Day 40, To See What We Can See: A Different Kind of Holiday List


Dear Friends,

Today is the United Nations Day for International Human Rights.  Take a moment to ponder and ask how you can live in such a way as to preserve these rights.  And, if your city has a celebration for this, attend if you can.  More rights are taken away through apathy and ignorance than through wars and conflict.

I also promised that today I would suggest ways to deal with holiday challenges. Start with one of your beautiful backgrounds.  List out, in point form, all the stresses, common, chronic, and specific to the season, that you are or will be dealing with in the coming month.  Just brainstorm everything.  I had 25 on my list, but of course it’s not the number of stresses, but the intensity.   (Though I like the phrase “Being nibbled to death by ducks”, referring to that awful feeling of lots and lots of little things that can really get you down..)  Once they’re written out like this, you’ll know what you’re dealing with, and don’t have to feel that dread of the unknown.

Now take a look at them and thoughtfully acknowledge them.  Go to yesterdays sketch, and take some silent time to get in touch with what’s most important in your life, what motivates you to keep going.  Hold on to that feeling of knowing what’s most important, and go back to your list.

Our goal here is to be as proactive as possible in preventing illness, depression, and burn-out.  As you read your list, think of the natural categories they go into.  Some might be everyday stresses that are aggravating, but you’ve basically got them under control.  Others might be worries about people or situations that are completely out of your control.  Even others might be chores and errands that are related specifically to the season.  Perhaps a pile are related to physical conditions that you need to be careful about when stresses pile up.  You’ll intuitively know what categories make sense to your situation.

On the next page (or facing page) of your journal, draw some boxes, as many as you have categories, and label them. (And yes, some of us will need more pages!)  Now rewrite your stresses into the appropriate categories.  Boxed up like that, your image is reinforcing to your psyche that these stresses are handle-able, that no one stress need to take over your entire life, nor ruin an entire season.  Make the boxes and your items in them as beautiful as you can, to remind yourself that you are creating, as much as is in your control, a beautiful holiday season and by extension, a beautiful life.

That’s enough for today.  Tomorrow we’ll do a little more with them.

With love,


Day 40 of a series of daily prompts for written, visual, or art journalling, or just for pondering.  For more background information, see the Intro page, or this post on visual journalling:

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