Let me ask you a question. What do the holidays mean to you?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the middle of celebrating Hanukkah, just finished with Diwali, or are looking forward to Christmas, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa. What does the whole preparing and celebrating mean to you?
I think that sometimes (usually in the midst of fighting a Black Friday Crowd, or when we open those post-holiday credit card bills) we all wonder whether there is any deep meaning. When it comes down to it, is there anything more?
This is a serious question. Are the holidays pretty much all about buying and cooking and running around? Are we naive to think that it goes any deeper?
Someone thinks there is….
That search for meaning amid the holiday frenzy is the idea behind a website I heard about last week. Carrie Contey’s “Extraordinary Holiday Challenge” is targeted at exactly that “why are we doing this?” feeling I keep hearing from other moms.
Contey, who is best known for her parenting advice publications and her reseach on child behavor, is offering a free tool to help us/you/me dig into our goals, hopes, values and beliefs to get to the core of what the holidays MIGHT do for us (and to us) if we let them become more than an orgy of shopping and eating.
And it’s not hard!
The last thing any of us need this time of year is more hard stuff, right? Contey gets that too. The challenge asks simple things. List a gratitude. Jot down something you’re doing just for you. Watch a video. Try a short guided meditation. Just a few minutes here and there.
And it all adds up to something bigger. After a few days of doing this, you start to see some trends. Some needs come up. Some pieces of the holiday. A memory or two.
You shift…slowly. Gently. Your outlook changes. Small pieces come together. And you start to get a better picture on yourself, and what matters to you deep, deep down.
For me, the timing is perfect
Contey’s tool is a great way to clarify holiday values. But I’m using it a little differently.
With MomCom 2014 coming up in just a few weeks, I want to have a better understanding of where I want my life to go next. I mean, what good is two days of speakers and workshops if I have no idea what I want to do with all that input?
So I’m using Contey’s tool to shine a spotlight on where my life is now. And where I want it to be a year from now…or five or ten years down the road. The things it makes me write or think about are becoming the raw materials for building the next steps in my life.
And if I’m clear about what I have, what I want and what I need, I really think I can better use the information I’ll get at MomCom. It won’t just be “interesting speakers.” It will be ways to fill in newly identified blanks. or recognize a shared experince that could help me find a new path.
I doubt the author had any of this in mind when she created a holiday challenge. But I’m grateful that whatever her goal may have been, the result might just reach far beyond December for me.
Do you have a tool or technique that works to bring you clarity? We’d love to hear about it!