If your first inclination is to shrug off the possibility of simplicity and stillness during this time of 'tis the season, you're not alone. If you are thinking that exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed are more likely, fair enough.
Perhaps you find yourself just "pushing through," making your lists and checking them constantly. Looking toward the promise of some peace and some space, sometime beyond the holidays.
And yet ...
What if sprinkled everywhere amidst the frenzy there are moments of pure stillness and natural simplicity? What if the peace and space is always there - even during holiday parties and family gatherings, shopping and decorating, cooking and cleaning, bundling up and shoveling out?
Deepak Chopra shares, "In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."
It can seem as if the demands and busyness take over and squeeze out any hope of stillness and simplicity, let alone the deep contentment they make possible. At times like these, even moments of great beauty and joy are often under-savored, distracted as we are by the hustle and bustle.
Yet there can be stillness and simplicity within a full life and even within a demanding time of life. We needn't surrender to one at the price of the other. Stillness makes the full life fuller. Simplicity makes space, time and heart for the demands to soften into promising possibilities.
This stillness and simplicity are far more available inside and around us than we think - even and especially during life's most hectic and stressful moments. You might experiment with accessing your own stillness and simplicity this season in the following ways ...
- Incline with Intention
Consider inclining toward some stillness and simplicity with an intention for the day. "When you set your intention, it sets the compass of your heart and your psyche," as Jack Kornfield reminds us.
- Sense into your own stillness
When you find yourself sitting still - in a meeting, at a stop light, at a meal -sense the stillness in your body, heart and mind. You may also see whether you notice any simplicity in the moment.
- Turn it off and let the simple silence in
Experiment with turning off the radio, the news, the music for 5-10 minutes each day. Choose one stretch of your commute or your errand-running and notice the stillness and simplicity within and around you.
- Know you are breathing
When you get in the car or just before you get out of the car (or both!), take one natural breath, sensing the body's simple in-breath and simple out-breath.
- Drop one thing from your list
Consider whether there is one thing on your to-do list - including your mental to-do list - that you can delete. Play with erasing it from your list as entirely as you can.
- Slow down
Notice when you are rushing and see what it's like to slow down even 10%. Bring some attention to the sensation of slowing down, noticing what happens in the chest, stomach, jaw, eyes, throat and hands.
- Notice when you're stirred up
When you find yourself whipped up into a worry or a hurry, see if you can tune in to the sounds around you for a few minutes, listening mindfully.