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©


Are You a Holiday Fan?

Personally I am one who loves a holiday. I guess you could say I am a Holiday Fan-ha! Any reason to celebrate and I am your girl. As a Home Economics teacher I always marked the current holiday in some form of baked goods such as; heart cookies for Valentine’s Day or shamrocks for St Patrick’s Day and of course gingerbread cookies at Christmas. My daughter took it a step further and celebrates just about all of the “National Holidays” such as; talk like a pirate dayNational hot chocolate dayNational doughnut day and more. She even took the idea from Highlights Magazine when she was little and began to celebrate her “half-birthday” since hers in early January didn’t get the attention it deserved (her feelings) due to the winter holidays.  There are even calendars that list the “holiday” for each day of the year -sometimes more than one per day!! There are too many to celebrate so we just pick our favorites.

Choir of AngelsYou may ask why we love marking holidays and I’d have to say I think it is because we love color, fun and to celebrate life. Have you ever seen a holiday without an explosion of color? Here’s a pop-quiz like I used to give to my Home Ec students… but a FUN one 😉

Name That (American) Holiday by its Colors! (answers below)
Here is your list…. Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, Valentine’s Day, Hanukkah, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Red and green
  2. Red, white and blue
  3. Black and orange
  4. Red, pink and white
  5. Green and white
  6. Sliver, blue and white
  7. Purple and yellow

Sometimes the winter holiday season (especially Christmas) starts too soon for me (like before Thanksgiving) so, I’ll just smile and tell myself “the natives of this land are having a holiday” and I go about my non-holiday business. I already mentioned how I love ALL the holidays, and I mark them as they come all year long but what I didn’t mention was that I don’t like a holiday that is pushy or overstays its welcome. (Sorry department stores) Thanksgiving is never shortchanged in my home and I keep the autumn decorations up till early to mid December. After all winter isn’t until December 21 and Christmas isn’t until the 25th.  For me the Solstice/Christmas/New Year holidays are only a two week event, not the 2 month’s long event the retailers want you to have.

There is nothing I can do about the ice-cream truck (I am in sunny Arizona) that tours my neighborhood playing Christmas music before Halloween, or the way my favorite radio station drops a holiday tune in its line up in early December but I can keep my home free of the holiday sentiment until I am ready. This is what personal space is for; you, yourself, your family – YOUR WAY! Use the privacy of your home the way you want. Give yourself the gift of “space” from what is going on all around you….until you are ready to join in and celebrate any and all holidays your heart desires. And likewise, if you like to put your tree up before Thanksgiving, go for it. It’s your home and your private space, but you may need to hold off on the outdoor lights since that is part of “shared space” and many homeowner associations have rules on this.

Happily I have a DVR so I can fast forward commercials, and I do. I am in charge of how much holiday I take part in and so are you. So choose to be happy, carefree and most definitely stress and shame free as well. It is a myth that “one size fits all” so remember this when you get caught up in the push of others telling you how to celebrate. It’s none of their business; it’s only your business. Personalize the winter holidays by choosing which ones you want to celebrate (if any), choosing when, and how. Then enjoy yourself!

I’d love to hear how you keep the holiday and any tips you want to share with others on keeping your boundaries in place during this potentially challenging time.

Happy Holidays!
‘till next time,
Ginger- Marie
Your Personal Space Coach ©

Pop Quiz Answers:

  1. Red and green                             Christmas
  2. Red, white and blue                    Independence Day
  3. Black and orange                         Halloween
  4. Red, pink and white                   Valentine’s Day
  5. Green and white                          St. Patrick’s Day
  6. Sliver, blue and white                 Hanukkah
  7. Purple and yellow                       Easter




Variety Is The Spice of Life

When was the last time you had a meal of just one food item? Even if you have a dinner salad it is more than just a head of lettuce – right? What about your clothes; do you wear one solid color from head to toe? Or do you at least mix is up a little by wearing makeup or different color shoes?

Mixed BoquetI used to work at a flower shop and discovered that instead of choosing a bouquet of one kind and color of flower, the majority of people want some variety. Just take a look online at any of the floral store websites and you will find there are more mixed flower arrangements on display than arrangements with one or two of all the same flowers.  And even in these same flower bouquets the heights will be varied and greenery will be added to enhance the overall design of the bouquet. Interesting don’t you think?

Do you know how many different recipes for chicken there are? I sure don’t but I know there must be thousands. Think about it. Chicken has a rather ordinary flavor but because we add variety in the form of spices, cooking methods and other foods into the mix we get an endless number of chicken dishes all having unique flavors. From fried chicken which has multiple recipes as well, to chicken marinara, to chicken noodle soup. Each meal is so different you almost forget that they are also the “same” in that they all use chicken. And aren’t we happier for this diversity?

We tend to choose diversity all day long in various ways yet have you ever looked at someone else and thought, “Why don’t I look like that?” I see this frequently in what I call “real people” vs. “famous people” scenarios. When we read a popular magazine, watch TV, or a movie we will often compare ourselves to the people we just saw. We will wonder what is wrong with us that we don’t look like so-and-so. Usually we compare ourselves with actors or media stars but sometimes we will do it with people we know as well. We wonder how they can be the same age as us yet they don’t “look it.”  Even when we know better and realize that the famous people most likely were photo shopped with air brushing or had extensive plastic surgery we still wonder, and compare ourselves with others.

The odd thing is that we are asking a question we already know the answer to; it isn’t “natural” for two people to be the same. The world already has one like that, why would it need or want another? You know the “been-there-done-that” feeling? Well that is actually life revealing a truth to us.

The truth is…. Nature likes variety. In fact Nature demands variety! Our entire planet is filled with such a vast variety of plants, insects, animals and natural rock formations that not all of it has been discovered and cataloged and we have been at it thousands of years!! So it stands to reason that this same variety is to be found is us as well, and that perhaps we should celebrate our differences instead of trying to hide them or blend in trying to be a match to someone else. After all isn’t variety the spice of life?

“till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©



People Are Like Plants

I know what you’re thinking…NOW she’s lost it! But stay with me and I will explain.

How are people like plants? Well most plants begin their life tiny in the form of seeds or tubers which when given the right environment and sometimes even the wrong environment, will sprout and grow. We too begin our lives very tiny almost seed-like as a fertilized egg in our mother’s wombs. We too will thrive or flounder depending on our environment.

So let’s talk about environment which is after all the “personal space” plants and people live in.

The Plant Kingdom is so vast and diverse (as are humans) it would take forever for me review them all here, so I will reference the ones I am most familiar with. I currently live in the desert and I can tell you that not all the plants that grew in my yard as a child in Michigan will grow here in Arizona and vice versa. Take for instance the saguaro cactus. Did you know Arizona is the only state in the US that can grow them naturally? In fact it’s only in the Sonoran Desert which runs through parts of Arizona and Northern Mexico that they grow on the entire planet! If you tried to grow one in a different environment than the Sonoran Desert it would require an enormous amount of extra care and attention and most likely would never thrive and eventually die. Saguaro

There are a lot of plants like that. If we want to grow tulips here in the Valley of the Sun we have to dig them up each year and put them in the refrigerator to stimulate winter temperatures. Go figure that one! Talk about stubborn gardeners (yes, I have done this myself-ha!) I can just see the ads for new plant homes… “Must Have Hot Scorching Sun to Thrive” or this one, “Must Have 4 Months of Frozen Temperatures to Bloom.” There isn’t a “one size fits all” in the Plant Kingdom and no intelligent botanist would expect there to be.

So why do we humans expect there to be a “one size fits all” for us? TV ads, magazines, movies and media of all sorts try to tell us that unless we are just like so-and-so we are “wrong” and must fix ourselves. So a tulip will never grow to 12 feet tall does that make it a failure? Or a saguaro will never become a long stem flower in a spring bouquet, does that make its life worthless and it should cut, chopped, starved and molded to shape itself to be tulip-like? If it did, wouldn’t we miss out on the richness that only a saguaro cactus can bring to our world?

The point I am making here is that just like the Plant Kingdom which is filled with a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colors and unique growing and environmental needs, so too people have these vast differences as well. Personal Space is all about going inside of your-own-self and checking in to see what you need, honoring what you discover and then going after the life YOU UNIQUELY were born to live!

’till next time!
Your Personal Space Coach©


Kudos To Christopher Walken!

I see examples of Personal Space Expression in action all the time and I find they can be quite inspiring. I love to take notice when I see someone so empowered by their authentic true self that they have no problem with stepping out into the world in a brilliant, unique, perhaps even “rock the boat” style. They are completely unconcerned with what others may think or say about them. They are content to be just who they feel they truly are. We can learn from and be inspired by their example. Christopher Walken

Case In Point:

While watching a re-run of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
I was thrilled to see his guest, actor Christopher Walken share how he doesn’t use or own a computer. Jon was of course stunned and amazed to hear this and asked how he could possibly survive without one…how did he get his information he asked? Through much laughter we discovered he asks his wife. Then he said that he also didn’t own a cell phone. When making a movie the director will give him one for the duration of the movie so he can be reached. As soon as he’s finished with the movie he returns the phone. He had the audience cracking up with laughter and I just bet more than one thought like I did “good for him!”

Christopher obviously listens to “the tune of a different drummer” with bold action and I for one am thrilled to hear him admit this on air for it motivates us to find our courage to dare to be different as well. Not that we want to stop surfing the web or toss out our cell phones, but that we too might have something in our lives we do to get along and conform and that we are too afraid to buck the system and say “Nope, not for me, thanks anyway.” Let’s all dare to be different, as long as it is your authentic expression, otherwise it won’t feel good to you.

Can you imagine how confident he has to be in his own self-expression, in his own place in the world (personal space) to go against the grain on the subject of mass media (internet, cell phone) and to admit it all openly on TV? That’s the kind of personal power expression I hope we all achieve. He isn’t hurting anyone because it’s true internal personal power filled with self-respect, not power over others. He compromises when he needs to in order to get something he wants and to get along with others when it’s necessary. I just bet he is so comfortable in his own skin, doing his life his way he doesn’t even question going along with something that doesn’t feel true to him. Wow!

Kudos to you Christopher Walken! You are a Personal Space Master!!

’till next time!
Your Personal Space Coach©

PS: if you find an example of Personal Space Expression that inspires you, please send it to me and I’ll add it to our collection.



Diversity Is The Norm

Have you ever made a bouquet of flowers? Perhaps wild flowers picked randomly from a field, or flowers you grew in your garden. How about the lovely hot house bouquets the super market sells right when you enter the door? The next time you see or make a bouquet of flowers consider this; have you ever seen two identical flowers?  I never have. I guess flowers are just like our finger prints and are completely unique. I wonder how many other plants and animals on the planet are varied this way.

I ask this because it occurs to me our language and our attitude is to see things – people, plants, pets etc as being “one of a group” versus “one of a kind.” When we say “of a kind” doesn’t it sound more open and expansive, allowing for variations and even expecting them to be there? But when we use the words “of a group” it sounds and feels closed off and limited.

This is exactly what Personal Space is; an acknowledgement and acceptance that every living thing on the planet has a space and a right to exist as “one of a kind.” It isn’t just human beings who were given their own unique space to inhabit while living here. All of life is given the same. There are no two rocks the same, nor do they take up the same space and time. Raindrops, dogs, birds, monkeys, humans, star fish, whales, pine trees, algae and I bet even amoebas are all unique and vary from one to another. Even if there were two exactly identical, born and died the same moment they wouldn’t be using the exact same space-that would be impossible!

And along with Personal Space we are also given a select amount of time. For instance butterflies tend to live 2 days to two weeks depending upon the species. Yet in that short amount of time they fulfill the unique purpose they were born to; pollinate plants which allows us to grow our food.

Words are important. Let’s remember this and stop grouping people, cultures or even our pets in categories and limiting their unique originality. Greet each living being as though you were meeting something incomparable, unique, amazing and astounding because this is actually the truth.


“till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©



Birthday Space

It’s my birthday this week! Do you feel any differently on your birthday? I do. In fact in the days leading up to my birthday I tend to get an extra lift in my step. Does this have to do with my culture and how I was raised? Possibly. But I wonder if even someone who didn’t know their birth date would feel this shift of energy.Happy_balloons

I believe this “something other” that I feel on my birthday is my Soul Space- my spirit energy. I imagine it is quite a big deal in Heaven when a new soul is born as a separate being from it’s mother and begins their Personal Space journey.

What I know personally is that as my birthday approaches I feel different… and it’s a good feeling…one of hope, possibilities and joy. I am just so happy to be here!!! Not every birthday has been a “happy” one so this good feeling can’t just be about my culture. Even during the difficult years there was that “something else” feeling under the disappointment and pain.

Perhaps this feeling is instinctual, a way of remembering my spiritual origin, who knows? But the feeling of energy on my birthday is definitely different from every other day of the year for me, and if join in with the feeling, my day is magical. It’s not about presents as in the gifts you unwrap; its more about being “present” and marking the moment with total awareness.

I also find my closest friends and family can join in with this energy as well. Perhaps you have felt it too when a family member or friend was having a birthday. You might have felt lighter that day and happy that they were in your life. I know the birthdays of my children feel special to me as well. Not the same feeling as on my own birthday, but there is a unique feeling of deep joy and tenderness that I know it has to do with the fact that I “gave” birth on those two days.

Celebrating is an activity that I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to partake in (daily if so inclined) but for certain on your birthday. It’s a way of saying “thank you”  for the life adventure you are living.

There is a wonderful scene about celebrating every day in the Disney movie “Alice in Wonderland.” The tea party scene where they are celebrating their “Un-Birthdays” which of course are every other day of the year in which you were not born! Funny, even cute you say, but I wonder if it isn’t a great code to live by. Make your birthday extra special by honoring your entrance in the world and then make every other day a celebration of “thank you I am still here and having the time of my life!!”

Happy Birthday to some and Happy Un-Birthday to all!!

“till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©



Are You Lost in a Sea of Choices?

Have you ever stopped to notice how many cars there are available to buy today? There is such a large variety available to choose from it’s amazing we can ever decide what to pick! Even if you are only looking at new cars you can be overwhelmed with choices. So do you simply go to the store/dealership and get what you want without any research? Not likely. You could I guess, but then you’d be stuck with it for a few years and that’s a large investment to leave to chance.

There are over 50 manufactures (or companies) that build cars worldwide. Do they offer one type of car each? Nope. Each model of car comes in different “makes” of car usually determined by the year it was made. In 2011 there were over 170 makes available, not to mention multiple model variations and untold number of features to choose from such as color, fabric, audio and tires!

Once you know what make, model and features you want, you have to research and choose how you will pay for the car. Do you buy or lease it? You can pay cash of course or finance it. If you are going to finance it do you go through a dealership, or the bank, or the credit union or AAA? Notice I stuck with new cars only in this scenario, if you are looking at used cars the selection multiplies (more model years to chose from) but the features are already chosen for you (color, audio etc) so some of the items you would have preferred are no longer an option. Personalized Car

Does this seemingly unending number of choices remind you of anything? It makes me think of our fingerprints. Do we have unlimited possibilities in the car we choose to drive around in because we too are unlimited? There are no two of us alike as proven by our unique DNA and fingerprints. We haven’t even begun to consider that once you take possession of this car…once you got inside with your purse, or briefcase or drink beverage, that car would become “personalized” it would be UNIQUELY YOURS!! Again, just like your fingerprints. Oh yah, your license plate number will be unique too. So because we choose to “own” them and we each want something different, there are no two cars alike in the world!

Can you see from this example why making sure your choices are your own (and not what someone else tells you to get) can greatly affect your life? If you don’t take the time to know yourself and your preferences and express them consciously, you might end up with a car (or a life) that you hate. How much time do you spend in your car? How many years do you keep the same car? How much do you rely on it? Once you develop the knack of being clear on what it means to be you and then go about doing that day after day, decisions like this car example that affect your daily live become easier and smoother to implement.

So, what kind of car do you drive? Do you love it? Is it you? Drop me a note…
‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©

One Size Fits All – Or Does It?

I am often reminded how significant it is for us to take up space in our own unique way. The notion “one size fits all” is so bogus it’s laughable. I am sure there is a corporation out there somewhere that wishes this were true because then for less cost they could make what EVERYONE wants’ and needs which would make them more money.

Which brings me to today’s topic of observation – CARS.

I grew up near Dearborn, Michigan in the shadow of Henry Ford. My family was a Ford family. I can’t tell you the number of times I toured the Ford Motor plant, Henry Ford’s museums, or studied his legacy (we were tested on him in school). One of the funniest quotes I remember about him went something like this “You can have any color of car you want, as long as it’s black.”

We are shocked today to hear such a statement but back in 1914 when he was attempting to mass produce an economical car and sell as many as he could, this made sense. Black paint at that time was the least expensive and it dried the fasted. Black paint allowed Ford to produce a car in about 90 minutes on his assembly line and thereby satisfy the nation’s hunger for personal transportation at an affordable price. The Model T was made solely in black from 1914 to 1926 but it originally (1908) came in 5 dark colors. He limited the color for a while so he could make and sell more while maintaining his desired profit margin. But it didn’t last did it? Do you think he would have stopped this black only product if the consumer hasn’t spoken up? Nope, neither do I.

Limited selection of choices happens quite frequently when something is new in the market. Just look at how television has evolved! We don’t even have to watch the programming when the shows air anymore. Consumers demanded more freedom and soon the ability to tape programs was invented. Even that process has evolved drastically both in cost and convenience. The Betamax taping machines were short lived, then VHS took over and now we have the DVR tape free machines for recording our favorite shows. What I find fascinating is that as quickly as possible variety is added to each new invention even though the creators of the product would most likely prefer to keep the selection simple and inexpensive which would increase their profits. But they can’t because the consumer is not “one size fits all.”

Isn’t it fascinating to see just how much our unique characteristics dictate so much power in the market place? It’s evolutionary and it’s silent and unless you stop and “dig” around a bit it goes fairly unnoticed. You can pick any new product ever created and watch it evolve and expand because we are not clones of each other. Deep down we love and celebrate our right to be unique and take up space our way!! Our lives are richer because we are all different. Let’s celebrate this!!

‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©

What Is Your Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet…” Shakespeare- Romeo and Juliet

Some of you may have noticed my name is a bit unusual. Almost every day someone will ask me “is Marie your last name?” because for many women “Marie” is their middle name. As with anyone’s name there is a story behind it, a Personal Space story.

I was the last of ten children so the common names in our family clan were already used; Tom, John, Bob, Mary etc. I was named after a favorite cousin who was a Virginia with the nick-name Ginger. At first everyone called me Ginger then I rebelled because one of our neighbors had a dog named “Ginger” and the kids would tease me by whistling and call me as if calling for the dog. However by the time I reached Junior High, thanks to the TV show Gilligan’s Island, the name Ginger had a different impact; it was considered cool. So I went back to being “Ginger” as a nick-name for Virginia.

This name stuck for decades until I healed my childhood trauma and emerged from personal therapy. At this time I was also ending my marriage. It was just after my divorce, while painting in a watercolor class with my friends that I realized I could no longer sign my former husbands last name to my art. That name was alien to me and I didn’t want it on my creations. I also didn’t want to use my maiden name since I was estranged from my family. So my teacher suggested I create a new name that represented the “new me.” She asked what my middle name was. Yes, you guessed it, “Marie!” The whole class loved the way Ginger Marie sounded. I realized it felt like the new me as well. Yet when I went to make my new name official I found I couldn’t just drop the name “Virginia” because the child that I was with that name had endured so much I wanted to honor her memory, so I kept her name as my first name. So now “Ginger Marie” is actually my middle and last name.

When I went to create a domain name account for the books I write, I discovered the “germ” in “gingermarie,” so I decided to put in a hyphen. This also helps when people try to call me “Ginger Marie” as if it was one name like Ann Marie. Crazy stuff naming yourself.

So while William Shakespeare has a point about the name of a rose, it doesn’t completely apply to people. We need the name we use to express who we feel we are inside. It may not hold the same meaning for another but it is one more way we express our light openly with the world and do life our way!

How many name changes have you gone through during your life? I’d love to hear your Personal Space story.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©