As I was tidying up at home today, I happened to glance up at the artwork next to my front door. It is an old wooden panel originally from a piece of an ornately carved sideboard. Below the image of a lady is a single word – Patciencia. This is a Spanish word for patience or forbearance.

What a timely reminder for me!

As a child the holiday season was filled with anticipation. My excitement would build with each sign that Christmas was drawing near. Outdoor lights would be lit. Wreaths were hung on doors. It was a big day in our household when the Christmas tree was decorated. Then there was the Christmas pageant at church and carolling with the choir. All these traditions would fuel my anticipation until the “big day” on December 25.

As my excitement built I was often told to be patient. It was hard as a child, and I still find it hard as an adult! But it taught me that all the routines and customs we observed each day helped to keep me focused and temper my impatience. The “big day” would arrive, just like it did the year before, but the pacing offered by all the regular holiday routines helped me better enjoy this anticipation rather than get frustrated by it.

In this year of big changes for me and for others, knowing that I have the tools at hand to cultivate patience is reassuring. In the midst of the busy-ness and seeming chaos of my year-end festivities, I come back to some of the same routines and rituals that kept me grounded as a child. I also keep my year-round routines of quiet contemplation each morning and regular visits to my yoga mat. These things help me find patience throughout the year, and not just during the holidays. When things get hectic, my regular practices help to pace me. They actually help me slow down. At this time of year, I need it more than ever!

My wish for each of you this holiday season is to enjoy the customs and routines that make this time of year special to you. And whenever things start to get too busy, come back to those routines that help to pace yourself.

Happy Holidays!

With Love and Gratitude,