Do you hear that? Every year about this time, an inner bell goes off, at least for me, signaling the start of the holiday season. I try initially to resist by averting my eyes when the Santa figures, menorahs, and wreaths pop up in stores in early October. I put aside my issue of Cooking Light magazine which exhorts me to begin planning Christmas menus before I’ve even carved my Halloween pumpkin. But once the calendar turns to November, I know that it is time to start seriously thinking of the holidays.
This year, I’m noticing the pull between work and leisure, clients and family, homework and housework. Last month I confess to being somewhat alarmed by the coaching and school commitments I have made; how would I fit everything in? Something deep within me called for me to relax, slow down, and tend to my Self first. In order for my day to be at all meaningful and productive, I instinctively knew I had to be centered and quiet. One way I do this is to watch the sunrise every day. This simple practice allows me to be still, and listen to what my heart has to say before my mind takes the wheel.
My heart led me to book a flight home for the Thanksgiving holiday. This will be my first Thanksgiving in Texas in two decades. Perhaps counter intuitively, I seem to have more time and energy to focus on work when I set aside time to invest in myself, my family, and friends. I ask myself how my days can reflect what I truly value: being available emotionally for those in my family who need me, spending time with friends I cherish, doing my best work. Instead of making my time feel more limited, honoring my values has miraculously given me a sense of ease about time. I’m feeling less stressed, more peaceful, and much happier.
So, as this holiday season begins, how can you orient around your values? What truly matters to you that needs to come first in your life? How and with whom do you want to invest your time in the coming months, so that you are refreshed and energized? I hope that as you balance your work and your leisure time, you approach both with a sense of peace and purpose. If I can support you in this realm, please ask.
Sharon Keys Seal