With every passing year, this holiday season becomes more and more busy for me. As my kintsugi jewelry becomes more popular, my days are filled with frantically filling orders, communicating with customers, and producing more inventory as fast as I possibly can.
It's a really good problem to have, and I am beyond delighted to see so many of these pieces that I've lovingly labored over heading out into the world to inspire and encourage others, but it's still busy enough to make my head spin!
I know I'm not alone in this.
I've talked to so many others in the last couple of weeks who, like me, tell of how their seasonal decorating has dwindled to the bare minimum (if that), who have stopped one or more holiday traditions (like the sending of Christmas cards), or who are looking to cut back in some other way to keep their sanity amidst the busyness.
The bigger problem for me is that I find easily find myself becoming short-tempered, cranky, and depressed from trying to do to much, and I don't particularly like myself much when I get that way.
So this year, I'm working hard at staying connected with the meaning of what I do, the person I want to be, and with that which is More than all of us.
I recently found a tool that is helping me with that goal in a most unlikely place.
Reading fiction is one of my favorite stress-busters when things get intense, and I grabbed Martha Beck's latest book, a novel called Diana, Herself, at the library recently to help with that.
In the book, the main character learns a series of tasks that transform her life, and the first one involves learning to calm herself by offering herself the lovingkindness blessings of the Metta (or Maitri) practice found in Buddhist traditions. It's a simple (nonreligious) practice of wishing oneself and others good things with deep loving kindness.
I decided to practice this as a means of soothing my own stress, and I've been floored by the difference it's made.
Offering these wishes of loving kindness to myself stills the frantic, panicky gremlins that drive me so hard and allow me to go about my work from a more peaceful, focused place.
At the same time, this loving kindness overflows to offering the same good wishes to those around me. I am finding myself calmer, less annoyed, and more flexible in my dealings with others than I've been in a long time ... and it's only been a few days!
If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out with too much to do this season, I invite you to try this same practice of offering yourself some extra lovingkindness. I find that repeating these blessings to myself while taking deep, calming breaths whenever I find myself feeling tense and stressed works wonders.
There are any number of adaptations of these blessings, and you can play with the words to find one that works well for you. My personal adaptation (in case you missed it on Facebook earlier this week) is the one shown below.
I wish you all a vast current of peace flowing beneath any busyness this season is bringing your way, and I hope this helps you tap into a measure of that peace as you need it.
(And if any of you are looking for a meaningful gift for someone who is facing a broken heart this season, there are still many items to choose from in my shop and I'm adding more each day!)