“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
It is not a coincidence that this line appeared on the same day I got the first glimpse of the Holiday season 2013 at Menards. Seeing red and green, the tinsel and a life size Santa put the annual string of lights around my throat. The flashing “Peace and Joy” burned my brain, my heart raced and I inadvertently turned away in disgust. What is it about the days (now extended to months thanks to retail geniuses) leading up to the holiday season that cause anxiety? If I had the capacity to skip ahead to the actual events, sans the stress related sicknesses or inevitable sciatic pain, everything would be better. It is typically an uphill road getting there though. So I found myself asking, what does it take to see that flashing sign of peace and joy and actually feel it? The ability to do more? Or possibly the desire to allow myself to do less.
Getting Beyond The Bah Humbug
I am going to give myself a few early Christmas gifts this year. Starting with the gift of Kindness; extending mercy to myself. Committing only to what is possible is wrapped in this box along with eliminating, postponing, and asking for help. This gift will be secured with a graceful ribbon reading “there is time”.
The other gift is wrapped in mindfulness; giving myself fully to each moment. Multi-tasking – you are on notice! I will slow down with the cold and dark of the season and let daylight savings time put me to bed earlier; hop off the conveyor belt of overstuffed turkeys, cookies by the dozens, bigger, brighter decorations, overactive credit cards and the idea that more = better. At the expense of being labeled the Grinch, I will take my daily ‘S vitamins’ – silence, stillness and solitude.
In yoga, the word ‘sukha’ is the concept that in life we have to allow ourselves to feel ease, bliss, pleasure and happiness. The literal Sanskrit translation for Sukha is ‘sweetness’. In the same way I can mindfully taste the sweetness of a Christmas cookie (or maybe cookies :), I will stop to feel to my breath. But first, I will listen to the roasting pumpkin seeds pop and smell the apple crisp without a thought of Christmas carols.
Shoppers start your engines! But remember to let them idol from time to time. Better yet, refuel however and whenever you can. Striving to become better this holiday season is giving ourselves permission to do only what we can and do it fully. Then everything around us will become better, too.