A splendid California day in Malibu, with it’s bright December sunshine was a wonderful winter treat. Beautiful sunny day, blue skies and shimmering ocean—ahhh.
After going to church my girlfriend and I chose to spend this day at the beach, doing nothing “important”. It was time to catch up after not seeing each other for months. We both have been extremely busy lately, as it usually happens around the holidays.
It was time to cancel shopping and running errands. It was time to talk “soul to soul” instead. It was time to slow down and spend time connecting, not consuming.
With children all grown-up, and us making our own schedules we can easily go for a stroll on a beach and drink hot tea on a porch overlooking the ocean— uninterrupted. It felt so good to give ourselves permission to just be, not running errands and daily adding to stress. We talked about what we both have been up to, our families, friends. We talked about stress that usually is a “normal” condition for most of us during this time of the year. We became conditioned to be superwomen, run multiple errands, attend and host endless parties and buy “perfect” gifts. It is all good if it brings us joy, but we have a tendency to overlook importance of slowing down and “recharging”, with a book, a good movie, or by spending time with a friend without going shopping together and multitasking. Many of my girlfriends slow down in December only if they get sick…
At times we have to be reminded to slow down, spend some quiet time in prayer and meditation, nurture our bodies and our most important relationships: with our Creator and loved ones.
Some women spend days and weeks planning and trying to throw “perfect” parties, especially during this season of festivities. I think it is a true gift—to be able to pull together a great gathering and enjoy all aspects of the proses. I am not writing about those, who breeze through holiday preparations with ease and grace. Not that many women do. Majority are trying to prepare for the holidays while juggling careers, kids and running regular household tasks.
Often the idea is great—it will be so nice to get together with friends and family. But somehow, regardless of initial good intentions of having a great time with friends, many ladies exhaust themselves in preparation, while making sure guests have a wonderful time. Occasionally they even force their family members out of their comfort zones in order to impress others, sacrificing peace and joy at home to please guests. Hospitality is important, spreading good cheer and happiness are important, but we need to ask ourselves: what are the true reasons for all our actions, especially in holiday preparations? Do we try to buy gifts, attend events and host people at our homes to enjoy each other’s company and please God, or do we try to fill up our need to be loved by pleasing people we barely know? Do we ever switch from doing things to bring joy to those around us, to doing to much and becoming overwhelmed?
What are our true priorities and motives? Is it God, our families and “other people”- in that order? We can enjoy the holidays to the fullest when we focus on joy, not our todo lists. Planing and writing down what needs to be done helps to give us a sense of control. Writing down on our lists why we are doing all those things and how we want to feel in a process is a good reminder of why we are scheduling all these activities. In my line of work as a life coach I help women to handle stress and challenging situations. I encourage clients to write down motives for their action, which helps to reflect on true reasons we do things.
When we are willing to carefully examine our motives for various actions we take, we can learn to break old patterns of wrong priorities and toxic overthinking in our lives. With enough practice it will become easy to focus on what means the most for us. For majority it is happy loving family and healthy caring relationships. We can start each day by praying and quietly asking: Dear God, how may I please you today in my actions and my words, how can I fulfill my purpose?
I wish you to have truly amazing holidays filled with love, while surrounded by true friends God put in your life.