Visiting my Oma in Holland always felt like arriving home.
The excellent food, warm hugs, and great laughs.
I remember visiting when I was only 8 or 9 years old.
Having chocolate sprinkles on buttered big round rusks for breakfast. Going for bike rides around the canals with my sisters. Sitting on a bench with my Oma, feeding stale bread to the ducks.
The daily visits to the market with my family for a freshly baked chocolate eclair. Tasting black salted licorice for the first time. Eating deep-fried beef croquettes, with french fries dipped in mayonnaise.
And then there were the family gatherings. With more food, multiple games of euchre, and Dutch music playing in the background.
Oma used a word to describe these moments … gezellig.
The Meaning of Gezellig
There’s no direct English translation for gezellig. It is one of those crazy words that can be used in multiple contexts.
The Dutch use this word to describe moments of belonging and connection that usually involve others. It’s also used to describe situations that are cozy, inviting, and enjoyable.
Enjoying coffee alone on a patio cafe can be gezellig.
A relaxed social gathering can be gezellig.
A day at the beach building sandcastles with your kids can be gezellig.
And of course, visiting with friends and family can be gezellig.
The antonym to gezellig is ongezellig, which describes places and situations that we avoid because they are unpleasant or uninviting. It also refers to people that are cold, distant, and difficult to be around.
Creating Moments of Gezellig
In my quest for mindfulness, I’ve come to embrace gezellig.
I find myself going out of my way to create moments of calm and relaxation throughout my life.
Taking a brief moment to pause, take a deep breath, and be mindful.
Being intentional about going on adventures with my kids.
Having friends over for BBQs or game nights.
And creating an inviting and safe space for my Clients to develop as Mindful Leaders.
What If We Embraced Gezellig In Our Lives?
What if we started each day intending to create moments of gezellig?
Going out of our way to pause and experience gezellig during our first sip of coffee in the morning.
Being open and completely present as we connect with our loved ones throughout the day.
And looking for opportunities to create an evening of gezellig with family and friends.
What If We Brought Gezellig Into Our Work?
What if we were intentional about bringing gezellig into our work?
Exploring ways to create an inviting, pleasant, and energizing place to work for ourselves and those that we serve.
Starting each day being grateful for the opportunity to work with the people around you.
Taking a moment at the beginning of each conversation to lower our shields, become completely present, and truly connect with the other person.
And at the end of each encounter, acknowledge the contribution and strengths of those that we serve.
The Quest For Gezellig
Walking the path of a Mindful Leader requires us to be intentional with our actions.
So, your quest for today is to create a moment of gezellig.
Will you choose to create a moment of gezellig in your personal or professional life?
Will it be a situation for yourself, or will it involve other people?
I’d love to hear about your quest for gezellig.
Leave a comment below and share your moment.
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