Welcome to December!
This time of year is always filled to the brim, making it both one of the easiest times to be optimistic and equally one of the most challenging. As a season of reflection and gratitude, gathering with friends and family, festivities and giving, there are many reasons to be optimistic as you take stock of blessings, spread love, celebrate holidays, and look ahead to a bright new year. At the same time, it’s hard to be optimistic when you are overwhelmed by the hectic feel of the holiday season (not to mention the mile-long shopping lists), the stress of additional obligations (10 holiday parties this year?), the realization of the past year’s goals that are still incomplete, finances that are tighter than expected, and the feeling that everyone else has it all together while you’re just struggling to keep your head above water and hoping no one will notice. In reality, most days during this time of year are some combination of both ends of the spectrum – overflowing with joy and stress simultaneously.
I started 2018 by picking a theme for the entire year. My word was SHINE. SHINE was all about recognizing that each of us has a unique light living within us that is meant to be shared with the world. (Click here to read the entire blog post about 2018 as the year to SHINE.) As December moves us into the holidays and as 2018 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on how that theme applies to this month, this season. What keeps coming up is RADIANCE. Radiance is what it means to use our light to spread warmth and light and hope and joy in the world… and what better time for that than now?
Here are the ways I am working on being radiant this month:
- Reconnecting with my spark: The busyness of this season makes it easy to feel burnt out, on edge, and anything but radiant. It’s been a tough few weeks for me, and I see that resulting in impatience, grumpiness (especially when it feels like it’s been cloudy for weeks), and a less generous spirit than I normally have towards others (such as the guy who cut me off in traffic). I realize that in my effort to keep up with everything going on around this time of year, I’m neglecting to do things that keep my own light shining. For me, the things that help me connect with my own spark include making time to be creative, getting extra sleep when I feel run down, and the occasional bath with essential oils and a glass of wine. Just like on a plane when you’re meant to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping those around you, it’s critical to take time to maintain your own light before you can share light with others. What can you do this month to maintain the unique light within you?
- See the light in others: As noted above, all of the things that make this time of year great also make it exhausting – not just for ourselves but for everyone around us as well. Which makes it feel that much better when – even when we aren’t at our most radiant – someone else still sees the light in us, someone recognizes our unique gifts and talents and brilliance. Like a mirror, that small bit of recognition and reflection makes our light shine that much brighter. How can you see the light in others, recognize it, and encourage them to connect with and share their own light? I’m making a point to give more praise to my colleagues, in the midst of some stressful projects underway. I am taking time to check in on my friends who find the holidays anything but joyful, and who need some extra tlc right now. I am sending a lot more texts to just say “Thinking about you. Appreciate you. Love you.” Who in your life would benefit from a reminder of their own light? How can you encourage that today?
- Share the light: I am committed to using light to spread warmth and light and hope and joy in the world. And yet it’s easy to become so caught up in our own stress and busyness that we forget to spread the light with others… we put our heads down and work hard to check everything off our to-do lists, and before we know it the month has passed and we forgot to look up and share the light. There are SO MANY WAYS to share light with others, and all it takes is a moment to pause and look around. Share a smile and a kind word to a stranger you pass on the street, because couldn’t we all use that these days? Support a nonprofit through time or resources as it makes a difference by providing food, clothing, shelter, medical services, emotional support, and hundreds of other services and resources to those in need. Help a neighbor or family member with a project, whether it’s homemade gifts or shoveling the sidewalk, because projects are so much more enjoyable when shared. What is one way you can share the light with others this month?
I’d love to know, our team would love to know, how you are you going to be radiant this month. What are you going to do to take care of yourself, to reach out to others, and to spread warmth and light? What can we do to support you this month, and as we move into a new year?
Sending you light and love!
Elizabeth and the Davine Team
P.S. One of the ways we are trying to spread light and optimism this month is by sharing more of our optimism resources with others. If you’d like to pick up a copy of The Optimist’s Manifesto, click here to check out our holiday special: two copies of the book, one discussion guide to prompt thoughtful conversation, one manifesto art print, and free shipping to the U.S.