I’m unsure where this year went. It feels like just yesterday, my kids and I were filled with much anticipation and excitement for the return of our husband and daddy from his four and a half month deployment in January. And here I sit, with December upon me. There is much that has happened in the space in-between. And with that knowledge, comes an internal freaking out. The pressure to look back and analyze. The pull to look ahead and wonder what the new year will bring. And of course, the reality of all this month holds…programs, parties, events, Christmas, OH MY!! I’ve observed myself looking at the calendar and feeling the anxiety rising in me. But I want to try something different. I want to push the pause button and try on being present. I want to try on not becoming the crazy mom rushing from one thing to the next, missing the beauty and the joy of what is right in front of me.
Stealing Our Presence
It feels as though there is an imaginary shift that occurs when my kids return to school at the end of summer. A switch somewhere in our world’s command center is flipped and the stores begin to prepare for the holiday season, taking our attention away from the present moment. Observing stores with Christmas decorations filling their shelves in August and September brings me a bit of laughter. But when November 1st hits and the radio stations begin to play Christmas music, I find myself taken out. Conversations are no longer about how you’re doing. They become about to-do lists and travel plans. They become about resolutions and whether or not you’ve accomplished your goals for 2019. And if you didn’t, not to worry. There’s still time! It’s not helpful. None of it is. But it’s the culture today. The ‘let’s hurry up and move on to the next great thing’. There is no slow. No pause. No enjoying the present moment. But I want to try. My heart needs me to try.
As the holiday buzz begins to grow, I’m keenly aware of the thoughts and feelings swirling through me: fear, anxiety, and stress. And while there is also a joy and an excitement present, I recognize that my fear, anxiety and stress are holding a larger portion of my being than I would like. I sense the weight of the expectations beginning to lower down onto my shoulders.
- Christmas wish lists for the kids need to be made and distributed to family
- Our Elf on the Shelf comes back soon and he needs to bring pajamas…because that’s what he has done for the past 7 years!
- Are we doing a real tree or a fake tree this year?
- Christmas photo cards need to be ordered
- Where will we be for Christmas this year?
- Will this be my last Christmas with my dad?
- Teacher Gifts
- School Parties
- Family Gifts
- School Programs
- Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties
And if all that is not enough, my three kids celebrate their birthdays within six weeks of each other, a few days into the new year. It’s all too much.
A Moment of Curiosity
As I sit in this tense space with my mind and heart swirling, I become curious. Is it possible for me to NOT carry all of this? To be present during the holiday season? To enjoy the celebration of the greatest gift?
My moment of curiosity provides the opportunity for me to pause. And the pause provides the opportunity for me to breathe deeply. To release everyone and everything. To re-orient myself with my Father and fall deeper in union with Him. The to-do lists and questions do not disappear. However, the fear, anxiety and stress can begin to take their proper place. A greater space is opened up for joy and excitement to fill my being. To walk in lightness as I approach each program, party and event. To be present and embrace the beauty and majesty of Christmas.
Pushing Pause and Choosing Presence
I would love to say that this simple and powerful choice to pause is easy for me. That this simple and powerful choice to release everyone and everything is easy for me. But it’s not. For instance, as I type this, I’m aware that the pajamas I ordered for my kids to receive from their Elf, are likely not going to arrive on time. And for this organized, recovering perfectionist, it is very disruptive. I want to rush to the store and fix it. Instead, I’m choosing to pause…often. My desire is not for my heart to be entangled in trying to create a Hallmark Christmas. Rather, my desire is for my heart to be entangled with the presence of those I love.
Stepping into the final month of the year 2019, I want to invite you to join me in trying something different. Join me in saying YES to pushing the pause button. In saying YES to being present. And guess what? I recently discovered an actual pause button. It’s called the One Minute Pause App and it just might be the most powerful gift we can give to ourselves and to those we love.