The Christmas Blog

I thought perhaps a “Christmas” Blog was in order, so I’m just putting my blogs regarding the 10 Resilience Building Blocks on hold until the new year.

When considering what to write, I thought that I would reflect on the year past as this seems to be the theme of Christmas blogs I’ve been reading.

My friend Max brought up 2 really good points today….

“Why do we wait until the end of the year to reflect on our lives?” and “Why do we only make new resolutions on January 1st?”

The things which pop into mind as I ponder these questions…….are more questions!

Should we be dedicating more time to what’s happening in our lives as they are happening, not at the end of the year?

Is there really only one day of the year when a new resolution is valid/ will magically work?

So, I see that one of these activities takes us back to the past and one launches us into the future. We’re not in the present.

Should we be more present in our own lives?

Being “present” has been quite the topic this year. Even though I’m veering away from the Resilience Building Blocks, being in the present moment is a vital resilience building tool. Being present can be explained as focusing on the task at hand, fully.

So, for the sake of raising my awareness regarding being present, I’m going to do a bit of reflection…

When I have been in conversations with people, have I been fully present? Did I truly focus 100% on what was being said or did I drift off a little bit and miss something important that person may have been trying to share with me?

I have often found myself so pressed for time that I’ve been multitasking (sometimes, not too successfully). Spreading myself thin, so to speak, and then finding that the tasks I have been trying to complete aren’t really to my satisfaction.

I think about how often I sit and read, finish a paragraph and realise that I didn’t take in what I had just read.

I read an interesting article about being present and it’s relationship to being resilient. The author spoke of being grounded, centred and connected. These three exercises will make a big difference to how you deal with various things in your life. He states that over time your communications will be clearer, your relationships will be improved and your problem solving skills will also improve. As a result of all this, you will have a greater sense of personal enjoyment and satisfaction. That helps build resilience.

This all makes good sense to me and here’s some quick tips…

  1. Grounding - the easiest way to do this is to go to your local park/ gardens or beach and whip off those socks and shoes people! Walk around and really dig your toes into that beautiful lush grass or the lovely warm sand. I remember reading somewhere that one of the worst things to happen to humans was the invention of rubber shoe soles as they prevent us from grounding. And let’s not forget Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. When he was in a quandary, he went to the nearby park, took off his socks and shoes and walked around on the grass working on his solution. :)

  2. Centering - this is an exercise which is a work in progress for me. I, like many people, suffer from a busy or noisy mind. Meditation, for those of you who are skilled at this beautiful practice is a perfect way to centre yourself. For those of us who struggle a little, the following exercise is very beneficial and a great step towards practising meditation. Just give yourself 3 minutes to begin with and then gradually increase over a period of time. Set a timer for yourself. Find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Begin breathing deeply and focus on your breath in and out. Notice if the breath is in your belly or your chest as they rise and fall. Notice your breath moving in and out of your nostrils. Keep focusing on your breath and if thoughts or distractions keep popping into your head, then just acknowledge them and return your focus to your breath.

  3. Connecting - I think this is where people struggle a bit sometimes. Sit with someone and give them 100% of your attention. Don’t look at your phone or other people around you. Just really listen to what he/ she is saying and understand it. I can tell you from personal experience, there is no faster way to give someone the impression that you don’t care about what they are saying or going through than if you ask them a question, then turn your attention elsewhere when they answer. Ouch :(

For those of you with younger children, going back to my previous blog about safe, nurturing care; what better way to foster connections and let the kids know that they can count on you as their solid person, allowing them a secure attachment, than giving them 100% of your attention every now and again. We all know that it’s not possible all of the time, but now over the Christmas break, when there’s no more weekend sports commitments or music lessons or drama classes, take a time-out.

So, here’s my favourite Christmas recipe this year! Notice I’ve included the Christmas fashion of the times also (sans footwear!)

We’ve got some great weather ahead. Pack a picnic, head to the nearest park, leave your phone in the car or in the picnic basket and just connect. Listen to each other without distraction and understand what’s going on in your lives. Get to know each other again without the stress and “crazy” of everyday school/ work life. Don’t forget to take off your socks and shoes while you’re at it!

Finally, I know that there are a lot of people out there who get really stressed at Christmas time. Family feuds/ disagreements are common reasons. Just remember this life is quite short and you have the ability to have compassion, understanding and love for someone without agreeing with their points of view.

What’s more important, the relationship or being right?

Let’s not wait until a certain day to reflect on our lives and make resolutions. Let’s be mindful everyday of what’s going on in our lives. If something needs working on, then just do it. There are plenty of options for help in achieving a harmonious life. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Thank you so much for following my blogs. My next one will be in January. Keep an eye out for Resilience Building Block number 4 - Plenty of Play (which is what we should be doing over Christmas!)

I wish all of you a truly wonderful Christmas and may 2019 bring you joy, love and most of all…………. Peaceful Hearts :)