What Does This Time of Year Mean To You?

During this time of year, between Thanksgiving and the New Year, there are many different holidays that are celebrated depending on your faith or your family heritage. What does this time of year mean to you? Do you like it or does it make you feel stressed out? Do you have a strong sense of community or do you feel more alone than the rest of the year? Does it bring back fond childhood memories or does it bring feelings of sorrow and loss? I think over the years I have felt all of these various emotions at sometime or another during December.

If you go way back before the birth of Christianity; people celebrated holidays according to what they called the wheel of the year. Winter Solstice, which happens on approximately December 21st, was a celebration of the light returning. The days getting longer again. The wheel of the year was based on the farming year. This time of year was considered a time for rest and reflection. It was not a time to start new things, but rather a time to evaluate how the last year went and what to do differently when the Spring Equinox rolled around again and it was time to start preparing to plant the crops. That being said, many of our ancestors used this as a time to go inward. It is in such contrast to the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season of today. For many this is the bushiest time of the year. Many people pick up seasonal jobs to pay for the gifts they have to buy. Holiday parties and get-togethers fill up all of your free time. There is shopping and baking to be done. Lists to make and check twice. Children are in holiday plays or other performances. It is all very busy and much more focused on community and others, rather than that inward journey.

Please be aware that if you are feeling like it is all too much, this just might be the ancestral roots within you. They may be calling to you to say; “shhhh, just be quiet for a bit now”. They may be asking that you rest, gather your strength, and prepare for the spring. Having clear communication with others, when it gets to much, can help you set boundaries for yourself around this. Have a dialog to clearly express what you need during this busy season. Perhaps you want to delay that get-together until after the first of the year, when your calendar is open. Maybe it is setting limits on gift giving or, as I said on a friends post, “giving the gift of not having to exchange gifts” with someone. You are not alone. Many people are feeling the stress and expectations this season places upon us. My hope for you is that with clear communication and firm boundaries, some of the stress of the holiday season can subside and you can return to reflecting on what does this season really mean to you. How do you best want to enjoy this season?  There is much beauty in this time of year. Find the peace to be able to enjoy it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May the peace of this holiday season infuse you to the core, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in our back yard

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I Used To Think She Had To Like Me But I Was Wrong

I used to think it was important for her to like me, but then I finally realized that it is only important for me to like myself. We all struggle with acceptance from others. We are all concerned with being judged by others. We are all guilty of being on both sides of this. Worried about being judged and judging others. Wayne Dyer once said, “Their opinion of me is none of my business”.

Have you ever felt anxious about going to a gathering or meeting someone new, because you were worried how they might feel about you? Of course, we all have! Job interviews, big gatherings, first dates, or even joining a new group are all examples of this. Situations, where we are thrown together, with other people who we do not know or have not spent a lot of time with. It is easy to feel nervous and intimidated going into these events. By holding that light inside yourself and knowing that your are safe and perfect the way you are, can help reduce the stress and allow you to put your best foot forward.

Here is a little meditation you can do before entering into one of these environments to help you remember it is only your opinion of you that really matters.

Take a deep breath and feel where you body makes contact with the earth or any object that is supporting you. Just take a few minutes to feel that breath enter your body and flow down deep into your abdomen. Visualize a white light within yourself. That white light is your true nature. That white light is purity, love, divinity, and beauty. This exists within you. Feel its warmth spreading throughout every cell in your body. Know you are safe. Know that no-one and nothing can diminish this light inside of you. You are perfect just as you are. You are wonderfully and uniquely you. You are worthy of love and admiration. See this white light forming a force field around you. This force field will protect you from anyone’s judgement. Remember that you are worthy of love. Take a few more deep breaths and when you are ready, open your eyes. 

This meditation can be done quickly wherever you are. If you need a minute to center before entering a gathering, just do some version of this. You can even record yourself saying this and listen to it prior to any situation where you might feel uneasy.

Remember that you are “right” just as you are. No judgement from another can cause this to change. No one’s opinion of how you should be, behave, dress, or look diminishes the beauty and divinity within you. Namaste my friends. Which means the Divine in me sees the Divine in you. Please see the Divine in yourself as well.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you love and appreciate yourself, as if by magic.

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Maintaining effective communication during the holidays

Today’s blog is written by Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister.

The stress of the holidays has a way of bringing us closer or tearing us apart. I hear stories that make me laugh, cry, and groan, sometimes all at the same time. I would like to focus on how we convey or communicate love in our closest family relationships. I am guilty of getting defensive when I hear something I may not agree with from people I love. Yet through my years I’ve learned it’s not the best way to communicate effectively.

We know that when our parents, family, and friends are meddling in our lives it’s usually because they love you and see things from a different perspective. They may have advice we don’t want to hear, but it is important for us to listen with love. They speak up because they had been there and done that, and don’t want to do it again. They warn us or tell us ‘how it is’ because they love you, even if it upsets us and pisses us off.

What if we decided to give our dearest family and friends, the benefit of the doubt? Choose to think only the best of them. If we tried to recognize that whatever they do or say, they do it out of love or fear. Then we could also assume that the people we love, do the best they can, in the time and space they’ve been given. I have realized that all our actions, the good, the bad, and the ugly, come from fear or love. At the root, we all want to be loved. As we grow in different ways and different directions, the way we communicate changes as well.

What matters is that we continue to communicate. Even if we are scared, it’s important to tell our loved ones if you are fearful, or hurt, without assuming their actions or words were purposely harmful. Most likely they were not. Keeping lines of communication open, by not overreacting or shutting down is difficult for some, yet it’s imperative for effective communication. When we overreact and blow up, our emotions take over and our ears stop listening, stopping any connection in its tracks. This can affect even our closest most cherished relationships.

What if we met miscommunication and perceived hurt with love? Understanding that loved ones are either fearful of something or trying to show love in a way you may not understand. How would the conversation change if we chose to calm fears, by focusing on love? It may take courage to ask our loved ones to explain until we understand. It takes disciplined focus to speak our truth the best we are able, in the kindest way possible. It’s well worth the work we put in to communicating well, we should talk and know it’s ok to agree to disagree, respectfully.

It can be hard to remember that how we communicate our thoughts and feelings will define our character. How we act/react, handle hard times/good times/holidays, how you make someone feel, the words you choose and how you say them become how you communicate. How you communicate portrays how your closest family and friends will remember you.

My hopes this holiday season are that you too choose love and communication. Remembering that most of your family will act out of fear or love. When we focus on love, we open understanding and healing, this is how we make the world a better place, one family at a time.

~ Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister