How to Honor the Rite of Passage of the New Year

shelley-bullardShelly Bullard is one of best bloggers I ‘discovered’ in 2012 through MindBodyGreen. Here’s what she has to say about the new year:

The New Year. A fresh start. A new beginning.

For me, the marking of the New Year is filled with hope, with potential, and with anticipatory excitement. It is a time of reflection–honoring what has been, what is currently happening, and what is yet to come.

Consciously honoring rites of passages such as the New Year allows us to think about our lives in a way we often don’t do. It’s easy to get caught in the grind–moving through life on autopilot. We have our routines and schedules–we trudge along week by week by week.

But the New Year is a break in the pattern. It is an ending and a beginning. It is an opportunity to stop, reflect, and start again.

In this article I am going to guide you towards honoring your New Year. Here are some simple thoughts and questions to help you reflect on what happened in 2012, to align you with what you are grateful for in this very moment, and to set you up to move in the direction you want in 2013.

Full story at: Soul Full: How to Honor the Rite of Passage of the New Year.

Creating A New You For The New Year!

Terri Cole writes:

It is an annual occurrence. We run on autopilot from Thanksgiving through Christmas, and then around December 26, we start to think about new habits we want to create and bad habits we want to ditch. We evaluate what hasn’t been serving our purpose and what we need to change in order to be more fulfilled. For some reason, we have a difficult time implementing new strategies in the present moment. It’s as if we must wait for a momentous occasion that clearly marks new beginnings.

Does the split second between December 31 and January 1 possess some kind of transformational magic? Do we really need a specific calendar date to create our best lives?

Nope. We really don’t.

The biggest challenge is realizing the potential for renewal you have in every moment. If you focus on staying present instead of mulling over the past or anxiously awaiting the future, you can harness the power of your intention and make what seems impossible, possible. Obsessing about what you did and did not do in the past and fearfully projecting into the future is your fear mind limiting your potential.

Once you release the fear, you can stay rooted in the here and now and develop present moment awareness. You can begin to truly discover what you want more and less of in your life based on who you are NOW rather than on how you have behaved in the past.

Recognize you are a work in progress, which is a process that thankfully never ends. Realize that at any moment you can declare a Do Over—to create that magic split second of New Year’s transformation—any day of the week.

You can decide right now that negative experiences from your past will not predict your future. Now is not then, and no matter how familiar it may feel, this present moment has never happened before. Instead of fearing what may happen, harness the mind-blowing power of your intention to create what you want to happen.

Whether it’s now because New Years is right around the corner, or at any other time throughout the year, here is a great exercise to get you on the path to sustainable change.

Full story at: Creating A New You For The New Year!.

5 Ways to Keep the ‘Happy’ in Your Happy Holidays

Marci Shimoff shares a healthy perspective for the holidays:

For the last three mornings, I’ve woken up with the holiday songIt’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” going through my head. (Those store soundtracks have an insidious way of taking over your brain!)

My spontaneous rebuttal is “It’s the most STRESSFUL time of the year.”

While this can be a fun and fulfilling time, it can also be a time of great challenge. Depression is higher during the holiday season than during any other time of the year.

Is there a better way to live through the holidays so that you plug into the “fun and fulfilling” part and lessen the “stressful” part?

I’ve been exploring that myself this year, as I’ve been feeling some sadness these past few weeks. I’m missing my parents and some dear friends who’ve passed away over the past years, and I’m not in a primary relationship, which can make me feel a bit lonely during the holidays. Yet, I still want to keep my heart open and expanded during this time.

I’ve found a holiday prescription that’s working for me and can also work for you.

It’s based on dealing with the five main sources of stress that can lead to the holiday blues.

Those Five Main Sources of Stress Are:

1. Overconsumption: We tend to over-shop, overeat, overdrink, over-everything! Can you relate?

2. Loneliness: This is time when we can feel most isolated or alone, even if we’re surrounded by lots of people.

3. Time Pressure: In the mad rush of the season, we stop taking care of ourselves.

4. Financial Stress: No need to explain this!

5. Loss of Perspective: With such an emphasis on buying the right gifts, having the right clothes for parties and gatherings, and finding the right ingredients for our holiday meals, we often lose perspective on what really brings fulfillment.

Now, here are The Top Five Tips to Make It Through the Holidays, keeping your heart open and your joy flowing.

1. Connect to Your Heart

When you find yourself reaching for that fifth gingerbread man or cup of eggnog, stop and take a few deep breaths in and out of your heart. For extra power, place your hand over your heart to stimulate the happiness chemical oxytocin.

2. Find Community and Support

If you’re alone, make sure you seek out people to spend time with. Don’t isolate yourself. Once you have people around you, focus on the ways you appreciate and enjoy them rather than getting stuck in your judgments or criticisms. Yes, family can bring up your “stuff,” but see it as an opportunity to work on your limiting patterns and let love prevail.

3. Take Time for Yourself

In the midst of the holiday whirl is when we MOST need to set aside time to take care of ourselves. One of my favorite ways is to take a fifteen-minute hot bath with sea salt and lavender oil at night to relax. It feels delicious, and it rebalances the body’s energetic field.

4. Serve Others

Giving of your time and your heart to serve others who are in need will help take your attention off of the desire to overconsume. Altruism and service are a fast track to heart opening.

5. Go Spiritual

The time around the winter solstice, when there’s more darkness, is actually a very spiritual time. Take the opportunity to go inward—meditate or connect with spirit in any way that works for you. Spiritual practice is the best antidote I know of to help you keep balance and perspective during the craziness of the season.

With some gentle attention on these five tips, you’ll find yourself humming “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and meaning it.

May this season be nurturing and joyful for you.

Source: 5 Ways to Keep the ‘Happy’ in Your Happy Holidays « Positively Positive

Lexus Dec to Remember-001

The Best Present Is Presence

Lexus Dec to Remember

I HATE CHRISTMAS. Or perhaps it would be better to say I hate what Christmas has become. The consumerism, the expectations, the obligations; none of which have anything to do with ‘reason for the season’ — celebrating relationship with a higher power…

Perhaps that is why I like this perspective from The Minimalists so much:

What if you could receive only one Christmas present this year? What would it be?

The answer for us is simple: time.

You see, the people we care about mean much more to us than a new pair of shoes or a shiny new gadget or even a certified pre-owned luxury car with a huge bow on top.

And yet, many of us attempt to give material items to make up for the time we don’t spend with the people we love. But possessions can’t ever make up for lost time.

The next time someone asks you what you want for Christmas, consider responding with, “Your presence is the best gift you can give me.”

When you’re completely focused in the moment—no TV, no Internet, no distractions—it makes a marked difference in the lives of the people around you. When you’re fully present, your love radiates.

And if you’re going to give gifts this holiday season, why not give your unencumbered time and attention first? Your loved ones will be glad you did.” via The Best Present Is Presence | The Minimalists.


8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives During the Holiday Season

Gretchen Rubin has some valuable insight for those who struggle with the holidays for one reason or another:

Holidays can be tough. Some people love them; some people dread them.

I thought a lot about the holidays as I was writing Happier at Home, because the holiday season tends to be a time when we focus on home. Maybe you’re going “home” the way I go home to Kansas City for Christmas–which may be fun for you, or not. Maybe you’re deciding how to decorate your home. Maybe you’re making an effort to arrange the holidays the way you experienced them as a child–or the opposite. Maybe you’re feeling sad, or happy, about whom you will or won’t be seeing.

From talking to people, it seems that one of the biggest happiness challenges of the holidays is dealing with difficult relatives. You want to have a nice dinner, but Uncle Bobby makes you crazy. What to do?” Get the answer here: 8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives During the Holiday Season. « The Happiness Project.

Block Friday

LightThe guys over at the Minimalists have this thought to share:

This Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year: Black Friday. Retailers prepare months in advance for this dark day—preparation that’s meant to stimulate your insatiable desire to consume: Doorbuster sales. New products. Gigantic newspaper ads. TV, radio, print, billboards. Sale, sale, sale! Early bird specials. One day only! Get the best deal. Act now! While supplies last.

The Minimalists would, however, like to shed some light on this darkest of Fridays. It’s important to understand that consumption is an unquenchable thirst. Retailers and advertisers and manufacturers know this too well. And thus, they’ve invented an entire day designed to take advantage of your insatiable desire to consume.

The pernicious aspects of Black Friday are not few. The pandemonium of this day is a synecdoche for our consumer culture as a whole. On this day, people consume gluttonously without regard for the harm they’re inflicting on themselves. On this day, greed becomes ravenous. On this day, people live without real meaning, buying gifts to fill a void that can’t possibly be filled with material possessions.

Sadly, people participate in the rapacious nature of Black Friday in the name of a holiday, as if buying gifts was an ideal way to celebrate Christmas. But thankfully, you have options.

Instead of embracing Black Friday, you can Block Friday. You can refuse to buy material items for people to display your love. Rather, you can showcase your love, caring, and affection through daily actions—every day, not just holidays.

If you want to give gifts, why not gift an experience—a nice meal, tickets to a concert, or a sunset on the beach? After all, the best, most loving gift you can give someone is your time and undivided attention.

Will you join us? Will you opt out of Black Friday? If not, why not?

Source: Dark Friday | The Minimalists

I will opt out! I hate what Christmas has become and the stress that it causes by all the false expectations it creates. Give me Thanksgiving with family, food and gratitude and I’ll see you next year…


Christmas Tree Ship Presentation

The Door County Maritime Museum has a special event coming up that I’m sure I’ll be attending, being from Algoma and all. Why don’t you join me?

Join us to hear Rochelle Pennington, the author of The Christmas Tree Ship.

Pennington’s verbal presentation will focus on many of the little-known facts surrounding the story including the ship’s mysterious disappearance, clues washed ashore in the decades following the vessel’s demise, ghost ship sightings of the phantom schooner, and mysterious omens believed to have cursed the ship immediately before it set sail on its final voyage on November 22, 1912.

Pennington’s power-point presentation will include many of the century-old photographs of Captain Schuenemann, his family, and the ship.  In addition, the author will have several artifacts along with her to share with the audience:  an axe used to chop trees down, dishes, a spittoon, a clay pipe, an ornament carved from one of the first Christmas trees raised from the sunken ship in 1971 when the vessel was discovered, and an actual Christmas tree from the cargo.  Underwater photos of the ship in its present state, with trees still visible in the cargo area, will be on display as well.

“Author Rochelle Pennington has written two books detailing one of the most well-known shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan‘s Christmas Tree Ship, which delivered holiday evergreens to the citizens of Chicago each Chirstmas season before it was caught in the “Great Storm of 1912″ and subsequently went to the bottom of the lake fully loaded with trees.”

She will be with us at 2:00 pm on June 24, 2012 at the Museum to do a presentation.  Pennington will also be signing books.  Copies of both Rochelle’s books, The Christmas Tree Ship: The Story of Captain Santa and The Historic Christmas Tree Ship: A True Story of Faith, Hope and Love are available in our Museum store.

Get more here: Christmas Tree Ship Presentation | Door County Maritime Museum.