What Ruins Your Christmas?


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A little while ago, I overheard a conversation between two people about holiday shopping. They were lamenting the running around and deciding what to get and how much they were spending and THEN getting it all wrapped up and ready to go. One of them commented at the end of the conversation, “It really almost ruins Christmas, you know?” The other person solemnly agreed. I was left speechless.

I know it’s likely that they weren’t even considering the words they used, and technically they did say “almost”. However, those of you who’ve read more than a few of my posts know that I regular comment about the words we choose to use. In this case, maybe the words don’t directly affect the health and well-being of the person using them, but then again, maybe they do.

Are they taking for granted the fact that they have time and money to run around holiday shopping for family and friends? Are they grateful for the fact that they have family and friends to shop for? Do they think about the fact that there are people out there who don’t have a festive tree set up in their homes, and who haven’t done any Christmas shopping because it’s all they can do to afford food?

What “ruins” a holiday for someone, particularly Christmas? A difficult shopping schedule? Or putting away the special ornament you bought for the baby that was never born? Too many family members to buy presents for? Or wondering what to do with the gift you bought for your father who just passed away? Too much prep work for Christmas dinner? Or wondering if you’ll have anything to eat on Christmas Day?

Don’t forget that other big holiday we just celebrated that maybe sometimes gets lost in perusing glossy store ads and early morning “doorbusting” shopping sprees. Once the leftovers are gone and Black Friday passes, it is still the season to be thankful.

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Forgive Others, Heal Yourself


Forgiveness is divine, we’re told. But what does that really mean?

DSCF3483Throughout our lives there are bound to be people who trample on our feelings and hurt us emotionally, even physically or financially. Pretty horrible things can happen in life, and beyond the immediate damage caused by the incident, lingering anger, grief, pain and other negative feelings can create a lasting effect on our bodies and minds.

There are a few aspects of forgiveness to consider. First of all, harboring all those negative thoughts and feelings toward the person who has done you harm really doesn’t DO anything to hurt them back, punish them for their wrong, or teach them lesson. That’s what karma, universal law, or the legal system is for. When you forgive them, you’re not necessarily changing the fact that they will, on some level, get what is coming to them.

On the other hand, think about how you feel when you think of that person. You might feel tense and angry, your shoulders tighten, you grind your teeth, or you feel sad and lonely, give yourself a stomach ache or a headache. By allowing one person and their actions to have a lingering affect on you like that, you’re only punishing yourself, not them. If they’re real jerks, they probably don’t even care what you think or feel.

Additionally, it’s not unusual that a lot of the turmoil, anger and negativity we feel about a person or situation is not so much towards them, but towards ourselves. We feel stupid for getting ourselves into the situation, for trusting someone we shouldn’t have. We beat ourselves up over what we could have done differently, for not seeing the situation coming in time to stop it or fix it. We feel regret for things that are lost.

So, equally, when we take the steps to forgive someone else, we need to also forgive ourselves. Not always easy, I know, but when you do, it is immensely freeing. Here is a visualization that I recently led as a guided meditation, but something that you can also easily do at home or sitting quietly at your desk:

  • Take your mind to the person who has caused this hurt or wronged you in some way. Take inventory of the emotions that you feel when you think about the person or situation. How do you feel physically?
  • One by one, recognize each emotion or physical reaction and let it go. Put them in a brightly colored balloon, let go of them, and send them gently floating away.
  • Send this person love and forgiveness and let go of them. Imagine physically cutting the tie that keeps dragging you back to that painful moment, like a big pair of scissors cutting the string.
  • Take a moment to reflect on the space where you kept those negative thoughts and emotions. Fill that space with love. Imagine it healing the damage left behind.
  • Reflect on the positive lessons you have learned because of this person or situation. Has it made you smarter? Stronger? Did you learn something new about yourself because of it?
  • Take one last moment, feel your own power and strength. Send yourself warmth, love, and forgiveness. You might even find it most effective to say the words out loud “I forgive myself.”

Picture 240You can do this as many times as you need to, to help you let go of the negative emotions and hurt caused by others. You might feel like you need to do it more than once for the same person or situation. But, each time you do, remember that forgiving yourself is an equally important part of the healing process.

Forgive and let it go.

You Are What You Think


I was in the grocery store the other day, I have started going very early since I’m not overly patient with crowds and the inevitable dodging of carts and fellow shoppers and people stumbling around in some sort of shopping coma. Not particularly enlightened of me, I know. Given the right frame of mind, I can navigate crowds pretty well, but I digress. That’s a subject for another post.

I was not so early shopping that other people didn’t have the same idea. I was in one aisle with another woman and her cart. She attempted to move out of my way, but ended up putting her cart right in front of the section of shelf I was headed for. Being in a fairly congenial mood towards my fellow early shoppers, I apologized to her and said I just needed to get that thing right there. She pulled her cart out of the way, also apologizing, which I thought was nice. But as she pushed her cart away, she said something which struck me, “I’m always in the way, it’s what I’m good at.”

Now, said in one way, you might think she was just laughing it off people sometimes do, a bit of self depreciating humor. But she sounded so resigned to this fact, it was almost heartbreaking.

I recall one of my favorite movies, a 2004 film called What the Bleep Do We Know!?It can be a truly life changing film if you take the time to think about its message. And maybe, as I think back to it now, remind yourself periodically of its message.

What the Bleep Do We Know!? mixes metaphysics, quantum physics, self discovery and a little bit of magic to show us a different way of looking at the world around us, and more importantly, ourselves. From the website synopsis;

“It is part documentary, part story, and part elaborate and inspiring visual effects and animations. The protagonist, Amanda, played by Marlee Matlin, finds herself in a fantastic Alice in Wonderland experience when her daily, uninspired life literally begins to unravel, revealing the uncertain world of the quantum field hidden behind what we consider to be our normal, waking reality.”

Woven throughout the storyline, top scientists and mystics offer commentary and discussion. “They are also there to introduce the Great Questions framed by both science and religion, which divides the film into a series of acts. Through the course of the film, the distinction between science and religion becomes increasingly blurred, since we realize that, in essence, both science and religion describe the same phenomena.”

While I’ve slightly digressed again from the point of this blog, the movie itself is a helpful tool to understand what I am sharing, which is mainly the power of words. Particularly the effect your words have on yourself. How often has the woman at the grocery store said “I’m always in the way.”? Think about saying that about yourself with such resignation frequently, maybe even daily. What effect do you think that would have on you, on your psyche? How long before you truly feel that maybe you are useful for nothing except being in the way?

Another reason I brought up the movie is because of a specific aspect of it. Part way through the movie, the protagonist comes across an exhibit of some of the work done by Masaru Emoto, whose work includes studying changes in the shape of ice crystals in water exposed to various stimuli. Using purified water, he first studied the effects of music on the formation of ice crystals and found that “All the classical music that we exposed the water to resulted in well-formed crystals with distinct characteristics. In contrast, the water exposed to violent heavy metal music resulted in fragmented and malformed crystals at best.”

Next, they wondered what would happen if they wrote words on paper and wrapped the paper around the bottle with the word facing in. Although it didn’t seem logical that the water would ‘read’ the word, the music experiments had led them to realize strange things could happen. They wrote “Thank You” and “Fool” on two separate samples, and the results did not disappoint. “Water exposed to “Thank you” formed beautiful hexagonal crystals but water exposed to the word “Fool” produced crystals similar to the water exposed to heavy-metal music, malformed and fragmented.” A nice synopsis of the study can be found here.

We could hang ourselves up on the science, argue that water can’t read words, wonder at what other forces could contribute to the changes Mr. Emoto found in the water crystals. But maybe it is simply intent. Thoughts. Energy. As the movie’s protagonist examines the photos of ice crystals in the exhibit, a stranger in the crowd turns to her and says, “Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? If thoughts can do that to water, imagine what our thoughts can do to us.” (See the scene on YouTube)

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

It is hard, I know first hand, not to let your thoughts become the weights that drag you down. Even if you are tired, does repeated thinking, or saying “I am so tired” help you in any way? Or does it simply contribute to the energy of tiredness around you, magnify and intensify, perpetuate the tired feeling. Maybe you feel silly saying out loud “I am energetic!” But perhaps something like that, redirecting your thoughts, focusing on something other than being tired, takes away the amount of energy you put into thinking about being tired, dwelling on it, and making it real. If you are always waiting for the next bad thing to happen, it probably will. Think instead about the positive things you hope to accomplish in your life. Redirect your thoughts to those things.

I choose love, joy and freedom, open my heart and allow wonderful things to flow into my life.

A significant proportion of the human body is water. While you’re not likely to freeze yourself solid and examine your ice crystals, you can imagine what they might look like if you did. What would your water crystals look like if you were constantly telling yourself that you are fat, lazy, useless… or always in the way? Imagine the toxic state we put ourselves in by not having kind words for ourselves.

It applies to our physical being, it applies to our life situations. If we think all the time how tight money is, how perilously close to broke we are, how we’re always struggling to make ends meet, are we perpetuating that situation by constantly feeding energy to it? If we can change our focus to positive thoughts regarding our finances, can we change our fortunes?

All the things I want and need come to me.

Years ago, we learned a little positive affirmation trick for money.

Thank you, God, for a miracle involving money today.

Repeat that to yourself. Then, when money comes to you, even if it’s just loose change in the couch cushions, repeat your thank you for a miracle involving money today. It works!

If you find yourself in this rut of negative thoughts and feelings, stop for a moment. Stop the words. Find something nice to say about yourself, or choose a positive affirmation to repeat to yourself and change your thought pattern.

I am beautiful, positive, happy and thankful that all good things flow to me.

If you are struggling and down on yourself, ask someone who loves you to give you positive things about yourself. Think about the positive things in your life, think about your ideal self and voice it out loud. You are a beautiful person, you are a miracle, it is time you treated yourself like one…