I received this alternative Happy New Year greeting recently from a friend who is Swiss by birth. It’s in Swiss German and I found it so refreshing. So here’s wishing you all a smooth sliding glide over into 2018!
Like it or loath it Christmas and New Year is an inevitable cycle in our lives and it would seem better to embrace it fully to reach out to loved ones whilst celebrating being given another year’s grace than trying to circumnavigate it altogether, because of a distaste for all the hype and promotions for a brand new three piece suite or a ‘fantastic’ holiday deal. We can still make this period what we want it to be, the kind of festive holiday tailored to meet out needs and that of our own family, providing you can withstand the extended family tidal pressure of insisting that this approach is selfish. Well my hubby and I gave it a go and had Christmas all to ourselves. It was quiet and peaceful, and I fitted in a family visit later on with no ripples of discord until I got home (well try avoiding such ripples altogether!) But this particular turbulence was not of my making, and I accomplished a few family-related aims along the way which I consciously chose to address, so all this psychology I’ve been reading must be having some kind of beneficial effect. Hurray!
Christmas and New Year also feel very much like a transition time, which is why I love the sliding over analogy, because if you’re anything like me you’ll have a crammed full ‘to do’ list that’s being preying on your mind during what I’m going to call the Chrimbo Limbo period between Christmas and New Year. This Limbo is where many of us succumb to flopping indoors, with snow and rain outdoors to make us even more limp within, both physically and mentally. Where we drag ourselves to coffee shops that don’t have any fresh tray bakes in yet, so we feast on stale leftovers, or where we accompany someone trying to find a bargain in the sales racks choked with extra small or extra large sizings, then wonder why we bothered at all when we get stuck in a horn tooting snail trail of traffic, with drivers having dumped their Christmas spirit by Boxing day, trying to get out of the shopping centre car park to return home where someone switches on the TV in quiet desperation. But for creative people, this interruption to our usual routine might also engender a ‘shame on me’ feeling for allowing ourselves to slacken and lose direction, as we respond to the moods of those around us who are on a ‘proper’ holiday and want us to share the holiday period with them. So we bend and give in to the Chrimbo Limbo and allow ourselves to be distracted from navigating our creative journey at the helm or our very own sailing ship on our very own ocean by those who don’t quite understand the dangers at sea of procrastination and a host of other ‘demons’ brooding below deck in the hold, which we are so subject to, and which we have to be so vigilant of.
But as the pressure mounts, take heart. We can do it. We can get that ‘to do’ list out, check our bearings, and take a good hard look at what we need to do. But we can also go easy on ourselves, and be assured I’m writing this post for myself, whilst hoping it resonates with some of you. So in line with this, imagine your list is represented by a big fat cake which you have to eat your way through. No matter how delicious it may be, especially if it’s coffee and walnut, your absolute favourite!, you can’t possibly cope with eating and digesting it all right now in one go. You’ll throw up or get bad indigestion if you do. You’ll literally take on more than you can chew. So what do you do? Well, I feel the best approach is to ‘eat’ with a sprinkling of delayed gratification and with a soupcon of mindfulness thrown in. Take one slice at a time, and within that, one bite at a time. Ease your way in to that cake, as you ease your way into the new year and your creative resolutions. Resist the urgency pressing in to accomplish so much right now, to ‘gobble it all up’, to get it all done. Rather savour the individual bites you take, one at a time, as you slide your way gently into the new year, giving each bite your full attention and care. And all that remains to be said for now is bon appétit!