“Out of moderation a pure happiness springs.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 17th Century German playwright, scientist, & statesman
Image from Unsplash by Aziz Acharki
Where did the concept of moderation go out the window over the holidays? Consider the following list and add some of your own:
- Food and drink
- Gift giving/spending money
- Staying up late and missing out on sleep
- Staying in bed and too much leisure
- Excessive media consumption
- Lack of physical activity
Where did getting out of balance present a cost that you regret? Where was the payoff worth it?
How and where might you pursue the happiness found in moderation as you settle into the rhythm of the new year?
Image from Unsplash by Sincerely Media
As we enter the new year, I hope that you are blessed with good health, happiness, and the opportunity to make a positive contribution to those around you.
Whether Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the Solstice, or another year-end celebration, may these final days of 2022 bring you peace, joy, and hope for a healthy and prosperous new year.
“Happiness is like jam. You can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself.”
Ella and Weston, Barry’s grandchildren
For the past few years my wife Wendy, our daughter Rachel, and I engage in a multi-day peach preserve project. With 75 pounds of Georgia’s best, we blanche, peel, chop, can, and seal over five dozen jars of this sweet precious goo.
Doing our best to avoid cuts, burns, and keeping our relationship intact, we always feel very satisfied when the job is done. Given Wendy’s generous nature, about four dozen go out as gifts to sweeten the lives of others throughout the year.
What are some ways that you plan to spread a little happiness around this holiday season and into the year ahead?
“So many conditions of happiness are available. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.”
—Thích Nhất Hạnh, late Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk
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As part of my coaching process, I introduce my clients to a concept called “creative tension” coined by Robert Frisk in his book, The Path of Least Resistance from the early 90’s.
The idea that an envisioned or expected future has the power to excite and pull us toward it has been a classic and useful tool in leadership training and enrolling people in new opportunities for millennia. It turns out that people tend to be pretty happy and engaged when their efforts lead to progress toward a desired future.
This means of generating a sense of happiness is, however, not the only condition available to us.
How can you use your amazing memory as well as your mindfulness capacities to examine the past and present to bolster your ability to seek and find more happiness?
“Look beyond yourself, see a need and meet it.”
Image from Amazon
There seems to be a continuum between selfish and selfless tendencies for most of us. On one hand, sustainable happiness and life satisfaction are rarely seen by focusing solely on ourselves. On the other, the complete focus only on the needs of others — although noble — has been demonstrated to also have a down side, including burnout and health challenges.
Where do you see yourself between these two poles?
How do you meet your own needs to have the capacity to serve and support others in your communities?
Where and when is it appropriate to be SELF-ISH to meet your own needs, or to be OTHER-ISH to meet the needs of others? How would doing so meet your own need for purpose and a more meaningful life? Consider checking out Joshua Becker’s new book, Things That Matter, for additional ideas on this subject.
“Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous yes to one’s own true being.”
—Paul Tillich, 20th Century German-American existentialist philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Zachary Nelson
How often do you jump for joy? When was the last time you experienced this feeling, lifting you to new heights of self-expression?
One way to explore this topic and perhaps make a few more leaps in the years ahead is to examine all the roles you play in life. How you spend your time and who you spend it with will offer clues to where and when you give yourself permission to shout yes to your own true being.
Who are the happiest and most joyful people you know? What is it about them that attracts you and others to them? How might you use their example to be more joyful yourself? If your list is a bit short, look to the children in your life for some coaching.
“The heart is very much like a miraculous balloon. Its lightness comes from staying full. Meeting the days with our heart prevents collapse.”
Image from Unsplash by Ali Goldstein
Last year around this time my daughter and grandson — who was then 2½ — came to spend part of the holidays with Wendy and me in Michigan. Since little Weston had a far more limited selection of toys at grand-mom’s and pop-pop’s house, we did our best to entertain him.
Among his favorite diversions that week was a small happy birthday balloon we had kept on our window sill, still fully inflated from the previous year’s celebration.
It was a miracle that a two-dollar balloon could fill this little boy’s heart with such joy for the entire time. His engagement with this shiny orb and lots of heartfelt attention filled us all with lightness and the joy of being together.
What balloons do you intend to fill this holiday season? What heartfelt activities will you bring to the days with those you love to keep things light?
Image from Unsplash by Clint Patterson
Wishing you and your family peace and joy throughout the holiday season!