The week between Christmas and New Year’s always feels a bit like dead time to me. Personally, I’m recovering from Christmas Day, cleaning up wrapping and packaging, and trying to get my kitchen back together; businesses may remain closed; schools aren’t in session yet. In general, the excitement of the holiday is over but the new year hasn’t arrived yet, and things somehow seem grey and flat and indifferent.
The comparison with the joy I feel on Christmas Day is stark, and caused me to reflect on how nice my time off has been. For a few days, I deliberately gave myself a break not only from my workday routines and responsibilities but from the worry and stress of my household chores as well. I didn’t get as much laundry done as I hoped. It took me a while to finish the dishes. Christmas wrapping paper didn’t get recycled immediately. And somehow, because I’d given myself permission to truly rest and relax, none of that bothered me. I wasn’t consumed by thoughts of things that remained undone. I would accomplish what I accomplished, and the rest would wait.
It reminded me of a something a yoga instructor told me once: that I should surrender completely to the pose, immersing myself in my practice, but remain unconcerned with results. There was no goal of perfect positioning or deeper stretches; in fact, there was no goal at all. The practice was the end in itself. Whatever happened, would happen. It didn’t matter.
It’s a very peaceful feeling. Surrender completely to the moment, existing where you are, without focusing on a particular outcome. I would love to be able to carry this with me more often! My time is at the mercy of my to-do list; while I’m working on one task I’m thinking of what to tackle next. When I get to the end of the day and haven’t finished everything, it’s easy to get down on myself. But this week of limbo, while it’s somewhat awkward, has reminded me that I can make different choices. Throw myself completely into my day, be present with who is around me and what I’m doing, and fight the power of the checklist. It doesn’t mean that I’ll give up my to-do lists, merely that how many things I accomplish isn’t a measure of my worth or success. I will accomplish what I accomplish, and the rest will be there – and I will be here.