Dec. 21 ♥ Advice for the Holidays: Live without Expectations or Resentments

‘Tis the season to have expectations: Everyone will get along. The food will be perfect. Every gift will be just what they wanted. Happiness will abound. Every family member will be on their best behavior. Ah, Norman Rockwell may be alive and well in our memories but that’s not the reality of our lives around the holidays. How often have you planned how an experience was going to unfold only to have your expectations rudely thwarted? And how often did you then let your frustrations come spewing forth onto those around you? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why are we so certain that we know how the future will unfold? Why do we continue to believe we have so much power over life and other people? Want a recommendation for a more peaceful holiday, whichever one you celebrate: let’s all act as if we have no idea what will happen. Let’s recognize that we can only control ourselves; everyone else is on their own autopilot. Let’s relish being in the moment, however that moment turns out. I promise you, you can eliminate frustration, anger, disappointment, and sadness if you just let go of any preconceived ideas about how things should happen.   Now It’s Your turn What can you let go of this holiday season? What difference will that make to you? To your friends and family? … Continue reading

Valentines Day — with the Perfect Twist!

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. Charles M. Schultz     While not one of the most famous quotes for Valentine’s Day, it certainly works for me! So, grab a piece of chocolate (if that works for you!) and read on. On Valentine’s Day many people get all caught up in the actions (or inactions) of someone else. Some feel that if they’re not part of a couple, the day is irrelevant. This Valentine’s Day I’d like to offer a different perspective. Radical idea: what if you thought of Valentine’s Day as a day dedicated to self-love? This is an interesting idea for several reasons. No need to rely on anyone else. No need to feel “left out” because you don’t meet the societal prerequisite. No need to have expectations. It’s all within your control. If you honored a day devoted to self-love you could… list the things you LOVE about yourself (no need to wait for someone else to do it for you) choose what you need, right now, to put a smile on your face (no mind reading necessary) eat something stunningly delicious (calories don’t count today) recognize the love you already have around you (think beyond those closest to you) create your own happy place (no electronic distractions) treat your body as the sacred vessel that it is (no comparisons allowed) say “No” (and regain a piece of yourself) celebrate your unique gifts (because the world is waiting for you to share … Continue reading

Create Your Holiday Manifesto — Now!

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.  ~ Yogi Berra   Have you noticed the quick changeover from Halloween to Christmas in stores? Sure, there’s lip service being paid to Thanksgiving, but suddenly we’re being urged to get ready for The Big Holiday Season. I’ve already seen Facebook posts and newspaper ads that let me know the number of weekends until That Day. Cue the quickening heartbeat and rising anxiety level. Yikes! This year I’m not buying into the frenzy. Or the overspending. I plan to ignore the marketing hype. And not overextend myself. This year’s holiday season will be on my terms. And will be meaningful to my friends, loved ones and me. This year I will seek joy and camaraderie. I will be present and mindfully take sanity pauses. I will monitor my stress level and when I feel chaos and overwhelm creeping in, I will respond by slowing down, not by pushing even harder. I will confer with my loved ones now so we can decide what our plans will be during the holiday season. This will help minimize getting swept up into the swirl of partying and rushing around. I will not compromise my commitment to exercise and meditation. My sanity breaks will be non-negotiable times just for myself. And when old behavior patterns around relatives re-surface, I will remove myself from the situation temporarily and do something just for me. This year I plan to enjoy the holidays and … Continue reading

Got Enough?

Many of us have just enjoyed a holiday dedicated to thankfulness. We have shared our gratitude while gathered ’round the dinner table. We have offered thanks for what we have in our lives and for the bounty of the harvest. We have appreciated what is right before us. And, yet… Many of us have raced to the midnight and pre-dawn sales, seeking, wanting, and perhaps even lusting after something that we don’t yet have. We hurry to have more. Our focus shifts from one of contentment to the frenzy of acquiring. The earlier sense of gratitude has disappeared, relegated to one special day a year. And, yet… What if we declared that we have enough? What if we took a stand and declared that our needs have been met? Our wants may still be spinning out of control, but our needs have been met. How would this perspective shift our relationship to what we currently have in our lives? Your call to action: Each day for the coming week, take time to identify 5 things that you are grateful for, and write them down. One caveat: you cannot repeat any item in your gratitude list. At the end of the week notice what has changed for you. How does the world look from here? What if you repeated this exercise every day for a month?     … Continue reading

A Different Holiday Perspective

Many people are looking to the holidays with anticipation and delight. This is a special time of celebration and of joy in being with friends and family. There’s an air of expectation and wonder, regardless of religious affiliation. Due to the twists and turns of my life, my holidays will not fit the Hallmark card model. While there are many ways in which I could view my situation, this year I am choosing to enter a deeply reflective time. A time of honoring what I do have in my life, rather than what I am “missing”. A time of reviewing the lessons and gifts that have come to me as I have met each challenge. And 2010 wins the Academy Award for the most challenging screenplay. A significant lesson that I have learned this year is that there really is sunshine in every storm. As Sark so beautifully states it, I am learning to “see in the dark”. And, in order to do this, I need to seek the good in each storm. And, it really is there, although I wouldn’t have believed this truth earlier in my life. I’ve also learned that grieving over any loss, cannot be rushed or skipped over, or pushed down. Being present with my grief and loss has allowed it to shift and transform. And I have learned to feel glad, no matter what. This gift of understanding beats any beautifully wrapped package under my tree. Peace to you in this season of love. … Continue reading