The True Cost of a Gift

Just before Thanksgiving I heard a commercial for some item that a local department store was selling that they guarantee is “the best price ever” for this item…”get more for your money” at this location….”it’s the best value anywhere” and that’s when it hit me. Is this the “best value” anywhere? How could it be if purchasing it voids the values you possess? You see in order to get this “best price ever” you have to be at this store by midnight on Thanksgiving night, not to mention MIDNIGHT??? Who are we freakin kidding here? How in the world is that the best value? Spoil one holiday in favor of another? And is it even honoring the winter holiday sentiment of “peace and goodwill toward men” to go to these extremes to purchase the perfect gift? As if you won’t be loved and your holiday won’t be a good one unless you get some specific gift at just the right price? Just how is that goodwill? Believe

In order to tally up the real cost of this item I think you have to answer a few questions such as;

  • What is a good night sleep worth to you?
  • What is your Thanksgiving holiday worth to you?
  • Is the gift you are giving and the person you are getting it for worth the $5.00 or the $50.00 you “save” by being up at midnight on Thanksgiving?

So this got me thinking…just what is the cost of a gift? And should a gift really cost anything at all? Let me explain. There are gifts that are completely money free such as; doing someone a favor like washing the dishes for them, taking care of a loved one when they get the flu, or giving someone a compliment, or how about just smiling at the lady at the checkout counter? All are free and all really appreciated.

Then there are gifts that cost money but if you have that money saved away for buying gifts it’s not much of a cost now is it? If you go into debt on your credit card then that gift just became infinitely more “costly.” What about the time you spend to purchase a gift or the gas you use? Say you go to store after store because they are out of stock? What about if you feel guilty because the gift you wanted you couldn’t get so you go for some other item to “make up for their disappointment” and it is more expensive than the one you intended to purchase.

I think it’s important that the giver truly enjoy the shopping, and selecting experience. This puts positive energy on the gift for everyone involved.

Also stop and get clear and “own” what you give and “why” you are giving it because what we give instantly comes back to us. The give-receive energy exchange is instantaneous and both parties are receiving the intent, the energy behind the gift. So if you stress over the gift, you receive stress. If you give to manipulate someone, you are the one manipulated. If you give to show someone you love and cherish them, you are then the recipient of love and adoration as well.

As you move through this holiday season selecting gifts ask yourself, what was the real cost of the gift? If you say “noting” because of the joy and love you got in giving it then I say you succeeded where most fail. You got the point of it all.

So don’t let the store ads push you into doing something you wouldn’t “love” to do. Take your power back and be a deliberate gift giver this year. Have fun shopping and give with love for all.

Happy Holidays!

‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach


What Is Your Brand?

Have you ever considered yourself as a “brand?” I sure haven’t …until recently that is. It seems to be all the rage these days to “brand yourself” and I find it a bit confusing and not a little odd. Although when I think about our Personal Space I realize that it is actually natural to think we each have a unique brand or style, because we do. However we are also flexible and evolving so I image a “brand” you give yourself this year might not fit you in ten years. PSC Logo

The key to successful “branding” I believe lies in our core values. What do we stand for? What do we believe in? What matters most to us? By answering these questions we can find the theme behind our “brand” even as we evolve and change over time. For instance say you valued organization and all your possessions and work habits lay claim to this value. Then your “brand” would be “a naturally orderly and tidy man/woman.” Be careful not to let other’s brand you. Only you can know for sure if a label or value is true for you. Also be willing to change over time, for as our circumstances change so does our focus. Listen to your heart and you will always be rooted in your own personal truth.

Currently I am attempting to create the “brand” for my Personal Space Coach program. I know that my program is an unconventional way of looking at the Personal Space we all possess so I wanted to find a way to show this in my logo. Although it is still in the process of being finalized, I know for sure it will look something like this.

The core of my program stems from our Home Space. I believe and have experienced how our Home Space can either support our life or interfere with it. We can learn so much about ourselves by observing how we take up space in the rooms of our own home and when we make changes to improve our Home Space Energy our Body Space – health, our Life Space – dreams and our Soul Space – spirit and passion are all enhanced as a result. So I knew a home shape was needed in my logo, but how to represent the rest?

As usual when I pose a question if the answer doesn’t come right away I will let it go for awhile. Then when I least expect it an answer will come to mind. Sure enough while journaling one morning I got a clear picture of my Personal Space Coach logo. This is what came to me.

  • A large outside circle – to represent our Souls Space
  • A house with a chimney – to represent the Home Space we create in the world to support ourselves and the chimney represents our passion
  • Inside the house shape I put a star shaped human form which represents Body Space. I have the head connected – no line separating head to shoulders to represent the open energy from heart to mind. I like the star-human shape because it represents that we are each the “star” of our own life story.
  • I have the Body Space star-human with its arms spread out wide to represent our energy going out into the world which is our Life Space. This star-human is expressing its energy out wide to say… “This is MY space!”
  • In the center of the star-human is a circle with a heart which represents that Soul Space is both within us and surrounds us (large outer circle) and that our link to the Divine comes through our heart. Our best energy and empowerment comes from having a Soulful Open Heart.

I’ll let you know when the final logo is complete, meanwhile what would your own brand-logo look like? Something fun to consider.

‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach


Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a phrase we use and it is good advice. Yet how many of us judge ourselves “by our cover” and usually we find ourselves lacking? Don't Judge a Book

Each morning we wake up and get ready for our day. We check on our appearance (our book cover) by looking in a mirror as we do our hair, put on our make-up and get dressed. When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and said “hello beautiful!” or “looking good!” to yourself? Why not I wonder? We do look good. How do I know this? Because God doesn’t create ugly! The Universe is overflowing with massive varieties of beauty. From the pug-nose face of a mix-breed dog, to the wild eyes of a fly, to the various sizes, shapes, colors and styles of human beings. If only one style, one color, one shape or “one-size-fits-all” were true then the Universe wouldn’t be so chock full of diversity would it?

Even if you are home with the flu or covered in a rash you are still beautiful. Beauty is value and it goes far beyond the face we carry, or the style we wear. Our true beauty is the total package of us…our thoughts, our generosity, our health and what we create and share with the world. Do you remember Mother Theresa and Princess Dianna? Now on the one hand if we were going to “judge a book by its cover” we would say that Dianna was beautiful and Mother Theresa was homely and not so attractive right? And wouldn’t we be mistaken! There isn’t a person alive who encountered Mother Theresa who would say she was anything but beauty in action. Love is true beauty and Mother Theresa taught the world by her actions how to express love beautifully! Now Princess Dianna was beautiful as well both in fashionable style and in deeds. She started out as “book cover” beauty and became the full value of beauty by her actions over time. Mother Theresa never expressed herself in fashion beauty but then her life mission didn’t require that, while Princess Dianna’s did.

So don’t get caught up in the package. Go deeper and see the full picture and I guarantee you will find beauty within and by noticing it you allow it to bloom even brighter!

The next time you find yourself critically judging your appearance STOP and remember there is more to you than that “bad haircut” or whatever you are judging yourself about. Begin listing all the qualities you possess you are proud of. Count your blessings instead of your wants. Do this in front of the mirror and before you know it you will see the beauty that you truly are shine forth from the sparkle in your eyes!

One of my favorite authors calls this sparkle “Soul Shine” which is exactly correct. So get your Soul Shine up to full power before you leave for your day and I guarantee your energy will soar and your day will be as beautiful as you are!!

‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach


STOP Time Activities

I know the title of this one might sound nuts…. if we are stopping then doesn’t that mean we are not doing any activity? Well yes, and no. Even just sitting still is an activity, and it’s one most of us don’t value or practice enough. From childhood on we get scolded for “just sitting there doing nothing” or “wasting time” etc. Have you ever had this happen to you?

Pain ReliefWhat I find curious is how in the world can you ever “waste” time? Time is. What you are doing during it can’t be eliminated so it can’t be wasted. What I think is really being said in that statement is “I don’t understand what you ARE doing and this makes me uncomfortable so I am going to try to stop you.” This is why STOP time is best done alone in room by yourself. But it’s not necessary. You can stop and “day-dream” or people watch or whatever any time and anywhere.

I find that STOP-time is a refueling time, even if I am not eating. It refuels my energy reserves. Gives me time for my thoughts to catch up with me.

So during the STOP session of your Book-ended Day Routine you get to do whatever you want. I do a mixture of things from just watching the wind blow the leaves in my trees to writing out my thoughts in my journal. Sometimes I listen to music and other times I will meditate.

For my daily routine on the days I work I tend to keep my Book-end Routine short and I make sure to give my day an energy boost. I will expand my inner light energy and see my days activities going as planned and then I add in how I want to feel during this day. There are many practices I have tried over the years; meditations, visualizations, affirmations, mirror work, EFT and others. Any one of them might be what I do in my 15 minutes. I simply “check-in” with my inner wisdom and do what comes naturally.

Once my time is up, or I feel I am ready for my day, I wrap it up and go about my day. At night I do a review section and possibly create a plan for the next day but usually I just write out what I was grateful that day so I end the day on a appositive note.

What do you find yourself doing now that you have developed a daily practice of STOP-ing to restore and rebuild your energy?

’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach

Empty Nest Report

Earlier this year I mentioned that I was going through the process of having an “empty nest” – that phenomenon that is unique to the Baby Boomer generation. I say “unique” because this didn’t happen as often to the older generations since they didn’t live as long. I decided to look up the term on Google and oh boy is there a ton of information! In fact there is such a thing as… “Empty nest syndrome… which according to Wikipedia…is a feeling of grief  and loneliness parents or guardians may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.”  I couldn’t find a particular person who coined this term, but the term began sometime in the 1970’s, which coincides with the aging (vs. mid-life death) of the Baby Boom generation.

1-1-12 family holiday (25a) Yellow Submarine family!I find this fascinating and somewhat comforting which is why I do this kind of research. It’s nice to know I am not the only one going through this grieving/transition/adjustment period. I can learn from others success and also add my own wisdom as I go through the process. I see this as a “helping hand-up” of anyone who cares to listen. For each of us who will go through this period of adjustment the process will be unique, so to share our story not only helps us but might help another lighten their load.

One of the most helpful things I have heard was the fact that many women who are post menopausal and empty nesters are finding a new freedom, new energy and a rebirth of life unlike any they have known before. I am finding this as well. It’s as if I am 17 again starting off on the adventure of leaving home and starting college only this time I have financial backing (savings, home etc) and I have wisdom gained! If only I could contact “past Ginger” and tell her not to be so afraid; that things really will work out. But alas all I can to do is live forward and make sure I apply all the skills I have had the benefit of learning.

So as I find myself starting month four of my “empty nest” adventure, I present here what I hope will be a helpful report to others….

  • The grieving period has passed!
  • It was kind of fun how that happened. I have never had grief leave in this fashion before. As I began to move my items around the house taking up all the space for the first time instead of a closet here or a cupboard there, I felt sadness briefly, then giddy at being able to spread out.
  • Then as I witnessed my two children thriving in their separate lives I began to feel like I had achieved a great feat- like a graduation. I mean after all, I was always raising them to leave home….a fact I often told them as I “trained” them to wash their own clothes, dishes and how to drive a car. So goal achieved!
  • I also discovered that by embracing the grieving it processed faster! It’s important to grieve when major change occurs. That is how we shift gears, release the old and open a space for the new. Then as soon as I could, I began to find what about this new change I was grateful for and this opened the space for a new dream.
  • My space has shifted. I am stretching out and a new dream is forming!!

… to be continued. Life is an ever changing adventure after all!

’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.




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©


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©

Musical World of Diversity!

I watched a recording of the Grammy’s the other day and was amazed at the sheer variety of music they presented. I’ve watched them before and I even listen to an eclectic mix of music myself but something just clicked in me about half-way through the program as they panned over the audience.
It was filled with musicians!! Thousands of them! As I watched Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney of The Beatles perform I was reminded of how much this one band changed in their short career together.
If someone visited from another planet and were to hear “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and then listen to “Revolution” they wouldn’t be able to tell it was the same band!

So, here is my point. The notes of music are fixed. There are 88 notes plus sharps and flats and that is it! Yet that room was filled with more than 88 versions of music diversity. The unique blend of each artist even if they sing the same song or play the same instrument is virtually endless. It’s as if those same 88 notes once filtered through each unique individual emerged reborn and totally unique!

As I listened to the new ‘”songs of the year” I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world will they come up with next?

I could see how this diversity makes sense if you consider lyrics because words are endless in their variations but the notes -not so much. People who have that talent to write and play music have something different to offer, something unique no one but they can offer. How marvelous to see a crowd of thousands and know that no two were alike; not only in their DNA and fingerprints but in how they see and hear life. And this is the difference that allows them to create such a wide range of notes and lyrics and styles of songs.

Are you a country fan? Are you a heavy metal fan? Do you like classical or jazz? No matter what you like to listen to, its unique to you and I encourage you to play all the music you want in your Personal Space and be grateful someone else dared to be unique and create the music you love.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach ©