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Designing a Conscious Holiday
Posted: 12/31/2012 | Happiness Comments
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While we’re still in the midst of the holidays, it’s important to journal about your experiences and feelings so you can design a great holiday experience for next year. In the last blog, we talked about our current experience, what worked and what didn’t. When you take the time to examine your expectations, you can see where you’ve set yourself up for disappointment. You can also see what’s really important to you, and take the steps to plan for the future.

As you continue to journal, write down everything you’d like to let go of. You can include stress, anxiety, rushing around, family conflict, financial anxiety, and anything else that occurs for you. Next, create an intention for your next holiday. What would you like to create? It might be joy, peace, laughter, relaxation, or anything else. Choose a phrase or word that resonates with you.

It’s a good idea to have a small notebook or holiday journal on hand throughout the year. Write your intention on the first page, and then write down thoughts and ideas that occur to you as the year progresses.

Next, make a plan for next year. Think about the following:

1. Spiritual practice. For many of us, this is a season for reflection and connection. Regardless of your religious traditions, you can design this time as an opportunity to connect with your Spirit. You might include a service at a church, synagogue, or other house of worship. You might just create a meditation or retreat for yourself, giving yourself more time to intentionally reflect on what’s important to  you. Whatever your practice, think of ways you include it in your holiday.

2. Better time management. You can plan to buy Christmas presents earlier, or if you know you won’t do that, plan to buy them at the last minute but put it in your calendar. If you give yourself a relaxed schedule, you’ll feel less anxiety, and more opportunity to enjoy your preparations.

3. Expenses. Examine the way you spent money this year. Think about what your budget will be next year. Remember that purchasing gifts thoughtfully and in advance can save you a lot of money. Think of the gifts you gave this year. Were they all necessary? Did you buy compulsively?

4. Time for self. If your tendency is to exhaust yourself, plan for a massage, naps, hot baths, brisk walks, or whatever feels good to you. Self care might include baking cookies, but really having fun as you do it. It might include a glass of wine by the tree, or time to read a Channukah story to your kids.

5. Family visits. You can decide now whom you’d like to spend time with, and how much time you’d like to spend with them. What works best for you?

Now that you’ve gained some clarity about what you want to include as well as eliminate next year, start making notes for your calendar. You can jot reminders on sticky notes and put them on your paper calendar. You can make notes in your electronic calendar just as easily. If you’d like to see your favorite production of the Nutcracker for example, make a note of it for December. If you’d like to get your shopping done early, circle the date of completion. Or, if you know you’re a last-minute shopper, circle a later date and consider it your time-honored tradition. Include in your planning a stop for coffee or a skate at the rink. Whatever you want to include, make a note and put it in your calendar today. In this way, you can stay present to the approaching holidays and remind yourself of your new, empowering commitment.

The point isn’t to do it “right,” but to be intentional. There is no “perfect” holiday, and you can’t control the outcome. You can create the feeling and inner experience you’d love for the holidays, especially if you begin the process now. In future blogs, I’ll examine more about what blocks us from peace during the holidays and the rest of the year. As we design a conscious holiday season, we can also design a conscious life.

What is your intention for the next year? What would you love to create? Please share your thoughts. Your comments make a difference for all of us!

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