Rush, rush, rush. How many more days, no hours, do we have to get everything done for our holiday? The clock is ticking and there are presents to wrap, desserts to bake, and, yes, we still have to work.

Joan suggests taking a different kind of break from our busy lives and give thanks for our many blessings. Then, do something kind for someone else. It can be a game changer.

Q. Life does get quite busy this time of year. Are we all missing something here?

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Joan: We do get so caught up in the festivities that we forget the true meaning of the season.

There is an opportunity here, though. The opportunity is…to stop. Stop your busy life for a moment and give thanks for the many gifts and blessings you have. It’s a time of birth and renewal. No matter what your religion or belief structure, it’s a time when we can come together and celebrate new beginnings.

Q. Easier said than done! How do we actually stop?

Joan: Of course, you do the things you need to do, but be aware of how involved you are in “getting everything done.” We’re often so involved that we miss the message. We may be more cognizant of this fact during the holiday season, but in reality, many of us miss the message every day, all year long.

We spend so much time worrying about ourselves, fulfilling expectations, and striving to get ahead, that we forget we are here to love others unselfishly and to help those less fortunate.

We plow through life with blinders on and are oblivious to what is going on around us.

Q. So what’s the solution here and how do we go about getting the blinders off?

Joan: Take a moment as another year comes to an end, and examine your life; take a look at where you are heading and see if you are pleased with the direction. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • When was the last time you held the hand of a friend in need?
  • When was the last time you drove an elderly person to the supermarket or to a doctor appointment?
  • When was the last time you offered assistance with no expectation of something in return?
  • When was the last time you put the needs of another ahead of your own?
  • When was the last time you decided that compassion was more important than being right and offered someone forgiveness?
  • When was the last time you asked to be forgiven?
  • When was the last time you said, “I love you”?

Use this special time of year to look within and allow your inner beauty to come out. Offer your gifts to others. Reflect on what is important and let the true meaning of life into your heart. Stop going through life mindless and self-centered. Slow down, take time to live, and share your blessings.

May peace and love fill your heart and bring you joy this holiday season and throughout the year!