This post is part of a series on Cultivating Leadership Presence through Mindfulness. We are happy to announce the opening of registration for the upcoming New York-based Mindful Leadership Retreat in April. For details, visit mindfulleadership.com.
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." - Thornton Wilder
As we enter this season of holidays, it is easy to be carried away with trappings and commercialization and, in the process, lose the deep historical, religious or heart-centered meaning of this time of year. Our already busy calendars just get busier as our 'to-do' lists grow longer and longer. There is food to prepare, presents to buy, and parties to attend.
Or perhaps this is a season where our thoughts are dominated by 'what used to be' or 'what we hoped would be different this year.' We feel a sense of disappointment, aloneness or isolation.
But, our mindfulness training can help us cultivate a different way to meet this season. We can expand our repertoire of how we meet this time of year by being more attentive to the autopilot way we are going through the days, or thinking about the season, and making more conscious choices to notice what is here, and how we want to meet it.
A fundamental part of that noticing is an ability to become more 'conscious of our treasures' as Thornton Wilder reminds us. The treasures that are right here, right now -- a measure of health, a family, a pet, a friend, a warm meal, a strong faith, the sounds of a beautiful piece of music, or the warm glow of a candle. The list is endless.
What are your treasures?
You might find it useful to experiment with this reflection in your practice: begin by sitting comfortably and attending to the sensations of the breath, allow your eyes to gently close. As your mind and body settle into the stillness, ask yourself this simple question-what are my treasures? - and allow the responses to arise from deep within you.
Once you discover, or rediscover, your treasures, see if you can make a conscious choice to keep them at the center of your holiday season. Your treasures are the experiences or people that nourish you, bring you joy and keep you connected to what really matters.
And that, after all, is what this holiday season is all about.
Wishing you a season filled with joy and love,
"Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership," available January 2014.