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Finding the Joy

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” -Rumi

It’s December 5th and this is your reminder that you now have 20 days to finish up your shopping!!! Ugggg – how much do I dread hearing that? Since when did Christmas feel like such a chore?

Truth is, Christmas was never and should never be a chore! The retail industry has us all wired to believe in everything BUT Santa and the true magic of Christmas. But maybe all is not lost….I was reminded of that magic just the other night by the look on my one-year-old’s face as he watched Santa Claus repel down a building and fireworks shoot high into the sky. The awe and wonder on his face said it all – and it was at that moment that I remembered how important it is to find the joy.

Find the joy – easy, right? Perhaps for some – a few Christmas Carols and sipping hot chocolate on a cold night will put you right back to the excitement we felt as kids. But for others, the joy takes a little more effort. For me, especially this year, finding the joy has been tough. After losing my brother earlier this year, diving into the holiday spirit hasn’t been something easy to embrace. When you lose someone you love, you become acutely aware that time is truly a gift. I know I can’t bring my brother back, but I can honor him every day by ensuring that my journey is filled with people and experiences that make my heart sing.

Life is so busy and more than not, we allow the busy to take over and become short sighted by what’s on the to do list. So I’m offering a challenge – find a few moments (or more) over the next several weeks, forget about your to do list and try to find the joy….

It all starts within yourself. I am learning that you cannot receive joy if your mind is bogged down with a million things. So, close your eyes, quiet your mind, and just be. Remember, your presence is present enough – it really is. Be present. Live in this moment.

Tune out the noise of your cell phone dinging with emails – and tune into the noise in your living room – the pitter patter of bare feet running around; the rustling of your pup getting comfy on your couch; your husband’s cheers at the television during Sunday football.

Try approaching your holiday shopping with your heart, instead of your to-do list! What would happen if you chose the gift of time over the cashmere sweater? Time would win over and over again. Trick is that we have to choose to make the time - but once you do, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few ideas - hop in the car one night and go see all the houses in your home town lit up to celebrate Santa’s impending arrival. Bake your favorite holiday cookies and fill your house with the smells of your childhood. Invite your closest friends over for brunch. Go ice skating at your local rink. Take a trip to the movies to see your favorite holiday classic – or just spend an afternoon at home on the couch with your favorite people and a bag of microwave popcorn (extra butter of course)! You will quickly be reminded that giving the gift of time is so much more valuable than anything you could buy at the store.

If you are like me, sometimes we need a little extra reminding - I like to put up notes in locations around my house that I go to frequently. You could put them on your bathroom mirror, in the refrigerator, on the your desk, in your car... you get the idea. Here are a few reminders I plan to post this year: Quiet your mind and open your heart. Begin each day with a grateful heart. Count your blessings, they are everywhere. Make the time. Believe. Find the joy.

Wishing you much joy this holiday season.

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