December, the Not-so-Quiet Season of Waiting…

The Holidays can be busy and stressful. How do you quiet your inner critic and focus on what’s important?

The Never-ending to-do list

5750960959_529a1a70b4_b Oh my goodness it’s December! Suddenly that feeling of being overwhelmed and inefficient starts to rush over me. Where did November go? I am so behind on my research and the writing for this website. I have emails to answer. I still have people to thank who were so generous at our fundraiser in October. I have follow-up emails and calls to make to people I have met in the past month and to those who attended the Change workshop in Manhattan. What have I been doing for the past month? Panic! Self-recrimination!

Focussing on Family

And then I remember–I finished painting our dining room, stripped wallpaper, redecorated a beloved but long neglected room in our home. I’ve been helping a friend and seeing clients at this difficult time of year. I hosted Thanksgiving and helped create three gingerbread houses with five children under 7. I made our home, friends and family a priority for my time, energy and attention. And I have been right where I was meant to be. Sometimes in my desire to accomplish great things, impact important change, reach out to others, I forget the life that is right in front of me. Sometimes that life is screaming for attention and I need to quietly listen and respond. These needs are not an intrusion, rather they are lessons in patience and timing.

The Advent Slow-Down

In my Catholic tradition, the four week period before Christmas is called Advent, the season of waiting for the birth of Christ. I have always approached Advent like a pregnancy: that quiet, reflective time of waiting before the miracle of birth. So now in this first week of Advent, I am taking a deep breath, thanking God for all the gifts and blessings in my life and reminding myself that everything has its season. This is especially challenging to do during the busy holiday season, but all the more important for that very reason! More will be accomplished with a calm, quiet and peaceful spirit, where love reigns. After all, while time is a finite reality that must be divided and prioritized, love is an infinite reality that knows no limits.

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