Is it the calm before the storm? Holidays can be much like weddings or other large events, as we spend a lot of time, energy and money making plans for a great celebration with family and friends. I hope that you have really taken time to focus on what kind of celebration you want and planned accordingly so that you and your family will have many memories to review in years to come. It’s so easy to become stressed over what we don’t have done, so remember that the joy of the season isn’t the “stuff”, but the spiritual focus and celebration with family and friends. I’d like to challenge you to be “mindful” for the next few days, to really be present in the moment of the hustle and bustle by:
*Listening to the sounds around you---it may be music, it may be children’s laughter or other’s conversation. It could be the cooks in the kitchen or the new toys as children discover more about them. It might be the quiet after the day’s activities have slowed down or your favorite music. The point is, just listen to what’s going on around you.
*Enjoying the smells- the scent of the tree or candles, the aroma of your favorite food cooking or as you pass it around the table. Maybe it’s the crisp newly fallen snow, or the fresh air outside on a walk around the block. Wherever you are, just pause to smell what’s around you, and savor the moment.
*Pausing to really enjoy the flavors—we’ve planned and prepared for weeks, we’ve been in a hurry to get it all done. Don’t rush through the meal or gathering by eating quickly too. How does the food really taste, what do you like or dislike about the flavor? Really relish the moment of flavor and textures as you enjoy the special recipes of the season.
*Paying attention to the little things that make the sights enjoyable. Maybe it’s the lights or color of the decorations or a specific flower arrangement. It could be the church steeple against the sky, or even the stars on a clear night or even the children performing in a program. Or maybe it’s sharing with people you only see once a year. Whatever the occasion, just pause, and absorb the moment in your mind’s eye so you can reflect on it at a later time.
A lesson I learned this year, was to be more aware of the world around me and to appreciate the little things. It’s called, being mindful. It’s allowed me to enjoy the simple moments in life and brought great joy as I reflect back on them. I hope to share more with you through the next year, but until then may each of you enjoy the sights and sounds of the season with your family and friends. From all of us here in the Wayne County Extension Office, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Wonderful New Year!