You can tell what season it is just by looking around my office. There is a crispy new box of manila folders, new Sharpies, a new blank journal, and a new whiteboard and markers. There is a mini-mountain of books on topics like mastering habits, gratitude practices, and ninja scheduling techniques, as well as all the books my client have written that I’ve yet to find time to read. On my topmost legal pad are scribbled the names of several podcasts I’ll be downloading. And a new pillow on the daybed.
Yep. It’s getting on time for my year-end retreat, and it’s my favey fave time of the year.
Taking a cue from many of our clients’ businesses, I decided a few years ago to take the last few days of the year for rest and reflection. (Overcoming my abject terror at taking ANY time off.) This year the business will be closed from December 21st through January 1st so that I can use the time exclusively for reflecting, journaling, organizing, dreaming, planning, and a deep rest. Business email will be held until I return. The phones go to voicemail. And a quiet settles over the office, so that I can hear the small, still voice of inspiration that is usually buried in beeps, clicks, doorbells, ringtones, and all the rest.
It’s been a delightfully busy, sometimes hectic 2015. I’ve had the chance to work with many folks I’ve known for years, feeling the pleasure of seeing the evolution of their work in the world. I’ve also enjoyed the company of a new collection of people and organizations that are nothing short of amazing. Altogether, it keeps me in the flow of all the good that’s happening in the world, all the hard work done for people and for the planet — an antidote to the steady IV drip of anger, pain, and superficiality we’re fed by mass media. I get to see the other side every day, all day. I wake up grateful, spend the day grateful, and go to sleep grateful.
Can’t ask for much more than that.
As much as I enjoy the busy-ness, I look forward to this quieter time to regather the frayed threads of my vision for my life, and get back in touch with why I do what I do, and what I’d like to do better in the coming year.
I have to admit that I miss the contact with my clients during this time. And that’s as it should be, I imagine. But in the space held by that missing, I will be:
- Finishing up projects to start the new year afresh
- Tidying up my year-end accounting (my weak spot)
- Making massive pots of soups and loaves of hot bread
- Writing (blog posts, articles, and social media bits)
- Brainstorming new things I’d like to offer people next year…I have a couple of doozies
- Hanging out with my geriatric puppy Ike (above)
- Journaling in the village coffee shop, which serves a fantastic latte in a giant mug
- Sending notes to friends, colleagues and clients to reconnect
- Going over another year’s notes of conversations with my fabulous coach, Judith Morgan
- And all of those self-care things that get nudged aside by long, busy work weeks – like a haircut, exercise, good books and catching up on sleep
What About You?
Some of our clients take the time and completely remove themselves from their familiar environment, choosing to spend it holed up in a cozy cabin or cabana. Others take long walks, play board games with family, and write gratitude notes by the fireside. Still others work right through it, enjoying the relatively quiet work hours.
What do YOU do at the end of your year? Do you take some blocks of time away from your regular daily routine, or just the actual holiday days? How do you reflect on the past year, and get ready for the new? Do you read more? Less? Turn off the computer and phone for a week? Draw/paint? Fill up your new year’s Daytimer? Go to a place with palm trees and drinks with paper umbrellas?
I’m always looking for new ideas to deepen and enjoy this ritual. If you’re willing share your year-end with me, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you do; I’d love to know.
Thanks for being out there, and enjoy this time however you spend it.
See you in the new year!