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New Art: Joy To The World

I wanted to create a new piece for the holidays; something simple and happy that spoke to the heart of the season.  I really feel like joy is the underlying reason for most of the things we do.  And this is especially true around the holidays–all of the parties, gatherings + celebrations are about joy.  How can we get more?  How can we feel that unbridled joy?

But I’ve been trying to look at it differently this year: How can I give more joy?

How can I be more present and emotionally available to those I love?  Feeling joyful gets me there.  How can I truly feel the essence of this peaceful + holy time of year and share it with others?  Wishing joy for others is a good start.

I always find myself in a deep, reflective mood during this season, and it helps me focus on what is important–sharing moments, being still + feeling the love around me.  Along with the holidays comes the winter solstice, which I love too.  It reminds me it’s a time of deep renewal for my heart + mind.  It reminds me to keep seeking my true path.

Joy to the world

(new art available here)

“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.”
– Aristotle

And even though happiness + joy are a major part of the season, I notice the feeling of experiencing different levels of joy at different times.   I’m trying not to give in to the expectations of hitting that ecstatic crescendo everyone seeks during this time, but I try to enjoy more of the little moments; stringing these moments together are what add up to a special overall feeling for me. Remembering that the everyday joy has a magical quality.  And cherishing those quiet moments of inner peace and solitude that fill my heart.

I’m wishing you + your beloveds joy this holiday season.

Joy to the world, truly.

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New Art: Joy To The World2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

How Will You Wrap Up Your Year? {Some Tips To Make It Through The Holidays.}

Christmas Tree

There’s so much hustle + bustle out there, this time of year. Can you feel it?  I know I can.

Worrying about getting the right present or the perfect outfit to wear doesn’t interest me. Inviting in more peace + joy does.  I want to feel the wonder of a year coming to an end, and reflect on how amazing it has been! And this takes some serious intentional action.

The pressure of the holidays is real, friends, so I’m giving you a few tips on how to handle it.  We can all use some encouragement, yes? These are some of my favorite blog posts from the archives, to help you deal with this high-paced season without losing your cool:

I have to say, I’m looking forward to the clean slate a new year brings–the opportunities are endless. (Not to mention, I’m getting married!) But in the meantime, I’m going to focus on having fun + being dazzled by the excitement of the season, I hope you can too.

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How Will You Wrap Up Your Year? {Some Tips To Make It Through The Holidays.}2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

Testing Your Limits, Getting Clear, Handling Change + The Holidays: The November Wrap-Up

Testing Your Limits vs. Honoring Them. {What Bootcamp Taught Me.}

Last week I was coerced by the manager of my gym to try a new group workout; it was a bootcamp of sorts but with less people and it was run by a personal trainer.  My workout routine is pretty predictable, so trying this class was a wild departure for me.

Just to set the record straight–I love a good workout.  I love to sweat out the day’s stress and feel that physical tiredness.  So, even though I wanted to be excited for my adventurous workout choice, my internal dialogue sounded like this: “This is a bad idea, I don’t do well in these classes!  I’ll feel so uncoordinated and awkward, I’m probably going to hurt myself”….

Getting Clear On the WHY of Your Work Will Lead You To The WHAT.

The wrap up

A few short years ago, I was the Dean of Students at a small, women’s liberal arts college.  At 32 years old, this would be considered a major score, yes?  The only problem was, I liked the idea of my position more than the actual work.

Sure, it was rewarding to be a part of an administration that wanted to implement change + growth in their students and it was impressive to my friends and family, but I just wasn’t loving it like I knew I should.  I had worked so hard for years towards that role but something just fell flat when I finally arrived.  It made me feel so confused –I was supposed to love that job, but…I didn’t…

Change Is Inevitable. {How You Deal With It Is Optional.}

I can remember my first day of kindergarten quite vividly–I wore a navy jumper and was rockin’ a Dorothy Hamill bowl cut.  I had been working myself into a tizzy for months; that summer I got up everyday and practiced packing my bag for school.  (Yes, I actually did this.)  I am the third of four kids, so I’m not sure who was more excited–me or my parents, but their calm and encouraging attitude fueled my glee…

5 Ways I Handle The Holidays Like A Boss. {And You Can Too.}

It’s that time of year when emotions are high and patience runs very low.  Gifts to buy!  Food to cook!  Pounds to avoid!  Relatives to manage!  How do you survive the pressure of it all?  Here are 5 tips on how I get through the holidays without an emotional or physical hangover.

1) Put the fork down. Whenever I think of the holidays, all I think about is the food.  Am I the only one that thinks this way?  I have so many memories of sitting around the table enjoying a feast, but these marathon family sessions lead to eating with total abandon.  At every meal.  I literally have to remind myself that I’ll most likely eat another meal in the next 3-4 hours, so I shouldn’t eat like it’s my last one.  Eating recklessly only makes me regret it the next day so I try to put the fork down sooner and chug water whenever I can…

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Testing Your Limits, Getting Clear, Handling Change + The Holidays: The November Wrap-Up2018-03-29T20:23:20-04:00

5 Ways I Handle The Holidays Like A Boss. {And You Can Too.}

It’s that time of year when emotions are high and patience runs very low.  Gifts to buy!  Food to cook!  Pounds to avoid!  Relatives to manage!  How do you survive the pressure of it all?  Here are 5 tips on how I get through the holidays without an emotional or physical hangover.

1) Put the fork down. Whenever I think of the holidays, all I think about is the food.  Am I the only one that thinks this way?  I have so many memories of sitting around the table enjoying a feast, but these marathon family sessions lead to eating with total abandon.  At every meal.  I literally have to remind myself that I’ll most likely eat another meal in the next 3-4 hours, so I shouldn’t eat like it’s my last one.  Eating recklessly only makes me regret it the next day so I try to put the fork down sooner and chug water whenever I can.

2) Stick to a workout routine.  I normally go to the gym 5-6 days a week; it keeps me sane and helps me avoid the dreaded muffin top.  When the holidays approach, I start saying things like,”I deserve a few days off” or “working out is overrated”; I know it’s my own slippery slope.  For example, I recently took a couple of days off in a row from the gym and I actually had thoughts like, “Maybe I don’t even need to workout anymore.  I can just wing it.”  That’s laziness at it’s best!  I know that working out in some shape or form is not only good for my health, it’s good for others’ health as well because I will be more pleasant to be around.

root of joy3) Create a tension release valve.  Holidays are an interesting mix of happiness mixed with starter fluid: you never know when tempers will flare up.  The slightest comment from a relative can set off the calmest of folks (even me).  I try to give myself an out for times when I feel I’m reaching my boiling point.

Do you know that song, “Happy Holidays” by Bing Crosby?  It’s a silent rule around the holidays in my family that before you blow up from a stressful situation, you have to sing the chorus to that song really loud.  It’s a funny warning signal to others in the vicinity and it’s so ridiculous that everyone starts laughing; it always breaks the tension.  For moments of stress that are greater than the song– step into a different room, take a few deep breaths and remind myself it’s just a moment and that moment is passing.

4) Check-in.  I tend to get caught up in getting the perfect gift or making sure the food is just right, so I often forget to enjoy the moment.  I’m so embarrassed when I catch myself obsessing over something like the perfect holiday shoes to match my dress. (But you know what? I give myself a pass because dresses are fun and I like fun.)  As a rule,  I try to check in with myself periodically about how I’m feeling, what my needs are and how I can be more helpful to others.  This awareness helps me stay in the moment and enjoy myself.

5) Go with the flow.  There will be glitches in the plan. Like an oven on the fritz Christmas Day (yup, that’ happened to me).  Or a relative that gets drunk and won’t shut up about why I’m not married (again, a stellar moment).  But you know what?  This is life, things happen out of our control.  Sometimes you just have to let go and let it roll.

The holidays can be nerve-wracking but I try to remember to loosen the grip and enjoy the ride– broken ovens and drunk relatives included.

Happy Holidays!

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5 Ways I Handle The Holidays Like A Boss. {And You Can Too.}2018-03-29T20:23:20-04:00

Change Is Inevitable. {How You Deal With It Is Optional.}

How do you handle change? Click through to hear about how a common experience helped me to handle change as an adult and how it may help you, too.

I can remember my first day of kindergarten quite vividly–I wore a navy jumper and was rockin’ a Dorothy Hamill bowl cut.  I had been working myself into a tizzy for months; that summer I got up everyday and practiced packing my bag for school.  (Yes, I actually did this.)  I am the third of four kids, so I’m not sure who was more excited–me or my parents, but their calm and encouraging attitude fueled my glee.

Little me

Little me going to kindegarten.

Fast forward to the Fall of 1991, my parents were sending me out into the big world again, but this time it was college.  When they dropped me off at the residence hall, I was choking back the tears because I wasn’t ready for that change; I was still in high school mode and used to having my childhood friends close at hand.  (I learned years later that my mom wasn’t ready for the change either–she cried the whole way home.)   But at the time, we each put on a brave face and marched toward the next phase of life.

Change can often feel like both of these extremes–exciting and fun or nerve-wracking and dreadful–it depends on how you approach it.

It’s natural for us to dig our heels in and want the comfort and security of what we know; but without these constant revisions, we become stagnant and bored.  Change is a necessary part of our growth.

Transitions create an emotional shift in our otherwise routine life; they challenge us to try new experiences, even when we’re not quite ready for them.  Could it be because we know a door is closing, in order to make room for what is next?

I try to remember these thoughts when those jittery feelings creep up:

  • Change is good.  All progress and movements forward happen because of change.  Without these adjustments, we become lifeless.
  • Everyone gets nervous about change.  It’s a normal reaction to be nervous, even when the change is great and it’s something we’ve been waiting for.  Transitions can bring butterflies to even the steeliest of bellies.
  • Being brave with the small changes will help prepare us for the big ones.  Testing the waters and finding our limits helps us be brave enough to move through the big and small transitions.  The more we know ourselves, the better we can prepare for change (and the smoother it will be).
  • Ride the wave.  Easy transitions are a lot about preparation.  And even when there’s not a lot of time to prepare, we can still mentally walk through the process to figure out where we may need extra support.  Once we’ve done the work, it’s important to embrace our choice and ride the wave into the next phase; half-committing to a decision doesn’t usually turn out very well.
  • Honor yourself.  Change can wreak havoc on the body and mind.  Checking in with ourselves about our needs and asking for help can be the difference between a smooth transition and a train wreck.  A talk with a trusted friend, a massage or a round at the boxing gym can do wonders for managing the stress and emotions that come up with change.  We each need to find our outlet.

The next time you face a change in your life, think about how you want to feel after it’s over.  Focusing on the after of change can often be the push you need to get through it.

When I’m confronted with a new opportunity to change, I try to remember that sweet kindergartner that still lives inside of me and how excited she was for her first day of school.  It reminds me that with an open heart and a willing attitude, transitions can be pretty amazing.

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Change Is Inevitable. {How You Deal With It Is Optional.}2018-03-29T20:23:21-04:00
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