Sitting in Starbucks, listening to “the Little Drummer Boy” for the second time this morning, it’s hard to ignore that Christmas is coming. And I’m wondering , as we start to create the possibility of peace on earth and goodwill for all, why does everyone looks so tired and harassed?
At this time of year, many people are up to doing great things. There are Christmas dinners for the homeless, charity fund-raisers and any number of opportunities to make a difference. Each of us is starting to think about family dinners, travelling to see loved ones and buying gifts to show our love and appreciation for the people in our lives.
Phew! It’s exhausting just thinking about it. We ask ourselves “Don’t I have enough to do already without throwing Christmas into the mix?!!”
The reason that “doing” good doesn’t work is that it can easily slide into a series of obligations. Notice that whenever you ‘have’ to do something, the fun and life gets sucked away. What started off as an opportunity to make a difference mutates into significance, heaviness and obligation. What began as a fun time to connect with family turns into to expense and an experience you are hoping to survive.
If you are experiencing what you are up to as hard work, difficult and tiring then the chances are that you have fallen into the trap of doing.
The antidote is simple. Stop. Rest for a moment. Notice all those thoughts and the ever-expanding to-do list. Now set them aside. Ask yourself: Why am I doing what I am doing? If the answer doesn’t inspire you then set it aside and ask the question again. Keep asking yourself “why am I doing this?” until you have an answer that makes you smile. When you have that answer write it down somewhere you can see it every day – by your computer, on your mirror or on your dashboard.
And if you can’t find a why that inspires you, maybe it’s time to do something else.