How to Create Presence throughout the Year
This time of year is one of my favorites because there just seems to be a level of excitement, anticipation, and jolliness that I don’t sense throughout the rest of the year. People are more likely to say, “Hello,” when we pass on the street. Charitable donations and projects skyrocket. We find the time for family, loved ones of all kinds, and sharing more meals together. We move away from a scarcity of time (there are use-it-or-lose-it vacation days after all), and, in many circles, the abundance of love, food, and fellowship creates so much joy. Do you notice that too?
Then New Year’s Day comes. We think about our resolutions, returning to work, new school semesters, new budget years, new operational plans, and the hecticness kicks back in. Within the first two weeks the vast majority of us have already dropped our resolutions and the swirl of chaos begins again in our lives. Here are some questions I’ve been pondering this week:
- What if we carried the joy of the holidays throughout the year?
- As we transition into the new year, what do I want to be different next year?
- What if our generosity of spirit dictated our time instead franticness, scarcity, and overwhelm?
During the last two months of the year, charities see a large increase of donated time and money. Of course, as we feel generous and others’ generosity, we naturally want to share what we have with more people. As we re-enter our normal schedules though, much of this abundance seems to fall away so we can get our own things done: kids’s lessons and sports, carpooling, grocery shopping, returning that horrible sweater and matching pants, tasks, to-do’s, projects, t.v. shows, Facebook stalking.
As I write this my own mind is swirling about the things I need to accomplish today and next week to launch 2015 with purpose and intent (oh yeah . . . and buy groceries, fix a piece of artwork, patch paint, relax, see that new Hunger Games movie, etc. ad nauseum).
The thing is: our task list is never going to be finished. We can keep distracting ourselves from our real work with this other stuff, but our souls are hungry for connection and something with meaning (which can’t be found on Facebook or at the mall). So instead of thinking of a New Year’s resolution for yourself, what if you created one that benefited others?
If you’re the planning type, like me, what if you created a monthly project that benefited someone else?
- Have you thought about what those who are homeless need in January and February?
- How could Spring Break be relaxing and rewarding? What if you helped build a home in Nicaragua, instead of just laying on a beach?
- Who comes to visit lonely seniors in the nursing home in June? (It could be you!)
- There are parents of children with special needs. Could you offer a day of respite for them?
Joy equals compassion plus focus. Instead of creating a resolution that you will probably temporarily focus on and then forget about or feel guilty about, find something that connects you to others in a meaningful way. How can you commit to finding joy by connecting with others?
Here’s how I’m going to start my New Year. I invite you to join me. Would you post your ideas below so we can all be more creative?