In the spirit of the pre-season holidays (aka Christmas in July), I have a confession to make: I’m a Dickens nightmare.
Often I’m either looking ahead at what has to get done by tomorrow or looking back at what went wrong the day before. While it’s good to plan ahead and also reflect on the past so as not to repeat mistakes…the danger of always toggling between the two is this: You’re never in the present.
Can you imagine “A Christmas Carol” without the second ghost? What a horribly depressing story that would be. The Ghost of Christmas Past reminded Scrooge of his failures, his lack of joy, and how his overly intense focus on his career cost him the love of his life. The Ghost of Christmas Future painted a bleak and dismal picture of a life that held no value (Scrooge’s) while a life that did (Tiny Tim’s), was cut short thanks to Scrooge’s grievous actions against others. Anyone ready for a Valium yet?
The point is this. While all three ghosts were necessary to balance out the entire picture, it’s the present that has the ability to change everything. Our actions can either make us or break us.
What are we focused on? How are we spending our time and energy? Are we able to fully live in the moment? Even the messy ones? Can we learn to let go of the things that we can’t control—the things that consume our thoughts and energy—and focus on what we can? Can we pause from the busyness and demands of life and take time to simply be?
Here’s my challenge to you: Let’s give ourselves an early gift this year. The gift of being in the present, living in the moment, and choosing to focus our time and energy on the people, relationships, and events in our lives that truly matter.
Scrooge didn’t regret it—and neither will we.