Ready For The Good Stuff?

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Homemade cookies fresh from the oven.

Cards and notes from faraway friends.

Time with the ones you love, even if they’re the ones that drive you the craziest.

This is the season when we get particularly focused on what we are thankful for. I know a bunch of folks who are posting daily gratitudes on Facebook. And for the past few months, on most nights before I go to sleep, I’ve enjoyed a practice of listing five things I was grateful for that day. I keep a beautiful journal and a pen on my night table so it’s easier to remember to do it.

As someone who has a tendency toward depression, especially as the days grow short, dark and cold, this regular focus on gratitude helps me to keep things real. Since the brain is naturally wired for the negative, maintaining a focus on the positive goes beyond the new-agey or any hint of superficial fluff — it infuses us with the truth that life is never all one thing or another.

Bad days happen — shit, bad months or years can happen! And yet…and yet…any opportunity to slow down and recognize all that is good and working in our lives (roof over the head, food in the bowl, cozy socks on a cold morning, working stove to boil water for tea) is an opportunity for wonder. For awakening. For remembering and taking our place in the mosaic of life.

Take Stock of What You Are Taking Stock Of

What do you want to give your energy to? Where does it make the most sense to focus your precious time and emotional bandwidth?

This month, I have also seen friends on FB protesting stores opening Thanksgiving night to usher in the holiday shopping madness as early as possible. I am not a proponent of this practice, but I have to wonder: what about the people who DON’T have family or friends to be with that day? What about the person who is struggling financially and is thrilled to pick up extra hours, perhaps at a higher pay rate?

Maybe this is something that they are thankful for, along with the people who will have had their fill of family and friends and be happy to do some shopping on their way home.

What I most want to know is this:

  • What are you grateful for and why does it matter to you?
  • Where are you putting your energy, and does it feed you or deplete you?
  • How will you make this holiday season one of meaning, connection and sacredness?

If you want a safe container to explore these questions, please join me for the

Holiday Sanity Solutions — Thursday, November 21, 2013 

 

Mark Your Calendar Now For This {BETTER THAN FREE*} Teleclass!

Gift yourself with simple antidotes for holiday stress. This will be an hour filled with powerful tools and mindset shifts guaranteed to get you through the holiday season with sanity and grace.

  • Learn a simple meditation — even if you think you’re genetically not wired for it!
  • Practice one movement that will release stress from your nervous system instantly.
  • Clarify and embody your intention for the kind of holiday season you want, regardless of external obligations.
WHEN? Thursday, November 21st, 7:30-8:30 pm ET
WHERE? Via phone, from the comfort of your own home! Call-in details will arrive after you’ve helped to share the bounty of the season with some of our less fortunate neighbors.
 
HOW MUCH? Free with your donation of any size to Feeding America. Simply go to their site, make your donation, then email me to confirm at sharon@heartofselfcare.com. This will automatically register you, and the call-in info will follow.
*Why BETTER THAN FREE? This time of year is, more than any other, about caring and sharing. It can also be about busier schedules, greater distractions and emotional surfing on many levels. And in all of this, your natural desire to be generous and share your life’s bounty with others might fall to a back burner, a great idea you somehow never quite get around to (been there, done that).
I got this idea from a marketing coach and was very inspired by it — so much so that I made a more generous donation than I might have otherwise, and still haven’t gotten around to looking at his material! I hope that something in this inspires you too. One of the greatest gifts most of us have is the ability to pretty much eat whatever we want whenever we want it. I feel passionate about helping others to simply have enough food to end the day feeling nourished and satisfied.

Aside

Two treats, no trick

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You may love Halloween and be all decked out in costume, or simply tolerate it {guilty — I prefer to choose for myself when to get goofy and act like a zombie, a kitten, a witch or a pumpkin!}. Either way, even more than the shift to fall in September, this day truly marks the line between the holiday season and the rest of the secular year.

It’s a time of darkening days, sweet gatherings, excessive food, and a natural yet often uncomfortable descent into blue moods and quieter energies. A time when balance is hard to find and most sorely needed. So for you, on this hallowed day, a few no-calorie treats:

First, join me for the November 21st FREE Teleclass on Holiday Sanity Solutions. It will set the stage for meaning over madness from Thanksgiving through the new year. Holiday Sanity Solutions — Thursday, November 21, 2013 

Mark Your Calendar Now For This {BETTER THAN FREE} Teleclass!

Gift yourself with simple antidotes for holiday stress. This will be an hour filled with powerful tools and mindset shifts guaranteed to get you through the holiday season with sanity and grace.

  • Learn a simple meditation — even if you think you’re genetically not wired for it!
  • Practice one movement that will release stress from your nervous system instantly.
  • Clarify and embody your intention for the kind of holiday season you want , regardless of external obligations
  • WHEN? Thursday, November 21st, 7:30-8:30 pm ET
  • WHERE? Via phone, from the comfort of your own home! Call-in details will arrive after you’ve helped to share the bounty of the season with some of our less fortunate neighbors.

Second, enjoy three minutes of joy and light via one of my favorite folk/bluegrass/alt duos, Mike + Ruthy. It’s called Bright As You Can and you can check it out HERE.

 

 

Are You a Bushwhacker or a Pathfinder?

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It’s the end of October already, and you know what that means, don’t you? Yes, it’s the beginning of the beginning of the holiday season. Ready or not, plans will be made, festivities organized, invitations issued and received, gifts bought or made, food purchased and prepared with love and at least a pinch of frayed nerves.

If you have some sort of spiritual practice already in place, this is when the fruits of those labors can bear a powerful harvest. It’s like having a secret, sacred pathway through the inevitable whirlwind that lots of time with family and lots of plans on the calendar can create. Perhaps you don’t anticipate having much of that in the offing, and your practice allows you to carve sacred space out of solitude.

Or maybe bushwhacking is more your style. Even though you know your sister-in-law makes you crazy every Thanksgiving or you tend to get lost in big, noisy parties, you forge ahead each season, hoping for the best. You avidly read articles on surviving the holidays and try to put those ideas into action, and then you open the door and BOOM, the good intentions go scurrying out like the wind.

The Power of Mapping Your Inner Terrain

Unless you’ve already been there, it’s hard to get anywhere without consulting a map or receiving some kind of guidance. It’s not really all that different when thinking about the inner terrain of emotions.

You think you’re moving ahead with no visible potholes or detours and then you find yourself on a rocky road with nothing pointing the way to the next clear road. (Also known as “I swore after last year that I wouldn’t let her get to me!” or “Oh shit, I forgot to stock up on pecans and now the store is out of them!”)

Having a specific practice of mindfulness, gratitude, moving meditation, or whatever speaks most to your heart is like always having your own GPS available. 

  • It carves new, positive pathways in your neurophysiology, allowing you to show up differently in real time situations.
  • It builds your emotional muscles so they are stronger when you’re called to carry a heavier load.
  • It keeps your inner compass pointed to the true north of your soul, inviting deeper connections with yourself and those you love.

Now is a great time to start a new practice or dust off one you’ve put aside. Take time to clear the path ahead so you’re not wildly bushwhacking through the holidays, when what you long to do is savor every moment.