“We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is
New Year’s Day.”
~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
As I write this month’s Harmony Habit, we are well into the month of December and in the midst of the busy holidays. Whether we observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yuletide or any other mid-winter celebration, it’s not uncommon to have mixed feelings about a season that’s become highly commercialized, yet also filled with nostalgia, merriment, long-held traditions, a yearning for another year and a chance to begin again.
In spite of the seasonal stress most people experience, the holidays can be a time for deep reflection. When we make it a point to slow down and remember to closely connect with ourselves, and our friends and family, the holidays can provide a much needed occasion to quiet down, go within and reflect on the deeper meaning of life, love and what really matters.
Last night, after a very full weekend of holiday festivities, I left early from a gathering, opting for some quiet time alone. Having little energy for the reflection I was hoping for, I plopped myself down on the couch, turned on the TV and watched George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Christmas Carol. (Every time I see this movie, I pray that I will never be as stingy and sour as Scrooge and after each rerun I renew my commitment to be more kind and generous in the year ahead. It’s a great film to watch before making New Year Resolutions!)
During commercial breaks of this movie classic, a short clip featuring dozens of other popular holiday films flashed on the screen. Lots of merry scenes from shows we’ve likely seen throughout the years were featured, yet the one that I remembered most was a clip from A Miracle on 34th Street where Kris Kringle tells a little girl named Susan that “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind”.
As I was watching, it occurred to me that – regardless of which holiday we observe – each year around this time we can choose to shift into a more benevolent and joyous frame of mind by taking in the good that’s all around us. Unlike Scrooge, we can focus on the positive aspects of the season and cultivate a sense of wonder, awe and gratitude. And, like Susan, who learned to open to a magical way of thinking, we can also choose to unwrap one of our greatest gifts – the ability we each have to consciously choose our thoughts, to align our actions with our values and to create a life filled with purpose and meaning.
As the last couple of weeks of December draw quickly to a close, take the holiday challenge: remember what matters most, celebrate the life and friends you have and then commit to maintaining a frame of mind throughout the year that will add to everyone’s wish for peace, love, joy, happiness and prosperity.
My wish for you: As you move from a place of thought to action, may all your heart’s desires unfold this year. Happy Holidays!
This week’s practice:
With the shorter days and longer nights it’s an ideal time to get quiet, go inside and consider exactly what we want to create for our life and our world in the upcoming year.
In November, December and January, I often take myself, friends and clients through a process for creating the Best Year Yet, based on a book by that name, written by Jinny Ditzler. The book features 10 questions for making the next twelve months your most successful ever.
People tell me they find the process enormously helpful: big shifts happen in their personal and professional lives and – most importantly – the questions inspire many to begin actualizing their dreams.
Here they are:
- What did I accomplish?
- What were my biggest disappointments?
- What did I learn?
- How do I limit myself and how can I stop?
- What are my personal values?
- What roles do I play in my life?
- Which role is my major focus?
- What are my goals for each role?
- What are my top 10 goals for next year?
- How can I make sure I achieve them?
Take time to reflect carefully on each question. Enjoy the process.
Here’s to another chance to get it right!
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