…A time for taking stock of what makes you tick and for re-acquainting yourself with your deepest values and core beliefs. Grief is about love, and all the feelings that are sacred to us.

WHAT I LEARNED: The assessment that we can make when we are grieving and our guard is down can shine a spotlight into things that we may have never seen before, things about our selves, people we love, our own life's purpose and/or our lives in general. The raw feelings of grief can somehow give us a different kind of insight and knowing about what we are doing, or WANT to do in our lives -- you simply have to use this heightened sight to help your healing as you journey further on your path!

• Don't ever feel guilty about excluding yourself from things that are just too much for you, or for replacing them with things that feel better. It is natural to want to please others and fit in, but this is not the time to put others first. You are the only one who can know what is appropriate for you on all the levels, so you must be prepared to safeguard the precious balance that allows you to be present at all. It is not unusual for you to have a variety of intense moments that come on without warning, nor is it out of the ordinary for them to leave unexpectedly. In my practice, I call this a "dance of sentiments" with constantly changing music and scenes, which can be a powerful ride of emotional waves or highs and lows…this I can say is quite normal.

WHAT I LEARNED: Nothing will be as it has been when we are moving from the past to the so-called “future” in our lives. Change always brings a kind of displacement and the anxiety producing (for some) and challenging unknown. When you feel anxiety, just remember that these elements and feelings are change's nature and is to be expected – and, also, that you WILL find your "center" again!


• Upon awakening the next morning, and before you start your daily activity, review what happened the day before and stop and give thanks for your ability to get through what you thought you might not. After that take a look at what you can hold dear about the day that just passed, and really allow whatever it is to sink in and touch you. You have made progress and, more than that, you have faced the day being different and re-worked it, if only in a small way. That is your task from now on…to get good at re-working your life a little at a time, and in just the ways that you want. Later you may see that after some time passes this process gets exciting!

WHAT I LEARNED: What we experience in life is a lot more subjective than we think… In fact, everything in life is what it is to us because of HOW we perceive it, so it is important to slow down to get in touch with what ACTUALLY happened as opposed to what we thought would happen. Very often life surprises us by delivering things we never expected, those that will help us smile again and receive the many gifts of being alive… As long as we are breathing, we can be visited by renewal and joy.


©Copyright 2007 Rev. Aliah K. MaJon, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rev. Dr. Aliah MaJon is the Founder of the International Association for Spiritual Coaching® (IASC), with a goal of placing “Spiritual Coaching” on par with Life and Business Coaching to -- bring spirituality into the mainstream! A Success Tracs Coach for T. Harv Eker (Secrets of the Millionaire Mind) since 1994 and the creator of SOUL TECHNOLOGY™, she specializes in combining spiritual growth with success methodologies. Aliah has embraced “practical spirituality” for more than 30 years and served people from the inner city all the way to the government. She lives in Los Angeles where she is currently working on her book and companion-coaching package entitled “What’s Good About Loss?” -– how to use “loss” as the inspiration for growth and transformation.