(This is the first post in the series of “Things I want to tell my kids before I die”.)
As 2017 comes to an end, I have been doing some reflection. I am taking an inventory of my life: what is good, what no longer serves me, and what I can improve upon. I noticed during this holiday season how earnestly people want to be right when they express their viewpoint. I can relate. I was and at times can still be that person who HAS to be right. We have a country divided by differing viewpoints. The same thing happens in families. We suffer because other people are not agreeing with us. We suffer because others are not complying with our wishes. Some of us even lash out because of these differences. We make harsh judgments. We say things that are unkind. This creates tension and hurt feelings. What I love about New Year’s Day is the blank canvas it represents. What are we going to create in 2018? Do we truly want to be happy or do we want to be right? As we head into this year, here are three intentions I will carry with me to ensure it is a HAPPY one.
- CHOOSE KIND: This is indeed my biggest intention for the year. Last week I said good-bye to a beloved cousin who passed away before old age had a chance to set in. He was 63 years old. His sister spoke these words during his eulogy and I intend to keep these words with me always: “Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who make the journey with us. So… be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.” This says it all!
- BEING IN A STATE OF ALLOWING: I intend to be in a state of allowing, allowing others to have their own opinions and to have their own journeys. I will allow others to carve their own path. When I disagree with someone, we can agree to disagree. We can accept each other’s differing viewpoints without diminishing either person. Allowing is the opposite of resistance and control. Allowing and accepting others as they are, creates ease and flow. It creates an atmosphere of freedom as opposed to restriction and limitation. I intend to allow myself to be free to be me. I intend to allow you to be free to be you.
- STAY IN ALIGNMENT WITH MY BEST SELF: We all have our moments that our best self shows up, moments of charitable acts, and compassion for others, kind words, selfless giving, and true bravery. We all also have our moments that we are not aligned with our best self, moments that we would rather forget. These are moments of judgment, anger, hatred and cowardice. I intend to have more moments where my best self shows up in 2018. How will I do that? By making myself a priority….by eating right, getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, meditating, exercising, and reflecting. Making oneself a priority is paramount to being aligned with our best self. Putting ourselves first should not be confused with self-centeredness. This is especially important for women to acknowledge since most of us are conditioned to place ourselves last on the list of priorities. It was my biggest hindrance for decades. But, no more! Today, I give myself permission to take care of myself first and KNOW that everyone is better off when I do just that.
I am keeping it simple here for 2018…only three intentions to frame my days with. Will I succeed? Sometimes I will. Sometimes I won’t. I am not a saint after all. When I fail, I will forgive myself and set the intention again. We always have an opportunity to begin anew. HAPPY New Year everyone! Wishing you all alignment with your best selves in this upcoming year. The world is counting on it!
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I am feeling sad tonight as someone I love is not well. Life is oh so precious. Additionally, I have always struggled during the holidays. Here’s the good news, I know how to give myself an attitude adjustment. I wrote the following piece 5 years ago to help adjust my attitude for the holiday season. It is still relevant today. I updated it for 2017. Hope you enjoy! And hope it helps some other fellow grinches out there.
What is it we want during the Holiday Season? Is it a shiny diamond ring, a cashmere sweater or is it Peace on Earth? There is no right or wrong answer but for many of us, the holidays are a disappointment, a burden, and/or a reminder of our losses. They stress us out! I, for one, have not liked the holidays for most of my life. I certainly have never embraced them. Where was my resistance? What was I thinking? I was thinking things like “Where am I going to get the money to buy everyone a decent present? How am I EVER going to find the time to get all my shopping, decorating, baking and still work, cook, do laundry, etc. Ugghhh! I can’t stand those people who bake their cookies, send out the perfect Christmas card, and manage to have their house all decked out; it makes me feel so inadequate. I can’t wait until January!” With this kind of thinking going on, who could enjoy the holidays? So I asked myself the following question: “Do I want my whole life to go by and look back and realize that I never enjoyed the holidays?” The answer was a resounding “NO!” So, how can I stop resisting this time of year and accept it and just maybe, even enjoy it? I took decisive action and decided to look for the positive aspects of the Holiday Season. It is certainly within my power to change my conditioned way of looking at the holidays. Instead of reciting the “12 days of Christmas”, I am reciting the “12 Affirmations for the Holidays” to help me get in a TRUE holiday spirit. Here goes:
- I love being with my family. I am so glad that the holidays “force” us to take time out to be with each other.
- I have placed too much importance in the past on the gifts I buy others. I rarely remember the gifts I receive from year to year but always remember how people made me feel. I can be an “uplifter” for others that cross my path. I can make that the gift that I give and I can give that freely.
- I love tradition. It makes me happy to trim the tree with the ornaments that bear my children’s names and the year they were born. I love to take my doll size Santa Clauses down from the attic and plug them in. I smile when I pull out my children’s stockings every year and hang them by the fireplace.
- I intend to shop locally and do a little each day. I love supporting my local businesses. It makes me feel good.
- I can look for people who are not as well off as I am and do something for them this holiday season. Service is the best form of self-forgetting.
- I believe my happiness is from within. I concentrate on the inner-knowing that I am worthy without having to have the best gift, the best party, or the best decorations.
- I intend to be mindful during this holiday season, taking time to meet old friends, take pictures, sit in front of the fire, and drive slowly at night to take in the beautifully decorated houses in my neighborhood.
- I love miracles: Santa’s workshop, enough oil to last 8 nights, a child being born. I will look for miracles every day this season and I KNOW I will find them.
- I love having both the Menorah and the Christmas tree being lit in my house. I love variety. I embrace the differences, and know that this kind of embracing brings PEACE on Earth!
- The highlight of this Holiday season is sure to be any time spent with my four children. I pray for all mothers and fathers that they may be reunited with their children who are far away, especially our soldiers overseas.
- I am alive and well this holiday season. Not everyone made it through 2017 and so far, as of this first night of Hanukkah, I am still walking this earth. What more needs to be said?
- And when I am unable to feel the joy of the above 11 items, I will know: “This too shall pass!”
Happy Holidays and Peace on Earth!