Life happens, and . . .
Have you ever wanted to crawl back into bed before your feet hit the floor? Or have you ever felt like your “to do list” has grown during the night? This morning I felt stressed before I even poured my first cup of hot tea. A black cloud followed me from the bedroom to the kitchen. When my handsome husband, Ron, asked how I slept, I barked, “Not long enough.” I guess he was oblivious to my icy tone because he continued to make attempts at conversation by asking, “What’s your day like?”
“Too much to do and too little time to do it!” I snapped. “I feel like the Little Red Hen this time of year! I buy the presents, I wrap the presents, I decorate the house, I bake the food, I make sure all the family traditions remain intact. I’m exhausted and it’s not even 6:00 a.m.!”
Ron may have been slow on the uptake, but he was beginning to get the picture that I was not in a great mood. I grabbed my cup of tea and attempted to gain a better outlook on my day. Reminding myself that this is supposed to be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” did not seem to help….in fact, I was beginning to feel like I was living “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” I was pretty sure that telling my family we were boycotting Christmas was not an option. I didn’t think disappearing was going to work either. I was contemplating whether the flu could be a viable alternative when I had a faint recollection of a principle we teach at The Hollister Institute: The quality of your life is directly related to the quality of your questions. If you want a better result, ask a better question.
I had been asking myself questions like: “How am I going to survive this holiday?”, “How many more days until this season is over?”, “I wonder if my family would notice if I didn’t finish wrapping their Christmas gifts?” or better yet, “Is it too late to resign my job as holiday coordinator?”
These questions were clearly not serving me. As I poured myself another cup of tea, I realized I had fallen into the trap of Either/Or thinking. This subtle saboteur robs us of abundance by feeding a scarcity mindset. It feeds the belief that we have a limited amount of resources available at any given time. During the holiday season, we are often tempted to buy into the lie that we must choose to either be frantic and rushed or slow down and enjoy the holidays. With this mindset, we not only miss out on enjoying the holidays, we miss out on our lives.
Successful people have conditioned themselves to ask, “How can I accomplish my task and have fun doing it?” They have developed the “muscle” of Both/And Thinking.
So, I decided to ask myself a better question: “How can I create holiday memories for my family and enjoy the process?”
I immediately felt my energy shift. Instead of dreading my day, my creative juices began to flow. I took a deep breath and got on the treadmill. Exercise always shifts my energy.
Next, I clarified my intention. My ultimate intention was to enjoy my family and create memories. With this clear intention I was able to cross things off my list that were not in alignment with my intention. I put on my favorite Pandora Christmas station and prioritized the rest of my list. In a short amount of time I was able to devise a game plan that actually felt manageable.
I began to chant, “I have an abundance of time and energy”, and felt a smile starting at the corners of my mouth as I found myself humming Christmas Carols.
It’s amazing how small shifts in our thinking can move us from frustration to anticipation and even enjoyment. With Both/And thinking, you may surprise yourself by smiling and humming Christmas Carols while you wish store clerks “Happy Holidays” and mean it!
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