In our Western society we have created certain times of year that mark a particular celebration, and Christmas and the New Year is for many one of the most significant events among them all.
Aside from the fact that this time of year has been highly commercialized, and we may hear folks around us sigh at how stressed they are with living up to certain expectations associated with it – card writing, gift shopping, planning for and creating festive feasts, visiting or hosting family (sometimes we may not necessarily want to be around with), I like to think that this time of year is an excellent opportunity for each of us to refocus, reflect and recalibrate.
Refocus – Reflect – Recalibrate
If we allow time for it! And to me, this is the ultimate gift to ourselves, the first step to more Self-Care. Time is that commodity we all have the least of. It often seems to defy our most ambitious planning and still nips at our heels as we hurtle throughout our days, becoming enthralled in the busyness of life we create for ourselves, or as a part of the swell of events around us, defined by our jobs, tasks or family responsibilities.
It is easy – and understandable – to become rather complacent and oblivious to what I consider the nuances of living. We often act in a pre-programmed way and rely on habitual behavior as a form of coping mechanism, and perhaps even self-defense, against the demands made on us. I do too, and I have made a point of becoming aware of the times when I appear to be steamrollering through my life, and to pull the emergency break on me.
I have learned how to pause, even in the midst of craziness around me.
I cherish those pauses as it allows me to reflect on where I am heading and assess whether this is where I intend to go in the first place. This reflection is not just about the forward momentum of my life, but more importantly how I show up for myself in the various roles that define me.
We have various roles in our lives, defined by our job, relationships, family position, education, hobbies, sport, passion, faith and beliefs, but also the mistakes we make along the way. Side note: getting “older and wiser” does not mean we are supposed to make less mistakes, just hopefully not repeat them 🙂
Who am I? In random order as they popped up in my mind: I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend, a business owner, a mentor, an educator, a writer, a cook, a baker, a dog-lover, a hiker, a tree hugger, a respected colleague and team contributor, a cancer survivor and thriver, a multi-cultural thinker, a traveler, a spiritual being, a part of the ever-evolving Universe, a part of everything around me, a continuous learner and humble servant of the lessons I am here to learn.
Showing up for Yourself
When I practice my reflection exercise, I ask myself how I show up for these various roles. Am I truly living them with full conscious awareness, showing up with clear intent to be authentically ME in these roles? This is not about always doing the “right” thing, or a race to perfection (what is that anyway?), it is not about judging myself against success or failure, but rather just acknowledging and reflecting where I am at on my life path in a detached and non-emotional way.
How do you show up for yourself in the roles that define you?
This is the time to cut yourself some flack. You made it to this point, and that deserves a gracious smile all on its own. Do you experience joy in your roles, sometimes we lose that along the way of our busyness. A dear client once told me, that no matter what happens in your life at any given time, it is your choice and obligation to find some element of joy, for it is always to be found!
Pre-programmed Habit or Conscious Intention?
Even when faced with dire circumstances, be it financial, health-related or relationship-based, there is a reason for us being here at this very moment. Our ever-moving journey through this life will take us to numerous destinations, but it is our duty to ourselves to recalibrate every now and then and figure out if the path we are on is due to a pre-programmed habit, or a conscious intention.
We are not always in full control, sometimes we are being guided and need to surrender to an inner trust and faith that there is a higher reason for me being at this juncture at this point in my life.
There is a delicate balance between actively steering our ship (conscious action), and realizing that sometimes it is being steered for us, and all we need to do is graciously observe where we are heading – even amidst dense fog – and trusting in our own ability to recognize (setting an intention) that the next beacon will show itself for us to regain direction and begin steering again (conscious action).
The Essence of Inner Reflection
Showing up for ourselves requires a conscious awareness of our strengths and weaknesses, of our successes and failures, of the loving kindness we send out and receive, ultimately of the love we carry in our own hearts for ourselves. This is the very essence of inner reflection, and a great point to start with if we feel we have strayed from our path: Connecting with that inner core that helps us face the demands of our various roles, keeps us steady on our intended path and enables us to show up for others in a way we wish for them to be there for us. This is where Forgiveness and Humility comes to mind, first for ourselves, then onto others, for we are all the same, connected via energetic frequencies that ebb and flow together.
As we immerse ourselves in the frenetic comings and goings at this time of year, perhaps become disgruntled with a less than optimal service level from a shop assistant, snap at our partner for forgetting to accomplish one of the To-Do list items, nag the kids for dragging their feet, or forego our rejuvenating sleep in order to get those cards written, let’s remember to simply Pause. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that these roles can be reversed at any time, and you may find yourself on the receiving end. Forgiveness and Humility – a practice the Christmas spirit calls for, but no less important at any time of year.
“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love”