I found myself in a cranky pre-season mood the other day and I diagnosed myself with the stress-of-the-Christmas-season blues. I think I may have just concocted a cure. Quiet time, and service to others. Recommended dose? One time daily.
The other day on the radio I heard that as a society we spend over 80 percent more time taking in information in one form or another (TV, computer, cell phones, emails, etc) than we did just 40 yrs ago. All this uptake of information isn't necessarily good. We need to make time for silence. One caller pointed out that Einstein used to take long quiet walks to reflect on the deep things he was thinking about. I thought to myself, now that seems like a good idea! It's just that as a mother of 5 I find quiet time a bit hard to come by. I am always thinking of what stuff needs to be done and I can't really sit still for long without feeling guilt. But like I said, I had this cranky day and I needed to think about how to make the next one better. I am a repentant person generally, and if I can make things better I will try. So after a long day of decorating the house for Christmas I decided to just sit back and admire my handiwork for a spell. I sat there for over 15 minutes just taking in the pretty mantel in my banana rocking chair on the floor. Someone called me and I ignored. I thought of something I needed to do, but brushed it aside. Middle Boy came down and we had a nice chat. I just stared into the twinkle lights on the mini-trees. Then in my stillness came the idea to do something nice for my grumpy oldest teenager. Melt his cold winter heart a bit. So I enlisted the help of my two youngest girls who are always up for some niceness. We decorated a one foot white plastic tree that we had sitting in a box and we placed it secretly on the desk in his room. We propped up with orthodontic wax under one side since it's missing one of it's legs. Then we excitedly waited for him to be surprised. It was fun. He really did like it I think. Although, with teens it's hard to tell sometimes. All I know is that he has been more charming to me ever since.
And since that day I have managed to find (at least one time a day) time to reflect and do nothing. And in that time I usually think about what I can do that day (however small) to serve another person. I find this is helping my perspective on the season to be much more in focus. And just so you won't think me a bragging patron saint of service I will divulge that today my act of service was to not lose it with my 3 year old when she had a mega tantrum about her hairdo minutes before we had to be out the door this morning. I just walked away and let her scream her "I hate Moms" at me from afar. As it turned out, she managed to turn her frown upside down much sooner than usual. And we weren't even late for school : )
Fa la la la la la la la la!