This is probably our busiest holiday season yet. Everyone we work with has holiday deadlines, but this year has been EXTRA CRAZY. The aftermath of Irma? Maybe. I’ll get back to you on that.
Nevertheless, the speed at which Philip and I must move in order to keep everything juggled picks up significantly this time of year. And in order to accommodate the increased speed, I have to allow myself some flexibility with my normal, sanctuary-filled routine.
So while there is a lot of rushing to get things done before deadlines and holidays approach, I still need that space, that room to breathe. Just because the demands on my time are high, that doesn’t mean I don’t still need sanctuary.
In fact, I need it a little more. And I’ll bet you do too.
To keep my center, here’s a few quick tips I use to keep sanctuary in my life for those times when it feels like the pace of my world is approaching the speed of light.
1. Working at your desk? Light a candle.
This is simple – a super easy, sanctuary NOW kind of thing. I know a lot of people who have a candle at their desk, but never actually light it. Darken that wick! Put it where you can see it, out of the way of stray paperwork, but somewhere close to your line of sight.
This is a subtle reminder to your subconscious mind that you are choosing to honor yourself.
In the rush of this time of year, everybody wants something soon. Everybody has a deadline for you so they can meet theirs. It’s easy to promise something in the moment that you aren’t quite prepared to deliver, whether at home or at work.
This candle is a reminder of your intention to honor yourself and your boundaries. Light it and remember.
2. Remember that this won’t last. Nothing lasts.
These crazy times won’t go on forever. This too shall pass. It will calm down. But sometimes we just have to hang on through the wild part of the ride.
But the other side of that coin is that the moment you are in right now will never come to you again. You might not get to see your little girl at this particular age, lit by this particular winter sun ever again. You will never BE in this exact moment in time again. This is your chance to be in it. Don’t pass it up.
I try to remember, as I’m moving through my day, that it takes no longer to be present than it does to be lost in the past or the future. I try not to miss the little gifts that life is giving me right now.
3. Honor the messages your body is sending you.
If it’s 11:30 at night and you’re still wrapping gifts or answering emails when that wave of exhaustion overtakes you, listen to that. Your body is telling you what you need. Go to bed. Tomorrow is another day.
Are you drinking enough water? Are you skipping meals? Listen to to those messages your body is sending, and honor your intention of self-care. Mom, if you are reading this, I really was listening when you told me this over, and over…and over…
4. Examine and be ready to release your expectations.
Meals. Gifts. Family gatherings. Year-end financial reports. So many of the things that happen this time of year are prime targets for us to hang our expectations upon. It’s an easy way to complicate things and set ourselves up for disappointment. Do you do this? Yeah. Me neither.
But as it turns out, in my world things rarely go as planned. My expectations so often are based on a billion things I cannot control. So I encourage you to look deep and see where your expectations lie, and then do the work to consciously release them. That release always allows me to enjoy the experience I’m actually having, and not get hung up on whatever it is that might have been.
Allow the holidays to have their own flow, because they do have one. And if you forget, believe me, the holidays will remind you.
5. As soon as you can, get back to spending time in your sanctuary.
During my busiest weeks, the minute I can, I get back to journaling — it’s always the first thing that slips by the wayside. I pick back up with my meditation, lay out my yoga mat and regularly take some time to create again. I find when I’m on the lookout for time to care for my soul, it involves adding these practices back into my daily routine.
If you would like a boost in getting your sanctuary practice up and running, I’d love to offer you a little support. My class “Seven Days to Sanctuary” is nearly ready, and if you’re subscribed, you’ll get a special invitation. I have so many delicious things to share with you — don’t miss it!
This topic reminds me of an oft-repeated story of uncertain origin about Mahatma Gandhi. Told he had a busy day ahead of him, he said that if he had twice as much to accomplish, he would need to meditate twice as long.
I have to admit that I’m not quite there, yet. But by bringing a little sanctuary with me through these crazy days, I get a little closer.
Sending my love and gratitude and best wishes for a joyous holiday season,