Thursday, December 13, 2007

Staying Calm In The Busyness

Each morning before I leave home I spend a few minutes in silence. After I get out of bed and perform all my morning rituals, i.e., brushing my teeth, showering, dressing, making coffee, eating breakfast, preparing lunch, choosing music CD's for the day, walking to the end of my driveway for the newspaper, and, finally, morning prayer, I simply sit in my chair with my eyes closed. I want my last few minutes at home, before the busyness of my day begins, to be in silence. This gets my day off to a good start and helps me stay centered throughout my day. I am fortunate to be past the stage of life where I must get children ready for school or daycare so my mornings are naturally quiet. Periodically, throughout my work day, I will also pause for a moment to simply breathe and allow myself to become re-centered. It is difficult to stay centered all the time. There are many people, things, activities and distractions that will pull you out of your center. My centeredness sometimes appears as a daze to others and I have often been accused of having my head in the clouds. I am guilty. To be honest, I like clouds and I enjoy having my head in them. I think being centered within yourself is important all of the time but especially during times of stress and extreme busyness. For most people, this time of year is very stressful and busy. Everyone has a million things listed on their to do list. There are presents to buy and wrap. We decorate our homes. My wife is freaking because we have not gotten our outdoor lights put up. We wrestle with the question "To bake or not to bake"? Will everyone in our family be happy with their gifts? Did we spend too little or too much? Who's names did we get in our family drawings? What do they want? Many people have church and other volunteer commitments. On top of all of this is the unspoken expectation that everyone be happy. After all, many of our Christmas carols proclaim that "this is the most wonderful time of the year"! The pressure to be happy when you may actually feel sad can seem very intense. Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. It can also run you ragged, empty your bank account, or make you depressed. Put Christmas in perspective, honor it's spiritual roots, and celebrate it as best you can but don't let it run you ragged or create problems that will come home to rest in January. In all of the busyness and demands of this time of year, stay centered within yourself, maintain a place of calm in your heart and life, and let the joy of the season wrap itself around you.

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