In the relentless pursuit of productivity and the eternal quest for purpose, we often find ourselves caught in the whirlwind of work and constant doing. Even during the holidays, a time that should be filled with joy and relaxation, we tend to succumb to the pressure of busyness. In a world that values achievement and success, the search for our "why" becomes a persistent undertone in the rhythm of our lives, echoing the wisdom of thought leaders like Simon Sinek who assert that purpose is the key to a life of meaning.
Yet, on this day, and perhaps throughout this season, let us propose a departure from heightened reflection and the relentless pursuit of greatness. Instead, let's consider embracing four simple yet profound elements that can bring richness and fulfillment to our lives: Play, Breathe, Give, and Receive.
Stephen Nachmanovitch, in his enlightening book, "Free Play: The Power of Improvisation in Life and the Arts," invites us to rediscover the lost art of play. Play is not just for children; it's a fundamental aspect of being human. It's a creative force that opens the door to spontaneity, innovation, and joy. As adults, we often lose touch with the sheer delight of unstructured play. This season, let's allow ourselves the freedom to engage in activities that bring joy without the pressure of achievement. Whether it's a simple game of Rummikub, Clue, or Blitz (Thirty One), a creative hobby, or even daydreaming, play is a gateway to rediscovering the vitality of life.
Amidst the chaos of our daily lives, the simple act of breathing often gets overlooked. Mindful breathing is a powerful tool that connects us with the present moment. Allowing yourself to take just three minutes to breathe pushes the pause button in the rush of life, offering a moment for clarity and calm. During this time, consciously inhale the present and exhale the stresses that accumulate from our daily routines. By dedicating this brief period to mindful breathing, we create a space for nothing – and for everything.
The act of giving has a transformative power, not just for the receiver but also for the giver. In the spirit of the season, let's explore the joy of giving in ways which we have not experienced before. It could be a small act of kindness, a thoughtful gesture, or the gift of our time to someone in need. Giving creates a sense of connection and purpose, reminding us that our impact extends beyond our individual pursuits. As we seek our "why," let's find it in the simple yet profound act of making a positive difference in someone else's life, without the expectation of anything in return.
Receiving is an art that complements giving. It involves being open to the kindness of others, accepting compliments graciously, and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. In the pursuit of greatness, we often forget the importance of receiving with humility and gratitude. This season, let's open our hearts to receive the love, support, and goodwill that surrounds us. Recognizing and appreciating what others offer enhances the richness of our own lives – and the lives of the one doing the giving.
In contemplating these four elements, let's remember that true greatness lies not just in the pursuit of a grand purpose but in the appreciation of the simple, yet profound, aspects of being human. So, as the holiday season unfolds and the year draws to a close, let's take a collective breath and embrace the invitation to play, breathe, give, and receive. In these moments of simplicity, we may discover a deeper sense of fulfillment that transcends the constant pursuit of greatness, leading us to an even richer life in meaning and purpose.