This year Team TLC is experiencing a mindful Christmas countdown. For the past few years we’ve done a “spreading happiness and kindness” countdown. I felt moved to add another layer to it this year.
My printer is out of ink and my handwriting is sloppy, sloppy, yet, here are a few pictures to give you an idea of how it’s coming together. I am inspired to share it with YOU in case you would like to adopt our theme of the day.
- The word of the day is “Joy” – “Find Joy, Bring Joy, BE Joy” …. in everything you do today. Take at least 5 minutes, or more, to think about a person who brings you joy. Then spend some time bringing joy to someone today. You can do this with a smile, a kind word, helping them, or whatever you feel moved to do. On the outside of the heart the following words are written, “Keep this with you all day”. My son, Thomas, tucks his into his pocket. He says he pulls it out at least once per day to remind himself. My daughter, Lillian, is home schooled so she keeps her heart on the table next to where she works and eats.
- Word of the day is “Silence” – “Embrace the Silence”. Spend 5-10 minutes of silence focused on your in and out breath. Or you can do this with or without holding a favorite rock, gemstone, or some other earthly item and focus on that item. Plus, sometime today take a few moments of silence, then repeat this prayer: “Let all beings be happy, loved, and peaceful. Let the whole world experience these things.” (This prayer comes from a Chopra Center blog post).
- Word of the day is “Mindfulness” – “The Mindful Way”. When brushing your teeth, think only about brushing your teeth, nothing else. Focus on how it feels and tastes and smells. Try to remember to do this all day … when you wash your hands, wash dishes, brush your hair, wash clothes, wash your face, etc. Plus, pay someone a mindful compliment today.
- Word of the day is “Food” – “Truly Experience Food”. Taste a food with your eyes closed, being sure to use all of your senses to experience the food. Even better if you involve a friend and try this with a surprise food that your friend serves you while you keep your eyes closed. Today is about savoring. Although the word of the day is food, take time today to savor any beautiful, creative, kind, love-filled, accomplishing moment you experience.
- Word of the day is “Forgiveness” AND Arts & Crafts Day (Make a Paper Tree) – “Finding Forgiveness” – Think of something that you are disappointed with yourself about. Spend 5 to 10 minutes to feel what this physically feels like in your body. Once you have felt it and focused in that area of the body, forgive yourself and let it go. If 10 minutes isn’t long enough, keep re-visiting and connecting with it until it releases. If it feels right, use this same technique to forgive someone else.
- Word of the day is “Peaceful” AND Arts & Crafts Day (Make a Paper Snowflake) – “Peaceful Thoughts” – Take five minutes to meditate on peace. Put your attention on your heart and inwardly repeat these four words: peace, harmony, laughter, and love (these four words are also from the Chopra website). Keep this thought with you all day, “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?” and make peace your mission throughout the day.
- Word of the day is “Creativity” – “Be Creative”. Free Choice! Choose your own word of the day, your own mindfulness activity, and your own way of spreading loving-kindness. Share with your family if you’d like.
- Word of the day is “Water”. “Nourish this Life”. Drink a glass of water in silence. Focus on how the water is nourishing your cells and how it feels in your mouth, the glass on your lips, and going down your throat. Every time you have a drink of water today, fill your heart with feelings of gratitude.
- Word of the day is “Gratitude”. “Practice Gratitude”. Write something: a poem or a story about something for which you are grateful or make a list of 24 items for which you are grateful. Whichever you choose, share with your family. Write a thank you note to someone you forgot to thank and mail it to them.
- Word of the day is “Imagination”. “Use Your Imagination”. Think of your imagination as an infinite universe of creativity which contains the best way to respond to others, and the perfect answers and solutions. Remember this throughout the day when interacting with others. Create something – a poem, story, drawing, model – that seems the perfect item to create in this moment.
- Word of the day is “Non-Judgment”. “Practice Non-judgment”. Stop yourself every time you begin to judge yourself or someone else with thoughts such as, “I can’t believe he/she did that. He/She is so unkind.” or “I can’t believe I did that! I’m so stupid!” Feel what this physically feels like in your body, connect with it until it releases. Focus on the in and out of your breath for 3 to 10 in and out breaths.
- Word of the day is “Kindness” and Arts & Crafts Day (Make a Card or Other Creation). “Spread Loving-Kindness”. Be open all day of ways in which to spread kindness and act on it when inspired. Don’t hold back!!
- Word of the day is “You” and Games & Puzzles (Christmas Puzzles) – “Know Your Self” Today is your day! Ask, “What do I want to do right now?” Listen to the still, small voice within, your intuition. Do that. Plus, share with someone: If you could have one wish come true for Christmas, what would it be? Spend from now until Christmas (and longer) imagining and living as if the wish has come true.
- Word of the day is “Awesome”. “You are AWEsome!” No comparing yourself to others today. Stop yourself with every thought of comparison and focus on your breathing for 10 counts of in and out.
- Word of the day is “Laughter“. “Invite Laughter Today”. Choose a time during the day and choose a person or two to just spontaneously laugh with .. Here’s how: Stand up, make eye contact, and start laughing. It’s truly magical how it transforms from forced laughter to genuine belly laughter. Have FUN!
- Word of the day is “Earth”. “One with Earth”. Spend at least 5 minutes outside (longer if your toes aren’t freezing off!) with your shoes and socks off in the grass, sand, dirt, or snow and focus on how it feels.
- Word of the day is “Surprise” and Arts & Crafts Day (Make a Paper Snowman). “The Joy of Surprise”. Surprise someone today with an act of loving kindness. Get centered in your heart with 10 minutes of mindful breathing. Then direct this question to your heart, “What person should I surprise? What would really, really, be a happy surprise for this person?” Do that.
- Word of the day is “Nature”. “Nature Inspires and Soothes”. Go for a 20 minute walk alone or with someone else. Be in silence the entire time with no thinking of what happened in the past or what you will do when done or tomorrow or the next day. If thoughts enter, release them, and replace with “Life loves me”. Describe in detail (in writing or with your family) your favorite things about nature.
- Word of the day is “Love” and Arts & Crafts (Write a love letter or make a card to send or leave anonymously). “Love is the Answer”. Make several love notes and spread them around town – in books at the bookstore, restroom mirrors, inside magazines, car windshields, leave with tips, etc. Share loving kindness with someone.
- Word of the day is “Sounds”. “Feel the Sounds”. Have a dance party. Listen to the words and beat of the music and let your body move in tune with the sounds. PLUS: Sing Christmas songs together!!
- Word of the day is “Focus” and Extra Movie Night. “Focus on the Moment”. Discuss the movie after it’s over. Favorite parts, least favorite parts. What would you have done the same or differently.
- Word of the day is “Sight” and drive around neighborhoods to look at Christmas decorations. “Gratitude for Sight”. Spend 5 or 10 minutes focusing your sight on something of nature, a tree, a lake, a bush, the grass. Fill your heart with gratitude for nature.
- Word of the day is “Improv” and Extra Movie Night – “Life is Improv” – Act out your favorite scene from the movie adding your own improv.
- Word of the day is “Presence“. “There is Only the Present Moment”. Do your best to stay in the present moment all of today. Focus on whatever you are doing, whoever you’re talking with, whatever your reading or watching; with no thoughts of what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow or next week or next year. This can seem difficult if you’re new to the practice of keeping your thoughts in the present moment. To take a break from staying in the present moment, share a favorite memory and why it means so much to you. Focus on it for a few minutes before sharing so as to remember every detail possible .. smells, sounds, sights, textures, etc.
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