Day 11-CHRISTMAS WISDOM FROM DR. SEUSS!

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Dr. Seuss

Whether you celebrate Christmas by embracing the birth of Jesus or whether Christmas means something different for you and your family, I wish you the very best Christmas you could possibly have! I encourage you to embrace you oneness with the Divine and with all humanity and look beyond the commercialization of this special time and embrace what this time really means for us all! 

I encourage you to take a moment to read this blog post from one of my favorite spiritual teachers Marianne Williamson. In it she gives a beautiful perspective on the birth of the Christ. No matter what your faith and your belief I wish you a very Merry Christmas-whatever it means for you!

DAY 10-ABUNDANCE

 This post is part of the 2010 “Twelve days of Christmas” series where I’ll be posting something every day for the remaining days leading up to Christmas day! It’s my gift to you! Enjoy! 

“You can never get enough of what you don’t really need to make you happy!”
   ~Eric Hoffer~

A couple of days ago I was reading the comments from a discussion question that was posed to our group. The question asked if we believed in miracles and what would a miracle look like for us. I was both moved and a bit saddened at some of the answers. There were some who answered that a miracle would be the restoration of their families, healing for their ailing loved ones, saving of homes and money to purchase transportation to be with family for the holidays.

But what struck me were the numbers of respondents who said that a miracle would be hundreds of thousands, and even millions, of dollars in their bank accounts! While reading these responses I was reminded of my dear friend Jennifer Scarano who is one of THE most awesome women I know and who believes in the simplicity of life and the abundance that it brings! Jen is the kind of person who grows organic gardens and who creates her own jams and jellies. As I said, she is awesome!!

For Christmas, she sent me a written piece called “Don’t Buy The Shirt Unless You Need It!” It’s a wonderful piece written about abundance. For the sake of brevity I won’t go into detail but do take a moment to click on the link and read it. It’s a great piece.

 While I was reading the responses about miracles I thought about how we in this country have so much more than some in other countries. But it seems that with everything we have it’s still never enough! We are always striving to have more: bigger, better, the latest and the greatest! We have to have a bigger house, a better car, the latest smart phone, the latest hairdo…It seems that in this country enough is never enough!

As I read the comments  from respondents who spoke about the miraculous amounts of money that they wished would show up in their bank accounts I couldn’t help but think how sad some people must be. Now, I don’t know all the reasons that someone would ask for a miracle of more money in the amounts that they spoke of but I have talked to enough people in my life and we always think that if only we could pay off all of our debts we would be alright. But what if we stopped creating more debt for ourselves and ceased having to have the latest and the greatest! What if we were content (not complacent) with what we have?!

It seems that we live in a country where we can never have enough; a “Super Size Me” economy!  We never have enough money, we never have enough time. We live in one of the richest countries in the world yet our quality of life is one of the poorest.

We are unhealthy as a people with one of the highest rates of obesity and our children are being diagnosed with heart disease as young as twelve years old! Our financial economy is in the toilet and we blame it on the lack of jobs which of course is a major factor. But we as citizens of this country have to take responsibility for our situations! We don’t save for “rainy days” and are always having to spend, spend, spend! From name brand clothing, handbags and shoes to luxury cars with names that some can’t even pronounce, and houses we can’t really afford and have to wait for payday to make the mortgage payment on. We have to have it all!

I could go on and on for hours talking about this but the point of this post is to get people to appreciate all that we have in this country and in our personal lives. We have everything we need but are still searching and striving for more all the while missing the miracles of abundance that are around us at every moment!

I hope that as we celebrate another holiday season, we’ll take time to appreciate and be grateful for the abundance that has been supplied to us. I hope that we will realize that what we have is always enough! We have our health! We have more opportunity in this country than most! We have our freedom and most of all we have life!! Live it like it’s your last day on earth!

DAY 8-IT IS WHAT IT IS!

This post is part of the 2010 “Twelve days of Christmas” series where I’ll be posting something every day for the remaining days leading up to Christmas day! It’s my gift to you! Enjoy!   
  

It’s easy to accept the things that happen for us when things are going the way we would like them to go-when we are experiencing love, peace, harmony in our relationships and the like. But it’s when things are not going the way we would like that life becomes challenging-when we experience loss in some form, pain (emotional or physical), and the frustrations that life sometimes brings our way. Our initial reaction to these experiences is to resist and wish for things to be different! We immediately go into defense mode and sometimes refuse to accept what is happening in our lives which creates stress and disharmony.

This stress is compounded by the fear of what could happen that often comes with these experiences and creating more stress! It is often this fear that prevents us from receiving the meaning and the message that some of these experiences bring. And it’s there!

I recently experienced a situation that was very painful for me emotionally. My first reaction was to wish it away and not deal with the emotions that came with it. I resisted and I resisted in a big way! I mean, I fought it. I denied it, I blamed it on someone else and pretty much threw a tantrum! But because I know better I eventually accepted the situation as it was. I finally embraced the message and asked the question of what could I gain from this experience. I accepted that everything was as is should be and that the situation presented an aspect of me that needed attention.

I can’t say that it was easy and I’m still growing from that experience. But OMG, what I have learned about myself from that experience has been wonder-filled! I have a new mantra for my life and a more healthy perception of myself! I am more sure of my value and worth than I have ever been before! I am happy and I’m in luv with me!

So when you get the opportunity to deal with some challenging situation in your life sit back, take a deep breath and relax. Repeat to yourself “This too shall pass.”  Know that the situation “is what it is” and that from the experience you will be healed and transformed! 

DAY 7-WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEANS TO YOU!

This post is part of the 2010 “Twelve days of Christmas” series where I’ll be posting something every day for the remaining days leading up to Christmas day! It’s my gift to you! Enjoy! 

The question “What does Christmas mean to you?” was recently posed to a discussion group that I participate in on a regular basis. I can say that I didn’t have to hesitate in forming my answer as this is an easy one for me. Aside from the religious aspects of Christmas; whether you believe the story of the Christ’s birth or not, I believe that Christmas offers something for everyone of us to celebrate.

For me and my family, Christmas is a time to express love and gratitude.It’s not about giving expensive gifts but it’s another time to share your gifts of encouragement, and support of those close to you. It’s a time to celebrate the growth and evolution that we have experienced in our lives and look ahead to the next phase of growth. It’s a time to celebrate our health and being healthy. It’s a time to celebrate others; our family and friends that are dear to us!

Today I celebrate and express gratitude for those of you who read my blog, who “follow” me and who support me with your words of encouragement and your prayers! I’m grateful for the opportunities that showed up in my life disguised as adversity and I’m grateful for the solutions that came with it! I’m grateful for the friction and tension that I have experienced in my life for I know that without friction and adverse conditions, the brilliance of a diamond will remain hidden in a lump of coal! I can say that my “brilliance” is emerging everyday!

I’m grateful for my wonderful children who keep me amazed by what they do and say everyday! I’m grateful for my friends who have been with me and supported me for many years and I’m grateful for the many new friendships that have been created in my life! I’m grateful that I have been blessed with both of my parents, who are still married, for all of my life! They support me and encourage me and without them things might look very different for me!

So, I encourage you to take a break from the stress of searching for the perfect gift for your loved one and simply reach out to them and tell them what they mean to you! Tell them how special they are and that you are grateful that they are in your life!

Take a break from the guilt of not being able to buy everyone an expensive present and give then the gift of your presence! I’m reminded of the quote that says” To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world!” Somewhere someone is wanting to hear from you! Go within and ask yourself the question of who needs or wants to hear from you and when you get the answer don’t hesitate to reach out to them! They’ll be thrilled that you did!

So when you are giving your gifts this year and spreading your holiday cheer, remember to give the gifts of gratitude and love for they are the perfect gifts of the Divine!

DAY 6-WHAT’S YOUR LIFE’S THEME FOR THE NEW YEAR?!

This post is part of the 2010 “Twelve days of Christmas” series where I’ll be posting something every day for the remaining days leading up to Christmas day! It’s my gift to you! Enjoy!

I hope this note finds you all well and excited about what the rest of the year holds for you, and of course, excited about what you are going to accomplish in the new year!

I gotta tell you, I am so excited and have so much energy that I hardly know what to do with myself! I usually wake up at 4am every morning but lately, my eyes have been popping open right at 3am and I’m up and ready to go…do something! LOL!! I have been spending the time listening to music and sometimes dancing to help release all of this energy that I have and when I’m able to, I just sit still and gaze out the window and wait for the sun to greet me!

I have thought about my goals for my life for 2011 but really, I’m so excited and focused on each day that remains in 2010! And let me tell you, each day has truly been one for the books! I have been experiencing “miracles” every day and look forward to what each day has to offer!

One of the things I did at the beginning of the month was to create a 30 day plan focusing on what I wanted to accomplish before the end of the year. I have been working on this plan and it has truly been awesome to see my goals realized and my plan come together! I encourage you to set a goal for the remaining few days of this year and give that goal your undivided attention! No need for it to be elaborate but something that you can achieve to give yourself a boost of confidence going into the new year! 

I had an interesting day a few days ago where I experienced a bit of a breakdown. Yep, I go through it too! Although these experiences are never really “fun” I recognize them as an opportunity for expansion and growth so when I began to have these thoughts and feelings I just went with it!

Without going into detail and for the sake of brevity, I was having some thoughts about attracting certain experiences in my life and wondering why they keep happening! I experienced anger, I experienced sadness, I cussed ( I like cussing sometimes) and then I asked the tough question of myself: “What am I doing to keep creating these experiences for myself?” The answer immediately came and it was eye opening for me! I realized that I was not accepting and loving myself as I am and like so many other women, I was wishing for something to be different! Better!

Well, during that experience I realized that I am my best and my best is magnificent! I realized that there is no need to want anything to be different and that I am fabulous “Just As ‘I Am’!” And with that, my life’s theme for 2011 was born! I took out my red lipstick that I use to write affirmations on my mirror with and wrote across the top of my bathroom mirror “JUST AS I AM!” I will look at it everyday, smile when I see it and affirm it-every day! If ever I’m tempted to critique myself or compare myself to another I will remind myself of my mantra!

So, what will be your life theme going into the new year! I encourage you to ask the tough questions of yourself and listen for the answer! Out of it your mantra and affirmation will emerge and I think you’ll be pretty amazed at it!

Day 5-JUST FOR TODAY…

What if, just for today, you let go of the need to know everything that was happening in your life?!

What if, just for today, you released your idea of how things should be and accepted things just as they are; as they unfold right before you eyes?!

What if you didn’t try to solve every “problem” that came up today but rather allowed the solution to emerge from the problem since with every problem comes a solution?!

What if, just for today, you decided to step into the realm of the unknown and trust that everything has already been worked out… for your good?!

What if, just for today, you decided to let go of the stress and worry that is created by attempting to control the flow of life and allowed life to just flow…effortlessly?!

What if, just for today, you believed that there is a Divine power orchestrating the dance of the Universe and that it wants to dance with YOU?!

What if, just for today, you allowed yourself to experience all the wonder and all the splendor and all the mystery and all of the magic of life that is occurring around us at every moment?!  What if…what if…what if…JUST FOR TODAY!

DAY 3- IT AIN’T OVER!

 This post is part of the 2010 “Twelve days of Christmas” series where I’ll be posting something every day for the remaining days leading up to Christmas day! It’s my gift to you! Enjoy!

Wow! 2010 in almost over and already we are thinking about how to make 2011 the best year of our lives. For some reason this sounds so familiar! It seems that at the end of every year we look back on the previous year and the things that we wanted to accomplish and did or didn’t, the relationships that we shared, the mistakes we made etc.etc! We vow to ourselves that the next year is going to be “the best year” of our lives and that we are going to be “letting some things go”, finally getting in shape and getting healthy, saving money… blah, blah, blah!

It’s perfectly healthy and wise to begin looking ahead to the upcoming year and thinking about the changes that we want to make in our lives and what possibilities the new year holds! Anybody in their right mind should be looking at where they are in their life and asking the questions about where they are vs.where they want to be and begin the process of getting where they want to be!

But you know what amazes me? How we in our society rarely finish what we start! Yeah, I’m going there! we get part way through something and sometimes get discouraged or don’t see the results we want and before we’ve reached the goal, before we’ve finished the project we are already looking to the next big thing! Somehow I get the feeling that being in the “Planning” stages or “working on” something makes us feel better about where we are in our lives! It gives us a sense of accomplishment even if we haven’t accomplished what we set out to do in the first place! 

So what I want to encourage you to do is think about how you can maximize the time left in THIS year! It’s great to look ahead but what changes can you make RIGHT NOW that will help you make the rest of your year the best of your year! What project plan or goal did you start in 2010 that you can take the rest of the year to finish?   What can you do RIGHT NOW to finish out the year strong and prepare yourself to start the new year strong?!

We all know that actually finishing a project or reaching a goal gives us a sense of accomplishment and builds our confidence! We feel better about ourselves when we finish something regardless of how big or small the goal was. And when we don’t finish something we started, we often get discouraged and tend to get down on ourselves.

So, did you start a workout routine and have sorta fallen off the wagon? Get back on it and continue with you routine! No need to wait for the new year!  Did you start cleaning out a room or space in your home and it’s only halfway done? Finish it! Did you start writing a blog, column or newsletter and haven’t posted in what seems like ages? Write the most fabulous post that you’ve ever written…TODAY! Write one every day for the rest of the year! Did you make a vow to yourself that you would spend more time with those that are important to you? Call them up or do something with them and let them know how much they mean to you…TODAY! Did you promise yourself that you would relax more and take more time for yourself and haven’t done it yet? Then change that TODAY! Wake up a few minutes earlier or stay up a little later and take a long bath, read a book or just sit quietly and listen to your thoughts!

Try some type of food that you have been meaning to try and haven’t done so yet! See a movie that you wanted to see and wasn’t able to do so! Write a few more chapters of that book you started! Finish painting that room or cleaning that office! Whatever it is, take the remaining days of this year and give attention to those things!

The point is that you have a few days left in this year to make it one of the greatest years of your life! Don’t focus so much on the possibilities for the new year that you miss the opportunities that remain in this year!

DAY 2 – DO SOMETHING THAT BRINGS YOU HAPPINESS!

This post is part of the 2010 “Twelve days of Christmas” series where I’ll be posting something every day (this is actually day 2) for the remaining days leading up to Christmas day! It’s my gift to you! Enjoy!

When I was a teenage ( just a couple of years ago LOL!), I had a pair of “Happy Shoes!” They were a pair of bright multi primary colored high top sneakers and just looking at them brought me happiness so you can just imagine how I felt when I actually wore them! I get so tickled when my mother tells the story of those shoes to my children because I thought she hated them!

In 2006 while shopping in downtown Los Angeles, I wandered into one of my favorite costume jewelry shops and spotted it- one of the biggest most gaudiest rings (pictured below) I had ever seen! It was made of silver and glass beads of every possible shape and size and small textured silver circles all magically threaded together to form a huge cluster of fabulousness! I had to have it!! I wore that ring nearly everyday! It brought me happiness!

Most recently I purchased another fabulously gaudy ring but this one is simply a huge ball of black silky fur (faux fur mind you) that sits perched on top of its base! It’s about two inches in diameter and sits a good 1 1/2 inches from my finger and it’s absolutely huge! I luv it!! 

The point of these things and this post? Do something that brings you happiness! Whether it’s wearing a gaudy ring, red underwear (that’s another post but just go with it for now and don’t ask questions!), purchasing a splendid painting, watching your favorite movie over and over again ( for me its Beaches, Brown Sugar and Amelia) or slowly savoring the flavor of one of your favorite foods (dessert?) in total awareness and gratitude, know that at every moment you have the opportunity to experience peace, joy and happiness! The circumstances of our life may not be ideal but we can experience happiness at any moment!  The choice is yours! It doesn’t take lots of money, the perfect mate, job, house or car to experience happiness, all it takes is a shift in perspective and a decision (and maybe a gaudy ring) to experience and enjoy all that life has to offer!

So go ahead! Regardless of your life circumstances, do something that brings you happiness today! In doing so you will give happiness to others!

HOLIDAY EATING TIPS…WITH A TWIST!

My friend Anika Howard recently posted these tips for holiday eating on her facebook page. I think they are great and wanted to share them with our readers! With so many tips on how and what to eat during the holiday season we think you’ll enjoy some tips with a twist! Thank you Anika for posting!


Holiday Eating Tips
By Anika Howard

Because it’s just no fun, if you don’t get some . . . . . good food.

  1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door where they’re serving rum balls.
  2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare… You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!
  3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano.
  4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
  5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
  6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
  7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.
  8. Same for pies. Apple, cherry, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
  9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
  10. 10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry: January is just around the corner. 

Original Author Unknown

Remember this motto to live by:  Have a great holiday season!!

THE GIFT OF…YOU!

The holidays are a most exciting time; a magical time! We are gearing up for holiday parties, girlfriend get-togethers, family dinners and the like. Fabulous holiday decorations abound and children everywhere are preparing for a visit from Santa. Carolers are out and shoppers too! Oh yes, it’s an exciting time of year!
 As exciting as the holidays are, they can also be a stress-filled time. Jobs are less plentiful and some are diligently working to just keep the bills paid and to keep a roof over the heads of their families. Domestic violence, child abuse and crime during this time of year are all on the rise and statistics suggest that more people experience depression during the holidays than at any other time of year. As more and more people are being hit hard by the economic times it’s no wonder that the stress begins to take its toll and the true meaning of the season is sometimes lost.
But you don’t have to fall prey to the anxiety and stress of the holiday season. You can experience all the magic and the miracles that the season has to offer without feeling the pressure to impress those around you. Remembering the things that are important like our friends and family and focusing on what we do have instead of what we don’t have can have a tremendous effect on our joy.  Focusing on building our relationships with our families, creating holiday traditions and expressing gratitude can bring joy to everyone around you and bring everyone closer.
And while you are taking care of everyone on your holiday gift list don’t forget to take care of the one that matters most of all: YOU! Give yourself the greatest gift that you can give and that is the gift of loving yourself. Even though you may not be where you want to be or have everything you want to have, know that you are right where you’re supposed to be and that the joy and happiness of the season are yours for the taking. Understand that you matter! That you are important and that you are loved more than you can ever know! Your friends and family love you! Your children love you! Look around and take inventory of how far you have come on your journey. You have had to overcome some great obstacles but you are here! Be grateful for that!
Be grateful for the person that you have become and are becoming! Be grateful for your health! Be grateful for your life! Know that no matter what, YOU are a miracle and your life is a miracle! Be your miracle! And when you begin to feel the stress of the holiday season, sit back and remember that you’ve come a long way and that it only gets better from here!