Often I have a good idea about what I’m going to write about in my next blog – if you’ve read my other blogs then you know that running in Twickenham or the walk to my therapy rooms in Richmond often provides time for reflection and inspiration. But this morning, I was sitting in my office and had nothing immediate to write about. So I thought about my life right now – what’s happening, what’s coming up, what I’m struggling with.  Christmas is rapidly approaching and later this week I’m going with my girlfriend to buy a Christmas Tree, and then we’re going to decorate it. It’s a lovely thing to do, but we have very different approaches to it.

Earlier this year both of us read a really helpful book by Trevor Silvester, the founder of Cognitive Hypnotherapy, called, “Lovebirds“. Through it you can discover what sort of ‘bird’ you are and how you interact with your partner. I’m a Kingfisher and she’s a Dove. We both discovered helpful information on how the other ‘sees’ or ‘feels’ the world and what’s important to them. It’s very helpful as it stops us trying to mindread what we think is happening with the other and it’s given us understanding and strategies to enable us to strengthen our relationship.

So she’s very excited about the whole tree thing and what it represents. She can’t wait to share the experience with me, to share her joy about choosing the tree together, getting it home together, decorating it together and every time she sees it knowing that it represents more than just a tree.

I’m not like that. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Christmas but I experience the world in a different way. It’s a nice thing to have a tree but it doesn’t ‘mean’ the same thing to me as it does to her.
But I know that she enjoys it and I’ve learned over the years that rather than going through the motions I’ll derive the most benefit from giving myself as much as possible to the experience. It’s not being false, it’s not pretending – she knows I have a different experience – but by engaging fully with it I’ll enjoy her enjoyment of it and derive all that I can from the shared time together.

This isn’t one way traffic either. There are plenty of things that I enjoy that she initially only did for the same reasons, MotoGP for example, although she has found to her surprise that by engaging with them she has discovered that she really enjoys them.  And that’s the thing…we don’t know what we might find if only we engaged fully.

I try to keep in mind two quotes that I have found very helpful, especially when I’m struggling. The first is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do the thing, and you shall have power.” which I discovered through reading Jeff Olson’s wonderful book, The Slight Edge, (I highly recommend reading this transformative book).
The second is, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” I don’t know the source of this but this really helps me to engage with those things in life that don’t feel as though they will be something I’ll enjoy or derive benefit from.

So whether it’s Christmas or more generally I invite you to think about what those quotes may offer you as you go about your life. You may find them helpful in bringing you more than you may have envisaged.