Wholeness Healing Today

Reflect and Deliberate this Holiday Season

Yes, it is true. The holiday season is fast approaching, once again. It seems like only a few weeks ago . . . life seems to evaporate as the years play out. And, perhaps, it is precisely because life moves by so quickly that we need to take some time to reflect before moving into this time. Reflect and deliberate.

The dictionary defines reflect in the following manner: “3. to think seriously, carefully, and relatively calmly. 4. To have a relatively complex thought that may or may not be voiced.” Deliberate is defined as “1. Intentional: carefully thought out and done intentionally. 2. Careful: slow, careful, and methodical.”

So let’s take some time, a moment or two, to stop and consider this. Would it really matter if we were reflective and deliberate before we embarked into the holiday season? It may seem as if we have little choice in how the holidays play out. We hit the door running with November starting the countdown and we land exhausted on the couch on New Year’s Day. It is as if life just happens to us. In our scurry we may miss that moment with Grandma Jean or partaking in the laughter at the table as we try to serve the food we spent all night preparing. Or we can’t sleep due to the stress of how we are going to buy all the gifts on the wish list from our family so find ourselves in less than a cheerful mood. But does life really just “happen” to us, or do we have some choices in how we live it?

Deliberate and reflect. Intentional. Carefully thought out. Relatively calmly. We do have some choices.

As we consider this, reflect, think about what might be different if you set the intention to guide what you want for this season. Reflecting seems important before we deliberate. Reflecting on previous years’ holidays will give us information on what we do or do not want for this year. Identifying those moments that mattered most will help us prepare our set intention. To deliberate seems a bit harsh in the carefree, joyful moments of the holiday season. But it is only with intention that we will get where we want to go. We have to know the goal before we can reach it. And being deliberate will mean that we move into the time with intention, knowing where we want to go during these holidays. So this would mean moving into the season with careful, relatively calm, intentionally thought-out actions.

I do know that if I were to take the time to think about what I want, it would pave the way and guide me in the process of how I want my holidays to play out. I may not know the specifics of what may play out, but I could be deliberate about making sure I have that conversation with my mother or father, or spending a bit more time catching up with a sibling whom I don’t see often. Or even being open to the people who might cross my path because of the holidays, making sure I am impeccable with them, giving them just what I myself would want. Politeness, even friendliness, cheerfulness, and patience – be deliberate.

One intention I set up regularly, holiday season or not, is to live with no regret. For me this means that I live with the intention that at the end of the day, I will feel I did my best, took the most advantage of my moments, and was present with those about whom I care. It may be a lofty goal, but it still remains my daily intention as I journey through life. And this holiday season will be no different. After all, it is in these moments, when we are intentional enough to capture, and deliberate enough to enjoy, that our hearts are filled. And, it is here that we find satisfaction in our holiday times.

Since we are lucky enough to start our holidays with Thanksgiving, we may want to use this as our springboard through the rest of the holidays. Thanksgiving can help us set our intention as we spend our day around the theme of gratitude. This invites reflection as we consider our blessings. The spirit of gratitude is miraculous. It has the capacity to shift us into a place of joy. We might use these moments as the touchstone for the rest of the season. Anchor them by writing your gratitude list down in your journal to share with others during the season, or use them to reflect and help recall what matters most when you get caught in the scurry.

This Thanksgiving we will be hosting the “turkey” dinner at our home for the first time. It is a bit of a break in tradition from gathering at my parents’ home, but it will be fun to open our home to family and have them here. Reflection is not something I have difficulty with. I am always a bit sentimental during Thanksgiving, probably because the day, itself, calls us to think about what we are grateful for in our life. It sets the stage for sharing with those we love. There is something about verbalizing this during the family moments. But my challenge will come from being the host of the large gathering, staying relatively calm, being intentional in my moments, moving slowly, and being deliberate. The busyness is one of the culprits that can steal our moments and then the time, the moment, can be lost – never to be enjoyed.

And we may not accomplish our goal entirely. But we can set the pace. We can make decisions based on our goals, cut down on extras that will take a piece of our energy away from our intentions, and set it up so we can enjoy the people in our life. Because at the end of the holiday season, as we sit on the couch reflecting on the New Year coming, we want to make sure we took advantage of the moments we were given during this season. We never know what the next season may bring.

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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