There are times of the year where we reflect on our meaning, our purpose and our growth. The New Year tends to be that time, and as the holidays begin I wonder if people are really thinking about these things.
Yesterday, a driver who, for whatever reason was in a hurry, honked furiously behind me as I was about to turn a right. In a fit of rage he passed me on the wrong side of the road and sped off in his Christmas rush. Time was apparently of the essence.
I am not sure if people are even enjoying time as they should do any longer.
As a mother, teacher, writer and small-business owner, I know that time can be one of my biggest rewards, and with the holidays arriving I am already feeling blessed to have it. A question that I often get asked is how do I make time to do all the things I do. There is no simple answer. But I hate to bullshit anyone, so I will admit that sometimes I too have felt burnout. However, unlike that enraged holiday shopper I have learned to recognize the signs and will pull into quiet to rest my mind, body and soul. There are simple things I do in my busy life to accomplish this rest, and if they help you, then borrow them. I don’t mind.
1. I find a period to do nothing but sit outside for at least ten minutes, or to take a walk. I wake up earlier, which seems busier but in reality gives me quiet mind time. A sort of meditation.
2. I have established regular routines of simply sitting and writing a list of things to do. This practice organizes my mind and doesn’t allow it to become cluttered with excess.
3. I write out how I am feeling.
4. I try to maintain my eating habits, which – let’s face it – isn’t easy at this time of the year, but I recognize signs of unhealthy habits and keep them in check – as much as possible, of course.
5. I give myself love. I take a bath with candles and enjoy simple rest. I go to the spa, and if this isn’t feasible, I create my own spa day – all products to do your own spa day can be purchased. You simply close your door and treat yourself to the aromas of creams and scented candles.
6. I congratulate myself out loud for successes; sometimes people are just not so giving with praise, so praise yourself: if external validation matters to you, saying it out loud helps.
7. Forgive yourself if you fail, even small failures during the day like forgetting your keys at home. Remember to say, “I am sorry, Self, but, hey, I am human too.”
8. Find a space. Never underestimate the value of space in your life and how you fill it. This can be a physical space or a mental space. But the more clutter there is the more scattered your thoughts may be. Take the time to decorate the spaces you work in and live in. Buy a plant for the office or arrange your house with the things that make you smile. In my house there is a space which I simply see every day when I walk in; it has a guitar, books, dried roses and my grandmother’s old sewing machine. When I sit in this space I feel instantly relaxed. Create your own space and go to it when you need reminders of what you love.
9. Foster your spirituality. Stay in touch with your inner life, using whatever metaphor you believe in. Find harmony with your emotions so that the balance of good energy outweighs the negative energies we all face daily. There are times where emotions get the best of all of us and in my life when they get the better of me, the good things stop happening. Channeling them toward my inner life or my belief in my version of God helps me cope daily. God for me is not a religious dogma but a part of my life that is calming and gives me peace. But I respect all faiths as it is our own journey in this world and we have no right to proclaim it for others.
10. Lastly, hope, hope, hope and hope some more. Believe in the possible, and when you cannot look at what you do have in your life, try not to look at what you don’t. When I have failed at seeing those things, then I have lost them. Don’t focus on bigger all the time; sometimes bigger is what you already have.
I don’t know how to help the man in a hurry to shop for his holiday gifts, but I hope this article inspires at least one of you to recognize what is valuable – life.
Photo by Melinda Cochrane. All right reserved.