Monthly Archives: December 2011

Finding Christmas Beauty


 Christmas is a time of wonder, beauty, magic, love. It’s also a time of hustle, bustle, To Do lists, one thing after another.

How do we focus on the first without being overwhelmed by the second?

First, get everything out of your brain. How often do the thoughts of “don’t forget to…” and “after this I have to…” rob you of focusing fully on any given task? Give your brain a break! WRITE IT DOWN!

It’s called a Brain Dump and it works on so many levels. Grab a blank piece of paper, or a voice recorder, or a Word document and start to dump what’s on your mind. In bullet form, write down everything you feel you have to do this holiday season. Cooking. Gifts. Cards. Decor. Events you want to attend. Parties to host. Loved ones to call. Groceries to buy. Items to pack if you’re spending the holidays away. Gifts left to buy. Everything. Dump it out of that brain!! One coach says it this way, “Half the anxiety you feel about the things you want to get done is that you aren’t doing anything about them.” Just writing them down is taking action. It’s doing something. And your mind and body respond to that momentum, propelling you towards getting things done!

Next, look at your list through the lens of Martha Beck’s 3 B’s. Anything on the list that brings a good feeling, do it as immediately as possible. For the rest…

  • Can you BAG it? I’m willing to bet there are a large number of things on that list that are more about expectations – your own or others’ – than they are about things that HAVE to be done. Would it forever alter your life for it just not to get done? Is it really important to the experience you want Christmas 2011 to be? If not, bag it! For example, when we pulled out all the decor this year and put up the tree, I found myself uninterested in decorating much of the rest of the house. I grabbed the stockings and the nativity scene for one area, but the rest I just put back in storage for another year. I’m not expecting Martha Stewart anyway. It was Ok to BAG IT!
  • Can you BARTER it? If it’s important to have done, who can help you with it? Maybe it’s a family member who just needs to be asked. Maybe it’s worth paying someone to do. Whether it’s deciding to cater your party this year instead of cook it yourself or let your kids stamp the Christmas cards, you probably have more help available than you thought.
  • Can you BETTER IT? It must be done. And it must be done by you. Some things are just like that. So, how can you better the experience so it doesn’t seem like such a drag? The house needs to be cleaned, for example, and you decide not to barter that out. Put on Christmas music and have fun with it! Make it a race. Let yourself watch a favorite movie after it’s all done. There is almost always a way to better it!

Finally… Decide how you WANT to feel this Christmas. Stressed? Blessed?

At the end of the month, what do you want your gratitude list to look like for this season? Write it down now and then use it as a treasure hunt list. Here are a few items some friends and I decided we want to experience – really SEE, HEAR, FEEL, SMELL, TASTE – this Christmas.

  • Twinkling lights
  • Homemade ornaments
  • O Holy Night
  • Santas with real beards
  • Cookies
  • Pine trees
  • Live Nativity Scenes
  • Elementary School Christmas pageants
  • New pajamas on Christmas morning
  • Caroling
  • Soft snow falling
  • Wearing red
  • Fun holiday jewelry
  • “O come let us adore Him”
  • Hearing the Christmas story
  • Hallmark movies that make you cry

Think on THESE things, and you’ll have a BEAUTIFUL Christmas!


Put a Pause Button in Your Life

Maybe I’m the only one who needed to hear it. Somehow, I don’t think so. Especially when I opened my Five-Minute Friday assignment to read “Tired.” Write 5 Minutes on the Topic of Tired. (Which I did here.)

Rest is Good! There is Power in the Pause. And it seemed like I had heard that before. Oh, wait, I wrote that before! (Reprinted below.)

As we talked about meditation on Scripture, on Godly Thoughts, in our Small Group this week, it was overwhelmingly clear that most of us don’t get enough rest in our lives. Not just sleep. Not just sitting still. But real quiet time. Resting of the MIND.

But oh, how God meets us in that place. So I want to be there. I invited you to be there, too. Rest.


Power in the Pause

Originally posted at JustBeBeth In Gifts of Imperfection Project on September 6, 2011 at 10:14 am

If you listen closely enough, there is an inherent pause in the nature around us. Just a moment of total silence between the crashes of ocean waves. A second at the end of your exhale before the lungs fill again. A winter hibernation before the spring thaw. Even a hurricane is dead calm right at the eye.

Nature seems to know instinctively — there is power in a pause.

So why do we as humans so often race right past it?

This month, in my continued study of Brene’ Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, the focus is on cultivating Calm/Stillness, one of the 10 guideposts for living a Wholehearted/Authentic life.  As Brown says, calm is about “Letting go of anxiety as a way of life.”

This is about more than sleep… though we often get too little of that as well. It’s about pause, stillness, calm, breathing. Only in still waters can we see a real reflection of ourselves. In the waves, even in a ripple, the image is distorted at best; invisible at worst. And only through times of reflection, of quiet, of peace do we REALLY see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Only here do we REALLY LIVE! And, it is here we give ourselves the energy we need to tackle the rest of our lives as well. Not without anxiety or stress, but in spite of the anxiety and stress.

A pause can be useful to gather your thoughts, send up a prayer, reassess a situation, notice something new, hear God’s still small voice, find a moment’s peace, or just give yourself a well-deserved break.

So I’m going to seek more pauses in September. Breath deeply 3x before I make a phone call. Recite a favorite verse or quote at a red light. Close my eyes for 30 seconds after I park and before I head into the office in the morning and my house each evening. Seek at least one item of beauty that crosses my path every day. Be willing to call a time-out and hit the reset button when I need to.

Thanks for taking a pause to read this blog. Will you join me taking more time-outs this month?

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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Awareness Technique

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