Feet in wool socks near fireplace in winter time

“When we let go of all expectations, there is peace.” Kim Eng

So much of our pre-holiday season stress comes from trying to manage expectations! And much of our holiday let-down comes from unfilled expectations. We put ourselves through so much anxiety, so much pressure – it’s no wonder the holidays are becoming the most ‘unhappiest’ time of the year.
The reasons we continue to put that much pressure on ourselves include historical and cultural norms that have been passed down through the years, the need to brighten the winter solstice with holiday parties and other activities.

Some of it is thrust upon us through commercialism and capitalist economies, while some of it is of our own doing: we can be our own worst enemy expecting so much from the holidays, including the need for everything to be ‘just perfect’.

The good news is this: when we are truly ready, willing and able to let go of all those expectations, and allow the holidays, and life, to just unfold as they will anyway, we can find near-instant freedom from anxiety, pressure and stress. When we are free from those negative aspects of the season, we allow ourselves to experience calm and abiding peace! And when we do that, we move our minds, emotions and bodies into a state of rest and relaxation better-able to cope with the pressures and stresses of the holiday season.

In fact, we can increase our ability to be less stressed when we practice mindful living through activities such as meditation. This creates space for us to better respond to life’s challenges. We relate to that which ‘is’, gently and without judgement, belief or expectation. As a result, we become our own source of peace, stillness and comfort. And so now, no matter what happens, good or bad, we are able to respond in a way that is healthy and appropriate. And, comfort in knowing and experiencing a heart-centre of peace, tranquillity and equanimity is always already present.

As a result, our spirit, our heart-centre, begins to experience pure and utter joy. Unlike happiness, which is dependent on external circumstance, joy springs as a natural state of our Self – a pure, clear and powerful source expressed as gratitude, selfless giving, kindness and compassion for ourselves and for others. This is our true Self – unbounded and free to exist in a state of pure joy for all that ‘is’, regardless of our thoughts, feelings, desires or expectations and regardless of the circumstances, for better or for worse.

For this holiday season, and all through 2016, I’m wishing you a heart filled with comfort and joy!


Paul Kenney,

Daily Zen.

Breathing in, I embrace gentle, non-judgemental awareness.
Breathing out, I let go of all expectations.
Breathing in, I embrace the comfort and joy that is always already present.
Breathing out, I express gratitude, kindness and compassion.

Author Bio – Paul Kenney has contributed to DailyZen before ‘Rewiring Your Brain Through Mindfulness And Meditation‘ and ‘Creating Harmony Within. As a certified mindfulness and meditation instructor through the Maclean Meditation Institute and devoted meditator himself, Paul believes in the integration of mind, body and spirit as necessary for healing and bringing about physical, mental and spiritual health and wellness. Through meditation, he believes anyone can develop the ability to be heart-centred and live in gratitude, joy and peace, despite past or current trauma and life struggles.