On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all religious faiths, personal beliefs and purpose, pause to give thanks. Other countries also celebrate Thanksgiving with different dates and customs. Beliefs and traditions about how the holiday are celebrated may differ, yet the ultimate meaning centers around the same principle:
Thanksgiving looks very different this year. Whether celebrating in person or virtually, people may find it difficult to feel grateful with all they have endured. We face monumental challenges with the pandemic, political, social and financial strife. No doubt we are experiencing unprecedented times.
January - the time of year where many commit to resolutions for big changes in the new year.
Unfortunately, individuals who succeed at resolutions are far and few between. Studies show that people fail the common resolutions of losing weight, quitting smoking, getting out of debt, drinking less, etc., within the first two weeks.
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness."
"I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
"I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” - Neil Gaiman
What are your new year intentions?
‘Tis the season for bright lights, holiday cards, parties, excessive shopping and overindulgence. Delightful Christmas specials flood the networks while traditional Hallmark Christmas movies paint the picture of the perfect family.
As the holiday’s approach, many are eager to gather with family and friends to share in the seasonal giving, eat all the yummy holiday treats, and drink holiday cheer. While this may be an enjoyable experience for many, for others this can be challenging. Many family members naturally grow apart and have little in common. Some have family conflict that goes back years and can be easily triggered. It is not uncommon to face conflict when we get together with families.
Holiday's may represent an entirely different set of emotions with the pain and agony from the loss of a loved one, separation or divorce. For others, the season brings up intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, pain, depression, stress or anxiety for various reasons. The difficulty of helping someone suffering with chronic illness, substance abuse, aging parents, problematic family members may change the pulse of the holiday causing the magic of the season to fade.
The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Accordingly, many will see less sunlight today than any day of the year.
The lack of light and freezing cold denote long dreary months of winter ahead for many.
Yet the winter solstice signifies a time for quiet renewal and self-reflection. Similar to animals that hibernate, if we align and make peace with the season, slow our pace, and retreat within perhaps it can allow us much needed rest and rejuvenation.
Thanksgiving - a day to reflect and share with family and friends the blessings that saturate our lives.
While beliefs and traditions about how the holiday is celebrated may differ, one Thanksgiving truth that has held true over centuries is gratitude. On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all religious faiths, personal beliefs and purpose, pause to give thanks.
Yet what if every day we begin with a mindset of gratitude? Just think what a positive effect this might have on our relationships and our world.
Your day is formed by how you spend your first hour. Incorporate some or all of the five morning mindfulness ideas so that you can consciously begin your day with activities that create more focus, energy and serenity.
Mindfulness is being in the present moment. Whenever we bring awareness to what we are directly experiencing through our thoughts and emotions, we are being mindful. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of what we are doing and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. We all have the natural quality of mindfulness, but it is more readily available if we practice it on a regular basis.
Mindfulness enters our everyday conversations in a powerful way. But what does mindfulness really mean?
Mindfulness is self-awareness. It’s noticing and paying attention to thoughts, feelings, behavior, and everything else.
Jon Kabbat-Zinn, PhD has studied mindfulness more than 35 years and is the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Dr. Kabbat-Zinn says practicing mindfulness is actually a form of meditation, yet you don't have to practice for 20 minutes at a time.
You can be mindful anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Mindfulness and meditation are mirror-like reflections of each other: mindfulness supports and enriches meditation, while meditation nurtures and expands mindfulness. Where mindfulness can be applied to any situation throughout the day, meditation is usually practiced for a specific amount of time.
Mindfulness is simply awareness. It has been defined as a state of moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment. This requires being aware of and attentive to what’s going on inside and outside of your body. This requires being in the present, not being on “autopilot,” or going through the motions of life without a clear connection to what you’re feeling or doing.
“Each relationship has at its heart, a holy purpose.”
- Doreen Virtue
The relationship with your husband or wife, significant other, mother or father, between children, siblings or other family members is for a holy purpose. Relationships that you form with friends, people you work or socialize with, gather for meditation or spiritual gatherings, yoga, gym or outdoor/sporting events are in your life for a reason.
Some people come and go; some may be around for a lifetime. Some relationships are deeper than others.
Some people bring us true joy, love and companionship and helps us to strengthen our sense of who we are. Others may provoke extreme pain and suffering and contribute to a feeling of a weaker self. They tend to shatter the self-image making us doubt our ability to make healthy decisions and come to good judgement.
Yet all relationships ultimately serve to discover our soul’s purpose.
If you are a highly sensitive person, chances you are in or have been in a relationship with a narcissist.
Narcissists are master manipulators and liars with a need for admiration. They have a sense of entitlement, persuasive pattern of grandiosity, sense of self-importance and a true lack of empathy and humility.
Highly sensitive people or empaths are often a narcissist’s target because they are deeply caring, empathetic people whose purpose in life is to support the healing in others. Yet due to their intense sensitivity, empaths often struggle to create healthy boundaries for themselves, giving in to co-dependency and habitual self-sacrifice.
Self-talk... stop for a moment and listen to yours for a brief period of time. Is your inner dialogue filled with negativity and expecting positive outcomes?
We all have those days when we are stressed, running late, spill coffee on our crisp, white shirt prior to making that important presentation. The inner critic immediately blurts, “Seriously! I can’t believe you’re such a blundering idiot!!
Humans are hardwired by nature towards negative thinking. It dates back to our ancestors safeguarding our survival so that we recognize and avoid survival. Many of us also grew up with the belief that having a negative attitude towards life and self was normal in order to protect us.
Listen to your self-talk for a day. How do you talk to yourself? To others? Do you have your brief blundering moments, or is it an incessant negative dialogue?
If another person spoke to someone you loved the way you dialogue with yourself, you would likely get a bit angry or defensive. Yet with internal negative self-talk, our self-defense mechanism is non-existent.
Some of us need to reprogram and re-train our brain so that positivity becomes our new automatic response. Positive affirmations and self-talk do work but it takes persistence and taking notice of the conversation that exists in the subconscious and conscious mind.
Following are five fundamental tips to help you eliminate negative self-talk and begin changing your inner dialogue...
Happy New Year 2019!
I love the excitement of heading into a brand new year. The new year signifies renewal. Release. Letting go. Freedom. New beginnings....
How exciting! As we embark upon new year 2019, my personal ritual is to set aside a time for both introspective review and setting purposeful intention for the year ahead. I begin by lighting three white candles and playing tranquil music to attract positive energy. I then acknowledge all the year's blessings and accomplishments, honor and bless the people that helped or hindered my path, let go and forgive that which no longer serves me, and appreciate all that I am grateful. I then set blessings and overall intentions for the new year to come.
I’ve never been one to set New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to set small attainable goals as needed throughout the year, rather than one large goal at the beginning of the year.
However, New Year’s resolutions are quite popular. There are many theories as to how far they go back. Merriam-Webster quotes numerous pledges dating as far back as the 1600’s. It also cites speculation from an unknown author that New Year’s resolutions dates back well over 200 years giving people in the early 19th century—much like those today—an excuse for misbehavior up to New Year's Eve.
Today, many people still set New Year’s resolutions and try to achieve them. Most resolutions are based around self-improvement including losing weight, quitting smoking and/or drinking, and improving finances. Though over 40% or more Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, according to the University of Scranton research just 8% of people achieve their New Year's goals. Many of these resolutions do not even last a few weeks.
The question remains, why do so many people fail at goal-setting, and what are the secrets behind those who succeed?
For many, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season.
Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25 as the celebration of the day when Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born. Jews celebrate Hanukkah or the "Festival of the Lights," an 8-day observation between November 30 and December 26. The holiday of Kwanza is a week long celebration of the African heritage starting December 26. Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day, the enlightenment of the Buddha on December 8. Krismas is a secular holiday that celebrates most of the elements of Christmas, with the exception of the story of Jesus' birth. This came about in 2004.
Most cultures recognize the Winter Solstice worldwide with an interpretation of the event varying from culture to culture. Depending on the shift of the earth's axis, it is either December 21 or 22 of each year. The commonality is a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
For many, the season is a time of joy and celebration. A time of giving and sharing time with family and friends. Honoring traditions by reveling in the beauty of the holiday lights, decorating trees, watching holiday movies, and sharing in good food, laughter and the making of memories.
In contrast, others find it overly stressful and are turned off by the excessive shopping and overindulgence. Many have lost their Christmas spirit. The season brings up intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, physical and/or emotional pain, depression, anxiety.
If this season represents a sense of loss due to divorce, separation or passing of a loved one; if you or a family member is suffering from illness, emotional or physical, substance abuse or dealing with a problematic family member, the holidays can present a whole different set of obstacles.
Pressure to visit multiple homes, unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and excessive commitments can also cause stress and anxiety turning the once holiday sparkle into the holiday blues.
If you need a holiday boost, there are some self care tips you can do to lift your spirit and take care of YOU this holiday season. Putting you first is often difficult to do but is a must for survival and ensures your tank is filled so that you have more to give others. Read on for tips and tricks. Practice one per day to get through them easily and effortlessly!
"For Christians the holiday season celebrates the birth of a savior. Jews recognize Hanukah or the "Festival of the Lights." For those of African descent the holiday observes the holiday of Kwanza celebrating their heritage.
Delightful Christmas musicals and cartoon specials flood the television networks. Hallmark Christmas movies paint the picture-perfect relationship fantasies and happily ever afters.
Yet for many, it involves more social engagements, overindulgence, excessive shopping. A poll by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays.
Creating a more mindful wake up routine results in more energy and less stress. If you’re waking up sluggish and tired with low energy and rushed for time, the rest of your day will likely follow the same pattern.
Following are nine simple ideas for developing a morning wake up routine that will set an intent for a more healthy, joyful and productive day. Feeling good in the morning takes a bit of self-discipline to incorporate new habits. But you can easily add in one or as many as you feel called. Just begin today - you will feel better and notice results!