Good Choices for a Joyful Time

In my Alexander Technique classes, I sometimes play a ball game. The students are standing in one circle. Step I: I throw a soft ball to someone, the person catches it. She/he throws it again to somebody else and the ball keeps passing on. Simple. Step II: I ask the students to not catch the ball. This already is more challenging, since we are all used to catching, if a ball comes our way. Not catch it, what do you mean? But almost everybody succeeds eventually in not catching the ball. Step III: Now I suggest to either catch the ball or not to catch it. For most people, it is not easy to clearly make a choice. Since it is so habitual to catch, more often than not, the students catch the ball without making a clear decision. Practice helps. Step IV: The task is now to either catch the ball, not to catch it or to do something else! Now this is the real challenge! As the game progresses, it is fun to watch how the students get more daring. Instead of catching the ball, they start to jump or clap their hands, or sing a song! However, it still seems to be difficult to stop the habitual reaction to having the ball come toward you. We are such a creature of habit!


What does this little game teach us? How does it apply to your life and especially as you approach the Holiday Season? Well, the truth is: We have those three choices 24/7! However, most of us are not aware of it. The time before Christmas is very demanding for many people. Decorating the house, having Christmas parties, going to the children’s concerts, getting gifts, baking cookies and treats, the list goes on and on. The Happy Holiday Season easily turns into a stressful season… Are you aware that you have choices?


You might be stressed to get gifts for the members of your family. Pause for a moment. Maybe another choice can be made such as giving gift certificates, or doing Secret Santa only! Cooking Christmas dinner is very stressful for some people. Why not organize it differently this year? Take some time; you might come up with the decision to ask everybody to bring a dish and share! Do you need to go to all the social events? Do you want to or is it just a habit? After taking a moment, you might find out you would rather spend more time at home with your children or yourself instead.


The Holiday Season is full of stimuli for us to just jump in and just react, do whatever other people or yourself might expect of you. In other words, to just “catch the ball”! Do you want to catch it, not catch it or do something else? It is worthwhile to sit back, stop, and take a moment. Pause and breathe and make a clear decision. In this way, you may enjoy the Holiday Season even more!