The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on November 18, 2010.

The snowstorm we had last weekend brought us face-to-face with winter weather. It also got me thinking about the upcoming holiday season, and the difficulties and stresses people often have during what should be a beautiful, spiritual and peaceful time of year.

This holiday season I’m planning to incorporate what I’ve learned from Dream Coaching – both in being coached and in coaching others – that I know will help me to eliminate much of the seasonal stress and to enjoy the Christmas of my dreams. I’m sharing a few of the practices in case you’d like to try them as well.

In order to have the holiday of your dreams, you first need to identify what that is. Spend a few quiet minutes right now – or as soon as you can – writing down what your dream holiday would look like and feel like to you. Does it include a big family dinner? Will you go to church, either on the holiday itself or throughout the season? Is quiet, reflective time a part of your ideal holiday? Do you want to avoid the hustle and bustle as much as possible while still celebrating and enjoying your holiday traditions?

As you’re describing what your dream holiday would be like, don’t get distracted by wondering how you could make it happen, or by the reasons you think you can’t. A little later you’ll look at the how and when, and you’ll deal with the problems and issues involved. But for now you’re just dreaming, so enjoy the process. Put everything you want to have into your dream, and leave out everything you don’t want. Have fun dreaming of the holiday atmosphere you would most like to create.

Once you’ve got it all down on paper, read it over a few times. Only then should you spend some time listening to your Doubter – that little voice inside of you that’s quick to tell you all the reasons it’s impossible for you to have the holiday of your dreams. You don’t have enough money. You don’t have enough time. The family is spread out all across the country. And no matter how hard you try to pace yourself, you always end up too stressed and exhausted to really enjoy the holiday. Why would this year be any different?

Our Doubter speaks to us in a loud and determined voice, especially when we decide to do something really ambitious or radically different. It can sabotage our dreams before we even start working on them. The key to avoiding this is not to ignore your Doubter’s voice, but to examine what it’s saying from a practical, rather than an emotional, viewpoint. That way you can see the issues and obstacles in your way, and can implement plans and strategies to handle them. You may make some concessions and compromises, and you may re-examine the Norman Rockwell dinner table you thought you needed to set. You can check on the schedule for family and religious events and services and add them to your calendar before it gets overstuffed with other obligations. And you can make sure that the things that matter most to you are the things that don’t get lost in the shuffle.

It may seem like you’re weakening your holiday dream by doing this, but you’ll actually be strengthening it. You’ll be acting in a purposeful and intentional manner, getting clear about what you really want, and taking active, deliberate steps toward achieving it.

I can’t promise you the holiday of your dreams, but I can promise that if you start now and follow these steps you will get a clearer idea of what is truly important to you. And as you step out in faith and start working toward whatever it is that you want this holiday season to be, I’m betting you’ll find out – as I have – that miracles start to happen.

Whatever holidays you celebrate, and however you celebrate them, I hope that this holiday season will be for you one of peace, satisfaction, gratitude and joy. And I hope it will be one you will dream of for years to come.

© Betty Liedtke, 2010