by Martha Pasternack
I am fully aware that the month of December can be hectic and highly stressful. The stress could be eustress. The stress could be distress. Either way... it is stress.
In December there are parties, travel, family gatherings, music recitals, school breaks, common colds and uncommon challenges on our plans and our time. After all, December is the holiday month. The celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve name but a few.
Here’s the thing: not everyone in the northern hemisphere celebrates the December holidays. Yet all of us in the northern hemisphere experience the shorter days and longer nights if we are aware of the rhythms of nature. Shorter days and longer nights are a phenomenon leading up to what some people call winter. Others call it winter solstice or sun standing. Actually, the solstice is only a brief moment in time, like a pendulum at the top of its swing.
I read on Wikipedia that: “The term solstice can also be used in a broader sense, as the date (day) when this occurs. The day of the solstice is either the longest day of the year (in summer) or the shortest day of the year (in winter) for any place outside of the tropics.”
It is getting cold where I live and the rhythms of my entire day change. It has started to snow and when that happens time slows down and so do I. I eat different food, I plan my outside chores and my outings to town differently. I get quiet.
It is about rhythm. As coaches we may experience this change of rhythm in ourselves, in our businesses and with our clients. December's crazy-busy and quiet times are perfect opportunities to support our clients to recognize and embrace their unique rhythms, regardless of whether it is winter solstice or summer solstice.
December in the north is a great time to rest mentally, emotionally and physically as we prepare for the light to return. It is a time to reevaluate intentions and goals. It is the time to receive the blessings of the returning light.
December in the south may mean going for quantum leaps of personal growth or full-on implementation of action plans as the light of day remains. It is time to receive the blessings of the dimming light. You can see that December holds a broad spectrum of experiences.
Imagine lighting a candle that will illuminate your client’s achievements and accentuate the shadows cast around by the light. Subtle or not so subtle fear may be held in those shadows. This fear holds power to keep our clients stuck. Likewise, subtle or not so subtle causes for elation may be held in those shadows. Some clients hold themselves back from being TOO happy! Go figure!
December is a great time for IAC Mastery #9 to make an appearance in our coaching conversations. IAC Mastery #9 is about “helping the client to create and use support systems and structures.” It's about “helping the client to identify and build relationships, tools, systems and structures he or she needs to advance and sustain progress.”
When IAC Mastery #9 is effective in a client's life they become clear about the best ways to address unique situations (holidays, for example). As coaches we know we can't do it for them. They must identify what they need and find ways to meet those needs. Their experience of December holidays and solstice may be 180° away from ours and yet our job is to help them be accountable for their inner knowing, clarity of vision and to meet the needs they have identified during the holiday/solstice.
One of the fun things that we can do as coaches is to support our clients to open up an awareness that whatever happened last year doesn't necessarily have to happen this year.
It’s about opening to new possibilities.
It’s about being open to receiving support.
Martha Pasternack, MMC www.CircleofLifeCoach.com