Saturday, December 29, 2018

Forgiveness..Moving From Bitter to Better

Forgiveness is a conscious decision to cease harboring negative feelings towards others whom you feel have either knowingly or unknowingly...intentionally or unintentionally cause you physical or emotional harm. For so many of us we move through our lives....year to year...holding onto bitterness and strife which only serves to keep us prisoners in our own mind. I know for myself I spent countless days pondering on questions that had no prudent answer.  It was only when I accepted that I not only needed to forgive myself but more importantly those individuals who hurt me deserved my forgiveness was I been able to heal. Wayne Dyers stated that "forgiveness means that you fill yourself with love and you radiate that love outward and refuse to hang onto the venom or hatred that was engendered by the behaviors that caused the wounds.
When I think of forgiveness my thoughts turn to God. The Bible is full of verse on this topic. There is no way for us to deny that God forgives the worst of our sins and always grants us a "second chance".  Through forgiveness we can move forward from hatred, grievance and strife to the path of inner and outer peace.
It is through forgiveness that one opens their heart to an energy of love which can pass on to others around us. Ultimately that energy creates the atmosphere of harmony, happiness and compassion in our homes, our community and our lives. 
So as 2018 comes to its conclusion and we move into a New Year...step BOLDLY into 2019 with a firm determination to leave behind all feelings of unforgiveness and free yourself  to receive inner peace that will change your life. Let 2019 be your year free of bitter and full of BETTER.

Friday, December 21, 2018

There Goes the Sun :-(

Eastern Standard Time, that dreaded "fall back" action, where with each passing day, darkness arrives earlier and earlier until we reach the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year). For some the change to living days in mostly darkness has little or no impact but for others it is the trigger for  a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a clinical depression stemming from what is believed to be a biochemical imbalance of serotonin produced by the hypothalamus gland caused by the shortening of daylight and lack of sunshine. SAD occurs at the same time each year and although it is usually during the late fall early winter months, there have been cases that occur in summer months.
If you are a person who feels like these changes are having an impact on your daily life, it is important to seek help. Therapies range from light therapy to being active to help alleviate the symptoms of SAD. Learn more on 12 Ways to Ease Seasonal Depression.

Monday, December 3, 2018

"Home for the Holidays"

"Home for the holidays"...for some just the thought is enough to make your stomach knot up like a pretzel and your head pound like someone dropped the Salvation Army kettle on it. Yes…a real Akla Seltzer moment. You ponder on the idea.... "there must be some way that I could fall asleep on Christmas Eve and wake up when the whole holiday thing is over". Unfortunately, there is no such luck for that one. So before you start trying to make up a story about being abducted and beamed up to outer space on the Mother Ship…let me share some useful tips that could help make going home for the holidays a little less stressful.

1.  Have a meeting to prioritize and plan activities for the week (put them on a calendar and give a copy to each head of household for every family that will be in attendance). Be sure to give everyone a voice…this includes the little people…they count too.

2. Designate and share responsibilities: who will do the major cooking, who will to do the kitchen cleanup, who will keep the shared living areas clean, etc. Write this out also giving the head of each household a copy.

3.  Do not expect anyone's personality to have changed since the last time you were together...just know they are who they are. Those you have issues with will most likely be the same. One of the easiest ways to set yourself up for disaster is to have false expectations.

4.  Accept and respect long standing family traditions. Remember one day, if you are so blessed with longevity, you will be the senior member of the family.

5.  Do not take the holiday gathering as an opportunity to address unresolved family disputes. If it was not resolved in the 365 days since your last gathering, there is no reason to believe it will get settled during the week.

6.  Set precise house rules for the children. Make them precise and clear and posted so they can be seen. All adults should be authorized to enforce set rules. No bay-bay kids allowed.

7.  Make it clear adults are expected to clean areas one usually cleans behind themselves (i.e. no one should yank back the shower curtain to find the previous user soap scum). Remember the maid has week off so she could go home for the holiday too.

8.  Pets…so you plan to bring along your favorite furry friend…”news flash” – everyone, contrary to popular belief, is not a pet lover and there may be relatives with severe pet allergies. Definitely discuss this before you show up at the door with Fife, Fido and/or Fluffy. If it is agreed pets are welcomed, there must be clear boundaries; determine where they will be allowed to roam during the week. Talk about ruining Christmas dinner - Cujo finds his way to the kitchen to grab a little sample of the glazed ham but it was so good that he got carried away…not even the bone remained - “has anyone seen the glazed ham”?

9.  Set and post the noise level rules for early morning and late night hours in a common area. There are bound to be early morning roosters and the late night insomniacs.

10.  Solitude…yes…although we have gathered for bonding time…people still need “ME” time during the week. It is OK to take time alone to do your routine meditation, reflection, exercise, etc. Do not feel obligated to miss this important part of you taking care of you. For some this might be the only way of maintaining sanity for the week…a legitimate way to escape!

Although this doesn’t beat being able to play Rip Van Wrinkle for the week or getting your family to
believe the alien abduction kidnapping snapshot, I hope these few suggestions help make your trip home for the holidays an experience you will look forward to…OK…that might be stretching it a bit much…but at least one where you can build good memories.

I have shared a few helpful tips with you…now I have a question for you– What do you do with that re-gifted fruitcake?