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by

Alene Gabriel

EMPOWERING OTHERS TO CREATE THE LIVES THEY WANT TO LEAD

The Buzz
Alene Gabriel, Life Coach, empowering others to create the lives they want to lead

To me, the holidays have always meant this blissful mix of family time, tinkling music, twinkly lights, nutmeg smells and joy. 

So much joy.  Some of my most blissful memories are these fuzzy images of being surrounded by close family and friends in our warm, soft living room, with a fire crackling, the smell of (real) Christmas tree in the air, something yummy wafting from the kitchen, laughing and joking together.  Your stereotypical image of “happy holidays.”

It has only been in recent years, especially in meeting and talking to a stranger this past week, that I realized the depths to which holidays can be complicated, difficult and even sad.  In short, his story involved a childhood where holidays were spent at the hospital because his brother was sick (exacerbated by, believe it or not, allergies to Christmas trees).  For him, the end-of-the-year holidays were tense, clinical and lacking in joy.  And his is not the only story I’ve heard to this end – stories of family tensions, splitting time between divorced parents or sets of in-laws, estranged families, tragedies that occurred around holidays that leave their mark in future years……and so on.

Holidays are not blissfully welcomed by all.  And, they are upon us irrespective of where we stand, like a blind date we might not quite be ready for.

 

So this article is dedicated to EVERYONE, no matter their holiday situation (and you can take this beyond the holidays too).  A few thoughts on getting the most out of this season, no matter where you start from:

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  • Take what you need.  Do you need time for yourself?  Save it.  Block off time that is just yours and do what YOU want.  Do you want time with certain friends or family members?  Reach out and make plans.  Create your holidays on YOUR terms.

  • If you’re on the edge, step back:  the view is great from here.  Sometimes when we’re really caught up in being pushed to our limit, we don’t realize that just on the edge of that cliff is the beginning of a beautiful view.  Take a step back, lift your eyes, and check it out.

  • Protect what’s important to you.  Do you need more time?  Sleep?  Spinach and kale smoothies?  Determine what the boundaries are that will honor what’s important to you and stick to them.

  • Stay indoors / Go outdoors.  Sometimes we just need to rest – stay in.  We’re used to taking care of others, but if we don’t care for ourselves, we’ll have nothing left to give.  Or, feeling overwrought with screentime and the ills of social comparison?  Get outside!  Go for a walk, sit in the garden, let snowflakes fall on your tongue.  Mother nature awaits and she demands that you come as you are.

Happy holidays to all, and to all a good night.

Holidays and Family and Eggnog, Oh My!

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Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Men

 

Such a simple phrase, but the concepts of peace and goodwill are, unfortunately, complicated. The human race has been congratulating itself on its technological advances for a very long time. But the advances in peace and goodwill are sadly limited, or temporary.

 

We live in a highly competitive world, scrambling for goods and services, natural resources, economic security, even love and affection. Frequently, peace and goodwill are eclipsed by our need to get our "share of the rock." We rationalize, and blame Darwin's "natural selection,"  "survival of the fittest," and blame the lack of peace and goodwill on that jerk in the other lane.

 

My formula for promoting and maintaining peace and goodwill is simplistic; but, it helps keep me sane and happy. I try to refer to my "gratitude list" as often as possible by establishing a list of those important things — health, family, friends, loved ones, the natural world around us, and the 49ers. And, the list goes on and on. When life's challenges rock the boat, I try to remember how very fortunate my life has been, from day one.

 

An "attitude of gratitude” isn't always easy to maintain, but it puts things in perspective; and it doesn't cost a thing. That attitude creates a foundation of peace and goodwill about my own situation, and provides a catalyst for goodwill toward others. In our fast-paced world, it's hard to find peace. The earth seems to be in flux.  Black Friday,  the hallmark of frenetic consumerism, and Cyber Monday seem to add another challenge to the quiet, reflective atmosphere of the Holidays. My suggestion is to step back, take a deep breath, look at the sky, and refer to your “gratitude list.” 

 

Have a Happy & Grateful New Year...

Max Buzby

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