Since the year never doles out extra days, I’ve got to find a way to manage the onslaught of stuff without letting it take away from all that’s good and right with upcoming celebrations. So maybe I can see Christmas lights up & on in October (!) and not groan under the weight of what feels like a long list of to-do’s with little time to do them, but sink into the beauty of the lights and what they celebrate.
It’s time to start hydrating for the holidays – kind of like a race to stay sane. And, if I was planning on running a marathon sometime in the near future, I would train – and hydrate. Because, as any athlete knows, by the time you feel thirsty – it’s too late.
Why not apply the same rules to soul-hydration. Because the holidays with all its rushing and buying and decorating and preparing and … so much more – the soul can get a bit bruised by all the pressures, many of which are fueled by comparison.
Dare we admit – it’s hard to get those holiday cards and letters without a little wondering why life seems to be going smoothly for everyone else. It can be deflating to see posted pics of holiday parties, attire, décor, meals, … (thank you Pinterest, HGTV, Barefoot Contessa – we love you guys, but you’ve made it a teensy bit hard have people over :) without a little mental assessment to see if we’ve hit the mark or fallen short. And let’s not even go to body image issues. Nothing like putting on a dress that hasn’t seen outside the closet in a year. Will it zip or not zip? (eek, scary-question alert!)
Why would we let a zipper or a Christmas card or a posted pic play with self-worth? Those things have nothing on us as a person. But If I’m not ready and fully hydrated, I might be tricked in to thinking they do – and maybe hit the wall the before Christmas even gets here.
For the sake of the season, let’s take a vacation from words like could, would, should, enough, measuring up, and such. Forget about the stresses. Instead let’s look beyond the Turkey and Christmas décor and lean into the words that describe their purpose: Thankfulness, Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men.
Maybe the real holiday comes when we focus less on getting, more on giving, Less on doing, more on being. Less on self, more on others.
Tip # 1 – Declutter
The simple, yet slightly time-consuming, act of decluttering one [just one, even though there’s plenty more] of the spaces in our home has not only made me physically feel better, but has already lightened the stress load that tempts us to think it only has one way to go – UP. (link to post)
Tip # 2 – Seeing the People Behind Unnecessary Rudeness
In the same way we’ve “hydrated” over the last several months post diagnosis with my friends, I decided to use this as an opportunity to practice dealing with unnecessary rudeness – an issue that will absolutely hit us during the holiday season. It comes in the form of honking, traffic, nabbing parking spaces, curt sales people, grumpy customers, lines, lines and more lines. And if we forget to notice one small detail in the equation – we might be tempted to let it get the best of us. And words we don’t mean to say just might come out of our mouths.
The detail: people. (link to post)
Tip # 3 – Spotting Sacred in the Ordinary
Recognizing that there is sacred in the ordinary. Relish regular so we don’t forget to live today’s day. We might miss something wonderful in the rush for tomorrow.
“I love November,” she continued. “The leaves changing colors is beyond beautiful.” They live outside of Atlanta. “I guess I just don’t want to let induced-rush by retailers take away from the beauty of today.” (link to post)
Tip # 4 – Practice Thankfulness
…And I love that Thanksgiving is an actual holiday. AND that it comes before Christmas. It’s such a wonderful reminder to get our eyes off all we want/think-we-need and recognize all the good we already have. Especially when Christmas commercials and retail extravaganzas might tempt us to focus on getting instead of giving. (link to post)
Tip # 6 – Practice Joy
…Maybe some seeing-beyond-the-moment practice TODAY – anchored in hope, eyes resting in joy – can make the singing of those words in a couple of weeks mean a little more than they might have in the past. Surely practicing it today can help me to see above the world’s chaos, to spot pockets of peace – then to see beyond myself. Because, it’s likely that someone will cross my path today who needs to be heard or seen.
I don’t know … just a thought. (link to post)
Tip # 6 – Look up
…Remembering to look up can turn my focus away from the holiday crazies and toward perspective, maybe even help slow things down a bit. And slowing down almost always brings with it a nice, long deep breath – and a little sanity, even in traffic….
Maybe the tiny rainbow was a gentle reminder to keep my eyes focused up where the ground never moves, I don’t know. But I hope I do remember to look up. Looking upward might help the looking outward, too. It peels our eyes away from distractions to be able to see more in the moments – a powerful reminder for my kid-passengers, too. (link to post)
… more to come: