Don’t you love it when you find a phrase or a piece of advice that totally resonates with where you are at the moment? To me that is a light bulb moment, where my heart gives a little leap and my mind says yes!

I received a mantra from a very special person in my life just prior to my latest book launch party. She wanted me to focus on being present. To be sure to fully drink in the joy of the evening. To celebrate my accomplishment at having written my first and second books in eleven months.

I was happy to share this mantra with my guests that evening. They loved it and I find I have been thinking about it and saying it to myself several times a day. The mantra is “I open my heart to the joy in this moment.”

Many people struggle at this time of the year. The light is waning (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) and the holidays are approaching. With the holidays comes an emphasis on celebration, family and togetherness. The holidays can also intensify feelings of loneliness. There can be pressure to spend money we don’t have. All the talk of togetherness can highlight the fact that our family is not perfect.

I struggle with December. Growing up it was a hugely stressful time in our family. I have worked hard as a mother to create a holiday that has more fun and less “shoulds”. This year our family is dealing with some sadness so it will be more difficult to maintain that perspective.

What I don’t want to do, is to just ‘get through’ this holiday season, to set my sights on January. I know there will be many moments of joy during this time – dinners with friends, time with family, beach walks and hikes with friends. I don’t want to shut that out. I want to notice those special moments and open my heart to joy, to pause, breathe and connect. Connect to myself and to those around me.

A heart filled with joy can’t be dark and heavy. The joy chips away at the despair and nudges it out, even for a moment.

I hope during this holiday season you will pause, breathe and connect with an open heart to celebrate the joy in this moment. I know I plan to. As well of course, I hope to design a mat with this phrase in mind, so look for an “I open my heart to the joy in this moment” mat on my Cheticamp frame soon.

Here is a poem from my journal.

Footsteps in the sand

They tell the story of the small child,

Delightedly dancing around her father,

As the waves crash in,

Of the people walking with their dogs,

Of the couple strolling,

Of the solitary walkers like me,

Filling up with sunshine & salty air,

Delighting in the birds, the waves & the people on the beach.

My tears flow,

My cheeks kissed by the sun’s warmth & the ocean breeze.

Flowing, releasing sadness to make room for joy.