Do less, accomplish more

Making plans for a joyful and memorable holiday season is nothing new for me. The dogs have taken up residence in front of the fireplace instead of the cool kitchen floor, and I’m in the full seasonal swing of things just like years past.

What has changed is the way I choose to prepare for and celebrate the holidays. In order to do this I had to question some pretty deep-rooted beliefs.

Beliefs are tricky. Sometimes they show up disguised as tradition. I’m as big a fan of tradition as the next person, but it’s not always harmless or in service of those of us who continue to pass it down. How many times have I done things a certain way, whether I find them in alignment with my heart or not, just because tradition says so? Simply put, too many.

Thinking about how I want to do the holidays this year has been a powerful reminder that any given moment is an opportunity to crack my beliefs wide open, acknowledge how they’ve served me in the past, and then give them a loving kiss on their way out the door.

The first belief I kissed goodbye was the one that said doing more would lead to accomplishing more.

The idea of doing less to accomplish more is new for me. For example, when planning for the holidays this year, I asked myself the question: “How would they look, feel and taste if they came from my heart’s desires, rather than from a sense of obligation?”

The answer rang through clear as a bell.  They would feel spacious and relaxed, nourishing and a heck of a lot more joyful. They would look elegant, simple and beautiful. They would taste like a fine box of chocolates with a rich filling infused with love.

I would have plenty of time to get everything done while singing fa la la la la.

For most of us, the thought of slowing down during the holidays sounds as realistic as the kids waiting to get up after sunrise on Christmas morning. By doing less, however, accomplishing more is not only possible – it’s more likely to happen if you have set the intention to do so.

And no, the kids still won’t wait until sunrise to wake up. But you’ll find it more endearing because you won’t have just barreled through Thanksgiving and Christmas at a breakneck pace. You were wise: you took time to breathe. You took time to create time.

Sounds odd I know. Creating time. Let me explain…

I’ve been reading Gay Hendricks’ book The Big Leap. He explains a perspective from which we are creators time and authors of what we fill it with.  In other words: we DECIDE how we experience time.

In the beginning I was skeptical too. “I have so much to do that I won’t really be able to relax and feel nourished through the holidays,” was the belief the doubting voice in my mind repeated like a broken record. Again and again. You know the drill.

But I’m an experimenter at heart, the possibilities were appealing, and after all, I had nothing to lose. And a whole lot of time and space to gain.  So for several weeks I put Mr. Hendricks’ theory to the test. I dedicated time each day to meditation and reading. I focused on just a few select tasks per day.  I spent more time with the people I love.

You know what?  I’ve had time for everything on my list, plus the things I had formerly categorized as “luxuries” but were actually vital to my happiness.  I find myself glancing at the clock in disbelief as it reveals how much time left I have to enjoy my day! Ha! I want to rename this the “miracle theory”!

I also learned that there were a few things on my list that were there because I believed they were necessary. Once I slowed down and got in tune with my inner compass, I came to the conclusion that they weren’t so necessary after all.  As I cut them from the list, I immediately felt a sense of lightness that comes from bound energy being freed up.  I imagined beautiful opportunities such as a weekend getaway and special moments with my husband and children.

All this was revelatory. All this was true.

Through those weeks I used this powerful mantra several times a day from Mr. Hendricks’ book:

“I expand in abundance, success, and love while inspiring others around me to do the same.”

I  allowed the words to sink into my consciousness every day, and sure enough, and my life got a whole lot more spacious. My days have become more relaxed, focused and fulfilling, and in them I’ve found plenty of time to do necessary tasks while staying present and being loving and supportive of those around me.

All of these blessings gave birth to a simple shift in perspective about the holidays: it is possible to prepare, celebrate and honor them in a way that is in alignment with my heart.  When I allow time for myself to go inward and restore my connection to my own breath and desires, my outer expressions of creativity and inspiration get bigger and brighter too.

In practical terms, I felt a big energy shift around holiday chores like menu planning, gift lists and decorating.  The best way to say it is I went from “I have to… “ to “I get to…”

As 2014 comes to a close, I invite you to join me in cracking open the beliefs that no longer serve your deepest joy and thriving.  Lay fresh tracks for the ones that do.  Give yourself and others the gift of your heart as you authentically celebrate the holidays in the way that only you can. When the cultural force of tradition asks you to hand over your heart’s desires, remember the wisdom of Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken!”

Keep in touch. Let me know how it goes for you. As the mantra from Gay Hendricks implies, we are here inspire each other.

With great devotion to our wholeness and happiness,

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