The Gift of Less

As we inch closer to towards the end of the year there is always this temptation to cram in as many events as we possibly can. I love the holidays and I love celebration. The opportunity to gather, connect, and rekindle friendships is so enchanting. However, it can be overwhelming to add more to our plates than we have to give. Not only are we inviting friends to join us but we are being invited elsewhere. Our schedules fill up quickly.

This year, as I stare at the twinkling lights on our tree – up before Thanksgiving because we are hosting our first holiday party on Saturday, I am reminded that there is never enough time for all of the things we want to do. There will always be one more party, call, or event.

The best advice I can offer when the list keeps growing is to give the gift of less. Pause. Consider, what’s one thing I can take off this list right now? What is one less thing that I can do to give myself space. What can I do less of in the year ahead?

This practice sounds simple. But it can be a real challenge when we’re involved in social life, our communities, and relationships. One way to dig deep is to consider what brings us joy? What truly delights you and enhances your life? When you consider the friends and events, it’s easy to get wrapped up in “tradition,” or what is comfortable.

In the new year I challenge you, and myself, to look at daily life. How do you spend a regular day? Does it feel nourishing and fulfilling? What tasks, people, or experiences fill you up and which feel draining. If a person, place, or activity is taking from your energy rather than filling you up – let it go!

It’s important to remember that no matter what we give to the world, our partners, or families and friends we need to keep a bit of ourselves for ourselves. Never give away that which you need. In fact, you are of no use to anyone, least of all yourself, if you are perpetually running on empty. Save some of you for you.

As you give back time an energy to yourself that it becomes easier to whittle away the things that have become obligations rather than joys. Even if you let go of something you later want back, nothing is permanent, everything is temporary. You’ll make mistakes, figure it out and move on. As you take away those things that no longer serve you, it creates space for the things that nourish, fill you up, and bring you joy. And that’s a new year worth getting excited about!