“Tis the season to be [insert chosen word here]”

I’m carrying a little placard right in front of my mind’s eye reminding me that the Christmas carols I’m currently enjoying are not suggesting, “Tis the season to be FRANTIC, fa-la-la-la-la.”

G. K. Chesterton said, “To hurry through one’s leisure is the most unbusiness-like of actions.”

Christmas and the holiday season–and all that comes with the month of December–ought not to be a chore. If it is, and for me it has often been so, the scale has tipped into stressful territory, and I refuse to take that trip.

sparkle

The funny thing is that I really don’t feel rushed and hurried, I only think by now I SHOULD be moving a whole lot faster.

We haven’t yet bought our tree. I have only made a few moves towards shopping for gifts–and those were on-line–didn’t take much energy.  I was planning (in my head) to create a family photo-card–oops! That didn’t happen. I did a little baking for work, but have several other social engagements and I have said I’d bring cookies. I have bought the ingredients–step one?

Christmas Candy

How many days until Christmas?

Our calendar reflects an upswing of activity. There are dinners with friends, a family birthday, a Saturday matinée performance of the Nutcracker with two little girls, and an assortment of special opportunities that only come once a year.

Succulent Wreath

About a month ago I mentioned I’d gone over into the land of calm and didn’t want to leave. Is just refusing to acknowledge that I have more to do than time a reasonable way to maintain a peaceful pattern? Maybe I don’t need to be reasonable. That’s a thought!

I’m not usually able to avoid reciting mental lists, or feeling the rush of time as I check off commitments and the weighty crush of the calendar, but somehow that’s working for me right now as I conduct my own little experiment.

If I continue to move quietly through my entire Christmas season, I wonder what will happen?

decorations

My yoga practice is really important to my overall well-being. Typically my inner motor runs fast. And when I began to realize that I dreaded an entire month, 1/12th of a precious year, I acknowledged only I could slow that down.

Yoga, with particular attention paid to conscious breathing, is a welcome antidote to stress. The words frantic and yoga don’t belong in the same sentence.

I found a wonderful little video offering a very easy mini-yoga lesson. if you’re running too quickly and would like to slow down just a little bit, why don’t you give it a try? I think you’ll immediately feel lighter–after you skip through the incredibly noisy ad!

This is where I would normally encourage a weekend exhale, but I think for this time of year, I’m more inclined to aim for slow, conscious breathing. Enjoy it all. Crank up the Carols and holiday songs and enjoy the season.

And for the many of you experiencing freezing temperatures, I would think slowing down isn’t much of a choice. Stay safe, and throw out the expectations. I hope you’ll share how your holiday activities are impacted by a very inhospitable weather pattern.

You might have some choice words to describe your holiday survival plan.

“Tis the season to be ________________.” What word would you choose?

Life 101 and Back from the Beach

There’s Newton’s Law. You know the one about how every object in the universe attracts every other object in the universe. This is a good one. Gravity is observable–well sort of.

And Copernicus comes in handy when dealing with narcissists. “Copernicus called; it turns out you’re not the center of the universe.” Anyone come to mind?

Then there’s the most famous equation in the world. E = M c2.  The energy of a particle is equal to its mass times the square of the speed of light. Right. I can repeat it, but don’t ask me to work with it.

Perhaps the Law I know best–from experience–comes from a man named Murphy. According to the story, “If anything can go wrong, it will” comes from an incident at California’s Edwards Air Force Base in 1949.

Capt. Edward Murphy was working on a project designed to see what happened with sudden deceleration. How much could a person withstand?

When  a technician improperly wired a major component Murphy cursed him with “If there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.”

And Murphy’s Law was born.

We’ve experienced a few days of Murphy’s Law. Six blocks from home the car’s transmission died. Really died. We limped home and then made our way, posthaste, to the only car rental agency we could find still open on a busy Saturday afternoon. Very frustrating, but of course, at least we made it home!

Have you ever been to an Apple store on a busy Saturday afternoon? The power cord on my laptop chose this weekend to give up the ghost–followed by the fancy coffee maker–KAPUT!

Vacation is over!

So be it. I may not physically be at the beach, but every time I think back to some of my favorite moments I can be there in my mind. And that’s precisely what I’m doing this week. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?

Our nephew, Thomas, came down one day to surf. The waves weren’t great, but he made the most of it!

And then he took one very eager Sophia out for her first surfing lesson.

She couldn’t have had any more fun!

And right in the middle of the surfing and amazingly close to shore we were treated to a parade of dolphins.

Even a seal swam right up to the shoreline. Someone reported a mama and baby, but you should have seen the excitement when a large, gray shadow appeared right at the shoreline. Shark? We did get quite animated for just a moment, until the nose and fin popped up and it was clearly a seal.

Seal

So life has its rhythms and it just follows that after a lovely vacation there are going to be frustrations and events that quickly pull us back to reality.

So here’s another little “law” I might like to keep in mind…

“Even when in the midst of disturbance, the stillness of the mind can offer sanctuary.” –Stephen Richards.

I do breathe a great deal lighter when I’m at the beach. I think I’ll be looking at photos for quite some time!

Backyard conversations. Are we listening?

When I get very busy…

I need to refine my balancing act.

Blue and Orange Dragonflies

And pay attention…

Blue Dragonfly

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. Robert Brault

Blue Jay with Peanut

Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness. Bryant H. McGill

Darwin eating succulents

No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. Alan Watts

Rocky in his bath

Smile, breathe and go slowly. Thich Nhat Hanh

Migrating Bird

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.  Havelock Ellis

Rocky and DarwinStress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’. Eckhart Tolle

Pensive Blue JayDon’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect. Unknown

Climbing DarwinEveryone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.  Andy Rooney

RockyHappiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.  Margaret B. Runbeck

ButterflyIt worked…

I’m breathing lighter.

Hope you are, too.