I watched a friend making herself crazy yesterday by piling up more than she could ever deal with and insisting it all had to be done before Dec 31. Why? So she could begin the new year free of old to-do’s. She does this every year: starting mind-November, she begins to make lists; then a week before Christmas, she works from 6am until midnight trying to take care of everything on that list. She never makes it, because before Dec 31, she ends up burning out, exhausted in body and mind, disappointed in herself. Feeling like a failure on the first day of the New Year.
She sets herself up like this every year, and we her friends watch her burn out.
This happens to a lot of us. It doesn’t have to be Christmas; it can be the week before vacation, or before a family visit. It doesn’t matter, even if we don’t go to the extremes my friend does, most of us “prepare” for a meaningful event in our lives by rushing around. It may be that the things on our list should have been done – and would have had we not procrastinated; but our panic reaction only adds to the bad vibes instead of reducing them.
Sometimes getting busy is a way of avoiding what we know we need to do. Hard as it may feel, we’ll feel better about the New Year if we focus on what is meaningful about it and how we can add to that meaning in preparation. What is it we want for our lives? And what can we do today that will feed that desire and help manifest it?
Viktor Frankl wrote a lot about meaning. He felt that having and maintaining meaning in our every day lives is essential for life. He had the misfortune of spending much of WW II in Auschwitz, and he survived largely through maintaining this attitude with every thing that happened.
Frankl called this desire we have our “mental child”, and if we nourish it, it grows and thrives, filling our lives with joy. In the face of such joy, even suffering changes into something worthwhile – if it’s in service to our “mental child”.
So this Holiday Season, as you prepare for the New Year, ask yourself what you desire for 2017, and what you need to focus on to manifest it. Then drop all else and do only what feeds that child.
Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
Says our drive, ambition is a good thing, because it is what gives our lives meaning. For 3 reasons:
- It gives us something to look forward to, to focus on, like a “mental child” we nurture and care for
- It teaches us to focus on those experiences that bring us joy
- It changes our attitude towards suffering – if we are suffering for something that brings meaning into our lives, then that suffering has meaning.
Quote of the Day
Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.
-Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations. For more information, visit my websitewww.thejoyofliving.co/programs or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org