As the month of December begins, I find myself reflecting on a number of things that I think are important to everyone.  The airwaves, television, internet and newspapers are full of ads for Christmas sales and gifts promising us the best value and opportunity to buy something that will bring joy.  Each December as I sit in my office and work with people clinically, I am struck by how much pressure and stress people feel to create the perfect or fantasy holiday.  I can hear my own words over and over to them, encouraging them to stop, breathe, deliberately decide on what you can do and what you want to do during the holiday season.

If I ask you to think back to when you were a child and recall your favorite moment of the season I dare to suggest it is not the best doll or electronic game you received, but something quite different, such as time decorating cookies or simply being together observing traditions handed down through the years.

This time of year also crystallizes the feelings of sadness due to loss of a loved one.  YHC is focusing all year on grief, trauma and loss.  I would like to offer some personal, as well as professional, thoughts on how we might best move through December to the beginning of another new year and all its promise.

I want to encourage you to mindfully value time and how you spend your time.  Time is a commodity that is limited and we do not get to have “redo’s”.  Intentionality and choice, mindfulness, doing what matters and letting other things go, being together and connected are really the essence of how to be in the moment and to allow ourselves to feel the beauty of this time of year.

My sister recently reminded me of a story from when we were children and a time when my mother pulled us to church during a snowstorm on our flexible flyer sled.  She was determined that we be there and not miss the moment.  My mother was a clear headed, strong woman who lived with conviction.  This is my first holiday season without her but her legacy lives on and directs me each day, as I stop, breathe, think, do what matters and smile with tenderness thinking about her.  Her lessons live on indelibly.

May this season be one of calm for you.  May you be mindful and at peace.