Simplify Your Holidays


I am at the stage of my life where more is not better, the new and improved looks a lot like the original, and the money I earn is much happier just sitting in my bank account. Our consumer culture has us believe that we cannot ever be happy without the latest technological wonder or app, the newest gizmo or the coolest gadget.

And now we are entering the holiday season, everything has geared up to push into a mad rush for the cash register, arms loaded with stuff that we don’t need and can’t afford.

Why not try something new this year? Before you pull out of the driveway to take advantage of the Black Friday sales, take a moment in the peace and quiet of your home, to create a new gift list. Here is how you do it:

1. Decide who is on your “critical list.” You know who they are. They are the people who make your life complete. The ones you cannot live without and the ones you probably spend most of your thoughts on.
2. Write each person’s name at the top of a clean sheet of paper. One piece of paper for each person.
3. Under the person’s name, write these questions, with enough space to come back and fill in the answers:
***What makes this person happy and their heart sing?
***What can you give this person to help them experience the answer to the first question?

For example, do you have a thespian in the house? Buying tickets to see a local community play would make their heart soar. For the musician or music lover, concert tickets or a new way to play his music (think of what is available on the internet) would be just the thing. A nature lover would love a day spent at the local arboretum or hiking. An artist would adore a day at the museum that is located one city over. The golfer in the family might enjoy a game of virtual golf or everyone hitting a bucket of balls at the local driving range.

The possibilities are endless and are only limited by your imagination.

Does your special other love Paris? Then go on the internet and discover items that are reminiscent of the City of Lights. Create a gift basket or write a love note.

Plan the excursion or experience so the recipient does not have to do a thing – except show up. You want this to be their day, so make sure that the details are decided ahead of time. Be sure to leave an element of surprise or spontaneity in the event, because that is the reason why you created this experience.  So the other person can do what they love to do.

The point of this exercise is not to spend a lot of money. It is to show you that when you give yourself (your time and attention) in a focused and deliberate way for what the other person loves, you will feel the reason for the season.

That is it. Complete each page, then set out on your holiday shopping. It will give you a much better perspective on what this season is all about – giving your heart to another so you both expand and grow in love.

Simplify your holiday gift giving, and the memories you help create will last much longer than any new gizmo or gadget.

Remember, love can take many forms. Allow your love for the other people in your life to take on their desires, and you will be the happy recipient of more appreciation than you can imagine!

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Connections to the Past and Future


Today is Mother‘s Day.  A time to pay tribute to those women who gave us life and who guided us through the turmoil of childhood, adolescence and adulthood.  Today is also a time to take a breath and be thankful for our children or the people to whom we have been mentors.

Think of it as connecting the past to the present to the future.

We learn to relate to others from the people who raised us.  Our first experiences of relationship is with those who fed, bathed and clothed us.  If done with love and joy, we blossomed.  If anger or frustration sometimes showed their face, we shrunk.  Either way, we learned how to be with other people.

Those lessons are passed down to future generations.  Whether you have children or not, you can still be a mother.  Think of it as being a mentor, someone older and wiser who shares her wisdom with another.  The emotional connection can be just as strong whether you are biologically connected or not.

We all have something to share – a bit of wisdom that was hard-earned but runs deep.  A morsel of advice that sheds light on another’s dark day.  Even a smile that shows you care.

So let today be a celebration of love – for your self and the world.  We are all connected on some level.  We all share the same origin of birth.  We all have to negotiate our way through life, no matter who we are.

So be a mother, whatever that word means to you.  Find someone who could use an encouraging word, or a hug, or just a loving squeeze of the hand.  Let them know you care, and that love will connect us all.