I looked at my calendar for December--not much white space--all the little boxes filled in with something. Commitments, parties, shopping, decorationg. I felt overwhelmed and caught off guard. I thought I had chosen carefully this year--built in margin to create a more relaxed and tranquil holiday season. Yet the configurations on my calendar did not promise peace.
So my task I realized was to cut through the pandemonium. "But how?" I asked. One of my truest ways to cope is writing pages every morning before I start my day. I got the idea from Julia Cameron and her classic book on recovering creativity, The Artist's Way. Often the Morning Pages offer answers to living my life more creatively and sanely. There in those pages I "practice the scales of life," so to speak. I write about daily events and my emotions. There are prayers on the page. I record ideas and dreams. I recall good books I've read--movies that make an impact. The pages are the keyboard, the words the scales, to help me fine tune the melodies of my life and heart. I went to the pages again and looked back. These are a few coping strategies that assist me in cutting through the pandemonium:
~monitor life intensity--not too much or too little
~setting aside time with Jesus, my prince of wholeness--receiving His comfort, wisdom, love, healing, favor, anointing and peace
~taking life one day at a time--embracing incremental change
~reading good literature and watching artistic movies; following artists whose images bring me joy
~walking and staying out in nature as much as possible (especially appreciating the splendor of the sky)
~honoring time for solitude and rest--some of my most creative ideas come when I allow time to think, meditate and reflect
~promoting, encouraging and validating others, no matter their behavior, or what I would like their responses to be
~refusing to feel sorry for myself, but rather ask myself "What can I do?" then trusting God for what I cannot do.
~loving the people in my life
~letting go of perfectionism and finding some treasure in each day, no matter how unideal
The pages did their magic. I mowed down the chaotic life entanglements as I exposed myself once again to the strategies that help me most. I do not have to be a slave to the calendar and holiday madness. I can regroup, say "no" and find ways to decrease the stress by practicing self care. Just now my charming husband came to my study holding a minature, live Christmas tree with one red ornament hanging from its boughs and dusted with glitter. "I thought you might like this tree for your office." And surely that pine scent and lovely gesture is a heavenly embrace from that prince who desires me whole.