Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December: Don't Panic - Make A Wish List

As December arrives in full swing I begin to feel the frantic pace within and all around me. I have been pondering my thoughts and feelings about the month of December and how I might be able to transfigure my own well-worn script about December and slow down the few remaining weeks of the month for a more enjoyable conclusion to the year.

December marks many traditional holidays and rituals - and none more than the urge to spend beyond ones means and 'meaning'.  Imagine that everyone was given the entire month of December off work with pay, and the only task we had was to experience a month of giving to ourselves - nourishment both mentally and emotionally, and then gifting to others kindness and some act of giving.  Well of course, that is a utopian idea, but what if we did attempt to honor the month of December?

What if we all opened our homes to our neighbors, regardless of whether we said hello to them all year?  What if we were able to realize that December represents a time to be reflective and celebrate an entire year that is coming to a completion in our lives? Rather than falling into the same set of feelings we pull out of the closet year after year, only to play the same record: When will the holidays be over?

I have noticed that I have been waging an 'inner protest' with my own set of emotions about wanting a different result for this time of year. I am sitting down and writing down all the names of friends, acquaintances, circumstances, and accomplishments I have experienced this year.  Rather than filling up my month with the 'To Do List', I am making a 'Wish List' and giving  myself the biggest gift this month - to appreciate myself for all that I have lived through and was lucky enough to do this year, rather than pressing myself to do more.  More importantly is having great health and the ability to do the work I do.  I have so many moments in a day to say 'thank you.'

I hear so many people say they wish the year would be over rather than taking some quiet time or some moments of joy to listen to music, read, walk in your own local community, and enjoy the glow of the holiday season. The ultimate joy is to reach out and share the company of a companion or friend.  

I wish that your December like mine will slow down so that the essence of this beautiful time of year will be embraced by saying, Thank You to all the family and friends around me that have watched and supported me near and far through this year.

So many of us that are driven to extremes tend to miss that December could mark an opportunity to silently cultivate a sense of peace - and that  'all is really well.'  It is also a time of year to mark a loss and give yourself that moment of sadness and surprise that the absence of someone in your life can be the portal to let someone else in.

I am often reminded of the statement of the late author John O'Donohue, a friend of mine who unexpectedly died several years ago.  In a workshop that I assisted in organizing he said,  “Imagine you are sitting in front of a great turf fire and you invited all of your 'selves' to join you in conversation around the fire.  What would they all say? What if you had the opportunity to have a conversation with all of them?'' I imagine all of my selves giving me praise and gratitude throughout December...saying ‘you have done enough.'  

I truly believe unless we can get it right with ourselves in December we will continue to wish the month away - only by big expectations for January and miss the magic of something so extraordinary that could happen for us during December.

My December Wish List For Me and You
(And I am Checking It Twice)
  1. Find something simple to reward and nourish yourself this month. Chocolate will do!
  2. Reach out to someone you have not seen or spoken to in awhile and let them know you were thinking about them.
  3. Throw away the "To Do List"  and replace with the “This is Want I Want to Do” this month.
  4. Put on your favorite music (or discover a favorite piece of music) and  dance in your own living room.
  5. Think about all the intangible gifts you have received  this year and write those long overdue thank you notes to friends and family.
  6. Give yourself a hugh gift of Grace and Thanks for being such a faithful companion under all circumstances this year.
  7. Hug the ones you love and continue to keep the faith in yourself.  

May your holidays be filled with the good company of laughter and restful nights. Traveling Matters wishes to express my gratitude to all my faithful travelers.  See you soon on another journey.