Norm, our Elf on the Shelf, showed up today. He was wrapped around the salt shaker on the kitchen table and the kids were beyond excited to see him (or perhaps it was the 1st day of Advent calendar sugar adding to the hype!).
A relatively new tradition, Norm has been with us for 4 years now. He arrives on the 1st Dec (magically from the North Pole) and he hides in various places, always somewhere where he can watch the action, and at night he goes to The North Pole to keep Santa informed, presumably on the antics observed so Santa can assess the naughtiness or niceness of the goings on in the Mullen house.
On Christmas Eve he returns to the North Pole. His job is done for the year.
OK, I find this whimsical felt character somewhat delightful, and the accompanied exceptionally good behavior of my kids a definite plus!
The cheeky observer
That’s all he’s doing. No judgement. Pure and completely silent observation.
I know I’ve written about the power of noticing before, and I still see more and more gifts from this noticing tool, in multiple areas of my life.
For example, I noticed that I was highly irritated by Christmas music in the stores before Halloween. It literally had me twitching. Instead of whirling into an anxiety-fueled trip to overwhelm land, I was able to notice my visceral and mental reaction and process accordingly. It was not the music that was making me flinch, but the thoughts and ‘shoulds’ associated with having not started planning, shopping or even considering the holiday season.
As we wind up 2011, a year I swear went faster than any before, some key noticing can go a long way.
Get on your lab coat
Rolling up the white sleeves of your crisp lab coat and applying your scientific genius to the findings.
Grab a pen and start jotting, or maybe drawing…
What worked well?
Ponder the main areas in you life – family and friends, significant other, health, career, personal growth, money, physical environment, and fun and recreation.
Yes, let’s not just notice the stuff that didn’t work or that you want to change, let’s celebrate the successes, let’s acknowledge the joys, let’s see where your strengths flexed and your light shone.
If visuals help you do this, you can draw these as slices on a virtual pizza and jot notes in the 8 segments. Once you see what’s in your 2011 pizza, what ingredients and toppings would you like to see in your 2012 pizza? The same? More of one ingredient, less of another? New toppings and flavors or more of the same deliciousness?
What was challenging? Why was it challenging? What would you like to learn and take forward?
Inventory your daily tasks. Look at the ‘have to’ items. Do you have work arounds or creative ways to bag them, better them, or barter them (3 B magic created by Martha Beck).
What about the things you love – are there areas you could extend them?
Let’s get intentional
What are your intentions for 2012? Could noticing your learning from 2011 help you focus on what you truly desire for 2012?
I’m not asking you to write a thesis, or a fancy business plan – but knock yourself out if you like – even asking the questions and letting them settle in can stir some truth and grace to the surface that may help steer you as you enter the new year.
Want to join me? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.