Changing With The Seasons
October brings cooler days and crisper nights. The summer, with its heat, water activities, and lazy days make way for falling leaves, footballs games, and holidays. While I love summer, I am usually ready for fall to arrive. Now winter, other than Christmas, is another story. But the last few years I have even come to look forward to winter, especially our annual ski trip to Colorado with family. I do enjoy the changing of the seasons. As the seasons change, perhaps we can change also. And regarding “change,” I am referring to more than changing our wardrobe from shorts to sweaters – I am referring to changing from the inside out.
As one season quickly rolls into another, I am more conscious than ever of the fragility of life. Some of you have lost people dear to you in the past year. Regardless of how much you loved them and how much you longed to keep them, their time has passed. If you are reading this, that is not true for you. Until we draw our last breath, we can make changes in ourselves that will make us more fulfilled. Perhaps we can think of those loved ones as a stimulus for some changes we want and need to make.
I could mention losing weight, managing money better, and be-coming more organized as changes I would like to make. And I am still working on those areas. But enough about those, for as important as they may be, they are external changes. There are some internal changes I want to make at this point in my life. And I am using the changing of the seasons as a roadmap for those changes.
In October, when it is time to put on more clothes to stay warm, I want to put on the “clothes” of compassion. I want to be more compassionate not just with others, but with myself as well. I plan to spend some time zeroing in on my needs, as well as the needs of others. I do not think of this as selfish, but as necessary to have more joy in my life, so I can give more to others.
As October makes way for November and I prepare for Thanksgiving, I plan to be more thankful, reaching into myself as I reach out to others. I will write a daily gratitude list, bringing to my awareness the blessings of each day. I will find ways to share my blessings with more people, reaching out in ways that are not necessarily easy, but meaningful. I will send more handwritten notes and cards, touching others in a tangible way. I will not let the excuse of being too busy and not having time to add one more “chore” to an already packed schedule. I will consider these additional activities as not chores, but rather as blessings to me, as well as to those others I touch.
As November steps aside for December, I will divert some time from the holiday preparations to prepare myself even more for the person I want to be. I will give myself the gift of solitude, even in the midst of the holiday noise. If I bring more “stuff” into an already-filled house, I will take out at least as much as I bring in. I will let go of some holiday decorations that I no longer want, even some of the ornaments made by our children. I can offer those to them, but if they do not want them, I will be ok with that. I will not consider that as rejection, for it will not be rejection of me, but of “stuff.” From my work on me in October and November, I will be ready for this.
Now, as you read the changes I want to make in me in this last quarter of the year, what did those examples stimulate in you? For the intent in discussing my planned changes is not really to tell you of my plans, but to give you some options that you may consider for yourself. Your desired changes may be quite different from mine. They may even be external, not internal. You may not even need to make any changes, and if that is the case, then be proud of that, and take that time for even more holiday planning and execution.
For those of you, however, who find something in my examples that encourages you to take some time this season to focus on yourself, make time for that. Let something else go and make the time to become more of who you want to be. Remember, while it is too late for those who are no longer with us to change, there is still time for us. As long as there is breath. May this last season of the year be joyful for you!
Speaks, consults, and coaches, inspiring positive change in work, life, and family. She is founder and president of The Fralix Group, Inc., a leadership excellence firm based in Raleigh.