It's the holidays! Welcome to a beautiful season of peace! A merry, joyful season of silent, holy nights! Is that what yours looks like? Or is yours more like refereeing fighting kids while decking the halls, frantic rushing, stressful family gatherings and the stress of compulsive gifting? What if we could change all of that?
What if you are the change?
Last week I talked about the first step in a peaceful season - being at peace with myself. This week I want to talk about the next step. Sharing that peace around me. The quote from Ghandi, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." has been running around inside my head and heart ever since the election. I want peace in my holiday season. So, I'm going to be that peace.
As much as I can, I'm going to be a light of peace for the world around me. But, how do I do that? How can I (or you) be the light of peace when I'm in the midst of family emergencies, a busy schedule, Christmas chaos and a more persistent than usual round of depression?
First, we need to understand that peace is possible in all circumstances. A few years ago I read a description of an art show. The theme was "peace" and the show was full of beautiful images of tranquil scenes. Except for one painting. It showed a pair of birds building their nest in the branches of a tree overhanging the raging rapids of a river below. It was a windy, stormy scene. But, the birds were going about building their nest despite what was going on around them. I'm not going to comment about the wisdom in their choice of real estate. But, you get the point. Your circumstances don't control your sense of peace. You do.
3 Steps To Peace
Here's my plan to brighten the world around me with peace this season. There are three steps. The first is internal. I can't extend peace from a heart and mind in turmoil. Second, extending peace to my family and third to my community.
My internal step: I've started a 30 day yoga and meditation challenge. With myself. And if I can recruit my son, I'll include him as well. The first quarter of the year, I was consistent in a 30 - 45 minute yoga practice every night (yay, me, that was a big deal!). When I started back at the gym in April, that fell by the wayside and it's the missing piece of my exercise routine. In December, I'm planning on doing 20 minutes of combined yoga and meditation daily. If you're not aware of all the benefits of meditation, check out the following articles:
Scientific Benefits of Meditation– 76 Things You Might Be Missing Out On
WebMD: Meditation Heals Body & Mind
Benefits of Meditation: 10 Science-Based Reasons To Start Meditating Today
Forbes: 7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain
As a sneak peek, if it goes the way I think it will, I'm going to do the 30 days again publicly after the first of the year and would love for you to join me! If you think you might be interested, go to my website and get on the list to be notified when it's ready to go.
Peace At Home
Second, My family. I'm going to institute a Christmas hour each night with my son. We'll cuddle up in front of the Christmas tree with no devices and hang out together. We'll do a devotional. We'll drink cocoa. We'll talk about life and the holidays. We'll make ornaments. We'll do our giving jar project (I'll talk about that next week). Now, my son doesn't know about this plan yet and there's a good chance he's going to have a fit given the "no devices" portion of the scenario. But, we've already decided that a regular time together would go really far in making our season meaningful. So, he'll get over it eventually. If I'm not back with an episode next week, you can assume mutiny.
Peace in Community
I commit to being a messenger of peace in the world in some pretty specific ways. The one I want to mention here is a conscious effort to bring intentionality and kindness to each interaction I have this month. This means slowing down. Smiling. Caring. Noticing. Treating each person I interact with as worthy of careful handling and attention. Don't you wish every UPS and FedEx driver handled every package shipped this season with extra care? They don't though do they? When we're overloaded, busy or distracted, it's easy to treat each other like objects or hurdles to get through to reach our goal. As means to an end. Not me this season. I want to be present and life-giving. My goal is to handle every interaction like I'm being paid to take extra special care.
I knew I wanted to do a candle piece similar to the one I did a few weeks ago. It represents being a light in my world. It's a reminder to me to light my way with peace. And a reminder that even a small light can shine brightly and light the way for others.
What do you want to see more of in the world this month? What if you are that change?