3 questions to
ask yourself before year end to make sure you're spending your time and energy
This weekend is
one of the seven most powerful times of the year. Most know this as Fall
Equniox, I like to call it a "SUPER POWER SELF LOVE DAY" - and if you want to
make sure you're doing the things that make you happy, you want to tap into
this energy in the next few days (the official equinox is the 22nd,
but you can surf the energy on either side too!)
These Super Power
Days are the time to stop, drop and have a check in with yourself - and the
divine - to ensure your life is set on a course to bring you the things you
really want - you know happiness, prosperity, love, peace, all that good stuff.
In your busy life
with so much to do, it can be really easy to get off course - and you end up
spending lots of your precious resources, time, energy and money on things that
don't really lead you to where you want to go. And we do not want that!
We want your
life to be HAPPY & aligned with your heart and soul...
So a few
things about Fall Equinox you want to know.
1.Fall Equinox is the middle of "harvest
time" - so get clear on what you want to create and call in these last few
months of the year -
while you might not be a farmer pulling in the crops, you are pulling in the
harvest of the dreams and intentions you set for yourself this year. 9 months
into the year, its time to check in, before the full harvest time comes in late
2.Equinox is all about the 'balance' of
things - it provides a unique opportunity to get still and go deeper within
theTRUE answers lie - when you unplug - even for 30 minutes -
from your busy life to get into a place of deeper stillness you will find
Daring act of
love:Make a date with
yourself, get still, and ask yourself the following three questions - and get
the wise answers. And
then, no matter what, commit to following through on the actions that most
align with your happiness - even if that means disappointing another.
Directions: Best to write the answer to these on paper
where you can see them. Before each question, stop, read the question, put you
hand on your heart (this will help you connect to your heart mind), and
breathe. Then write whatever comes.
What do I really want to call
in to my life by the end of this year?What will create the MOST
happiness and success for me for the rest of the year? Be specific,clear, and focused. This is not
the time to create a litany of things to DO, this is about being with what
your heart and soul most want to call in. Ask your heart mind, not your
monkey mind. Max 4 things. And do yourself the favor to connect in with
all the places in your life - your work, your relationships, your health,
your finances, your home, etc. - to see what is most calling you.
What are the wisest ways for me
to spend my precious resources - time, energy, money - right now? Answer this question for all three
things - time, energy and money. Often when we think of resources we only
think of money, but there are other resources that are just, if not more
important - and you have finite amounts of these. We get into overwhelm or
underwhelm when we aren't real about our resources of time and energy.
Consider all three.
What wise actions can I take in
the next 40 days to ensure this harvest of happiness and abundance comes
in for me? While
it would be nice to sit under a Bohdi tree and have this all show up at
your feet, I don't know how that works. I do know however that focused
action connected to your heart and soul creates miracles and joy. So for
each of the areas that you put a stake in the ground to create and call in
by the end of this year - ask your heart mind, not your doing mind, what
inspired, focused, wise actions you can take to manifest this into
If your busy
mind is having a hard time slowing down and hearing your divine wisdom, have no
fear! I just taped a Meditation on Location for you from the Pacific Ocean that
will lead you through a process to create space inside yourself so you can get
to these answers.
Make sure to watch
the meditation - it's a video that you can watch and listen to!
When you get down to what separates great, long-lasting partnerships from ones that start with the best intentions but fizzle out over time, there are a few very basic rules and behaviors that while seemingly common sense, most people don't have a clue how to go about.
One of the most vital is HONESTY. When life is smooth, honesty is easy. It's when the bumps come up that the temptation to fib, to disguise or avoid the truth seem like the simplest path. But over time, little lies build to bigger lies and resentment - neither of which you want hanging around your relationship.
Especially with the holiday's coming up, you could find yourself in all kinds of sticky situations that take your peace on earth and turn it into a whopping fight.
Here are some simple ways to make sure you keep Money Peace flowing in your relationships this holiday season:
Say You... • Spend a chunk of change without consulting your partner • Blow the budget you both agreed to • Put something on credit when you've agreed you are paying off your debt
What NOT to Do... 1. Hide the bill and pray he/she never finds out. 2. Feel guilty, wait for them to figure it out and beg for forgiveness. 3. Sneak your misdemeanor into another conversation or get to them while they are busy or distracted. 4. Fess up but slough it off as not a big deal, you'll find the money somewhere, after the holidays!
To Create Money Peace...
1. Admit to yourself that you acted outside of the agreements you had with your partner. You have to accept responsibility with yourself that your action was outside of either a stated or implied agreement (we always recommend having explicit agreements about money choices.) Face the music. Say out loud to yourself, "I chose to XX and I know that my action was outside of our agreements / expectations of each other." And then take a deep breath (don't skip the breath, it's important to releasing your own emotions!) Coming clean with yourself will feel good and erase some of the guilt or apprehension. You can't be honest with your partner if you aren't first honest with yourself.
2. Plainly and succinctly take responsibility with your partner and then tell them the facts. This is not the time to go into some long story to justify your actions. Just own what you did, not with guilt but with honesty. First, ask for his/her attention to talk about something important. Second, state that you broke an agreement. And third, tell them the specifics. "Joe, I broke our agreement about making big purchases without talking to you about it. I bought XX today for $XX." Then shut up.
3. Let your partner react. Before you get to the "Why" (which in your mind may either have been a good or bad reason) your partner will need to have their emotional response. Seriously, it's the least you can do. Your job is just to listen. Let them have whatever feeling they have. Don't try and defend yourself, unless you want to create a fight. This is also not the time to explain why. Just listen. If in your partner's reaction, they ask why, include your response as part of step four, after you own it. (Note to Partner... You are allowed to honestly react but not to bludgeon, scream, attack, tear apart or try and make your partner - who is trying to be honest with you -- feel guilty or ashamed. You can be angry but you still owe this person your respect and unconditional love. Be angry at the action, not the person... and DON'T take it personally, their action was not a personal attack on you.)
4. Own your action again, apologize for breaking the agreement and then, finally, you can share... not your defense but your heart. Your simple response is, "You are right. I acted outside of our agreement. I am sorry." Let that apology land. Then take a breath and say, "I'd like to share why I made this decision..." and then share with them, from your heart what motivated you to make the choice to spend money this way. Be vulnerable. Do not get defensive. Do not bring up any of their actions from the past to throw in their face. Remember, the two of you are on the same side, and have committed to helping each other be the best people you can be.
5. Create Conscious Next Steps. i. Discuss the "Now what?" Come to agreement on how you manage any financial stress this may cause, and work together to make it work. ii. Create an agreement or modify the previous one. Converse about what really works for you both and talk about it until you both feel really good. iii. State your agreed to expectations out loud. This will make sure there is no confusion, and will eliminate the need for any secrets.
And my favorite last step to this whole process...
Pinky Swear on your agreement and then seal it with a smooch!
SPECIAL WAY TO AMP UP YOUR MONEY PEACE... Keeping the Money Peace isn't always easy, but it is doable when you have the right mindset and some simple Money Zen skills of your own. To amp up your Money Zen skills, check out a MONEY PEACE POW WOW between Christine Arylo and her Money Dream Team - a spiritual minister, a Harvard PhD Economist, a serial entrepreneur and a MBA former financial analyst. Anyone can listen and discover how to kick money fear out of your relationship and your life. GO HERE TO ACCESS THE CALL
Inside of me there is a great space Full of wisdom and joy, Love and happiness... I am just too busy to visit For more than a few moments...
You see I have a life Responsibilities Goals Aspirations Things to do Things that take my time For more than a few moments
Don't get me wrong Some of the taking of time is good It fuels my heart and spirit Feeds me and my family And gives me a sense of purpose For more than a few moments
But some of the time That is taken and spent On the to do's, must do's and should do's I would like to take back For myself For more than a few moments
Does that make me selfish? Does that make me greedy? How will it all get done if I don't do it myself? These are the thoughts that fill my head When I think about taking my time back, creating space for me For more than a few moments
But today I think I will change the channel And tune my mind into a new thought stream One that broadcasts messages like Yes, take time, create space for yourself For more than a few moments
For the act of creating space, slowing down, pausing Is not one of slacking, selfishness or greed But a daring choice of self-love Your body, mind and body were built to pause For more than a few moments
But in a world so un-pause friendly, the pause can seem impossible. Until you change your channel And tune into to the natural pauses of the earth And match your body, spirit and mind to hers For more than a few moments
On this day, Winter Solstice as the day goes black for long I invite you to dance with the earth to the slowest of waltzes Slow down your internal rhythm, move with stillness, Find silence, reflect on your year past, and celebrate yourself For more than a few moments
In fact take the whole night. To love the woman or man you have become Through the passing of this 12 months time After all, don't you deserve to soak in all you have done and become For more than a few moments
Find gratitude for the surprises the year has brought. Celebrate your successes. Embrace your failures. And on this night, find, gather and benefit from the Wisdom you earned over the year Because you chose to pause on Winter Solstice, for more than a few moments.
While the holidays are advertised to bring us cheer, joy and gifts, what many
of us also end up with is a rack full of stress, guilt and debt. Why?
Because we listen to the negative voices in our head telling us to
buy more, eat more, visit more and do more - when we are already
stretched for time, money and energy.
self-sabotaging voices are the voices of your Inner Mean Girls and
Inner Bullies. Some call them the "inner critic," but they are
way more personal than that! They are like the Grinch who stole
Christmas. They too will steal the joy, peace and happiness from your
You have to
be smarter than these Inner Grinches and take back your power this
holiday season so you can really soak in the joy, connection and
celebration you deserve. Following are 10 ways you can outsmart your
Inner Mean Girl or Inner Bully. And for more secrets to holiday
happiness, get a download of a free 'holiday rescue' call at
Worrying About What Others Think
be responsible for how everyone around you feels about how you live
your life, so stop worrying about how your family, partner and
friends will react to your choices and start getting real about how
youfeel about your life. Ask yourself, "How do I feel about..." Give yourself permission to put yourself first.
Things Because You Want To
the big "O", Obligation. Give up the gnarly "G", Guilt. And
make a commitment to do what you want this holiday season, even if
that means you don't do what other people want or expect of you.
And if you do choose to do something you aren't so jazzed about,
challenge yourself to do it from a place of love. Ask "What is it
about this action that does matter to me?" and act from that place.
It's all about the attitude. You can choose to be a martyr and a
victim, or you can choose to be happy.
Up the Image
construct images of who we think we are and who we want the world to
see, and then attempt to live up to them. Don't try to live up to
other people's expectations, or for that matter your unrealistic
expectations either. If you're low on cash this year, be okay with
that. If you aren't feeling super happy don't put on a fake
smile. Don't try to impress your guy's family or friends or fit
in to what everyone else is doing. Be yourself, exactly where you are
Boldly Express Your Unique Spin on the Holidays
Christmas wreath instead of a tree? Prefer Chinese food instead of a
turkey? Celebrate Solstice instead of Christmas, but love to light
candles at Chanukah? Like sending New Year's cards and gifts vs
holiday cards? Love plaid pants. Tradition isn't always better, and
it certainly doesn't always make you happy. Be bold enough to express
the way you choose to interpret the holidays.
5.Know What Makes You Happy
to fit into the expectations and ideals that outside forces -
society, family, work, friends -- have said you 'should' be in
order to be successful, happy and accepted, this holiday and ask one
really simple questions, "What really makes ME happy?" Think
about the times that you've been happiest during the holidays. Who
were you being? What did you have? What were you doing? Do the same
for your most unhappy times. Compare the two to your life today and
notice the gaps.
Attention To Your Emotions
We all have
emotional triggers, things that set us off or that evoke an overly
strong reaction, and the holidays are prime time for them to come up.
Pay attention to situations that make you spin, get your mad factor
going or that send you into the pool of suffering. Be the boss of
your emotions by having and taking responsibility for them, and don't
let them drive your life. Happiness is a choice (yes, even when a
relative is driving you crazy.) Put yourself in situations that
create happiness and remove yourself from conversations and
experiences that don't.
On What You Know Will Make You Happy, Even It's Hard
your happiness first isn't always easy. It often requires going
against what everyone else is doing or thinking. But if you aren't
true to what feels right for you, even if it doesn't fit the needs
and sensibilities of other people -- parents, partners and friends
included - aren't you just selling yourself out? You always
know what the best action is to take for you, it's just not always
easy. Be committed to your happiness, even when it's scary, and
even when other people don't like it.
an Opinion and Express It
don't like the way things are going - like the plans your family
is making or the way the holidays have created stress in the past -
speak up. Know what you believe and don't be afraid to express it.
Happy people have convictions that come from inside their souls,
minds and hearts. They know their Truth and are willing to stand in
it, even when what they have to say makes others uncomfortable. Know
your truth deserves to be heard just because you're you.
Others See You. Be Vulnerable.
most real self with the people around you - family, friends, and
colleagues - and let them see all of you. The strong, the weak, the
self-assured, the self-doubter, the funny and the serious. Have and
show your emotions fully - from sadness to happiness to anger and
joy. When you keep the full range of you hidden, no one can know who
you truly are, and that creates unhappiness. While it may feel scary
to be vulnerable, you'll find that the more you show the real you,
the more others will be willing to share their authentic self too,
and the more connected and happy you'll be.
Don't Compare Yourself.
One of the
fastest ways to rob yourself of your joy is to compare yourself to
someone else, or to who you think you should be. Put yourself on a
Comparison Diet over the holidays. Every time you find yourself
thinking or saying a comparison, stop, change the channel in your
head and say something that you are grateful for in your life or
something that you love about yourself. Ask your friends to do the
Comparison Diet with you. You'll all be happier.
About Christine Arylo Christine Arylo, an m.b.a. turned
writer, speaker and teacher, is an inspirational catalyst who teaches
women how to stop being so hard on themselves. A recovering achievement
junkie and doing addict herself, Arylo is the co-founder of Inner Mean
Girl Reform School and the author of Choosing ME before WE, Every
Woman's Guide to Life and Love www.mebeforewe.com.
Known as the "Queen of Self-Love," Arylo created Madly in Love with ME,
the international day of self-love (Feb 13), dedicated to making
self-love a tangible reality for women and girls around the world. www.madlyinlovewithme.com
TWIGGLY DANGLER i couldn't find a picture of one, so I will just have to define it here for you right now. the word comes from the imagination of my teacher Ariel Spilsbury. I think it's fairy language for any kind of bad ju ju or undealt with energy that you would rather sweep under the carpet but no matter how hard you sweep, or how hard you try to ignore it, you know that 'thing' is still there.
TWIGGLY DANGLER EXAMPLES so maybe if i give you a few samples, that will help?
that unpaid bill you haven't dealt with, 401k you haven't transferred, bank account with $5 in it you haven't closed... $$ twiggly danglers cut off your flow in 2010.
that friendship, relative, co-work relationship that hit a bump sometime this year and that you haven't really straightened out. You haven't totally severed the relationship, but you are either not being straight, or you are avoiding them or the issue, or you are harboring negative energy. Let the bump between you go. Twiggly danglers in relationships stop love from coming in.
that romantic relationship that ended but that you are still hanging onto. if you have this twiggly dangler in your heart, you can kiss great love from another goodbye in 2010. Let go of as much of that person you can - old clothes, letters, and dreams.
that unsaid sentiment or feeling. whether its love or hurt, if you have unsaid words between you and another person in your life, say them. Directly, or indirectly. You can write a letter and never mail it. These unsaid words fester and keep truth and peace out of your life.
the truth about twiggly danglers is that there is NO self love present.... the energy feels yucky... and you feel lousy, guilty or drained. You'll have plenty of chances to create more in 2010, so starting the year clear and free can avoid the twiggly dangler pile up!
TWIGGLY DANGLER REMEDIES i think that many people go from one year to the next with this twigglies because let's be honest, dealing with them is uncomfortable. Dealing with twiggly danglers head on can bring up all kinds of icky feelings none of us like - shame, rejection, loneliness, disappointment. Talk about not feeling self-love! But the truth is that self-love is on the other side, if we are willing to untangle the twigglies. So this year, before 2009 ends, meet your twiggly danglers head on, just don't do it in a super public way. No one said you had to splay your twigglies out there for all to see. If it's a bill you've been neglecting, pick it up and send them $10. If it's a friend you've had a falling out with, write them a letter telling them how you feel including how much you love them and are mad at them. You don't have to ever send it. If it's a relationship that has become like an addiction, make the vow to fall in love with yourself this coming year.
You deserve your best year yet this 2010! So take PAUSE and let those twiggly danglers go.
Take a Pause: If winter is a time for slowing down, but we are feeling the pressure to speed up, how can we fuel our bodies from something other than a caffeinated paper cup?
I was sitting in a cafe the other day thinking about my adrenal glands. Yes, I know, it's not a topic that flies through most peoples heads at 10am in the morning on a Wednesday. But I was preparing for a conversation later that evening on my show Self Love Studio with a woman who had told me that she had almost burned her adrenals out at the age of 38. Not having a clue as to what an adrenal actually was or why I should care, I asked her what that meant. She told me that she had been feeling tired, so she went to her doctor to find out why. What she heard was not what she expected. He told her that she was headed for adrenal burnout. That if she kept pushing herself to do do do, if she kept living on the energy of her adreneline, if she kept fueling her body with 'stop gaps' like coffee and sugar, she was headed for a complete breakdown of her nervous system and other systems by the time she was 50.
Wow! I wonder how tired my adrenals are I thought. I've certainly done all those things as well. I think I have had actually had moments where I felt myself hear my adrenal glands scream, "Christine stop working. We need to rest now!" In my 20s I never listened. In my 30s I learned how. At age 38 I am still learning how ;)
So it got me to thinking as I sat there with my paper cup drinking some energy that I told myself was just for the taste, but in fact I know was for an energy boost... It got me thinking about why during the holidays do we give ourselves more permission to rely on the short-lived energy boosts that are SO easily attainable - cookies, cakes, pies, parties, cinnamon Starbuck lattes. Why do we rely on these boosts to get us through this crazy time of year where nature is telling us to slow down and we are doing the opposite, and then using fake fuel to get us through it.
My husband Noah says I ask "Why?" a lot. He says that the better question is "So What Do I Want to Do About It?" He says that his question actually leads to change, while mine he says leads to more Whys? So for this one time, I decided to try it his way. I took a PAUSE ... being that we are praciting the self-love dare of PAUSE this month, and here is the wisdom the PAUSE brought me. I now share it with you...
The Issue: December is a time for slowing down. We are all feeling pressure to speed up. So we turn to 'fake fuel' like coffee and sugar to keep us going.
So What Do I Want to Do About It? Use the power of the Season vs. the power of Starbucks to keep my energy high and my calorie intake low!
The Wisdom from the PAUSE? 3 ways to fuel yourself from nature vs. a paper cup.
Do what the Native Americans used to do: RETAIN your energy. They survived without Starbucks and they had to survive through some pretty harsh and long winters. So unlike us they weren't running around like crazy people spending all their energy. They conserved their energy and spent it wisely, knowing that they wanted to always have more in reserve. So this December, notice how you spend your energy. Literally feel your body putting it out as you do your day, give to others and take part in the holiday fun. Be consious about how you spend your energy and always make sure you are retaining more than you are giving.
Take a lesson from those smart bears: STOCKPILE your energy. The bears are preparing to hibernate so I imagine Momma Bear getting all her shelves filled with the staples she will need for the winter. Jars of honey, crackers, and the like and then napping in between. Find time in your days, every day when you can stockpile your energy, like jars of honey on a shelf you can use later. Today, I took a 30 minute nap. Set my Iphone alarm and recharged. Power Yoga and SPIN class doesn't count. Winter stockpiling should have a nesting and a replenishing quality to it. Yin yoga good. Naps, reading, taking a bath, chanting, a walk in nature.
If you need an Energy pick me up, use the closest thing you have to you - your breath. If you've done yoga or meditation you've probably learned breath techniques like deep breathing, breath of fire and alternate nostril breathing. Use them. If you do any one of these practices for 5 minutes, you will instantly increase your energy, no calories taken in, in fact you'll burn some off. If you haven't done these breathing techniques you can check out this video for Pranayama breathing which is alternate nostril breathing or search you tube on your own. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCK1jBfRVsE&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=DCD427CFFB5AA38A
I am giving my adrenal glands the gifts of retaining, stockpiling and breathing my energy this holiday season. What are you going to give yours?
Bears never feel guilty about staying home for the holidays, so why should we?
I was thinking again about those self-loving bears and how they spend the holidays. At home, in their cave, probably with a nice fire and some honey. And definitely without the guilt, obligation or pressure so many of us feel laden with at this holiday time.
In our day to day life, we do feel pressure to take care of everyone and everything else and at the holidays this feeling doesn't go away, it usually gets stronger. Whether it's making sure the holiday dinner is cooked perfectly, the holiday party is a smash success, cards are sent out on time, or we've bought presents for everyone so no one feels left out. As women we are naturally giving, and that is a feminine super power that we want to hold onto, for sure. But, sometimes we give so much to others, that we forget to give to ourselves. We put our self-love on hold, especially during the holidays.
Guilt. Stress. Obligation. Our lack of self love and over giving nature can show up in a million ways. Like maybe you don't really want to go visit Aunt Sally or spend the entire day with your husband's family or pack up everything and travel during this crazy holiday time. Maybe you just want to stay home and cook dinner for your close friends and family. Or maybe you want to go skiing in Tahoe or even spend the day doing absolutely nothing. Or maybe something totally different. But you don't feel like you can just say, "NO, I don't want to do 'that' I want to do 'this' instead. Or maybe you don't even feel like you know why you want, you just know it's not that.
We are usually so busy doing the holidays, that we never even pause to "How do I really want to spend the holidays?"
Give Yourself the gift of PAUSE It's Dec 4th, what is the holiday you really want to have? What is going to make YOU happy?
1. What are the activities that make you really really really happy during the holidays? List out your top 5. This is your list of Holiday Happys. And then answer the question, 'Why do these make me happy?"
2. What are the activities that you really really really DON'T like, but that you do because you feel like you should, or because you don't want to let down someone else? This is your list of Holiday Obligations. List out your top 5. Answer the question for each, "Why do I do these if they don't make me happy?"
3. Compare your Holiday Happys to your Holiday Obligations. What's the self-love AHA for you? What can you learn about yourself?
Now for the Self-Love Dare Self Love Dare #12
Give Up the Guilt. This Holiday, Only Do What Makes You Happy
Look at your list of Holiday Obligations, the things you do out of obligation, guilt or some other downer of a reason during the holidays. One by one, either change this into a Holiday Happy, or stop doing it.
Changing Holiday Obligations into Holiday Happys: 1. Get to the core of the reason this is important to YOU. Not to anyone else, but to you. 2. Determine what piece of it you do out of guilt or obligation, which is usually tied to a person or fear. 3. How can you do what is important to you, and do it from your heart with love for yourself and this other person/people? If you have an answer, great, do that. If you have no answer, stop doing it.
My personal self-love dare #12 story:
I took this dare about six years ago when I moved to California and my grandmother, for the first two years, would say, "I wish you would come home for Christmas." I loved my grandmother, she and I were very close, AND I also knew that I wanted to spend my holidays in California in my home. So when she asked me to come, I would have this internal conflict of not wanting to let her down, and also not wanting to let me down.
So on the second year when she again asked me to come home, I took a Pause. What I learned in that Pause was that I really did want to see my grandmother, I loved spending time with her, but I didn't like traveling in December to only get to see her for a few hours at Christmas when the rest of the family was around. So after my Pause, I said to her, "Grandma I love you very much and I know it's important to you for me to come home for the holidays. I really want to spend time with you and during the holidays we just don't get enough one on one time, so how about I come in January for your birthday for a few days." It took her a few minutes to warm up to the idea (she was stubborn like me or me like her I guess), but her heart lit up and like that mine did too, and in January, I arrived in the frozen tundra of Chicago into the warm embrace of my grandmother, who I loved very much. We hung out, ate at our favorite restaurant and watched Dancing with the Stars together. She passed away last year, and I will always have that memory of her and I.
TAKE A PAUSE 3 things self-loving bears can teach us about conserving our energy & money this holiday season, using the Feminine Super Power of PAUSE.
It's December, so what do us crazy humans do? Run around like energizer bunnies gone mad, running from party to party, store to store, gift wrapping to cooking baking. Bright lights, big sales and big pressure to see and be everywhere. It is a season that we spend DOING.
\Now compare that to the animals that live in the forest, that live lock and step with nature, following the natural cycle of living on earth. Take the bear for instance, what is he or she up to in December? Is she out canvassing all the holiday sales hoping to get that DVD player on sale? Is he running around from grocery store to grocery store worrying that he won't have enough food to feed the guests for the party he's planned? No way! This smart four legged creature is getting her house (or cave as the case may be) in order, stocking up on all the goods she will need to get her through the frozen winter. She's not spending her stock, she's savoring and saving it, using it slowly. This wise animal has tuned into a station we too often ignore: nature. And for the entire month of December this station is broadcasting one message: SLOW DOWN!
So what do we humans do? We speed up! The opposite of what the energy of the season is asking for. No wonder we are dead tired come Dec 28th, and then we pep up for one last go around on New Year's and then spend the next two months trying to work off all the excess we sped up to create.
Now to be fair, bears don't face the pressure you do. They aren't bombarded with Christmas advertising campaigns. Or relatives and friends that all want to share in the holiday cheer. Self love comes easier to them. But they do have some behaviors you can use this holiday season that can help you SLOW DOWN and at the same time still enjoy all the love and fun that abounds. I know you may not believe me, but it is actually in your nature to SLOW DOWN... when you tap into your Feminine Super Power of PAUSE.
You've just got to slow down long enough to listen. Try these bear-proven tactics:
1. DON'T GIVE ALL YOUR HONEY AWAY, SAVE SOME FOR YOURSELF The self-loving, smart bear loves to share her gifts, time and energy, with those she loves, especially her prized honey, but she never empties her shelves. And she never feels guilty for keeping honey for herself. So for you... yes, give to the people and things that you love this holiday season, and RETAIN energy for yourself too. Remember to GIVE to yourself. And do it before you run yourself into a cold or a sore neck. When you start feeling that run down sensation or the stress kick in, ask yourself, "Am I giving all my honey away?" And then do something to replenish.
2. SPEND EXTRA TIME IN YOUR CAVE The self-loving, smart bear isn't romping around the forest in December using up all her energy, she is spending extra time loving being in her cave. After all, she's worked hard all year to make it cozy. December is a time of going inward and it's more natural to want to cozy up at home than to flit from party to party every night. Pick your social outings wisely, doing the ones that fill you up the most. Don't be afraid to pass on social obligations that don't totally light you up. Decline politely, wish them holiday cheer, and then create a cozy, warm space inside your home full of self love, magic and holiday beauty. Use that energy to fill you up.
3. DON"T APOLOGIZE FOR DOING WHAT YOU WANT The self-loving smart bear knows that she knows what is best for her and she doesn't waste her vital energy carrying around feelings of guilt or obligation. She does what she needs to do and wants to do, without apologizing to the other bears. She's never rude, always full of love, and she has no qualms about setting healthy boundaries. Make this a holiday that you do your way. Set the intention that you will fill yourself up with energy, love and happiness this holiday, and anything that doesn't ftl those three bills, you can pass on, without guilt or obligation.
While it's hard to deny that not many of us would want to end up stuffed, cooked and on display on a dining room table today, like the fate of many millions of turkeys, after giving it much thought, I think that we can learn a thing or two about self love from our feathered friends. While, these big birds may have a shorter life expectancy than us homo sapiens, they've got it a heck of lot easier when it comes to loving the bird they are, just as they are:
5 reasons why it's easier for turkeys to love themselves
1. Being fatter is a plus. These birds aren't hoping their thighs are too small, they want them as plump as possible. And breasts? Make those bigger too! They get to eat all day long and never feel guilty. Self-love is easier when you are not obsessed with how those calories are going to show up on your thighs.
2. They all look the same, so there's no bird comparison. No
inner mean birdie critics for these turkeys. Red gobblers, white heads
and brown feathers. I have them. You have them. Self love is a cinch when there is nothing for your inner mean girl or boy to compare you to and make you feel less than or not good enough.
3. Their heads are too small to house an inner critic. Even if they did want to compare themselves, that tiny brain couldn't create the synapses to create the thoughts we humans use to beat ourselves up. Self love is more simple when life is just about eating, gobbling and hanging out with your flock.
4. They're naked. These birds aren't hung up about their bodies because they are naked all day long for all the birds and animals to see. They are liberated! Add to that the fact that they don't have to worry about designer labels and you can see how loving their bodies is a heck of lot easier.
5. They all have the same job, so no one feels substandard. As long as they make it to the Thanksgiving Day table as a respectable bird, they've done their job. Self love is easier when you are not comparing what you've achieved to everyone else. Self love is easier when you live in a society that's not always telling you that what you have isn't enough. Self love is easier when you can celebrate what you've accomplished, who you are and the impact you have on the world.
On this day of thanksgiving, it seems to me that we can all learn a thing or two from the turkey. Most of all, I wish us all to take a moment and celebrate ourselves.
Be grateful to yourself for yourself. Be grateful for all that you have accomplished. Be grateful for all the people whose lives you've impacted personally. Be grateful for the chance to be YOU everyday for the rest of your life.
Being Wise... taking in the wisdom across generations by Christine, age 37
As I read the blogs and think of my own life, I know that doing what you want for the holidays regardless of the expectations people throw at you are is easy, and hard, as two things: Truth and Love.
TRUTH. Every one of us owes it to ourselves to be honest about what we really want and need during the holidays. For me, it's different every year. This year it's space, my home, joy and good food. I'll spend my holidays nestled into home with my partner, my dog and the Christmas music and white lights that make my heart all warm and fuzzy.
I always ask myself, "What do I need and want this holiday? And what will give me what I want?" I think all women should ask those same questions, and then commit to doing what they want - before telling their friends and family. You've got to be super resolved inside yourself to claim what you want or else you'll crumble at the first sign of resistance. Let's face it, it's one thing to say what you want; it's another to follow through. I know that when I am clear on my intentions and committed to doing what makes me happy, I end up in situations in which I feel great. Whatever your holiday wish is this year, find it, and give it to yourself.
LOVE. First, we've got to love ourselves enough to believe we deserve what we want - time by ourselves, intimate conversations, a trip to the snow, staying home, etc. Then, when we step forward and express our plans or desires, we've got to do it from the place of love instead of from the place of being the dutiful daughter, the good girl, the victim or the raving righteous madwoman. I stopped flying back to the Midwest for holiday gatherings the year after I moved to California. I didn't make some grand statement that pronounced, "I will not be returning for the holidays whether you like it or not, so deal with it" and I didn't get all wimpy by apologizing for not showing up. After getting really clear that I loved being in California for the holidays (aka LOVE for ME first), I shared why I was staying in California to the relatives that asked. Some got it, some didn't. But I spoke from my heart with all of them, and that left me guilt-free, full of joy and ready to enjoy my holiday, my way.
Step forward this year with love in your heart, truth in your soul and spend your holidays, your way... whatever that looks like for you.
Olive, age 13, says:
One thing I hate about the holidays is having to pretend that I believe in Santa. I don't! He's not real! I always have to have presents from Santa for my cousins and siblings so that they think Santa is real. I hate having to play a part in all of this.
Last Christmas, my step-mom put chocolate covered raisins on the floor saying the reindeer pooped in our house. Sure, IT'S HILARIOUS! But having to go along with all of it just bugs me. I have to say, "Oh my gosh! They pooped in our house!" And then of course my dad and step-mom eat the cookies and carrots so even though I play along with this lie, I don't even get to eat the cookies! Also, since "it would drive my little sister crazy" I don't get to have an advent calendar! Or if my little sister has one I'm not allowed to have one because then she will want to have mine. How about just tell her that she can't have mine and she'll have to deal with it?!
I really don't know how my Jewish cousins do it either. Them going to school and singing songs about Santa when they know that Santa isn't real and they have to lie to everybody? It would drive me nuts! I deal with it because I love my family and if that's what I need to do to make them happy then so be it. They do so much for me and I really just love the holidays, snow, and presents so it's hard to complain. I just hope that when my cousins and sister are older they won't ask me why I lied to them.
Happy Holidays Everybody!
Christin, age 25, says:
This is a tough question because guilt is a very dear friend of mine. ☺
The concept of detachment is one that has helped me tremendously. Not a heartless sentiment but the divine detachment that comes with tremendous compassion and presence. One very valuable trick I learned came from a fabulous book called "When Difficult Relatives Happen to Good People" - when a relative or a friend engages in outrageous behavior that is embarrassing and would usually result in feelings of guilt; the trick is to step back in your mind observing the situation like a complete stranger and calmly say to yourself, "Hmm. I wonder whose relative that is." Removing the reactive emotions from the situation keeps me guilt free, still part of the social event and my personal power intact. Plus, it makes me giggle inside. This question reminds myself that the other person's behavior is neither my fault nor is it my problem.
The other thing I do is take stock of the situation with my "realistic goggles" on. If I know that after four hours of drinking, Brother Timmy says hurtful things he doesn't mean, or that at 8:00 o'clock Aunty Mildred shows up and judges my lifestyle choices, or after two hours my friend from college gets over- the-top bossy - I prepare myself for the situation by accepting it with detachment or arranging my schedule to exit the situation before the inevitable happens. It is usually perfectly acceptable as long as I am upfront about my expectations and time frame with other members of the social gathering.
Anne, age 41, says:
I remember one year I didn't want to go home for Thanksgiving, I wanted some type of adventure. I ended up going to London with my friend and I had a great time... and I got the guilt from my family. Major guilt. I had that Norman Rockwell family complete with the value system of family first no matter what. It was really hard to say, I won't be home. But something inside of me really wanted to create an independent experience that year. So I summoned up the courage, told my mom, and she took it very passive aggressively, but ultimately understood. Thanksgiving night I ate fish and chips and felt a little homesick but still had a great time.
So I think that you can't control how others will respond to your decisions about things, especially when it comes to everyone's expectations around family and holidays. What I do think is that you have to make decisions about how you want to spend your time and then be aware of how your decision will affect others. And then be prepared for the consequences. The trick is to be true to yourself while honoring those around you.