Tag Archives: gifts

A Valentine’s Day Challenge

As with most people, I have always has a bittersweet relationship with Valentine’s Day.   As a teenager I revealed in the romantic ideals, swept up in this concept of demonstrating eternal love through flowers, jewelry and chocolate. Unless, of course, I didn’t have a boyfriend then I banished the holiday as a silly idea and I was appalled at the concept.

Over the years I have found the paradox in the day that baffles me. One day has the power to make someone feel whole and loved if his or her partner pulled off a romantic gesture. On the other hand, some end relationships entirely because the gesture didn’t live up to expectations. Then there is another group who have no partner and this day sparks loneliness and sadness. There are many people who are indifferent about the day but for the most part, it is an emotional windstorm based entirely on circumstance and others actions.

This day, however, has potential to grow into something new. I love the idea of a reminder to slow down and celebrate love, but it can explore a deeper kind of love within us. It can remind us that we are beyond the fear, doubt, anger and expectations. Strip away all the layers of thoughts and emotions and the truth of our being comes to light – we are love. We don’t need others to give us the gifts, promises or romantic gestures to feel the completeness that is already within us.

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are in a relationship or not, I challenge you to give yourself a romantic gesture. Run yourself a warm and relaxing bubble bath, write a love letter to yourself or buy yourself something beautiful. Whatever it may be that calls to you, give yourself the reminder that you are love and the deeper you love yourself, the more expansive your life will become.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Valentines

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Make This Christmas Thing Last…

I feel called to share the below post I wrote a few years back.  To me , this still holds true every year and I continue to try to find ways to keep the Christmas spirit alive in my own life.  Will you join me in doing the same? Happy holidays to all of my wonderful follower and fellow bloggers 🙂 

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In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share some lyrics from one of my favorite Christmas Songs.  Although not a common or traditional song, An Old City Bar by Trans-Siberian Orchestra perfectly displays the spirit of Christmas through a beautiful story.  My favorite verse:

If you want to arrange it

This world, you can change it

If we can somehow

Make this Christmas thing last

By helping a neighbor

Or even a stranger

To know who needs help,

You need only just ask

Image Source: Google Images

Image Source: Google Images

This verse moves me every time.  I will listen to it throughout the year to remind myself to get back into the spirit, regardless of the month I am in.  I am always inspired and amazed by the giving we see this time of year; and I just don’t mean the gift giving on Christmas Morning.  Donations to charities explode, there are wait lists to volunteer at soup kitchens, Salvation Army volunteers ring bells all around and people everywhere are friendlier.  As the season comes close, the heartfelt stories begin to spread and thoughtful ideas of handmade gifts are shared.  If you avoid the crazed stressful shopping and filled malls, which is my tendency, these other aspects of Christmas are all you see and experience.  It is an incredible display of humanity and kindness.

As the season comes to an end, I am always a little sad to see this fade away.  It lasts a few days but after the New Year begins, the feel of love, compassion and giving that surrounds us now is a memory and we get on with our lives.  Do we not see that homeless still need to be served in May?  Do we not know that our favorite charities need money in July, maybe even more so than this time of year?  Of course we realize this, but somehow the cycle continues.

One of the reasons for this is that the spirit of giving and kindness is contagious.  As this season approaches, people start talking about giving gifts, making plans to volunteer and create lists of what they will give others.  This starts to feed the energy in the air and slowly more and more people join in.  By the beginning of December everyone is in the holiday spirit and energized by it.  There is no other time of year when so many people are collectively focused on giving.  It creates a powerful force that leads to what we call Christmas Miracles, which are simply acts of human kindness that are available year round if we would choose to display them.  The focus on giving warms our hearts, inspires us and brings us joy.  This makes anything possible.

The more of us that make giving and helping others our way of life after the season passes; the more likely that others will catch on and the world can really change.  Regardless of how much you have, what you do for a living or who you know; true fulfillment can only come if you live all year long with giving, love and kindness.  This is what Christmas teaches us.  It can be anything from giving smiles and hugs to giving some of your time to volunteer or help a neighbor.  Every bit of giving and kindness will help keep the spirit alive.

So I ask you, how can you make this Christmas thing last?

A Gift For You!

Dear Followers,Giveaway

This year I have been truly blessed.  As I think about how fortunate I am, I realize that I cannot pursue my dreams and explore so many aspects of healing without the incredible support you give me.  The overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude for each of you cannot be easily expressed, but I feel guided to try nonetheless.

With this in mind, I have decided to giveaway free coaching to two individuals, as well as significantly discounted sessions to an additional two.  While this can only reach a few people, I hope that it is a small gesture to show how much I appreciate all my followers and clients.  Please go to the Coaching Giveaway page for details and to enter.

I wish each of you an incredible holiday season as well as a New Year full of endless happiness and your dreams coming true.

Be Well,

April B.

 

Give Love.

As Thanksgiving passes here in the United States we quickly transition into the season of gift buying and giving.  I was amazed how many people this year expressed they love Thanksgiving as it is a “pressure” free holiday, filled with gratitude and spending time with family versus the upcoming expectations that come from holidays that require gift giving.  While many have reflected on the paradox of holidays such as Christmas, a spiritual day that becomes wrapped up in feelings of anxiety and stress, we have yet to create a solution that makes these days more about their purpose versus the pressures of our society.  We contemplate how to make sure we get the “perfect” gift for someone, filled with fear of judgment if we get it wrong when in fact they are probably having the same fears and thoughts.  We lose the feeling of joy that comes from giving a gift, we spend more than we can afford and we lose sight of taking care of ourselves as the holiday comes closer.

The solution is fairly simple and can be described in two little words, give love.  While Givethis idea of giving love can manifest itself as a simple and thoughtful gift, spending time with each other or ensuring you demonstrate how much appreciation you have for another, if the intent is purely to give love then the fear of judgment can melt away.  Those in our lives who are as grateful for us as we are for them will appreciate any genuine attempt to give love over a “perfect” gift.  Trusting that our intent can be seen and felt, we can release the stress and enjoy the bliss that comes from expressing what we feel in our hearts.

As you determine what you will give to others this year instead of asking questions such as “What do they want?” or “How much will they spend on me?” or “How do I match what I got them last year?”, etc. simply ask yourself one question, “How do I show them how much I love and appreciate them?”.  Take note of anything that comes up, not judging it based on its material worth or how different it is from what you usually do.  As you do this, the gratitude and love you have for others will easily rise up and guide you towards new and creative ideas.  This simple shift in perspective will allow the experience to be much more enjoyable and fulfilling for you, as well as those you are giving to.

If you feel this will be an incredible shift for you and those around you, here are ways you can make it a little easier:

  • Start the trend – Tell your friends and family that you would prefer them to not buy you gifts or to give money to your favorite charity instead of buying you something.  This will help in releasing any of the pressure of what they will give you and leave you free to be as simple or extravagant as you want.  They may still chose to give but this will release expectations.
  • Set a limit – Setting a dollar limit with those closest to you can be an easy way to eliminate the stress.  The lower you go it becomes a fun game in how to be creative with little money.  For years my husband and I have set a limit of $20 or $25 and simply require that we get creative and make it meaningful.  It is my favorite gift to buy/make every year.  I also know families where everyone, including the children, only make gifts for each other and have the simple rule of not spending any money.
  • Write a letter – When you give your “gift” whether it be something you purchased, something you made, time you spend with them, or whatever comes to mind for you; give them a letter or card expressing your intent of the “gift” and your love and appreciate for them.  Most people would take a heartfelt letter as a very touching gesture and will make any discomfort you have fade away.
  • Share this post with others – Send this to your friends and family, letting them know this is how you are approaching it this year and to expect something different.  The idea that you will be spending time truly reflecting on how to give love to them may inspire them to do the same.  This will also help you not have guilt if they give you something that may have more material worth as they knew in advance that you might not be spending much money (or any money) on them.

To get your creativity flowing here are some ideas on great ways to give love:

  • A photo collage in a beautiful frame
  • A first edition of their favorite book
  • Cooking their favorite meal or giving their favorite dessert
  • For family not close buying a ticket or airline gift card to go see them or them come see you
  • A heartfelt letter or a beautiful quote expressing your love for them in a beautiful frame
  • A day filled with activities or going places that they love
  • A beautiful box filled with little cards or pieces of paper stating what you love or appreciate about them.  They can read one-a-day all year long
  • Buying them that one thing they have always wanted but would never buy for themselves
  • A basket full of items symbolizing a special day spent together or favorite things from their childhood
  • For kids buy them your favorite toy or book from childhood and share some wonderful stories with them

This year make a point to experience the beauty of giving without the stress or pressure.  Make this season a time of love and gratitude for those in your life.  Just remember; simply give love.

Allowing Creativity

This is the perfect time of year to stretch your creativity and fulfill a long dormant part of yourself.  Whether it is decorating for the holidays or making a personal gift for someone special now is the time to find your inner artist.

Why is this important?  Creating things is a great way to express our spirit and get back in touch with ourselves.  In today’s world we tend to get disconnected so easily with technology, the business of day to day life and the demands being put on us to be everywhere at once.  Giving yourself some time to reconnect is so important; and what better way the a little bit of decoration or crafts.  The more cynical side of you is saying that you aren’t an artist.  That you maybe don’t have a creative bone in your body.  Well, I don’t agree.  Every child loves to color, paint, glue and mold.  This is instinctual and something that brings great joy.  Think back to those days before you felt judged or criticized…you were creative and that talent is still inside you.  Acknowledge that child inside that wants to come out and be expressive.  Let go of the fears and allow the creative energy flow!

What now?  Well- here are some ideas to get you moving…

Decorate- If it isn’t for the holidays; you can still leverage the inspiration of the season and pick a part of your home you have been meaning to rearrange or paint.  Take advantage of the sales out there and get something that you see as pure beauty and make room in your home for it.

Write- You can send someone a letter; write your child a silly poem; leave notes in hidden places expressing your love to your spouse; journal about your favorite art project when you were a child

Crafts- There are many great holiday decorations you can make and to get inspired all you need is to type into your browser.  On many sites online you can find easy directions for home made masterpieces you can do solo, with friends or with your kids.

Make a gift- In a time when we are standing in line for days to get Black Friday deals it would be great nourishment to your spirit to give a gift with love.  You can make a photo collage; decorate a frame with a heartfelt quote in it; decorate a beautiful box you can fill with pieces of papers titled “100 reasons why I love you”; etc.!  The possibilities are endless!

Feeling inspired yet? Start jotting down ideas and let it the brainstorming take over.  If you still aren’t sure solicit help from close friends, go walk around a craft store or poke around online.  Something brilliant will come and your spirit will do the rest! 🙂