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Do the songs you hear during the season light you up? Some of them are quite simple, yet brilliantly composed songs that have had almost miraculous histories. Some of them have lit the path for faith built on Christ’s love and kindness. Others speak of joy and family and cocoa around a fireplace. All of these are reasons to embrace the songs of the season.
Let’s be honest though. Some of the songs we hear on the radio make us feel annoyed. Maybe they seem corny or monotonous. There’s only so many hundred times you can hear ding-dong after the 4th day of Christmas and realize you just want your true love to bring you the stress-free holiday you promised yourself. Maybe you are like a few of my friends who lost a true love this year so just celebrating anything feels a bit daunting and sad and stressful.
What if you could be your own true love this season though and take a time out to discover the stress-free holiday you crave. Let this be your permission to do just that. Some people thrive on events like tree-lightings and church services and they light up with all the wonderfully composed songs of the season. Others are more introverted and need to dial it down. Maybe their idea of a great holiday is spending time alone with a good book curled up without distractions. “There’s no judgement here,” as a friend of mine would say.
So, to my few dear readers, I don’t want you to go through another year wishing the stress of the holiday would go away when you have within yourself the power to choose the best things of this season. I want to be clear that I love Santa, reindeer, silver bells, lights, desserts, stories, concerts, music and all the trimmings but for me, in order to experience the best of the season I choose challenges like scheduling time-outs and letting go of unnecessary things. Are you ready to join me the next three days as I challenge you too? Here we go…
Schedule a time out. This is absolutely not an option. Scheduling a time out gives you the opportunity to discover the very best of the season. Sound boring? It doesn’t need to be.
Here are some of my ideas for accomplishing this:
DRIVE: If you like driving, then fill your gas tank, grab a hot drink, find a place you would like to drive to or that you can safely park at and ask yourself these three questions.
- What do I enjoy?
- What steals my joy?
- What gift can I bring to the party that has nothing to do with buying a present? (For those resistant to this question ,think of your personality traits like listening, humor, light-heartedness, kindness, hospitality, friendliness or flexibility as a start. You get to decide this year how you want to show up to the party and it doesn’t begin with the present you bought. It begins with you.)
These may be tough questions to answer, especially if you are used to functioning on autopilot but if you answer them and commit to adding more of what you enjoy and less of what steals your joy, your timeout will have been absolutely worth it.
JOURNAL: Find a quaint coffeeshop, bookstore or quiet place in your home, light a candle and find a topic to consider for the holidays. You are welcome to create your own journal topics. This may be helpful for those who have lost someone this year because you may want to write about your loved one. However, I’ve put together a few general prompts for your consideration. Here they are:
What is the best memory I have of the holidays growing up?
What is the biggest winter storm I’ve experienced?
What if the only people I had in all the world were the people I lived with? What would I do? What would I say?
What can I give myself permission to do more of this season?
SING: Yes. Sing. Make a date with yourself, find a holiday song you enjoy and sing it. This can be in the shower or the car or even with friends. The challenge isn’t to worry about your sound or to rush through the song so you can check this time-out challenge off your list. The challenge is to find a song you love, find the joy in singing it and even learn more about it too. Look up the lyrics, study them if you wish, find out who the composer is and why they wrote the song. Buy a cd with your favorite song on it, or download various artists singing the same song. You will certainly find great joy in this time-out challenge. Trust me.
Challenge #2 comes in tomorrow’s blog post. Don’t miss it.
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