Every year we know Christmas is coming. The date doesn't change - but it always seems to sneak up and overwhelm us.
This year I want Christmas to look different, I want it to feel different. I want to enjoy every second, I want to be intentional with how I invest my time and energy.
Several years ago we started a family tradition of walking into the wooded area behind our home and chop down a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We string lights, hang a few handmade ornaments and it is our family tree.
We thought last year would be our last year of this tradition. Our oldest moved out a year ago, our youngest is in University so my husband and I were not planning on trumping through the snow in search of a tree.
One day my husband asked our youngest if she still wanted to go into the woods to find a tree this year. Her response was unexpected and hilarious, she stated matter-of-factly, "I'm offended that you would even ask!" She went on to tell us that she had already invited her boyfriend to join our excursion.
A few nights later our oldest and her boyfriend were over for supper and we invited her along for the Christmas tree hunt if she was interested and she immediately asked for the date and invited her boyfriend along as well. Now it is a Christmas experience that has extended to include our now family of 6 - or 8 if you include the dogs. 😁
What was a random idea a few years ago, is now apparently an expected part of the Carleton family Christmas.
This made me think about Christmas traditions in my family growing up and different experiences that stand out through my almost 5 decades on this earth. I remember waking up far too early on Christmas morning and trying to be quiet to not wake my parents. There was just something about the glow of the tree, and the sparkle of the tinsel that captivated me. I remember the Christmas Cantata's at church where I sang soprano with my aunt. The Christmas Panorama in the park, and the families all together, filling our bellies with potluck and recovering from turkey coma with endless games of cards.
As I sat and smiled at the thoughts of Christmas past, I continued to paused and think of Christmas present. What Christmas memories will be created this year?
If you have attended any of my journaling workshops - you know I like to put paper to pen and ask questions. So if you click on the button below you will receive your Christmas worksheet with two questions to ask yourself.
What are your memories and traditions of Christmas past? And what do you want this Christmas to look and feel like? As you answer the questions think of it holistically- physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
By investing a few minutes to answer the questions you will find that you choose to live more intentionally this Christmas. It doesn't need to overwhelm if we approach it with the right perspective. Have a very merry Christmas!
I would love to hear about some of your Christmas memories and traditions - share them on Instagram and be sure to tag me @carolyn.carleton.
It has been a long time since I have made time to write. I have been walking quite the journey over the past two years and I haven't taken the time to process it all.
So, last night I made myself a cup of tea and sat with my journal - it has been a long time. I turned to a blank page and it just sometimes that blank page just stares back at you - you have so much to write but you don't know where to begin or how to start.
When I teach my journaling workshops I always ask the group to start with the date. It is always a good place to start.
So with the date in the top right corner, the words began to flow.
Finally after four pages I felt like I had made a good start. There has been a lot going on and my heart needs a lot of healing. I have always found writing to be a form of healing for me. When I wrote my book it caused me to deal with a lot of issues from my past so that I was free to move forward in my life.
With all that is going on with the COVID-19 I have been found myself coaching people again. One of the main things that I tell people is that they need to start writing about this experience. As we write it is incredible to see the awakenings and healing that can emerge.
I have always felt that my life experiences and character building exercises are for me to share. As with my book and my journey over the past two years, I heal by writing and sharing. And hopefully through my sharing I can help others on their journeys.
Do you know that in individuals who have experienced a traumatic or extremely stressful event, expressive writing can have a significant healing effect. In fact, participants in a study who wrote about their most traumatic experiences for 15 minutes, four days in a row, experienced better health outcomes up to four months later
Finally, keep the following in mind while you are journaling:
Find a notebook and just start writing. It's where you will find me - and I will be blogging more over the coming weeks as well. I have a lot to work through - it's time to start the healing.
Last year I found myself scrolling a lot. I was checking the news all the time, wanting to keep up on the latest COVID reports. I was trolling through social media to find connections and to constantly check on everything. Completely wasting a lot of time.
Finally I got to the point where I had to stop watching the daily news reports, I had to stop listening to people who were always speaking from the negative.
I have always tried to look at situations from the positive. Focusing on the negative - always seems to bring more negative.
Less scrolling - more living
I had to consciously make a choice as to how I was going to deal with social media and my news consumption.
Here is a list of steps that I took:
Social media has it's benefits and it can be good, but when it gets in between you and the one life that you have to live, then there is a problem. I think most of us have a problem finding that balance.
This week I am asking you to take a little self check and see how you are doing. Click below for a checklist that I created.
Hello friends - how are you doing?
Honestly, I want to know how you are. Are you taking time to pause in your day, a chance to gather your focus? Are you allowing the rush of life to set in again? Are you setting time aside each week to write in your journal? Send me an email and give me an update.
I want to share with you my new favourite app: - the OAK meditation app.
The breathing exercises are a great way to start your day and I fall asleep to the relaxing sounds every night. When I sit down to journal I use the unguided meditation and I set it for 30-45 minutes depending on how much time I have, I add my favourite background sound and I set the chimes. I have an interval bell go every 5 minutes because my mind tends to wonder when I am writing in my journal, the chime brings me back to focus on my journal time.
There are so many times when our focus wonders and we loose track of what we are trying to accomplish.
We are each on a journey, we need to choose to enjoy each step, live with intention and make it beautiful.
Each day is a new day, with new opportunities to grow. Have an amazing day!
How often we let life just "happen" to us. Each day looks just like the last.
We have the opportunity to enjoy each day. To find joy in our moments. Does this sound like something attainable for other but not for you?
That's how I felt. I would hear other women talking excitedly about their lives, while I was feeling warn down, tired and frumpy. I would scroll through social media wondering how it could be possible to live like what I saw portrayed in the photos. Mentally, I knew that the pictures were staged, but in my heart there was still a longing for something different than what I currently have.
I didn't know what that something different was. It just felt like something needed to be changed.
"Nothing changes if nothing changes."
How often I would sit and scroll through Pinterest, saving hundreds of pins of home ideas, how I would like my personal style to be, recipes for my family and secret ideas that I would like to see happen "some day."
Then Pinterest showed me something that I needed to see: "Nothing changes if nothing changes." Think on that for a moment.
How is "something" supposed to change, if nothing changes. Why have I been waiting around for "something" to happen? I know this, why am I circling in this holding pattern?
I needed to make change, here are a few things that I am working on in my new journey:
It has been encouraging to see that as I working through all these different aspects that I am seeing how they are all coming together. By reading a book it keeps my hands busy so I am not picking up my phone. I created a little reading nook in my room and it is a place where I can be quiet. As I am learning I am writing down my thoughts in my bullet journal.
Then at the end of the week I can spend time working through the questions in the My Journey journal and I am seeing how my wellness journey is unfolding.
I still have a long way to go, but I am thankful for this journey. I feel like it is my journey - not one that I am trying to emulate from what I see on social media or my Pinterest boards.
Each of us have so much to offer to the world around us. I feel like I have been caught up in a spiral of selfishness, I am ready to move forward to a place where I can be a benefit to those around me. Thanks for sharing this journey with me.
How are you doing? 2020 has been an interesting year, wouldn't you agree?
I did something this year that I thought that I would never do.
I signed up for a group coaching membership. Yep, I did. The past few years have been difficult and I have really been struggling with trying to figure it all out. So I had to try something. And in my typical fashion I had to do something that was somewhat anonymous. The group is big enough that you can attend and not be seen, but you get all of the teaching. And this works perfectly for me, and I have been learning a lot. I am so thankful that I put aside my preconceived ideals and make this investment in myself.
What could have been a very difficult year - that continued to spiral downward, has become a year of healing that I am so thankful for.
Are you taking time to invest in you? It is really important that you do. I carried some baggage around for far too long, and I wasn't taking care of my health - I just kind of let everything go. This is not a good place to live your life.
Making active choices to live intentionally is where we all need to be.
I have made a variety of changes in my life and part of it includes the environment that I live in and how I start my day. I am going to share a bit of that with you.
I have been following Yoga with Adriene on YouTube for years. I am not a big fan of public displays of exercise, I like the comfort of my own home. I start my diffuser with a relaxing scent, play some relaxing music (which for me is jazz), lay down my yoga mat and spend 30 minutes relaxing and stretching. It is an amazing way to start my day.
Now that I am working from home I have more time in the mornings because I no longer have the commute. Yoga helps clear my mind, stretches out the muscles that ache from the night (which seem to be increasing year by year) and gets me motivated to take on my day!
Yoga for Writers is a favourite of mine. I like the stretching with a little bit of core.
king the time to invest in my mental wellness has so important.
I created the My Journey journal years ago and it keeps evolving and become something that is a huge part of my life. It is my weekly check in with myself and has become a place where I can see my journey unfold and give myself more grace in my journey.
If you are interested in checking it out for yourself all you have to do it CLICK HERE to download your free journal.
2020 is year that I will always remember and I am thankful that I used this time as a positive experience. It is so easy to get sucked into a negative environment - and it happens. But you don't have to stay there. You get to choose, I really hope that you will join me as we choose to end 2020 well.
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