If you approach the holiday season with a certain amount of ambivalence, you’re not alone. We feel pressured to make our own real, fractured and complicated families into one Happy Family just in time for the season. We also feel sadness and loss at this time of year, with memories of people and dreams that are no longer part of our lives. Some of us just try to escape it all and stumble into the New Year.
Creative people struggle with these ambivalent feelings, since it’s your nature to absorb everything around you, large and small. You seem to have hundreds of tiny magnets just under your skin. Whether you’re overscheduled or feeling lonely, you need a way to navigate the holiday pressures. One method that seems to work is to keep asking yourself: what is the best use of my time right now?
I like the question because it makes you stop what you’re doing (or obsessing about not doing), and honor the moment you’re in. You slow down and pay attention to what you are actually thinking and feeling. Surviving the holidays means taking care of yourself.
Sometimes the best use of your time is to get organized, to make a list, to plan. At other times it’s to do something necessary but ordinary (get gas, buy milk, take a shower). But often, especially now, the best use of your time is to stop doing.
When you stop doing you open up new space around you. If you stay there long enough, you find out what’s really on your mind. Sometimes surprising possibilities begin to bubble up, including a real spirit of joy and gratitude.
So, what’s the best use of your time right now?
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.