Updated: Jul 5, 2022
The end of the year begins like this: Madness, pure madness. The racing and rushing and pushing and shoving to “get it all done.”
All I see are lists of things to do or things that have not yet been done, but must be before … the holidays, the end of the semester, the end of the year (fill in the blank). It’s the race to the ever-moving finish line.
I have spent much of my life trying to fit things into places that can’t hold them, myself included. Some people have said that even my dreams are too big.
But In nature, everything has a place. The oceans and rivers tumble things together and on the beach we find stones that fit inside of shells as if they were created that way. A perfect fit.
Like us - we were born fitting into our lives - a place was created for us and we tumbled out into it, whether we feel like that or not. Whether we jam so much into our homes and days and weeks it feels like there is no room, no time, no place to go and simply be, there is. A place exists on Earth for each of us.
All we have to do is EXHALE and settle into it. How? Through reflection.
Not the kind where you’re standing in front of the mirror staring down your pimples, wrinkles or imperfect hair. Not even the kind where you are inspecting yourself from the inside out, all psychic magnifying glass and tweezers, ready to pluck out those stray thoughts and disagreeable behaviors.
It is the kind of reflection that savors.
Like the most delicious flavor on your tongue, or the melting of the thinnest layer of chocolate - wait, don’t chew! Let it dissolve the way it was meant to, so all your senses are tuned into that one delightful moment.
It is taking the time to STOP. Every. Thing. You. Are. Doing. And just BE. Even for a moment.
Look out the window, lift your eyes up to the sky. Gaze at something, gently. Yourself included. Appreciate the air you are breathing, the sounds you are hearing, the smells. No matter what they are. No judgment, just being. See-ing.
Re-flec-tion. It is the most peaceful word I know. And I don’t have to be sitting alone on my balcony overlooking the Gulf of Thailand to experience it. I don’t have to have all the items on all my lists (I am a next-level, color-coded lister) checked off to hold my warm round coffee mug in my two hands and look out my window or stand in my backyard and gaze upward.
These moments of reflection are essential to our humanness. As is the space they create around me. And if someone tries to interrupt you, it is perfectly fine to say, “Just a moment, I am busy.” And if they have the gall to ask, “Doing what?!” You can calmly and confidently answer, “Reflecting.”
Because these moments are more important than the seasonal family photos (oops, add that to the list!), holiday decorations and New Years preparations. So I am challenging myself (and you) to take moments before, after and in-between all the crinkling wrapping paper, chopped vegetables, cookie dough, candles and pine needles - to do nothing at all but REFLECT.
Each time I do this, my own trust in myself and the world around me grows. And the feeling that I must try and fit too many things into too few places falls away, as does the feeling that I have to squish any parts of myself or my dreams into too small “boxes.”
Save the boxes for the actual gifts. This year, gift yourself and those you love with the presence you claim when you reflect.