Silly Humor

When was the last time you acted silly – you know like you used to do as a child? I am not talking about “feeling silly” as in the adult version of the word meaning embarrassed. No that form of “silly” isn’t really the good energy feeling of silly that we had as children. Yet it grew from that experience when perhaps as a child some adult figure in our lives admonished us for “acting silly” …as if that was a crime!

11-17-12 Alex's Community Birthday (16) this is the darkest timeline... I have a theory why Disneyland and other amusement parks like this are so popular…they allow adults a time and a place (aka Personal Space) to bring out their silly energy. To act silly is to choose to be happy no matter what is going on. It is to look for the funny part in whatever is happening. It’s not quite the same as what Pollyanna taught us with her “Glad Game” but it is related in that going silly shifts our energy from negative to positive.

One way to infuse the energy of “silly” into your day is to make note of the daily holiday. It seems as if every day has at least one holiday event associated with it. It could be as silly as National Doughnut Day or as common as St Patrick’s Day. This link is just one of many web links that will tell you what “holiday” it is. The point it to just play with it and have fun! Once you know the day’s holiday do something to commemorate it that will add some fun to your life that day. For instance today April 16 is National High Five Day, as well as Wear Your PJ’s to Work Day…you get to pick what you want to have fun with.

We all like to have a good time and that good time starts with us-it never comes from outside of us.I know this from personal experience. Every now and then I have managed to bring a happy event down to mediocre with my attitude and I once went to Disneyland (of all places) with someone who was determined not to enjoy himself and guess what? He was miserable!!

This is why I encourage reactivating our childhood silly vibe – our “funny bone” because unless we find a way to laugh at life and what happens each day, we will grow old and sour. I’d rather grow happier and sillier. Have you ever seen a sour-pus person? Then you know what can happen to us if we forget how to play, laugh and be silly.

Puns are another great way to maintain our silly vibe and there are websites that will send you a “pun of the day” or a “joke of the day” which is a great way to start the energy flowing.

Having happy personal energy is up to each of us. To paraphrase a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt “no one (or thing) can make you feel (unhappy) without your consent!”

So do what you did as a child; find things to laugh about, go up to a friend and do that “oh there is something on your shirt trick and then flick their chin” – sign up for one of the daily jokes of the day, play “knock-knock” jokes with your kids….just do whatever it takes to bring a smile to your face, lighten your step and restore your feeling-good energy. You’ll be glad you did and so will the people you meet all day long.

’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach

Celebrate Yourself!

I just celebrated my half-Birthday! Unless you too celebrate this day for yourself, you might be going “what???” and for the first 30 years of my life I would have totally agreed with you. Then I had a daughter who’s birthday was just a few weeks past Christmas, and she felt this cheated her out of fun and gifts somehow even though I reassured her it didn’t. She was a fan of the children’s magazine Highlights and one day she read that people like her who have birthdays with other holidays nearby often celebrated their half-Birthday to make up for sharing their special moment.

For a while I thought she was a bit silly, but then the idea took hold as I watched how she made sure her half-Birthday was a fun day for herself. She didn’t have much luck getting others to treat the day like her “real” birthday, so she took over the job of celebrating it herself. What I learned watching her over the years was that she was making an important statement… that we don’ t have to wait for others to love us-we can do it ourselves! This was a great example for me to observe. She even went so far as to make my half-Birthday and her brothers special with little and big treats. Celebrate You

It is an excellent Personal Space energy booster to celebrate yourself. It’s not conceited or vain and in fact it is necessary if you hope your family and friends will celebrate you. We show others by our example how we want to be treated. Do you celebrate yourself on your Birthday or half-Birthday? How about when you get a promotion, or finish a big project or buy a new car? We all say we want to have happy fulfilled lives but if we don’t celebrate our successes and happy moments then when are we going to have that “happy life?”

Each day we receive good news and gifts. Don’t believe me? Then I suggest you start reviewing what happened during your day – I do this each evening. It’s simple. First –  each morning as you get dressed or meditate say “thank you for the good news and gifts that are on their way to me today” then go about your business. Give is a few days or start that first night and ask yourself “what good news or gift did I receive today?” I know this works because I tried it after learning about it from Rhonda Byrne in her book The Magic and I still do it daily. Sometimes it’s the next morning when it dawns on me that I got good news. It might be that a book you ordered is in, or that a friend got the job they wanted, or that you won a scratcher ticket.

If is often said that we get more of what we focus on …so how about it? Do you want more reasons to celebrate? You can start by celebrating yourself. You can do this by celebrating your half-Birthday if that appeals to you, or do it by expecting good things to come to you each day –  maybe post on social media the good news/gifts as you start noticing them. I guarantee you are already getting them, but by noticing them and acknowledging them you tell the Universe you want more of this in your life.

Go for it! Be as happy as you can be, and then get happier. Meanwhile  “have a very merry un-birthday” as Lewis Carroll wrote in Through the Looking Glass. (Alice in Wonderland)

’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!!

I found this post from last year that is still meaningful today so in keeping with the holiday energy of “time off” I will re-post it today. party lights
As you know, this blog is all about how we take up space in the world… our very own personal space and today I became aware of how much our history our unique collection of personal experiences affect the space we fill in the present moment.

I spent the last day of 2013 in typical for me fashion; I stayed up till midnight, toasted the New Year and then slept in until late morning. As I made plans to watch the Rose Bowl Parade (which I recorded on my DVR knowing I wouldn’t be awake for it live) and prepared a favorite New Year’s Day brunch, I scanned through the TV channels to find something to listen to while I prepared my meal when I hit upon something that triggered a fond memory of my past personal space expression.

There was a live hockey game called The Winter Classic on NBC and they were playing outdoors in Ann Arbor Michigan which is a stone’s throw away from where I was born and lived my first 14 years. I had to stop and watch as I was totally captivated by the snow falling on the arena and memories flooded my mind. I recalled how often we didn’t get snow for the holidays and how sad that was and a day like this would have been pure magic to my younger self. Playing snow games, building forts, making snow angels etc. There is nothing like hot chocolate on a day like this.

And then I couldn’t stop laughing. My current Arizona self wouldn’t last 15 minutes fully layered in winter gear in that 20 degree weather which they said felt like 4 degrees.
How far I have come to being a true desert rat-ha! Over 40 years of enduring 110 degree summers has left my blood vessels close to my skin surface which keeps me cool in the summer and wreaks havoc on my body if I go where it is cold. I adapted from being able to handle the cold to being able to handle the heat. You can’t have both without time to adjust in the middle which is something like a few seasons for the body to condition to the extreme change.

I no longer have the deeply embedded cells that would keep me warm in cold weather and I admit sheepishly that my teeth will chatter if I am out in 30 degree weather up north. This is something that would never have happened to me in my childhood. I was cold weather adapted back then, now I am desert heat adapted. My body-personal space no longer belongs in a winter Michigan arena watching hockey, but my fond memories do and isn’t that a wonderful thing? To be able to go back in my mind to a happy moment in the snow without getting cold! I marvel at how rich this makes my life to have had such diverse experiences to carry with me into the future. It makes me wonder what will come next? What will be the new fond memories I collect as I embark on the new year ahead? What adventures await I wonder.

Happy 2015 New Year to you all! I hope you are filled with happy memories that you carry with you wherever your current personal space takes you. It is all a part of making you who you are; own it all and love it all and build new fond memories as you go along!

Blessings to everyone reading this post now and in the future!
Your Personal Space Coach©


Christmas Space

Today’s “Thursday Thoughts” blog post will arrive on Christmas day 2014 and it seems fitting to talk today about Christmas Space.
Holiday WreathSimply put, Christmas Space is the unique manner in which each of us marks this popular holiday world-wide. Now not everyone in the world celebrates this Christian holiday and not all celebrations of Christmas are Christian in content, but it is safe to say that every person on the planet is affected by this popular holiday. If you don’t celebrate yourself then you are most likely affected by the store discount sales, the TV shows and movies, and the music stations adding in holiday music. It would be difficult to live your normal life (unless you live a solitary and isolated  life) and not notice the city, store and company decorations. You might even change your usual food shopping schedule due to extra crowds at the store or choose to work extra while a co-worker takes off to celebrate the holiday.

What is Christmas exactly? If you did a public survey I bet you wouldn’t get two answers that are the same. Christmas and the way it is celebrated (or not) and the meaning it holds is one of the most universally personal experiences I have found. No matter who you are or where you live you most likely have an opinion and unique manner of keeping the Christmas holiday.
Perhaps you celebrate it as the birth of Jesus and that is why you mark this day. Or you don’t celebrate it at all. Maybe you don’t have a religious reason, but celebrate because it is fun and you enjoy the lights, colors and music. Maybe you like the gift sharing and stories about holiday. Even if you are not a Christian (Christmas is a Christian holiday) you most likely make plans to include it or at least adjust your life around it because stores are closed. Maybe you make a point to work that day so your Christian co-workers can be home celebrating with their families.

The message of Christmas is one of hope, peace and good will toward all mankind. This message is also an important part of the Personal Space Code which we strive to live all year long. Start with yourself and choose how you want to mark this day and then keep an open mind as you meet with others because no two of you will have the same emery about Christmas, but we can all share in the bonding of love that is universal for all!

No matter how you fill your day I hope your Christmas Space is filled with joy, love and laughter and that it lasts throughout the New Year as well!

’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©


The Inner Holiday

The Winter Holidays are loaded with sensationalism; music, color, lights, gifts, food and nonstop commercials to buy this or that. With all this activity it can be difficult to remember that the holiday season is really only happening inside of us!! No matter what events are going on around us, our only experience of it is how we process it inside of ourselves. The power for how we mark this time of year (happy, sad, chaotic, peaceful etc.) is not up to Toys R Us, JC Penney or Martha Stewart. It’s not up to your mother, your friends, the local church, your Rabbi or your neighbors. It is only up to you. If you were to time travel to Christmas Day in any previous year and visit a church and you could hear the thoughts of those in attendance, you’d find that no two people were hearing or thinking the same exact thing, even though the minister was in the throes of a really moving sermon!

Inner LightOur senses act as personal filters for everything going on around us. Our thoughts and beliefs tell us how we feel about what we are experiencing. For example someone could be ecstatic and profuse in their thanks to you for the gift you just gave them, but if you perceive a look in their eyes as rejection you won’t’ believe their gratitude and then you won’t’ feel good about the experience. It’s our power alone to filter what comes across our path. We get to choose what to think, and what to feel in every moment. No one can control us for they don’t live inside of us. No one is in our minds or our hearts or lives behind our eyes but us.

No matter what happens in your life this time of year you can choose to make peace with whatever happens. You do this by keeping yourself centered and present in the NOW moment and play it by ear. Also remember you are fully self-empowered.  Bear in mind that plans are just that PLANS; not events taking place in the current moment and plans can and will be changed so remain open to this and flex with what does happen next. Be okay with what comes next and the right response will occur to your now open mind. This is how to maintain the feeling of peace inside, which you can choose no matter what is going on outside of you. Remember happiness is a choice so decide to choose it over and over and over again and your holiday season will be wonderful!

Here is a list of what I do when I feel my center shift and my spirits dip….

 How To Establish and Maintain Your Power Center:

  • Meet your needs yourself!! Yah, you heard me. If you want something a certain way go make it happen. Don’t expect others to know what you want or when you want it. Remember who lives behind your eyes and empower yourself to meet your needs. This way you won’t feel let down. If you do feel upset walk to a mirror and look at the only person capable of fixing it your way. Cool huh?
  • If you do get knocked off center and get your feelings hurt or find yourself angry or worried you may need to give yourself some space and time. This will give you time to process what triggered you. Sometimes just writing down what happened and reminding yourself of what’s true can help. A big truth that can help is to remember nothing stays the same, “this too shall pass.”
  • Also a good cry can clean the slate. Or get a pillow and whack it against your bed and shout out your anger. This can be a healthy outlet and relief for anger. Then step back and see where you might be mad at yourself. I have never found anger at another to be anything other than anger at myself; which at the core was usually by a choice I made.
  • If it is a blue mood you have try an activity that cheers you up. I actually color in a coloring book from time to time. Yah, I know I am in my 50’s, so what? Ha! I also have a few songs that never fail to lift my mood. These are not holiday songs, that could make you feel worse.
  • This last one I want to mention is one you could try first for it is super simple and highly effective. To stop the negative train of thought – take a look around were you are in that moment. You are looking around to find something to be truly grateful for. It can be on you or around you. Maybe you love your shoes that day or you are grateful the sky is sunny. Keep it simple. Make it a game and see how many things you can find to be grateful for in that moment and soon the upset will have dissolved like magic! That’s how you know it was an illusion in the first place by how quickly it can be eliminated.

So give these tips a try this holiday season if you find you need a boost, then let me know how they worked for you.

’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©

Personal Holiday Choice

I don’t think there is another time of the year more demanding of our personal space boundaries than the Winter Holiday Season. And make no mistake it is a “season” for it takes up the last third of autumn and the start of winter. I am of course talking about the BIG 4; Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years and the little known ones, some religious and some silly like Chrismukkah  a blending of Hanukkah and Christmas from the TV show (2003-07) “The OC” and Festivus from “Seinfeld” (1989-1998), then there is the ancient winter holiday of Saturnalia December 17th and also Winter Solstice and recently other cultures have made public their winter holidays such as the African American celebration of Kwanzaa.

Winter Holiday Choice This melding and creating of new winter holiday themes is a recent trend and one I am very excited to see because the winter season has for centuries been the time of great celebration in every culture across the world and most especially important before the invention of electrical light. “The more the merrier“… I say. Centuries ago cultures around the world celebrated this time of year because it was the ending of a season; winter solstice on or around December 21 each year was a celebration of light to bring cheer and hope to the people while the sun went dark in the sky as the days grew shorter.

You see no matter what faith you possess, the seasons affect all of us in the same way at the same time with variations depending on where in the world you live. They have a tendency to bring us together and to meld our differences. For instance when a major storm hits like the Typhoons in Asia or the tornadoes in the US Midwest, it won’t matter what faith you are when the cleanup and healing begins, it will only matter that you are a human soul in need.

The same happens with the Winter Holiday Season. We all celebrate the end of a year, no matter which calendar you use. We all celebrate the achievements of the past 12 months.  And we all notice the days getting shorter and the light growing dimmer, so we  appreciate any joy created in the form of holiday lights, candles, feasting and gift sharing. The natural darkness brings us all to a time of self reflection as well. It is a wonderful time to go within and find our dreams and courage and once the New Year is launched to find the passion to make them come true.

The point I am making here is; just like the seasons of nature, the holidays come each year and we get to choose how to mark this time in our own way, in a manner that is best for us while honoring the rules of “shared space.” If you find a religious theme suites you best and your spiritual devotion is enhanced by this practice then follow where your heart leads you; however a word of caution as many religions want to say their way is the only way and this is obviously false otherwise much like the seasons changing the “one way” would happen naturally to everyone without anyone fighting over it all. Have you ever seen a war dedicated to changing Mother Nature’s mind? Not going to happen.

The same goes for if you don’t like the religious theme this time of year and only want the secular theme, or to ignore it altogether; do it your way while bearing in mind the rules of “shared space.” If you like the parties, the color and the food then join in and do it your way. Don’t let family, friends, co-workers or the promotions from stores push you into doing too much spending or feasting. Stay true to yourself, honor how much you achieved this past year and plan for the next.

If you just want the peace and solitude, claim it by turning off the radio and turning on your own recorded music, program your own shows on TV and find a way to sequester yourself while the rest are doing their best to party. It can be done. I have done it myself and with Mother Natures help – the cooler temperatures and increased darkness – it’s a natural way to live this time of year.

December is….

  • Autumn giving way to winter
  • A holy peaceful time
  • Crazy commercialization
  • The best source of income for many businesses
  • The time bears and chipmunks hibernate

I encourage you to ask yourself what is your best way to mark the “holiday season; ask yourself “what do I need this time of year, what would bring me greater happiness and fulfillment?” Get specific, create a plan and go make that happen for yourself-your way and while you do, bless everyone else because I can guarantee you there are no two people marking the “holiday season” in the same way and this is a good thing.

’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©



The Hidden Gift

No matter which winter holiday you celebrate most likely a gift exchange will be part of the celebration. With each gift given and received the one that matters the most is the hidden gift. I am sure you have received the hidden gift before, but I’ll bet you didn’t realize it. I’ll give you some clues as to what it is and then you can decide for yourself if you have ever received one.

1-1-12 family holiday (25a) Yellow Submarine family!Not all gifts come wrapped. The hidden gift is one of those unwrapped gifts. It is also somewhat invisible which is kind of funny because it is right out in the open but most of us don’t realize it. We tend to take it for granted and forget to appreciate it. It is the one and only gift everyone wants each year. It is a gift no store can market and sell to you, although they try. This gift costs nothing and is priceless at the same time. Even Jesus received this gift at his birth but most of us don’t realize it was the fourth gift he received.

When you think back to the story of Jesus you probably remember the three gifts from the Wise Men of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Well, there was a fourth gift no one remembers to mention…and that is of the Wise Men showing up to honor the newborn child. If they hadn’t come, the moment would have been less magical and most likely not recorded in history. Could they have sent a shepherd to deliver the gift for them? Sure, but then the impact of Three Kings coming a long distance to pay their respects would have been missing. Their presence was a huge “present” and a very necessary element to the event and its future significance. You see it is our presence that comes with our gifts that is the best gift of all. It is our “presence” that makes the present we give meaningful. Let me explain.

Have you ever heard that “it is the thought that counts?” Well that is actually true. This hidden gift begins the moment someone considers gifting another because this is when they begin to apply their “presence” to the present. We ask: “what shall I give them, what would they like?” And the best question of all …”what would they love?” It is your level of conscious care and attention that selects the loving present. Did you just “phone it in” and buy the first thing you saw, or did you give it careful thought and consideration? Even if you cannot deliver the present in person you can still apply the hidden gift magic by giving your selection considerable thought such as wrapping it in a special way, making sure it is delivered on time or even early. You could even follow up with a phone call or have an internet Skype visit. All of these actions make your wrapped gift priceless and memorable; which is the hidden gift we all really long for – time and attention from another.

This hidden unwrapped gift is of course love – in action. If you can visit in person like the Wise Men did then the conversation and the warmth of having others to share moments with enhances the whole holiday. This hidden gift has the ability to make all the other wrapped gifts and even food that much richer.

I bet if I were to ask you what you got for your birthday or a holiday event last year, or 5 years ago you might not remember the item but if I asked “how” you celebrated the event; who came, what you did together etc. that you would remember. Let me also ask you this, what is it at holiday time that you take pictures of? Is it the presents you got; or the people opening them, toasting the day, laughing and hamming it up for the camera? In this way the hidden gift becomes visible; when we take pictures of it which last for years to come. Then when we look at them we feel the love once again…magic!

Think about this as your holiday season evolves and you attend all the various events like a cookie exchange at work, or carol with your club or your major holiday meal and see if it isn’t this “hidden gift” that you treasure the most. Take lots of pictures of it and you will be receiving the gift again every time you look at them. Remember that your presence is the first and best present you give at the holiday; and it is one that rewards you as well with good feelings as you go about your holiday shopping.

Have a wonderful holiday and perhaps gift me with your presence by writing back to tell me about the many hidden gifts you got this year.

’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach ©

PS – this is a family photo of a special gift my daughter got us…matching Yellow Submarine T-shirts. They are getting worn out now but the memory of the fun we had lingers on.




Holiday Traditions

Do you like the winter holiday season or do you try to avoid it at all costs? I’ve done both.

Winter Holiday CelebrationsJust because this time of year is full of holiday energy doesn’t mean “life” won’t get in the way. One year I went through a divorce, another I got laid off, and on a third (I wrote about that one in “Gifts of Personal Intent”) I had no money to even buy a tree much less gifts. In hindsight I have to say these experiences all helped me get to the place I am today; thrilled when this “season” rolls around. The funny thing is I don’t think I have ever been happier. In years past the “joy” was more a feeling of relief at having achieved some impossible goal, or getting gifts that proved someone loved me after all. (I told you I had issues-ha.) What started as a serious religious Catholic upbringing, followed by being a Sunday school teacher and becoming a “Martha Stewart” of the holidays having more than 25 people to dinner, evolved into ignoring the holiday, then reinventing it and now I just do what I want when I want attitude-I just go with the flow, and I am happier than I have ever been during the holiday season with or without a fat bank account!

This metamorphosis has evolved me. It showed me what I truly value and appreciate. And as a personal space advocate I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same; claim this holiday season your own way. It may take a few years of trial and error but I guarantee you will feel so much better standing up for yourself than you have felt bowing to societal pressure. A word of advice though if you do try to ignore it; remember it is still going on and plan ahead  because it will find you, either in music, TV shows or crowded stores. I ventured out one Black Friday completely forgetting what “the natives” were doing that day. Needless to say I went back home when I couldn’t even park my car for my regular-life food errand. Lesson learned. Like a chipmunk I plan ahead and note the days to stay away from where the crowds will be.

Now before you think I am a scrooge let me tell you that never happened to me but it could have. My “holiday issues” instead sent me to claim them for myself in an authentic “Ginger way“- not the commercialized or religious rules way. Each year is different for me because my number one self imposed rule is to be spontaneous. A few activities tend to repeat themselves and I realize that they are my “deal breakers,” the things I love best; such as baking cookies, listening to holiday music, and giving thoughtful gifts.

I keep myself open to celebrate any or all of the winter holidays depending on how I feel in the moment. Last year (2013) I celebrated Hanukkah. I thought it was too magical to pass up when it started on Thanksgiving Day. So I did some research to learn about this Jewish celebration of light, adapted the ritual to my own spirituality, made a “menorah” with white pillar candles and marked the eight days my own way. Some years I celebrate St Nicholas Day which is December 6th. This holiday is a German tradition and the day they start their holiday cookie baking. My children and I love to mark Christmakkah (from the TV show The OC) and Festivus (from the TV show “Seinfeld”) because of their humorous twist to the season. If you don’t have humor life isn’t much fun, so we make sure to keep our sense of humor intact no matter how stressful this time of year can be. I have a special feeling for the change of seasons and Winter Solstice is the biggest event of the year for me. This is usually the day I make a holiday feast and have loved ones over for a gift exchange. Some years we exchange gifts on New Year’s Day to celebrate the successes of the last year and wish each other the best in the new. I haven’t tried out Kwanza yet but I will one day. I love all holidays!! I love celebrating and learning about the traditions of different cultures; for me it makes for a richer life.

In the meantime I take it day by day and feel my way through the holiday season doing what feels best. One year my daughter had to have surgery so all plans were halted till the New Year. Life happens. I’ve learned to accept and enjoy what is. There is NO pressure to perform on a certain day or to make a particular favorite treat. If the music drives me nuts I put on a CD of something I want in that moment.

The point I want to make here is; do what YOU like, when you like and how you like to do it and remember that happiness is a choice. Start each day and say “what would I love to do today?” and do that!!

Enjoy the Holidays your way!

I’d love to hear how you celebrate.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©


Create A Personal Holiday Journal

Previously I mentioned having a Holiday plan in place so you are not overwhelmed when the holidays arrive. In this blog I will share with you some action steps I have used to maintain my sanity and personal power during the holidays. I am using the Winter Holiday Season as my example but you can apply this to any event that repeats yearly such a National holiday, birthday or big event like a yearly family vacation. Create Holiday Journal

Step One:  Personal Holiday (Event) Journal
Start a Word Document or a notebook dedicated to the holiday season (or the event you are planning). This is a journal you will review and update each year. I have kept one on my computer since 2000 and it is extremely helpful to remind me what worked and what didn’t in the past. Plus it helps to boost my resolve each year not to overdo anything whether it be decorating too soon, buying too many gifts or overindulging in food that makes me feel bad.

Step Two – Private Space Time
Set aside some time for yourself. If you won’t be interrupted use your “private space” or else leave the house and perhaps work at a local coffee shop. Find at least an hour of time where you can focus on your feelings and thoughts about the holiday season (or other event).

Using your Personal Holiday Journal (step one) Title one page of paper Holiday (Event) History.  Next divide the paper in thirds with your pen or choose three columns in your word processing document. Label the left column Happiest Memories and the middle column Unpleasant Memories and the last column Ideas for Change Needed.

Now take a couple of breaths, center yourself and think back to holidays of your childhood, your teen years and beyond. If you find your memory blocked try looking at old family scrapbooks or talking to family or friends who were with you. Remember back when you were little to the first gifts you ever made for anyone, then the gifts you bought with money from your first job. Think about what you gave others and gifts given to you. As you go along note down in the appropriate column a brief summary such as:

  • “Sang carols with school group in the mall” listed under Happy Memory
  • “Got really tired of Christmas music since we started before Thanksgiving” listed under Unpleasant Memory

You get the picture. As you go along jot down any solutions that come to mind in column three, otherwise take time to think about it and come back later when a solution appears. The important thing is to honor what you really feel comfortable with and uncomfortable with and find a way to meet your needs better this year. You may need to compromise a little if you celebrate with others but as long as you get your important happy moments achieved a little compromise will feel fine. Notice which of your desires are “deal breakers” and then you will know not to compromise on them.

You can even make another page and write down what you are compromising on and why. This way you will remember it was YOUR decision to compromise and you won’t feel disempowered when the time comes to be flexible. You’ll remember it was because you had a good reason, list it down and realize this is just one of the “gifts” you are giving this year. Not all gifts are wrapped in paper after all.

Step Three:

At least once weekly jot down what you have been doing this holiday season so far. Make notes as often as you want about things that happen. Note whether they either pleased you or upset you. If you find you are upset you can use the journal to unload your feelings and work out solutions.

As you go along highlight all that things you liked and want to repeat next year. Then make notes on what you want to change. Sometimes I will end my yearly holiday journal with a letter to myself noting what I want to add and what I want to avoid in the coming year. I usually title it with “Remember Ginger….” to get my attention.

Over the years I have also added the wish lists I was given from my loved ones and made note of any items they didn’t get; this way next year if I am stumped as to what to get them I can review my list and surprise them with something they had forgotten they asked for.

Optional  Step: Research

If you feel any frustration with the holiday season and the way you have celebrated it in the past and want to make a change, go to Google and start random searches to learn how other people celebrate. For instance, here in the US we start the season extra early and in Europe they actually celebrate later than we do and mark the 12 Days of Christmas which end with Epiphany January 6th. Mix it up, try on new traditions and find what works for you best. It is especially helpful to research when you want to do a drastic change. (See my post about my holiday metamorphosis-perhaps this will give you courage for your own)

Step Four:

Once you have created your personal review keep this journal for years to come and simply add to it starting with the current year. You might be surprised how much this helps you feel in control during this chaotic season. Even if you choose to continue what you have always done in the past, the simple act of honoring your freedom to choose it or not will enhance your enjoyment.

Then each year before the holiday/event begins pull out your journal and read it. Having a plan means being empowered. It doesn’t matter if all your plans don’t happen; what matters is you owned the moment by applying your attention to it beforehand.

Have a fantastic holiday!

‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach ©


Gifts of Personal Intent

Have you ever had a holiday season where you felt financially strapped and couldn’t celebrate the season “right?” You know what I mean, the one right way society tells you it should be. Such as how your family or friends do it or how they do it in the TV shows and movies. Or the hidden message we all pick up on…. “did you buy that one hot item for your children this year, and shame on you if you didn’t” mentality. With all the ads and pressure it is easy for anyone to get caught up in it and unless you practice personal power this time of year it can leave you feeling “weighed, measured and found wanting.” I think this energy starts for many of us as children with the Santa Clause threat. I say threat because what else is it when you tell a child they won’t get anything if they are not good? Just what is good anyway and why aren’t adults held accountable like this as well? 1-1-12 family holiday (9)

A few years back I had a major financial setback and was unable to even afford a tree much less gifts. I didn’t own an artificial tree because I loved the pine fragrance and charm of a real one. As you can imagine, I was feeling really depressed until I got a grip on myself and reevaluated how I was handling the holiday season. Who’s in charge of it anyway if not us for ourselves? Who said it had to be one way only? I worked though my feelings, and once I got over the guilt and depression I gave it considerable thought, did some research and realized that what I was really giving at the holidays was a priceless moment of love and companionship. I decided to get creative and make this a holiday from my heart instead of my pocketbook.

I made a tree shape out of last year’s lights which I strung from the ceiling overhang in our living room. I circled the bottom around our former tree skirt which made room to put gifts inside of the tree shaped circle. It was quite pretty. Then I thought about each of my children and what they loved most that only I could give them. I made a list of all the things that I did for them and I created what I called “gifts of personal intent.” These gifts were descriptions of favors they would like which I wrote down for them and wrapped in left over boxes and paper. The gifts were items like; doing the dishes for them for a week, cooking their favorite meal, driving them to school instead of taking the bus etc. These were personal-to-them items and they held great meaning. I created decorative “tickets” and when they wanted to redeem a personal intent gift they gave me the ticket. I told them ahead of time what this year would be like and encouraged them to come up with personal intent gifts as well. We celebrated the day with these gifts, a special meal, TV shows and board games. It made for a special fun holiday which lasted into the year since the gifts kept on giving till they were all redeemed.

Later when we had money again for bought gifts we still included personal intent items. As they got older they realized how much more time consuming a personal intent gift was vs. just buying an item in the store. This fact pointed to its true value, that the time we spend on another is priceless. I still include a personal intent item with my holiday gifts, sometimes with my adult children and other times with friends or strangers and I always will if for no other reason than to remind myself of what it is that I really want to receive and to give during the holiday season…love. The Beatles had it right in their song “Can’t Buy Me Love”

Tell me that you want the kind of things
That money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money
Money can’t buy me love

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this idea of “Gifts of Personal Intent” and if you too have felt the push to spend more than you really wanted during the Winter Holiday Season. Remember to love yourself no matter what you choose to do and keep a Personal Holiday Journal (see blog December 9, 2014) to log your feelings about your experiences this year; it will come in handy next year as you prepare to celebrate once again. Happy Holidays!

’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©