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You’re Right! Life Changed, Now What To Do About the Holidays?

Sunday, 23. November 2014 5:30

Even with all its merriment, the holiday season can be an emotional rollercoaster for those of us who have experienced a recent life change. Some of us may face uncertainty about where, how and with whom to celebrate due to divorce, illness or a death in the family.iStock_000008261335_Small

It’s pretty easy to conjure up a mental vision of the perfect holiday, complete with loving, smiling faces, big family gatherings and joyful hearts.  And for many of us, that is just not the way it goes. Often it is the image of what we believe we can’t have that causes us to suffer.  We feel deprived, and we get stuck there.

So what to do?

Start by realizing that there is no such thing as a perfect holiday!  Drop the “shoulds” in your vocabulary.   Abandon the “it should be like this, or like that.”  Your holiday will be whatever it is, depending on your circumstances.

Next, try getting really clear about what you are feeling, what you value and what you want from the days you do have.

Here are a few questions to help you focus:

What are you longing for this holiday?

If you are struggling with this question because you can’t get the picture of how it used to be (or how it should be) out of your head, then start looking at it with a magnifying glass.  What was so great about the “olden days?”  Be specific.

For example, if a loved one has died (or left), there’s no way to replace him or her, but what did that person bring you? Was it laughter, comfort, ease?  What is the underlying need that was provided to you in that situation?  Appreciate that, mourn it and allow the longing for it to live in your heart.

And then, (perhaps after a good cry) since the lost loved one(s) can’t be there in real time, get creative. How else might you access comfort, laughter and ease for yourself (and maybe others) on this new holiday?

Your day may not look the way it used to, but if you can cook up some things that you feel good about, why does it matter? Avoiding  “compare despair “may just let you focus on what you do have, and allow you to access your gratitude.

What do the holidays mean to you?

When your situation changes, figuring out what’s important to you about the holidays can be very instructive.  My son and I faced this challenge last year.  We spent a sweet Christmas together hiking and cooking.

He admitted being a bit disappointed at first with the prospect of our day.  To him, holidays had always seemed to be about large family gatherings.   And, since we were far away from our relatives, (and I recently divorced), we weren’t able to replicate the old days, so we had to rethink it.

I shared with him, that to me, the end of year holidays are a time to slow down and appreciate all the love and friendship in  my life and to reconnect with friends.  It is also an opportunity  to take stock of what I have accomplished and what I still long to do.  And, while I often enjoyed the large gatherings, that was never the focal point for me.   That being said, now knowing his perspective, perhaps we could plan a larger celebration next year.

That’s not to say that what I value in my holiday is what anyone else should value. I just want to point out that if you know what makes your holiday meaningful, you have a better opportunity to take charge and create a holiday that comes closer to what you want it to be.

Here are a few ideas along those lines: If you enjoy giving, I am imagining there a million ways to donate time, energy and kindness to those less fortunate than you. That could make a beautiful holiday.  Or, maybe holidays are a great time for you to travel. Since little is happening at work, so why not see the places you keep meaning to visit?  Holiday weeks can also be a great time to catch up on all the projects you never seem to have time to complete during the year.  Or, maybe it’s simply a great time to rest.

In short, the holidays  take on the meaning that you give to them. What ever you choose, my hope is that it will be just right for you.


If you might enjoy some companionship  strategizing about your how to improve your holidays, send me an e-mail at and let’s chat!


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Thursday, 14. February 2013 13:25

Happy February – a lovely quote by author Kobi Yamada touched me today:

Believe in your dreams.

Believe in today.

Believe that you are loved.

Believe that you make a difference.

Believe we can build a better world.

Believe when others might not.

Believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Believe that you might be that light for someone else.

Believe that the best is yet to be.

Believe in each other.

Believe in yourself.

I believe in you.

– Kobi Yamada

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Holiday Embrace

Monday, 24. December 2012 13:35

“This is not a letter but my arms about you for a brief moment.”

Katherine Mansfield


Happy Holidays and best wishes that you may both embrace yourself and others in the coming year.

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On Gratitude

Wednesday, 21. November 2012 14:37

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward


Happy Thanksgiving!  For more on the benefits of gratitude, visit

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On Love

Thursday, 2. August 2012 16:15

I recently learned about the poetry of Hafiz.   Here is one of my favorites from his book The Gift:

All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”

حافظ, The Gift

May you too experience the blessing of a love that lights up the world.

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Opening New Doors

Friday, 13. July 2012 12:37

“There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.” 

Quote by Jim Morrison, American Poet and Singer, member of the band, The Doors.

Hello friends! I hope you have been enjoying your summer.  I’ve been spending my time opening and closing doors, and arranging furniture in the rooms in between. The process has been challenging, enlightening and consuming.

Check out my latest Project U. blog, if you want to read a little more about transformation…

Back soon!


Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff, Wellness | Comment (0) | Author:

I Hope You Dance

Friday, 18. May 2012 16:20


Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.

Author Unknown

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Courage to Laugh

Monday, 27. February 2012 21:45

A young man named Shane Burcaw has a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  He and his cousin started a nonprofit called Laughing At My Nightmare.  Their mission is to raise money to fund research for a cure for muscular dystrophy diseases by promoting positivity and setting an example of how to approach the challenges of life with acceptance, humor and laughter.  I just viewed their first video project and found it to be so touching and inspiring, that I wanted to share it with you.  For more about Shane and and his cause, visit his blog  and view the video below or at

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My Top Ten Favorite Quotes from 2011

Saturday, 31. December 2011 19:30

Happy New Year! I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite quotes from 2011. These are quotes that inspired me on days that I needed a fresh perspective  (and that I posted on my Saar Coaching Face Book page as a result.) I hope you enjoy them.

“To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.” Unknown

“Do not fear mistakes – there are none.”  Miles Davis

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”  Alexander Graham Bell

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”  James Thurber

“One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.” French proverb

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”  Oscar Wilde

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”  Epictetus

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”  Victor Borge

“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.”  E. B. White

Please share some of your favorite quotes as well.  I would love to know.

Happy, healthy prosperous New Year to all!

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Peace Be With You

Thursday, 22. December 2011 12:11

During this hectic holiday season, I hope you will find time to rest, reflect and connect – with yourself as well as others.  Where have you been this last year, and where are you going?  Is it good and right for you?  If not, how might you make a change for the better?

I love this quote from Peace Pilgrim, an American Teacher and Spiritual leader that says,

“There is a criterion by which you can judge whether the thoughts you are thinking and the things you are doing are right for you. The criterion is: Have they brought you inner peace? If they have not, there is something wrong with them / so keep seeking! If what you do has brought you inner peace, stay with what you believe is right.”

I wish you joy, peace and light this holiday season.  Remember that every moment brings an opportunity to begin again.

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