I'd like to start by saying that Christmas is one of my favourite times of year!
The happy feeling you get by sharing a greeting of "Merry Christmas" to friends and strangers alike
But one thing has been escaping me the last few Christmases.
The quiet moments of reflection
The settled evenings by the fire
The just being together with the people I love without an agenda of program or presents
So a few weeks ago, I had an idea. Instead of trying to juggle my daily agenda to be able to squeeze in one more important "to do" item, I was going to daily try to do one thing less than I would have otherwise done. I am forever struggling with wanting to do "just one more thing".
Look at one more store
Wipe off one more counter
Put away a few more papers
Pick up a few more things at the grocery store
Put in one more load of laundry before I leave
Send out one more email
Make one more batch of cookies
Sometimes the "one more thing" would end up meaning that I'd lost the big picture and didn't have time for what I most wanted - the quiet moment with a book, a song, or a friend. In my attempts to make my environment suitable for having a perfect moment, I would miss out on what I was creating the mood for - the main event of peace and a full heart.
Well as the saying goes, if you want things to turn out differently you have to start by doing things differently. So I made the decision to let my mind make the list of the things I "needed" to do, and then take one thing off. My first reaction was panic - like the world as I knew it was going to be in disarray and I wouldn't be able to shut off my sense of disappointment with not accomplishing my list.
But as it turns out, doing one thing less has led to a greater sense of joy and peace. I've had a bit of tongue-in-cheek laughter over just "lowering your standards" if things start getting beyond your ability to control, but the truth is that sometimes my standards got in the way of my heart's true satisfaction. No amount of fresh cookies or striving for a perfectly clean home ever made my heart feel content like spending an evening with my husband, or putting my feet up and curling up with a good book, or having a fire in the fireplace with a cup of tea in my hand while listneing to my kids playing the piano. Or just reading the Christmas cards that come to our home from friends and family far and near and taking the time to send a note back.
So many good things call for my attention each day. So many things I thought I'd like to have done. But choosing to do one thing less has helped me to feel like I actually have done more of what matters. Seems so simple.