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Feeling A Little Broken This New Year?

We’re all a little broken but the last time I checked, broken crayons still color. Trent Shelton, former football player

Perhaps life knocked you around last year and you feel a bit broken—physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. You’re not alone. If we live long enough, we all experience pain, loss, regret, grief, fear. It’s part of the human experience.

But, as Shelton says, even broken, we have the potential to fulfill our destiny. In the case of a crayon, that destiny is to put color on paper. What’s yours? What step will you take to be who you want to be in 2020?

Affirmation: I can make a difference.

Coaching request: Even if you’ve been battered and broken, you can still make a difference. Get out there in 2020 and put some color on the paper of your life.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Embracing Endings

I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending. Fred Rogers

I know New Year’s Eve is on the horizon but, for me, the excitement of the holiday season is mostly over. Tomorrow we will head back to Florida to re-enter our life there. I’ve loved the familiar story of our holiday season as we now know it. My addition of a Unicorn Tea and Cookie Decorating Party was great fun and Christmas Eve (my favorite night of the year) was perfect (see photo below). We spent time with adult kids, grands, great-grands and, as they say, “A good time was had by all.” 

Endings are bitter sweet. Although I’ll miss our family in the coming months, I’m ready to return to our beautiful home, warm weather, Florida friends, and the activities I enjoy. 

Affirmation: I embrace the bitter sweetness of endings.

Coaching questions: What is the story of your holiday season? How are you embracing the familiar ending?

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Wishing You Peace, Love, and Comfort

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. Agnes M. Pharo, author

On this Christmas morning, I truly hope that someday every path will lead to peace. For Christians the world over, today has significance beyond the gifts and glitter. The story of Jesus’ birth is about love—God’s love for His creation.

Although it is a sad, even heart-breaking, day for many, I hope, Dear Readers, you will find a slice of love and joy in your life today. Please know that if you’re grieving, sad, or lonely— I’m thinking of you and I’m wishing you a Very Blessed Christmas!

Affirmation: Someone cares about me.

Coaching questions: What will you do to acknowledge your sadness while celebrating joy to the world? This is one day out of 365. What will tomorrow be like?

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Honor the White Space In Your Life

It’s about the white spaces between the paragraphs, which I think are more important than any of the text. It allows you to think about what’s just been said. Fred Rogers, American television personality and much, much more

As a Life Coach, I was trained to recognize and encourage the white spaces, times when a question is asked and there is a long pause. I learned to be still, let the responder think, and perhaps get uncomfortable with the silence. The same is true with the written word. Without paragraphs or chapter breaks the magnitude of words would overwhelm us. 

I’ve designed the affirmation and coaching questions in this blog to serve as white space. Say the affirmation aloud, sit with it a moment. As you read the coaching questions, be still and see what resonates. Being quiet is an important aspect of mental health and personal growth. Allow your body, soul, mind, and God to speak to you. Be still and listen.

Affirmation: I honor the white spaces.

Coaching question/request: How do you view the white spaces in your life? Take a moment to be still.

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Photo by Dominik Dombrowski on Unsplash

Celebrating With a Viking Toast

Stonehenge is perfectly aligned to the sunset on winter solstice, as is Newgrange in Ireland. From Saturnalia in ancient Rome, to Yalda night in Iran, to a party in Illinois, groups gather to celebrate the passing of the longest night.

Tomorrow is winter solstice, the day when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the sun. It is the day with the least sunlight and marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. For thousands of years, people have celebrated the solstice. 

Jacqui, a long-time friend, called my attention to the solstice by inviting me to her annual winter solstice party more than twenty-five years ago. In the midst of the busy-ness of the holiday season, her party was a time to slow down, breathe, and honor the earth, the seasons, and the essential elements while enjoying the company of friends and strangers. My friends thought it was a bit wu-wu but I loved it. Although I’ve moved away, Jacki’s parties are still going strong. 

Since I have no party to attend this year, I will make a Viking Toast which is also an ancient solstice tradition. Here are the elements: 

—Boast of something you are proud of from the past year

—Toast a person you’d like to honor

—Make a promise for the year ahead

I’m going to make these declarations tomorrow. Will you join me?

Affirmation: I honor the Earth by celebrating the Winter Solstice.

Coaching questions: What will you boast about, who will you toast, what promise will you make?  

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Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

Giving Out of Love

True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share. Suze Orman, author, financial advisor

’Tis the season of giving. There are “duty gifts” and “love gifts.” We give both. The greatest gifts are those given freely with no attachment. No expectations. As Suze says, true generosity is an offering. I take this to mean offering as in the biblical sense, a sacrifice. 

Humans are inherently insecure creatures. The accumulation of things offers us a sense of security. This is why giving out of love gives us such a feeling of satisfaction and joy. In addition to all those duty gifts you’re buying, consider giving at least one love gift with no strings attached. Spend your money, your time, or use your talents—all are gifts. 

Affirmation: I give out of love.

Coaching questions: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? What gift of love will you give this season?

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Learn How To Tame Your Gremlin

If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago. Cheri Huber, author of There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate

For the December issue of Vanity Fair, the British author Zadie Smith completed a questionnaire which asked: What do you dislike most about your appearance? “I like it all,” replied Smith, 41. “Self-hatred is for younger, prettier women.” I say self-hatred is for none of us! 

Negative self-talk can be destructive not only to ourselves but to our relationships. Here are a few tips to help you tone-down the negative self-talk:

—Name the negative “person” in your head. I call mine the Gremlin. Talk back to the Gremlin, argue with him/her, challenge the Gremlin with the truth.

—Track when your Gremlin is speaking to you. One of the first steps to changing a habit is recognizing when it occurs. Journaling is a helpful way to do this or simply stop and make a mental note of unwarranted negativity.

—Affirm yourself. If your Gremlin is invading your space, affirm yourself. Gremlins hate affirmations because they take away their power. You may not rid yourself of the Gremlin but you can tame him.

Affirmation: I will tame my Gremlin.

Coaching questions: When does your Gremlin use negative self-talk on you? What does he/she say? What will you do the next time this happens to dispel the negative self-talk?

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Photo by Andreas Avgousti on Unsplash