Sometimes despite the best of intentions real life takes over. I’ve been silent in cyberspace for nearly a fortnight as real-world events took precedence over the virtual world. I try to post only when I find something interesting to share or to write about, and can take the time to make it worth my time and yours; but we all know those times when our energy and concentration power are required by more pressing events or situations, and so I hope you’ll pardon me for having been silent.
With Christmas approaching, perhaps your thoughts are turning toward the season of giving, of slowing down to spend time with friends and family, and perhaps it’s also a time of contemplation about the past year and the future: What would you change if you could? How can you move forward and learn from mistakes or challenges, and take positive steps to see things change for the better in the coming year? I don’t mean New Year’s Resolutions; those rarely hold for more than a week or two, because they are purely decisions of the head, and if our hearts are not in agreement with those choices, it’s only a matter of time before they fall flat. If it’s a decision of both head and heart, why wait until the New Year? The old adage holds true: “We cannot be guided unless we are moving.” The greatest journey begins with the first step, followed by the next, and the next… eventually we’ll arrive at our goal, but only if we step out first.
I recently watched a TED talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast, of the Gratefulness movement; for him one of the keys to finding moments of gratefulness in everyday life is to “Stop. Look. Go.”: To pause in our hectic lives and take a moment to smell the roses; to open our senses to the world around us and become grateful for the things we take for granted, such as clean, flowing water on tap (even cold and hot), or for the roof over our heads. The more we look around, the more we’ll find to be grateful for. The “Go” part of that equation is to act on that gratefulness – passing it on to those around us. Positivity and smiles are contagious, and they are magnets that draw people; negativity and scowls are also contagious, but they will repel and isolate us. We all have times of trials, difficulties and challenges; how we choose to face them decides whether they master us, or serve us. One example from my own life was this past summer, described in the article, “I got Staffa’d“; I chose to be grateful in the midst of it, and it made it much easier to master it.
Whatever you’ve got planned over the coming weeks, I’d encourage you to take a moment to stop, look and then go; become aware of things in your life to be grateful for, look around and see how you can bless others, and move forward with a fresh awareness of the beauty of life.
Ps. If you’d like some ideas for advent calendar- and stocking-stuffers, click here.