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Peace of Mind amid the Holiday Hubbub

"Maybe Christmas, he thought...doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps...means a little bit more."

 

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Hello  & Welcome!

Zeal

to

Live Life Well

TM

{Note: If you approach Christmas with the delicious carefree anticipation that small children do, no need to read on. But if you occasionally fall prey to ho-ho-holiday stress, by all means, continue.}

O

  nly 25 more shopping days to Christmas. The countdown is on.

The dizzying array of demands have begun—endless party-going, decorating, shopping, wrapping, entertaining, baking, cooking & cleaning, to name a few.

 

Where's Santa’s super-efficient arsenal of elves when you need them?

 

Oh, the holidays! They are the most wonderful time of the year. But they can also be (to borrow from Thomas Paine) the times that try men's souls.

 

Tension during the holidays can sneak up on us. One minute, we’re merrily singing to continuous Christmas carols & the next we’re grimacing at the person who slipped into the last parking spot in the lot though we were clearly next in line.

 

These are the moments where our hearts can grow officially three sizes too small & suddenly the Grinch seems like the most maligned & misunderstood figure in literature.

 

 

Maybe you're not such a mean one, Mr. Grinch. 

 

 

Since I’m not only a recovering perfectionist,  but also a hopeless Christmas romantic (a toxic mix if there ever was one), I’ll speak straight from the heart & get right to the point with the following quote by Daniel LaPorte:

I'm Cindy & so very delighted

to make your online acquaintance.

Simple Pleasures Everyday Love (SPEL) is a unique community of smart, funny, deep-thinking people proactive about increasing the depth & fulfillment we get from life.

 

It's a renewable source of things we all just seem to love: life's little joys, charmed moments, and everyday epiphanies that strike a chord.

 

SPEL's also a happiness-enhancing strategy, a continual reminder to notice & relish ordinary, everyday experiences. (And luscious details matter.)

 

Join over 7,000 SPELers for highly-classified happiness secrets here.  Because you deserve to love your life, truly, madly, deeply.

 

 

"Whatever is on your plate got there because you said yes to it. Most often, busy is a choice. We fill up our lives, it’s what humans do. The question is what are you filling it up with? Are you out-of-control-busy, or are you full-of-life busy? Full is beautiful. Frantic is buzzkill."

 

Go on & click it.

Guaranteed to

trip your joy circuits.

What? Time pressure is self-inflicted? We stress ourselves in ways that are completely avoidable? Humbug! (Admittedly, this is hard to swallow. It took me four decades to embrace this little gem.)

 

In retrospect, 99.9% of the things that I was certain were absolutely urgent & totally MANDATORY for me to do during the holidays didn’t matter two months later. In the end, no matter how pressing something may have felt at the time, nothing was ever worth it when it came at the expense of peace.

 

It all began to change when I realized that I had control over what I did—and didn’t do. I know. Simple, right?  But easy? Not necessarily.

 

So, oh by golly, here are a few things we can practice to help keep it holly & jolly:

Your Mind on a Mission

When Nature Pulls a Fast One

1.  Do less. Be more. Presence over productivity. (To repeat the sounding joy

     is an inside job.)

 

2.  Set realistic expectations. Embrace the beauty of imperfection. Present

     over perfect.

 

3.  Learn the power of "no" & how to be politely assertive when faced with

     seemingly inevitable holiday obligations. Savor the most important

     stuff & say no to the rest.

 

Mahatma Gandhi said it well: “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”

 

 

4.  Freedom from the responsibility for anyone else’s happiness. Wanting to

     create the perfect holiday experience for those around us never fails to

     lead to unmet expectations—our own & others.

 

5.  Ask these questions as often as necessary during the holiday hustle to

     maintain a sense of presence & perspective:

 

 How many merriment must-haves must I really have?

 What do I really desire from the holidays?

 What values do I wish to honor?

6.  Think quality, not quantity. Presence over presents.  When we artfully set

      boundaries with family, friends & colleagues, it places more of the emphasis

      on quality connection rather than on do it all, be it all,  & buy it all.

Love is the criteria: “Whatever it is, if you can’t put love in it, don’t do it."

 

Bhagava Das

7.   Step up your spiritual practice. Take time out to decipher the still, small

      voice—the space between all the noise—where we can remain centered &

      grounded as we tend to our spirits.

 

8.  Make other spirits bright. For some, the holidays can be the loneliest time of the

     year. Make “room in the inn” of your heart for them.

 

9.   Laugh it off! Even if you burn the Christmas goose. Yes, bad things happen

      to good cooks. Merry mishaps make for great stories later.

A note here for those who find yourselves with the opposite challenge this holiday season—little to do, because you're away from family or facing deeply dysfunctional family dynamics. I understand in my own way. On our first holiday after moving to Denver without knowing a soul, my husband & I faced down a blue Christmas by volunteering at the homeless shelter. It ended up being a life-changing experience & one of our most memorable holidays to date.

 

So don't put off a happy Christmas. Embrace the joy of missing out (JOMO) instead of the fear of missing out (FOMO) — a defiant joy that declares unapologetically, "Where I am this holiday season is exactly where I want to be for now." Embrace the whole messy miracle of life for a flawsome Christmas.

 

PEACE & JOY, strong sisters (& brothers), peace & joy. No matter our circumstances, the holidays are a spirit call:

To all is calm & all is bright.

To Love’s pure light.

To tidings of comfort & joy.

To make the Yuletide gay.

To have ourselves a merry little Christmas.

It’s a wonderful life when we do.

 

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To a large extent, we can choose how we want to experience the holidays. We can make a mad dash for more, another gift & another party. Or we can spread authentic holiday cheer by not spreading ourselves or our values thin.

 

Granted, making quality Yuletide choices takes awareness & planning, but the rewards are so worth it.

 

 

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It's Happy in Here (TM) (Series) |  How to Be Happy  22 Tips to Everyday Bliss  by Cindy O'Krepki  Published by Words That Live On, LLC © 2013 All Rights Reserved.