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I can help you gain the courage to look at your roadblocks and create a path and a plan the gives you the confidence to make the changes you desire for your life. Through compassionate listening and proven strategies I will guide you to make those changes, one step at a time.
We are not able to change what happens to us, but we can change how we view it. Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life! is a collection of reflections focused on many of the life issues we all face. Each of the offerings is meant to inspire you, and help you see how you might make a positive difference in your own life.
I am asking you this question for a couple of reasons. This year more people looked forward to and were able to celebrate the holidays in a way that felt more like pre-pandemic. When it is over, we feel a holiday let-down that extends into January, the longest, coldest, and darkest month of the year. Many feel the effects of the long gloomy days. In addition, we are still feeling the stress of the pandemic. The stress of this will carry over into the new year unless we do something to change it.
The APA (American Psychological Association) reports that 84% of Americans report increased feelings emotions of anxiety, sadness, and anger, all signs of prolonged stress. This stress comes from all aspects of life and how we feel about what is going on in our world as well as what is going on in our personal lives.
The news has reported that people have been resigning from their jobs in record numbers to find jobs that allow for better work-life balance. The gift of the pandemic, if you can call it that, is that people had an opportunity to look at their lives and decide what they wanted.
Even when you know that you want to make a change, it can be hard to begin. In our busy world, we can get distracted, lack focus, or feel like we do not have the right mindset to achieve what we want most.
The most powerful resource you have is within you and it all begins with self-awareness. This is our ability to be able to observe what we are thinking and doing and connect them to our actions. An example of that would be when you find all the ways that you cannot do something, so you do not do it. Self-awareness is when you realize that those reasons are just you just getting in your own way. It is important to acknowledge what is standing in the way but also to realize you hold the power to move any obstacle that is put in front of you by taking one small step at t time.
This past Christmas, our 11-year-old granddaughter became afraid to fly, even though she had done it dozens of times before. She realized the plane could crash and that became the only thing she could think about. I helped her realize there was more than one thing that could be true at the same time. She knew planes were safe but also knew she was afraid they might crash. When we made it ok to be afraid and that planes were safe to fly in she was able to make a shift. With that mantra, she began to realize that even though she was afraid she also realized how safe planes are to travel in. This is true for us too, we can be afraid and not know our next step but can move past fear and do it anyway.
The key to change is one small step at a time. Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? The reason most resolutions fail is not that you do not have the willpower or skill to get it done, as we might believe about ourselves, but because the goal we made is unattainable in the time, we have given ourselves to do it. You probably have a lengthy list of things you would like to change about yourself, just do not do them all at once. Pick one thing that feels doable to you and then break it down into small parts that you can sustain over time. My morning inspirational time sets up the day for me, and it’s imperative that I do it every day. However, it was not always like that. I know I needed time to gather my thoughts and check in with myself at a time when I had zero time. I started with 5 minutes twice a week. Once I could do that, I gradually increased it week by week. In this way, I was easing into making a change that could be sustained and building a new habit. It’s easy to think that new habits form easily but it takes intention, focus, and consistency to facilitate any change.
We are all constantly changing whether we like it or not. Since change is inevitable, we can either do it kicking and screaming or we can cooperate with what no longer works in our life and change it. But more than that, we have an innate sense within us that makes us want to be the best person that we can be for ourselves, our friends, family, and the community we are part of. Growing and changing are not only about us. When we improve our integrity, become more tolerant of ourselves, grow our understanding and compassion for ourselves this extends out from us to others. This is the way that we can impact the world around us in a powerful way.
It is important to remember that all of us are seeking the same thing; kindness, understanding, respect, and unconditional love. The more we can give that to ourselves, the more we can offer it to others. You are the one who holds the key to what you want for your life.
I have always loved the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City. The news showed them getting the tree in place and placing the star at the top. They talked about it as being a star that is filled with hope during this time of year. Besides living with hope there are at least two essential components of living life to the fullest; they are cultivating peace and joy. To foster this we must know that we can be flexible in what we do, what we say, and what we think; in other words, we hold the right to be able to change our minds and do things differently at a moment’s notice.
The second is that this knowledge is the foundation of the philosophy that every day presents us the opportunity to start over. I know this is not new to you, but we can get so set in our routines and rituals of how things need to be, that we forget that we have the ability to adapt and change. We cause ourselves much dis-ease when we are unwilling to bend.
The last few year’s has already presented us with challenge after challenge and now the cold weather and the holidays are approaching, we are facing new obstacles. As hard as this has been, we have also learned how to pare down our activities to those that are most essential and have learned how to stay connected with friends and family. However, because the Holidays are so rich with tradition and family gatherings many of us are wondering how we can remake the holiday to still feel joyful when nothing feels the same.
This year is certainly different than last year, but I think that if we can first spend some time reflecting and tending to our spirit, everything else will fall into place. Here are a few ideas to consider in making this holiday time filled with hope, peace, and joy.
We can rethink our holiday rituals to see if they still bring us comfort and joy or if they produce extra work that leads to exhaustion. Perhaps there is an easier way, or we can make it simpler, but just as meaningful.
- Celebrate the Winter Solstice
- At the end of the day create a ritual of asking yourself where you experienced hope, peace, or joy that day. The days are busy and filled with responsibilities and challenges and we often forget about the good. This will train your mind to begin to look for and relish the good when it happens.
- Make a daily intention to invite joy into your life
- Give yourself time to play and to do the things that make you happy.
- Express gratitude regularly for the goodness that is in your life, including those who love and support you.
- Choose to look at life with a sense of awe and the wonder of a child.
- Connect regularly to the Spirit inside you that guides and informs your path.
- Send blessings to anything that is causing you discomfort and refuse to carry any anger by taking steps to resolve it.
- Show kindness to someone every day from until the new year.
- Offer positive comments to yourself.
- Take time to enjoy the quiet.
- Expect the miraculous to happen.
Finding and fostering hope, peace, and joy within ourselves is one of the most important things we can do to live fully. When we honor this sacred process, it spills out to all we meet and this is the spirit of the holiday, whether we get to spend it with our families or not. Wishing you all the miracles of the season!