Embracing Ease this Holiday Season

As we come to the close of the year it is easy to get wrapped up (forgive the pun) in doing everything. So much so that we begin to experience less and less joy in the season. We get consumed by deadlines, vacation schedules, and school performances. There are holiday social and professional obligations, rites of passage, and traditions to observe. Whether we are active in our faith, film, or theater community there will be a moment when we are called to reflect on the meaning of the season. Perhaps meaning is something that transcends all belief systems.

Meaning that cozy, hygge awareness that the rush to do everything strips value from the small generosities that are available to us every day. There’s a lot of, “yes and,” thinking these days. We are no longer one thing we are able to be everything at once. If that feels wonderful to you I’m so glad. If, like me, it feels a little overwhelming to be all the things all the time then I hope you’ll join me in letting go of obligations while keeping the meaning this season. 

What is one thing you can let go of or at least put off? Could you send Valentines or New Year’s cards instead of holiday update letters? Could you make hot chocolate and watch a movie instead of a gingerbread house building day where you bake cookies from scratch? Or could you just buy the readymade kits with icing? How can you honor yourself and the season?

The goal of the holidays is not to “Win.” The only prize of this time of year is being fully present and enveloped in the moment. And we can only do that one instant at a time. Maybe you leave one box of ornaments in the basement this year. Maybe you bake the cookies from the freezer section. The memories are not in the complicated logistics. It is not by exhausting ourselves or exerting superhuman energy that we get to enjoy the holiday season. 

Many of us are opting for a simpler season and embracing ease. A more gentle close to the year that honors our celebrations and also our collective need for rest. Pushing ourselves to always perform or do more is a fast track to burn out. And when we are burnt out we are too tired to savor and enjoy.

So as we enter this holiday season I encourage you to embrace simplicity and ease. What is one less thing you can do? And if one seems too little, what five things can you take off of your list? Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of ease this season. Release yourself from the pressures to perform, host, and curate. Instead relax, read a holiday themed book, or watch a movie.

My gift to you is this space we share where my only wish is for your season to hold all the deepest meaning and joy with no effort whatsoever.

Letting Go of Control

Lately, I am saying yes to the opportunities the universe presents to me. It is my role to accept those gifts not to own or control them. The benefits include the joy that comes of being engaged and invested in exactly what I am doing. Rather than being responsible, obligated, or in charge, I am merely a part of something larger than myself. Letting go of control is not easy but when we allow ourselves to step back from that role we ignite a spark. We begin to feel more vibrant and alive, as if there’s suddenly so much to see, do, say, build, dream and create. It is awe inspiring how quickly the universe conspires for our success and our joy in the process. 

It is powerful to let go of the illusion of control and simply accept the help that is given in whatever form it comes. By showing up excited to engage we open ourselves to possibility. We release control of the process and make space for wildly unique and different outcomes to present themselves. This is the birthplace of ingenuity and creativity. For creativity to thrive it needs an environment of safety, room to grow, and the absence of control.

Releasing control allows the universe to use us as instruments to create more magic in this world. When we graciously accept all the bounty and blessings the universe bestows upon us we become part of the process. You are only one snowflake floating in a sea of miraculous little ice crystals. Each one is just like you and yet completely different. How magnificent to be one of many and yet also completely our own. How incredible to be free to relax, release control, and float. The future holds innumerable outcomes for each of us we open ourselves to possibility when we release our hold on control.

What is one thing you can let go of controlling right now? 

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Clearing the Clutter: Breaking Up with an Old Dream

To create a new beginning something has to end. Many days I meditate on the the theme of clearing the clutter but today I moved actual boxes. I did the mental work first, the figurative exercise to create mental space, and to free my mind from the obligations that seem to fill up my brain and leave me with no additional bandwidth to perform the actual work. All of those exercises led me to the actual labor of lifting and moving actual boxes that had found a resting place in the middle of my office. 

The space is wide open and I feel lighter, freer, less weighed down by obligations and to-do items. I recently spent some time away with friends and we talked out our visions and plans for the future. We discussed our goals and our dreams for what our lives could look like in the next five or ten years. It was powerful deep dive stuff. My friend shared that she has some big picture goals for herself and her business but she doesn’t feel ready to pursue them. I want to share what I said to my dear and life-long friend with you – that is ok too!

It is ok to have dreams that we hold off on pursuing. We often feel a sense of urgency to complete tasks. This may come from competition with others or a desire to check something off our to-do lists. But sometimes we don’t want to do something because it is not right for us. Sometimes what felt like an incredible and exciting goal turns out to be adjacent to our path but not on our journey. And that’s ok. 

Fear in creativity is important, it tells us when we truly care about something. Sometimes though when we write and reflect we learn that that goal is no longer for us. That too is a victory, we have learned something important. Just because you have had something on your list for a long time does not mean you have to finish it. If you come to a place where it’s time to step forward or let a dream go, you can let it go. You are not obligated to complete every dream or every goal you imagine. Maybe you needed that inspiration to motivate you but now that particular goal, or version of that goal, is no longer necessary and that’s ok. It is ok to let go of something you don’t want. You don’t need to do it just to prove that you can. You’re not giving up on yourself or on every dream, you are simply recognizing that that goal is no longer meant for you. You are doing enough. You have done enough. 

You do not need to take on anyone else’s goal or anyone else’s vision, even if that goal belonged to a past version of yourself. That person did not know what you know now. That person did not have the steps behind them that you have. They made the best decision with the information they had at the time and now you know more. You are further up the mountain, your view is better and your knowledge enhanced.

Trust your gut – if you’re afraid, take small steps and see how quickly the dominoes fall. If you’re hesitating because a step is not right for you, pause, reflect, and if necessary recalibrate and move on. Once you release that item your list you have freed yourself to imagine new and bigger dreams that truly fit the path that you are on. It frees you to follow your right path. Sometimes it is just time to put things away and clear the space for whatever comes next and that is truly brave.

How do you reflect and recalibrate before moving forward? How do you choose your path with intention? What is a goal you had to leave behind in order to move forward?