Breathe and Receive

If you celebrate a year-end holiday, I wish you a happy one. If you observe the winter solstice and its promise of longer days and warmer weather to come, I hope it brings you joy. In the southern hemisphere, I hope you are treasuring the long days of sunshine!

I am giving myself a little breathing space this year between Christmas and New Year’s Day–– and after talking to many of you, I know that you are too. But I also know that for some of you, this feels like the busiest time of the year.

Whether busy or a little less busy, I hope we all can spend some time focusing not on ourselves but on others and have space in our schedule to change our plans to do something(s) that we hadn’t planned to do. While capturing this sort of scheduling flexibility is a challenge that many of us will work on throughout our lives, the last couple weeks of the year often offer a little less structure at work, a little more space and breathing room, so that we can do a little more of whatever feels most important to us.

Some other thoughts on my mind this week:

Your playlist is on repeat. –– Susan Drumm

I recently read Susan Drumm’s, The Leader’s Playlist. Music can hold sway over us in a compelling way. It can give utterance to thoughts and feelings that might otherwise go unexpressed (see this newsletter and this podcast episode with Susan Cain). Here’s a recent one Susan recommended. Creating a playlist that captures not who you are today but who you want to be is even more valuable. There’s a lot more in Susan’s book, Bittersweet, but a fun activity in these last weeks of the year is to identify 3-5 songs that, when listened to, inspire you to become who you are aspiring to be. Her thesis is that this accelerates the formation of new neural pathways. While you are at it, ask your family members what 1-2 songs they would choose.

You have the right to disrupt the status quo. –– Garry Turner

This week’s podcast guest is Garry Turner, a UK-based long-time listener of the Disrupt Yourself podcast and the embodiment of personal disruption, which has allowed him to be a disruptor within his organization. He plays where others do not and brings them along. His playlist isn’t on repeat. And yours doesn’t need to be either. You can even change your narrative of the year ending, the one soon to come, and your experience of the holiday you may celebrate during the transition.

Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving… Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”
― Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland

Generosity doesn’t always come in the way we want, expect, or even recognize. But if we allow ourselves to breathe – and receive – we will discover that in this gift-giving season, there are far more gifts being given to us than we realize. Even if some of those gifts aren’t really what we hoped for, there is an animating force, and there is some element of caring and kindness for us embodied in that gift.

As the curtains draw on 2022, create space for yourself and those you love to receive the many and bountiful gifts being given to you!

My best,

P.S. I’ll be taking a breather next week! See you in 2023!

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