Five Ways to Let Go During the Holidays

Making Christmas, SCARY!

Welcome to another holiday season, where even the most faithful minimalists and simple living enthusiasts find that keeping the holidays about anything other than stuff can be a real kick in the jingle balls.

We are just so used to decking our halls with everything and anything shiny and glittery, filling our calendars with every ho ho-hum holly party and stuffing our gizzards with everything pumpkin, cranberry or peppermint we see (because it’s only here once a year, in limited supplies, right?) Any other month of the year we would never behave this way. It’s like Christmas gives us a hall pass to do “all the things” in excess that we know deep in our hearts can be the root of what actually makes us unhappy. (over-spending, over-eating, over-committing… STRESSING!)  This holiday behavior can also cause us to pull out of our own self-loving behavior by not having time to work on our goals, complete our missions and be good to ourselves.  I mean, January is right around the corner, we can start again then, right? Being on a path of living a simple meaningful life with less stuff just does not seem to jive during the months of November and December.

So, knowing what we know about how living a life with less gives us so much more, why do we continue to allow the holiday season to take over our mind, body and spirit each and every year AND how does one participate in the most wonderful time of the year without having to go through a complete holiday hangover come January?

Now that we have evolved and know that happiness and joy is not found in over-spending, over -eating and being over-busy, we can certainly continue to honor a simple and meaningful lifestyle, even when Macy’s is having a One Day Sale.  Here are ten ways to continue to let go during the holidays but still have a holly jolly time.

 

5 Ways to Let Go During the Holidays

  1. Let go of debt – One of the first things to let go of when beginning a new lifestyle of freedom, meaning and happiness is debt. Using the holidays as an excuse to spend money that you do not have (charging is creating debt unless you pay it off right away) is a surefire way to begin your new year in arears. If you enjoy spending extra money during the holidays then start a savings account in Jan for next year and this year find other ways to show you care. Presence is much more important than presents. That sounds hokey, but ask anyone if they would prefer to have you there, hanging out with them, or working an extra part-time job to pay off all of the gifts you bought them. I guess this depends on how much they like you.
  2. Let go of busyness- These days whomever is the busiest wins. It is worn as a badge of honor. Being too busy can creates havoc in our lives and anxiety in our heart. Life can go by like a blur and you can end up just going through the motions instead of savoring the flavor of the season. Slowing down and taking time to enjoy a cup of cocoa with a friend, or to catch a movie allows that holiday feeling to really sink in. The holidays can create a bunch of super-busy people running around frantically trying to get everything done. Learn how to say no to the things that do not bring you the peace comfort and joy that everybody keeps singing about. Fa la freakin’ La.
  3. Let go of grudges– Some people in our lives are toxic and the best thing for us and our own happiness is to let them go. Sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently. This is one of the hardest parts of letting go. There are also some people that have just pissed you off or you just can’t see eye to eye. Use the holidays as an excuse to put old grudges behind you and see the good in the people in your life. Make amends for your mistakes and invite love into your heart. Letting go of these hard feelings allows more Hallmark warm and fuzzy moments enter our hearts. This is the goodwill toward man part. Unless they suck.
  4. Let go of old traditions– If Making Christmas, making Christmas making Chrisssstmas feels more like dread than delight then it’s time to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Check in and think about what is important to you about the holidays. If spending too much money on gifts and too much time wrapping them with homemade wrapping paper is not in alignment with your values then you have every right to do something else. If it is important to you impress the in-laws with a perfect and elegant Christmas Eve dinner and you really enjoy the challenge, beautiful! But if all the fuss is making you a scrooge then change things up! Create new traditions around what is important to you. Looking at your values can really help. If your top values are Wellness, Peace and Freedom maybe you could go on a retreat for the holidays, or take your family on a stay-cation. If contribution and collaboration are your top values, consider getting your friends together to help a local charity instead of doing your regular gift exchange. Doing can be much more meaningful than over-doing. If you need help discovering your values, consider hiring a Life Coach!
  5. Let go of guilt-Do you feel  like you have to please everybody and if you don’t then you are a less-than (Mother, Husband, friend, person…)? Not doing what (you feel) is expected of you can create a lot of stress and guilt. Feeling guilty for not doing what everyone else wants you to do can make the holidays less than cheerful. When you get that feeling in your stomach when you say YES to going to another Ugly Sweater Party and instantly wondering how you will get out of it and already feeling guilty about it, then you suffer and people are disappointed. Learning the art of saying no is essential for letting go of anything – but especially guilt. Be clear in your communication and let them know that you have decided to keep your calendar clear this season for spontaneous, impromptu cheer. Or you are giving experiences this year instead of stuff. Don’t make excuses or even give reasons for your no. You have nothing to feel bad about. The people you love will begin to appreciate you being so impeccable with your word. No guilt required!

 

Pip’s Tip:  Resist the last-minute urge to splurge. One year I’ve decided to not buy a lot of gifts and I communicated that clearly. When I got to the house, there were tons of presents for me under the tree. Cut to: Christmas Eve at midnight with a full cart maxing out my Target Card. The feelings surrounding this kind of experience reminds me of who I do not want to be. Rushed, spending money that I do not have on meaningless things and feeling inadequate because I did not buy enough. Instead I was up all-night wrapping presents and I was tired and grumpy for Christmas morning. Now that’s a Bah Humbug!

 

The holidays are here and it’s up to you to enjoy them your way. Finding your joy is the best way for you to share that joy with others. Living a value based life all year long will keep you in alignment with what’s important to you and help you have the Hap Hap Happiest Christmas this side of the Mississip.

Merry Kiss-My-Ass

Ten Ways You Can Become A Hero

Did you ever know that you’re my hero? No? Well, I should have told you.

Do you know those special people in your life that you might call something like, “My cheerleader”, “My support system” or “My biggest fan?” or even “My hero?” That special person (or people) who show up to everything you are involved in, “likes” what you post online and tells or shows you how proud they are of you on a consistent basis?  ( I am not talking stalkers here). In the span of a year and a half, five of my Heroes have left this world.

I lost five people who were always there waiting for me to do my next great thing. It was always great because that’s what they thought. As time goes by and I do my next thing (whether it’s great or not) there is an empty place where their support used to live. There is a hole in my universe where someone used to sit or a comment used to live. I did not realize or put my finger on the fact that the people I was losing were the people who supported me so much in my life, until I lost my friend two months ago. She would never miss one of my music gigs. She was so proud of my blog and loved Bongo as much as I did. She was one of the most loving people I had ever met. What was I going to do without my friend? Without any of them to cheer me on?

Don’t fall short on support

Besides being torn apart by all of this loss, I have a feeling of being more on my own and a little more grown up. And I carry around some faith that they can still be proud of me and still support me. Somehow…

I sit here and ask myself what the feeling is that I am missing so much? What is this “support” that I felt. The first thing I think of is love. How much they loved me to think that everything I did was so awesome. It was blind sometimes for sure- but it was honest and true and from such a place of patience and wanting the best for me. They really believed in me. To them I was the cat’s meow. They loved me and  also supported the things that I did. This is a real key.

Having support for what we do can mean the difference between doing stuff and not doing any more stuff. Without our best fans, support systems, or the wind beneath our dang wings and all that jazz, (Heroes) how would we get the confidence to get up there and try something? Because we know when we fail our Heroes will cheer us on and encourage us anyways. They are like a safety net. Or a trampoline!

After losing some of my personal Heroes I want to honor their legacy by becoming a Hero too! I believe we all have heroes inside of us, it’s just up to us to put it out there. Kind of like my Take 5 Idea (more on that later if you don’t know about it- that’s another post) You cannot be everyone’s best friend, or everyone’s hero, there just isn’t enough time. I suggest you choose a few people that could use a Hero in their lives right now and start your Hero training on them.

 

10 Ways to Be Someone’s Hero

  • Like People’s Stuff- We are all on our own journeys and doing stuff, and making stuff and wanting people to like our stuff. So, take a moment out of your busy day and like someone’s stuff! It can be as easy as a FB like button, or even go further with a comment, GIF, or any words of delight, pride or interest.
  • Show up- Rally and go to their show, book signing, exercise class, party, race, art exhibition. Whatever it is, just being there will make you look like a Hero to them.
  • Be “No-Kidding” Curious- Ask tons of questions about what they are doing and remember the details. Be interested in their processes and their ideas. Encourage them to talk about themselves.
  • Listen- Really listening without waiting to talk about yourself or your own next endeavor will let them know that they are important to you and you care about them. Listening is Hero 101, plus, as a bonus this practice will make everybody else  like to be around you more.
  • Spend Time with Them- Literally just being there can go a very long way. Sometimes that’s all someone needs.
  • Acknowledge Them- Let them know that you really see them and tell them the specific qualities in them that make them, or the  things they do, so great. Point out specifics about why something went so well. Make it personal.
  • Champion Them- Be their cheerleader! Let them know that they can do it!! Make it better by telling them why you believe in them so much.  Celebrate with them! When things fail, be there to pick them up and cheer them onto their next thing.
  • Challenge Them- This can be used when they are feeling like they can’t get through a hurdle or something is blocking them. Help them to become their best selves by pushing them past their comfort zones or to do the right thing.
  • Be a Good Example-If you are going to be someone’s Hero, you better be awesome. Do your best, live with honor, be impeccable with your word and don’t forget to love yourself. You can be a Hero to many people without even knowing it if you are living your best life, giving back and spreading your good messages to the world. Just be your awesome self!
  • Offer Help- There is no better way to support someone than to actually support them! I am not talking about paying their rent, but lending them a helping hand when they are trying to get a project done is extra-credit Hero behavior.

And here is an Inquiry I would like to put out there for anyone to answer in the comments. What does it take to be a SUPERHERO?

I know that I will probably fall apart the next time I have a gig and my friend is not there. I know that I will have a heavy heart from the missing comments that I would usually see at the end of this blog post, as soon as it is published. It’s gut wrenching for sure. But there is some light. I can learn some of  their Hero behavior and bestow it upon other people. People out there doing stuff that could use the support and love. Yeah, I’m gonna go out and do some Heroing.

The other good news is I still have lotsa Hero’s out there! I don’t know how I am so lucky, but I have not forgotten about them and I am so grateful that they are in my life. Besides going out there and being Hero-like, I also intend to make sure that my current Heroes know how important and special their support is for me. Perhaps I will sing that Beaches song in there ear the next time I see them…