There are many, MANY articles and posts about how to make the most of this holiday season. And many of them talk about ways to make it all work, and how to make everyone happy. I don’t subscribe to that theory. At breakfast the other day, with two of my closest friends, they both asked me, “Do you even sleep??!” as they see, from the outside, that I am “getting shit done”. What they don’t see, but I tried to explain, is how much I have let go, in order to breathe and make space for peace to fill me up, versus the anxious “gotta get xyz, abc, efg done..yesterday!” frenzy I am watching in most of my friends and family. I am not going to stay up all night wrapping presents perfectly. My presents…that I wrapped, look like my three-year old wrapped them (they really do). And I could care less. I am not gonna cram to bake, prepare and cry over dinner plans and family gatherings. Market Street has a killer deli, and my favorite gluten-free bakery makes amazing cakes/pies. I am not going to get hung up on what time we meet, where it is, or who is in charge when it comes to the family holiday madness. So long as I bring my wine, and probably the kids (I really should make sure I don’t forget them or anything), I could care less what the details are. I am not going to beat myself up because along with the holidays, my businesses, my kids- we are preparing to move across country. A new, life changing decision my husband and I are making.
I am letting go.
Because, what I present to myself each time I start to feel anxious, or like I NEED to do something, is a question. I ask myself just one simple question. Each time.
“Will this bullshit matter five years from now?”. If the answer is yes (which it rarely is) then it stays on my list. If the answer is no, then I let it go.
That includes my three times a week video podcasts and posts during this life transitioning time, despite how much I love doing them. It includes cramming in certain holiday madness traditions that are not necessary. That includes anxiety over listing, showing and perfecting the house.
During this time of reflection, I have come up with my 2015 plan. I don’t believe too much in resolutions, as I have my vision/goals all year-long. But I do like to put thoughts together at the end of one year on what I want to think about the following year. Here is my plan for 2015.
- Live YOUR purpose. I am not worried about what everyone thinks I should do, or what I think everyone expects and neither should you worry about it. I know what I want, and how I plan to get there and I plan to live out my days doing just that. Wake up and breathe in your purpose. Stop wasting time on ‘getting by’ doing what you hate. Take risks.
- Let GO. I have gotten so much better at this, it is almost scary. Because of my 5 year question; I am able to let go of the crap that usually bogs me down. Meditation helps tremendously as well. I am learning to say no, and learning to be kind and forgiving to myself when I can’t do it ‘all’.
- Bask in good Karma. If you want something, give it. If you want love, compassion, kindness, respect- give it. I do subscribe to ‘what comes around go around’ so sow what you want in your life and watch it grow.
- Be happy for others. It hurts my heart when I am with people who are determined to tear others down, no matter what it is in reference to. Being spiteful, jealous, mean-spirited is draining and so counterproductive for your OWN life.
- Guard your circle of Influence. I watched a segment with Steve Harvey yesterday and I plan to live by it; “Don’t share your dreams and aspirations with small-minded people”- be careful who you share your dreams with. Be careful who you spend time with- remember, the five people you spend the most time with reflect who you are. Are they uplifting, encouraging, supportive? Are they cheaters, thieves, gossipers? Think about it.
- GIVE. Find the time, energy and resources to give. Help others. Serve someone. Do it with joy in your heart. There is no better gift to myself than to give to others. I can’t describe the joy it brings me- I want you to experience it for yourself. Start with baking cookies for a local firehouse. Or dropping off needed items at a homeless shelter. Or playing the piano for a senior center (or just reading to the folks there).
- Be kind to YOURSELF. How many times in a day do you call yourself a name? Either out loud or mentally? YOU hear that. YOU are listening to this. Your subconscious does and you produce what you tell yourself. Yes, we make mistakes. Sometimes big ones. But how productive is it to call yourself stupid? Instead try, “Well Shannon, that was something to learn from, let’s not do that again”. Also, don’t worry what others say about you. Remember this; what others think about you is none of your business.
- Stop drinking poison. Are you holding onto a grudge or negative energy about someone? Stop drinking poison hoping it will kill that person. It is only killing you. I can’t tell you how to release it, as it depends on what you need to release. But I can tell you to seek help. Look inside yourself and know that if you continue to harp, fester and think about this negative situation or person, you are truly only hurting YOURSELF. See number two above.
- Ease up on expectations. We all make mistakes. I usually do within 30 minutes of waking up. It is unrealistic to hold someone to such a pedestal that when they do something you don’t like or don’t live up to your expectations, that you then start to drink poison (see above). The only person you control is YOU. Stop trying to control others. What someone else does is all about how you SEE it, not the actual actions. See mistakes as what they are- the same thing you do when you are trying to live.
- Practice Metta. My choice of meditation is metta. This is a universal love. It is not easy. But always, always, it brings such peace with it. This means loving yourself, your enemies, your loved ones, and everyone in the universe. This does not mean you allow others to attack you and seek that- it does mean you offer love, at minimum, silently, to those that have hurt you, to those that have nurtured you, and to those that are suffering, rejoicing and living in this world too. Imagine if everyone in the world practiced Metta.
Lastly- ease up. Don’t live so seriously. As my husband and I say, especially when our kids are being absolute assholes (sorry people, we all can be assholes)- “we gotta enjoy the ride”. Life is a journey, stop looking for the destination of happiness. It is happening now. Right now. As you sip coffee, sip wine..as your kids are screaming and throwing stuff and destroying the last thirty minutes of cleaning you just did (oh, wait..that is my moment)..as you go through whatever season you are in- it is happening, if you look for it. If you look for ugly, you will find it. If you look for happiness, you will find it.
Happiness is already within you, around you.
Let’s enjoy the ride in 2015.
PS- I am so happy to say I finished my 200 hour yoga certification and meditation instructor certification. So thankful for what I have learned and continue to learn on this journey. I am living my purpose and so grateful for those that have encouraged, uplifted and supported me. I am also almost done with my Masters in Mental Health. I started this journey several years ago, in my late thirties, with four kids, as my fourth ‘career’- the one I was always destined to do, but never wanted to give up the corporate checks or stability of what I have done and known in the past. Know this- It is never too late to live your purpose.