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Archive for December, 2013

The GIFT

As the holiday season approaches and the pace picks up for everyone, I find myself reflecting on the meaning of gift giving. So much focus has been placed of giving others material things contributing to the accumulation of stuff. The other day I found a capella version of the Little Drummer Boy and as I listened to the lyrics was reminded that he no gift to give and offered to play his drum for the infant Jesus. I considered what my ‘drum’ was and what I had to offer in lieu of traditional gifts.

Here is what I heard whispering down the corridors of my mind, “Give GIFTS of YOU.”

Building on that my offering to you for this season is the GIFT: Grace and Gratitude, Intuition, Freedom and Truth.

 

Grace and Gratitude
I have always embraced the notion of Grace which for me denotes flow, being in the moment and present to life’s offerings. Grace feels unforced and is that part of the GIFT that allows you to be present for another person. Presence is the greatest gift of all, something that is a rare gift in a time where communication has become electronic and quality time with others has become rare.

In grace, you have the opportunity to be in gratitude for the abundance of your life, to be present to it. It allows you to appreciate YOU and your gifts, your relationships, your family and friends,  and the natural abundance that surrounds you. When you are present to this, stuff becomes less meaningful.

 

Intuition
Intuition is the blend of head and heart and learning to be both open-hearted and open-minded. In those seasons where expectations and obligations run amuck, intuition, listening for what you know to be true, can easily become clouded. Somewhere long ago you knew that the gifts you want to give to others have little to do with the things you can buy. When you create a little space for yourself and check-in, you realize that the great gifts you have received over time had more to do with hugs, a shoulder to lean on or someone listening to you and giving you support.

As the GIFT giving season approaches check in with your intuition and rather than checking out the sales, listen in and ask what would be truly meaningful. What about a gift certificate for 12 wholesome hugs, 11 conversations, 10 homebrewed lattes, 9 shoulder rubs, 8 thank you notes, 7 random acts of kindness, 6…. As the MasterCard ad suggests…priceless.

 

Freedom
Call this breath – freedom from the should’s, have to’s, and must do’s of the holiday season. Freedom is your permission slip to do it your way. It is the opportunity I am offering you to approach this season in a way that is meaningful to you, no more conditions, walking to the beat of your own drum and playing this for others.

If you ask yourself these questions, “This holiday season, whether that be Christmas, Chanukah, of any other tradition:

  • What would be perfect for me?
  • In what ways do I want to celebrate?
  • How would I like to spend my time?
  • What gifts would I love to give?”

how would you respond? You are free to choose.

 

Truth
There is a strong chance that when you choose an alternate approach to this season, that others will point fingers at you calling you a Grinch. So what? Is this true or are you simply re-connecting with meaning and what is an authentic expression of you and the season.

The critics will be there, your own and those of others. And as you pursue your path, giving gifts of meaning, you intentionally begin the shift back to what the season was originally meant to represent. This is truth, being true to yourself, your values and traditions, and to the important relationships in your life.

New Beginnings

 

Final Word
Life is about choices. This season is about choices. My invitation is to begin to make the shift back to meaning, giving of YOU differently, being present, listening to your heart guidance, freeing yourself from imposed expectations and being true to yourself. It is an opportunity to identify your authentic expression of what Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving and any special occasion means to you and to begin living this message.

I invite you to come back to the GIFT of giving meaning.

Blessings to YOU this season and choose to be wildly attractive as a new year approaches!

 

Betty Healey

 

Betty Healey is an award-winning author, coach and inspiring speaker. As a coach-facilitator she offers a number of coaching packages and retreats. To learn more visit  www.roadSIGNS.ca or contact her at betty@roadSIGNS.ca.

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The pressure is on, the Christmas rush has begun. Black Friday and now, Cyber Monday are behind you yet you still have a thousand things to do. There is baking and decorating and partying and…..OMG I am out of breath. The list of to do’s stretches for three pages and every other minute you are adding another item to the list. And you just noticed that as long as this list is YOU ARE NOT ON IT!

STOP! Come up for air. I am giving you permission to make this season easier on you. By the way, this is not only a suggestion, I think you will find that it is a must do. Are you ready?

The 1% Rule

1 percent rule

Here is my recommendation for you for this upcoming season – dedicate 1% of everyday to YOU. I will save you the trouble of calculating it: 1% of 24 hours equals 14.4 minutes. Oh go crazy, make it 15 minutes each day.

Here is how it works. This time slot of 15 minutes must be used for you and only you. It is a time for BEING not doing. That means it is not a time dedicated to lengthening the ’to do’ list, or shopping, or chatting with a friend. It is meant to renew you and re-energize you which means it is a 15 minute pause for no one but you. No friends are invited to share it unless you are being quiet together.

I hear your panic, how could you possibly fill 15 minutes if you are not allowed to DO anything! What a concept. Ready for some suggestions:

  1. A 15 minute meditation
  2. A massage
  3. A warm bath to candlelight, eyes closed, soft music playing
  4. Dancing by yourself around the living room
  5. A nap
  6. A 15 minute walk in nature
  7. A break where you simply allow yourself to breathe and escape
  8. A yoga class

 

My final suggestion I refer to as Book Ends. This one I have to explain as it is a strategy I teach as part of our ME FIRST Program. First, split the time into two chunks of 7-8 minutes each.

Book ends

Dedicate the first chunk to early morning. Before you jump out of bed in the morning, consider your day. Breathe into it. Before you review your ‘to do’ list for the day, check in with who you plan to BE that day. Example, “I am calm and energized.” Next set your intentions for the day. Example: My day will unfold easily and effortlessly. Everything on my ‘to do list’ will occur naturally.” This approach allows YOU to be clear on what you are attracting that day as well as  influence the energy around you.

The second chunk of 7-8 minutes is for your evening. As you lay your head to rest, and before you go to sleep, take a moment to review your day and to express gratitude for how the day unfolded. Remember the intention you set in the morning and notice how this influenced the activities and interactions of your day. Should you fall asleep while doing this, consider this – you will fall asleep in gratitude.

The Book Ends are designed to lift your spirits. By being intentional in the morning, you have more influence regarding how things unfold in your life and by being grateful in the evening, you hold yourself in a positive energy field. Overtime this simple practice will keep you spiritually uplifted and feeling less exhausted by the pace of your life. And yes, it is a strategy for any season, not just this one.

What will this do for YOU?

In times when expectations of self and others are high, the thing that suffers the most is making time for self. I recognize that placing yourself on your priority list at this time of year seems like an impossible task. Or is it? Can anyone not claim 15 minutes each day for oneself? In my view 15 minutes is a chewable chunk that anyone can bite off and dedicate daily to oneself.

The benefits are simple, a strategy for keeping yourself healthy and resilient during one of the busiest and most demanding seasons. Your health allows you to then be fully of service to others, just as you choose to be, and to land in the holidays with energy and an ability to actually enjoy the festivities. Unless I am wrong, many of those whom I see preparing for the season become so engrossed in getting ready that they are totally pooped when Xmas arrives. This year make a choice to change this.

Final Thoughts

Here is my final challenge. For the next 21-days, dedicate 15 minutes each day for you. Use any of the techniques listed above. It takes 21 days to establish a new habit and this is one habit I believe you will want to continue.

 

Betty Healey

 

Betty Healey is an award-winning author, coach and inspiring speaker. You can book Betty for a workshop or speaking engagement at www.roadSIGNS.ca or contact her at betty@roadSIGNS.ca.

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