What Are You Waiting For!

If you are one of those people who waits for the last-minute to start your Christmas shopping and need help pulling it together, the posse has just arrived!

Although I am going to focus on Christmas, the following tips can be helpful when applied to all holiday celebrations, as well as celebrations throughout the year.

First and most importantly, make it a point to know the giftee.

Here are some helpful ideas.

If you know the giftee loves to cook, assemble an array of kitchen tools and/or linens, and a unique cookbook.  I love shopping at stores such as, Sur La Table for these kinds of items.

Maybe the giftee is an avid gardener?  In this case, arrange a selection of handheld garden tools.  Include a gardener’s apron and a package of spring bulbs.  Home Depot is the place to visit for success with arranging this gift.

How about the giftee who enjoys cozy comfort?  Be creative!  Put together a few packages of popcorn, a lap fleece and Starbucks hot chocolate and winter shaped marshmallows.  Who could resist this assortment cuddled up on the sofa watching old movies on a snowy winter night?

Here is a gift idea that I received several years ago and the friend that gifted me is off the “what should I buy this year” hook.  This gift is able to be renewed year after year by the gifter.  My friend provided me with two magazine subscriptions, Martha Stewart Living and Oprah.  For me and my friend this is the gift that keeps on giving!

I think you get the idea by now and can go it alone in creating gift packages that are both thoughtful and useful; and here is a secret…shh, these gift packages can be both time-saving and cost-effective.  Once the gift packages are purchased, ditch the boxes and wrapping paper, tags and ribbon purchases.  Employ this helpful hint and not only will you be saving time and money, you will be saving the planet, and your giftee’s energy with lessening the amount of trash to the curb.

The secret is, buy a Christmas stocking and stuff it with your treasure!  Simple designed Christmas stockings are manufactured in bulk, and therefore are relatively inexpensive. especially when compared to the price of wrapping paper and ribbon; and they can be “hung by the chimney with care” year after year by the giftee.

What are you waiting for?!  Journey on down to your favorite shopping spot or hop online to get started.  Only two more weeks to go!

Peace and love this holiday season,

India

 

Christmastime is Here

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and truly it is, but does it feel that way for everyone?
Santa arrives with a sleigh full of packages and Christmas for some of us carries its own baggage. Office parties, family gatherings, friends making merry all sound marvelous but it can have a hollow echo if your heart is heavy. So how do we navigate all the different shades of a blue Christmas?
I began to slide down the slippery slope of sadness; a distinct memory of a terribly stressful holiday gone by had robbed me of any sign of cheer. I was unwrapping ornaments & sobbing when the realization dawned, I did not have to shoulder this sorrow alone. I chose to reach out to trusted hearts. A conversation of encouragement changed the filter I was gazing through; those same ornaments now spoke of freedom and precious moments of peace.
So, as you go about your “holi-daze” take time to remember you deserve kindness and the “presence” of the moment. Look around your circle, I dare say you will find another outstretched hand in need of your touch.
“A hand for each hand was planned for the world.”

Sea & Skye

Coincidence Or Is It?

There have been times in my life where situations or events have happened and I thought to myself, wow what a coincidence. Was it really though? Lately I’m not so sure. I’m starting to think nothing happens by chance but there are signs pointing us in the right direction.
One beautiful fall morning I decided to go to my favorite local farm stand. They serve the best coffee and apple cider donuts. As I sat at my table sipping my coffee and admiring the beautiful fall foliage, I spotted a familiar face walking towards the door. I jumped out of my seat and ran to the door to greet of all people, my cousin with open arms. I could not believe my eyes. She lives an hour away and woke up that morning and decided to take a drive to Long Island because she had a craving for an apple cider donut from Kerber Farms of all places. What a coincidence or was it, that we ended up at the same place, at the same time; or perhaps it was the universe drawing us together
Currently, at this point in my life I am at a crossroad. My husband and I have decided to separate after 14 years of marriage. Needless to say, there are many questions going through my head. For example, am I making the right decision, will I ever find happiness, how do I heal the pain? The list of questions goes on and on.
Most of the time I am walking through life blinded by the hectic pace of work and motherhood so I often miss the signs around me. That fall morning when I saw my cousins face, I knew it was a sign that everything was going to be ok. She and I share a special connection although we do not see or speak as often as I would like she always has this way of appearing when I am in need of some emotional support. As you know a woman never tells their age, so I will say as a thirty-something, single mother of two, there will be days when I am clawing to hold on to my sanity and I receive a random text from my cousin simply saying “I’m thinking of you and sending prayers,” and this coincidence pulls me down from the edge of the cliff. It’s like we are connected on some wave length. A frequency. A divine power.
Science may say it is some quantum force that pulls us together. Something like the six degrees of separation. But I like to think of it as a spiritual connection that binds the wave lengths from one loved one to another. Something to ponder over a good cup of coffee.
Why not take this day to recognize the signs the Universe is sending to you?
Journey on….

Virgo

 

Are You Expecting?

Are you expecting? I was.
Several blog posts ago I focused on perfect love and to date I continue to work on my ability to give and receive love effortlessly.
These last 40 days provided me with the opportunity to travel further on my love quest. After much soul searching and peace searching, I found the root of my love challenge. I was expecting! What an enlightenment! My discovery allowed me to walk on, and I confess the road was rocky in my pursuit of peaceful, effortless love.
My extended journey led me to a trinity of sources and each one provided me with the clarity I was looking for. The first person was (is), Jesus Christ. The compassion of Jesus and His ability to love in the face of adversity, continues to astound me. Saint Paul describes the emptiness of action without love in 1 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER13 . Although I know I will never reach Jesus’s level of perfection, His model of love pushed me to conduct a short but meaningful activity that I developed for myself. I divided a sheet of paper down the middle. On one side of the paper I listed five words that I felt defined the qualities of love.
1. Loyalty
2. Obligation
3. Selflessness
4. Attentiveness
5. Indulgence (which is different from understanding and/or sympathy)
On the other side of the paper I listed five words that I felt defined the qualities of compassion.
1. Understanding
2. Sympathy
3. Concern
4. Kindness
5. Consideration
Suddenly I realized my definition of love was exhausting me in my efforts to show love and in my husband’s efforts to meet my expectation of love. In that moment compassionate love blazed genuine. Didn’t it make more sense to look at love as a soothing value rather than a responsibility that most of the time causes angst?
In my search to fully comprehend my new discovery, I stumbled upon my second source,
Jaggi Vasudev Sadhguru in his talk on how expectations ruin love. I listened intently as Guru explained, “love, most people go into relationships to give love and to get love.” He additional shared, “however, expectations ruin the relationship.” An aha moment! Guru went on to say “not even a god or a goddess can meet the expectations of another and in time the relationship will sour, and why does an individual feel unfilled when each piece of the life is complete by itself?” As I listened the tension of my idea of love began to ease. The calculations of who did what and how many times, and whose turn is it, and if you loved me you would do it began to fade away and be replaced by the peace that comes with compassion.
Wanting to learn more I traveled further down the road where I met my third source, Aruna Shields, on the free meditation app InsightTimer. Aruna guided a six-minute meditative interpretation of the Tao Te Ching. Basically, the Tao enforces the human spiritual perfection and the art of ruling through applying the Tao principles. Personally, I took the “art of ruling” as applied to myself, meaning that by meditating on the principles I can preside over or govern the improvement of my spiritual being. Each of the Tao principles unlocks a mystery. The first principle, “the you who can be discussed is not the eternal you,” shook me to my very core and detonated a fury of feelings I had never before recognized. I realized that my ability to give and receive love hinged on the expectations of others and if me and my choices caused disappointment it would result in judgement and gossip. Crippling! How could I love and give love if I was not true to myself? Here is where the real work began, and in the words of Guru, “when we devoid ourselves of expectations, we set ourselves free.” ❤

To journey is to discover…. I’ll see you there.

India

Dream Baby Dream

The first step in a journey is inspired by a dream. Whether it is a hike, a drive, a redo, a challenge, an expedition into the mind, etc. the adventurer takes off with the intent to accomplish a personal vision.
I love the excitement caused by the anticipation of a journey, whether it is a big one like a trek across Europe or a small one like a drive to the city to collect a piece of long sought-after art, the expectancy is thrilling. Usually I don’t find it difficult to set sail. But I confess, recently I did because the journey that I was about to embark on involved a transformation within myself and my surroundings. I couldn’t take the first step because I didn’t know where to or how to begin.
In my cyber-search for guidance, I stumbled upon Mike Dooley. Here I found the direction I was looking for. I participated in a 30-day free course that focused on how to move your dream forward. I purchased a notebook and logged on to each short, self-directed session every day. At the end of the 30 days I had a notebook filled with storyboard pictures, subject notes, inspirational quotes, personal to do lists and a cyber-community of “friends” that helped motivate me to create my own roadmap to success.
Today I am a different person than the person I was a year ago. I transformed a former guest bedroom into a DIY home office and meditation room and presently, I am sitting at the desk that is nestled in a corner of the room writing this blog and cyber-searching new business ventures. Where did my journey take me? It took me to places unknown full of discovery within myself, my relationships, my career, and the intimate world around me.
I didn’t go it alone. Two masters help to inspire me along the way. The first, the Master of the Universe in these words, “Take courage, do not fear, start a new life tomorrow; put the old mistakes away, and start anew unburdened, no anxiety, no worry, be glad, be thankful.”
The second, The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, “Dream, baby, dream, dream baby dream, we got to keep the light burning, we got to keep the fire burning, we got to keep the light burning, come on and dream on dream baby dream.”
We are never too old, too settled, or too down to dream, so put on your backpack, pick up your walking stick and tread on. We’re all in this…. together.
Peace,
India