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Last weekend we got into the Holiday spirit by attending a Christmas parade in Encinitas, the next town up the coast from us in Solana Beach, CA. After finding a parking spot, I happened upon the flashing sign in the attached photo. Upon first impression, it struck me as the very thing NOT to do as I round out the last month of a very busy year filled with family and the team at Flannery Sales Systems. However, as my personal, community and business commitments pick up around the Holidays, I do find it critical to schedule downtime for myself in order to maintain my balance and sanity.

Each morning, I start the day with a twenty-minute quiet period. During this time, I’m usually alone, although lately our new dog has decided to join me. I make it a practice to put away all my electronic devices, news sources and other “outside” influences. The only thing I keep is a reading on how to focus on the present moment and remember all the things I have to be grateful for.

My latest, favorite read during this time is a book by Terry Hershey called Pause: Becoming More by Doing Less. The chapters are broken into weekly two to three page reads, each with a focus on a different aspect of spiritual development. Each reading helps me put my mind in a positive place and prep me for the day ahead. On the rare occasion I don’t get the chance to start my day with this twenty-minute reflection, I feel like I’m running hard all day, and not nearly as effective, or present, as when I do.

There’s no shortage of information written on the consequences of neglecting to take care of yourself and succumbing to the manic pace that has become the “new normal”. This frenetic behavior has many subtle and often dangerous outcomes. Recently, I stumbled upon an article that summarizes this perfectly — The Disease of Being Busy.

Developing a practice of quiet reflection is about reduction, not addition. At this stage in my life, I have so much to be grateful for, and I find that my daily meditations help me slow down so I can savor each moment. Here’s hoping that you and your family have a blessed, happy and relaxing Holiday season. I look forward to connecting with you in 2017.