When I was a kid, the excitement and build-up to Christmas peaked on Christmas morning when we opened all our presents. And I can remember a sort of let-down after opening my last present. It was over.
What I didn’t realize as a kid actually took me decades to recognize. There was one more gift to open, but this one was different. This one can only be opened when the frenzy and excitement are over. Unfortunately, this gift is often — maybe even usually — overlooked.
The pause after Christmas is a big one. The last week of the year can be an amazing gift, if we consciously take time to open it and explore it carefully. It can be a wonderful time of reflection before diving into a new year with new hopes and expectations. More about this in a minute. . .!
But let’s not forget to enjoy the gift of the small pauses we can experience every day. These small pauses can keep us sane in a world that feels crazy much of the time.
First — how can you recognize these so-important pauses?
Well, these little pauses are like the period at the end of a sentence. Time to take a breath as we finish one thought before starting another.
There is another side to the pause — also a gift to be treasured, but usually unappreciated. This side of the pause is when we can begin to notice when something doesn’t feel right. We may notice that our relationship isn’t as loving as it once was. Or that our job no longer feels meaningful.
When we notice something uncomfortable during this pause, we’re likely to want to cover it up quickly by getting busy again. Our culture doesn’t encourage us to reflect deeply and make adjustments in our lives in order to live in alignment with our deepest values. Our culture values action — keeping busy — climbing the career ladder, making money, winning awards and promotions, and not asking too many questions about whether we are moving in the direction that truly says YES to life.
the Big Pause
So that brings me back to the BIG PAUSE between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
This time is a true gift that is unique to this particular week of the year. As we open this gift carefully, our reflections on the past year can lead us to insights that can guide our choices for the fresh new year.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
(Soren Kierkegaard, 19th century Danish philosopher).
So I invite you to enjoy this gift to the fullest, including the uncomfortable insights about where you may be a bit off-course. Are you heading in the direction you want to go? Or have you forgotten some of the most important things in your life? What adjustments can you make at this juncture to bring your life into alignment with what you truly value?
Are your health and weight where you want them to be?
Are you taking good care of your amazing vehicle that we call our body, which provides us the only way to experience the wonders of being human?
My wish for you is that you take advantage of this pause, open the gift consciously, and move into 2017 with a new commitment to live in a way that says YES to your life in every possible way!
Delisa is a plant-based nutrition and cooking instructor in Alaska. She believes that we are designed to be slim and healthy.