Giving Yourself the Gift of
Time for the Holidays
busy time of year doesn’t have to be, you know--it’s your choice and
mine how many activities we will plan and commit ourselves to during
this month. Recently a
friend told me how she applied an idea from the chapter
“Overcommitting Our Time” in The
Practical Peacemaker. Time
pressure “shatters our ability to act peacefully,” the chapter
reminds us, but simple living can increase our awareness of how and when
we overschedule ourselves. “We
need to forget what we feel we ‘ought’ to do and concentrate on
activities—or lack of them—that will permit us a saner life . . .
Once we have freed our lives of meaningless activities, we learn to
allow more time for each task than we think it will take, so that if
something unexpected does come up, we can still be calm and unruffled,
and get everything necessary done.”
friend said that her brother had come for a Thanksgiving visit. She
had not looked forward to his visit, because on previous occasions they
had been stressful. She
realized after reading the chapter that she had always planned many
activities when he was in town, feeling that she needed to be constantly
entertaining him. Once she
was able to see her behavior clearly, she could change it, and change it
she did. During this
year’s visit she made far fewer plans, allowing plenty of unscheduled
time at home with him. For
example, they could spend a morning taking their time over breakfast and
reminiscing, instead of dashing off somewhere.
She said it made a huge difference; both of them enjoyed their
time together much more, and were relaxed and happy at the end of it.
They look forward to their next visit.
you doing too much this month? It’s
definitely tempting, with invitations to social gatherings coming thick
and fast, and our tendency to want preparations for family get-togethers
to be just right. As
practical peacemakers, we do well to think carefully about our
participation in these activities. Could
you see some of your friends after the holidays when the pace is slower,
and maybe skip one party this weekend?
Could you enjoy making two or three kinds of Christmas cookies
instead of six? Does the
entire house have to be decorated? Could
you cut shopping time by buying less for family members, thus saving
money and benefiting the environment, and spend that saved time actually
enjoying the company of those family members?
May you find peace in the midst of activity this holiday season.