The Gift of Clarity

I just made a decision. I said “no” to doing something I love that would have helped someone whom I respect. Without hemming or hawing. Without agonizing over pros and cons or what if’s.  Without making excuses and without feeling guilty. Within seconds, I responded to a request with a clear “no.” This is HUGE for me. Not so long ago, it would have felt impossible. If it feels that way to you, I so get it. In the not so distant past, I would have weighed options. I would have felt guilty not being able to “help out,” even when I knew I’d be resentful and wouldn’t show up as my best self. I would have waited until the last minute to respond, unwilling to own the decision that I knew with every fiber of my being was the right one. I would have wasted time and energy thinking. . . .

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begin with thanks gratitude practice

Thank for Little, Thank for Much

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.  Estonian proverb According to a review (https://greatergood NULL.berkeley NULL.edu/pdfs/GratitudePDFs/2Wood-GratitudeWell-BeingReview NULL.pdf) of the role of gratitude in cultivating well-being published in Clinical Psychology Review, practicing gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, promote happiness and well-being, and spur acts of helpfulness, generosity, and cooperation. Think of a way you can add small infusions of gratitude to your days this week. Try it out and notice what happens.

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Navigate Holiday Overwhelm by Boosting Your Immunity

It’s t-minus two weeks until the big day, which means, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the pace of most of our already hectic lives is approaching warp speed. Schedules packed, to-do lists long and growing, rest and patience harder to come by than daylight during your evening commute. Good news: you can still boost your immunity against holiday overwhelm. It’s a simple procedure. Just take in the good. That’s it. No matter the level of holiday hyperactivity around you, simply notice the good. Early and often, for about 30 seconds each time. This inoculation against holiday overwhelm costs nothing and the people around you don’t even have to buy into it – or even know you’re doing it – for it to be effective. (Bonus: they’re likely to benefit from your good-seeking, whether they’re aware of it or not.) Stuck in the express lane at the grocery behind someone. . . .

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Lay the Groundwork for Future Growth

I took a walk in the neighborhood where I grew up last weekend. You’d think I’d walk there more often, since it’s right next to where I live now, but it had been years since I toured the old stomping grounds. I was struck by how much smaller everything seemed. Except for the hills. I was blown away by their enormity. Hills I flew to the top of on my Stingray bike as a kid were suddenly big enough to make my quads scream in pain. The houses, though? And the yards? Definitely smaller. And exactly when did all those vegetable gardens start popping up in all those tiny little yards, anyway? They sure weren’t there when I was a kid. Of course, the gardens are all fallow this time of year, littered with dying leaves and the remains of Halloween pumpkins. Bare. Quiet. Still. The bike-riding kid version of. . . .

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A Month From Now, It’ll All Be Over

A month from now, it’ll all be over. Today’s the day I can’t not hear my dad’s personal holiday litany, in his voice, inside my head. With variations – two months, two weeks, a week – it was as much a part of my holidays as trimming the tree and wrapping gifts. It’s not that he was a Scrooge-like Grinch. Quite the opposite. He LOVED the holidays. Especially the choosing and giving of gifts. I grew up hearing about how, when my brothers (12 and 14 years older than me) were little, he and my mom finished Christmas shopping together before Thanksgiving because my dad’s work schedule was so hectic in December. As the branch manager of the local post office, his Decembers were a blur of long lines of usually stressed-out and sometimes downright nasty customers from the time he unlocked the door in the morning until way after. . . .

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