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December 2010

5 steps for creating a december to remember

december to remember()



WARNING: I have launched full-force into the holiday spirit, and I will be spending a lot of time writing about the Christmas holiday over the next month. For those of you not at all interested in Christmas, I hope you'll stick around until the New Year when my sparkle-dusted, green-and-red holiday-themed posts subside. And for those of you
interested in diving headfirst in to the holiday spirit with me, get ready for some glitter-coated, snow-covered Christmas posts certain to inspire you!  


For me, and for many others, December is a very festive time of year. It's the time of year when the season is changing from fall to winter, when many holidays are being celebrated, and when the air is filled with the promise and excitement of people coming together in celebration. If you celebrate a December holiday, you most likely want to have a memorable holiday season, and have every intention of making it the "best one ever." But, if you're anything like me, with the hustle and bustle of everything, too often I look back on the holidays and it all seems like a blur of red and green and sparkle and something vaguely resembling magic. 

I always want to be present for the month of December, but between the holiday preparation, the parties, and the To Do lists, I often feel like I rush and rush and suddenly find myself in January, scratching my head and wondering where the holiday season went. Being present when there's so much to do can be very difficult, which is why I've taken a step back from the busy-ness of the holidays to think about how to make it a season that I will remember. (Yes, much as I cringe to admit it, the idea for this post came to me while watching a commercial for the Lexus "December to Remember" event...)

As much as I want to be present and remember the month of December, it's a lot easier to say, "Be present!" than it is to actually do it. This year I've decided to come up with a (hopefully) foolproof plan to make the most of the month. Though some of the plan does apply to the Christmas season specifically, most of it can be applied to anyone's December -- or any month for that matter -- that you want to remember. 



Create a December to Remember


Step 1: Live each moment in the present. During the holiday season, there are so many different things going on. There are events to attend, gifts to purchase, and and array of over-stimulating holiday decorations pretty much everywhere. As a result of all this commotion, it can be very easy to get distracted from what is supposed to be the true meaning of the holiday season -- giving to others and spending time with those you love. When you find yourself overwhelmed by the chaos of the holiday season, take a deep breath and remind yourself to pay attention. Even the smallest things -- like a holiday display in a store window, or smile from a festive stranger -- can symbolize the holiday season. If you take a moment to pay attention to what's going on around you, you'll be much more likely to remember it after the season has passed you by.  

Step 2: Embrace your favorite traditions. While you're doing all of this paying attention to what's going on around you, you might as well take a good look at your holiday traditions. Are there things you love to do every year? What traditions did you have in your family while you were growing up? What can you do today to keep those traditions alive. Sticking to the traditions to love is one way to make sure your holiday season will be more memorable. For example, I used to love opening an advent calendar every year during the month of December and this year my mom bought me a new one so I could keep up the childhood tradition I loved so much. Another tradition I try always to keep is reading The Magic Christmas. No matter how many times I've read it, it really puts me in the holiday spirit. Embracing traditions you know and love really can help to make your holiday more memorable. 

Step 3: Be open to new experiences. As much as I love adhering to old traditions, a surefire way to make this December one to remember is to do something you've never done before. Don't know where to get new ideas? Ask your friends and acquaintances what their holiday traditions are. Some might sound strange to you, but you're bound to hear about something that sounds new and exciting. Trying something new -- regardless of what you're celebrating -- is a great way to make a moment memorable. When we do the same thing over and over again, we're a lot less likely to remember it. So if you really want to spice up your holiday season and make this December one you'll always remember, open your mind to new ideas and don't be afraid to break away from the things you've always done. You never know -- you might just create a brand new tradition for yourself!

Step 4: Capture your moments on film. Sure, we all have every intention of photographing life's most important moments, but how often do we really get the camera out and start capturing moments? It's easy to look through the lens at the obvious moments -- like Christmas morning or when the family is sitting around the table -- but what about the not-so-obvious moments? Think about the photographs you take and really pay attention to the moments you want to remember. These moments don't have to be the typical stringing-the-tree-lights or sitting-on-Santa's-lap situations. The moments that matter most are the moments that are special for you. They might be completely odd or startling typical, but they are your special moments. Really think about what you want to remember this December and be sure to have your camera close by. You never know when a truly memory-worthy moment will strike so be prepared. 

Step 5: Take time to write it down. Whether you're a writer like me or not, you should take the time this December to write about the moments that matter most to you. You don't have to be Plath or Woolf to put the pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and make a record of what inspires you this holiday season. All you need is an open mind and a little dedication. When rushing from one thing to another this December, it will be hard to pause and write down the memories you're experiencing, but, believe me, you'll be happy if you take the time to do it. Even if you don't have a ton of free time (and who does!), set aside a few minutes at the end of every day this month and write about what you've experienced. Write about the things that mean the most to you and strive to focus on the positive things about the holiday season. If you take a few minutes to put the moments into writing now, you'll look back next year and smile at the memories. 

 


Like you probably do, I struggle with being present during the holiday season. I really, really want to embrace the moments I'm experiencing and live completely in the now, but often the stress of the holidays dominates my thoughts and I'm always looking to the future, pondering all of the things yet to be crossed off on the To Do list. However, unlike holidays I've experienced before, I'm really going to try to live in the moments this December and, hopefully, it will be a December I never forget. 


How will you make this December unforgettable? 
Any tips for making the most of this month? 


words to live by: defining yourself

 

defining yourself()


"Our personas convince us that there is nothing that we don't know about ourselves --
that we are in fact the person we see in the mirror and believe ourselves to be.
But the issue with this is that once we have brought into the story of 'this is who I am,'
we shut the door on any other possibility and deny ourselves access to all of who we can be.
We lose our ability to choose, because we can't do anything outside the confines of the character we're playing.
The predictable persona we've constructed is now in control.
We become blind to the immense possibilities for our life."


Debbie Ford
 The Shadow Effect 

 

 

"Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter.  



focusing on thanks: 4 phrases that really work

 

positivity()

 

Today's post was written by William Gladstone, Richard Greninger, and John Selby, authors of Tapping the Source: Using the Master Key System for Abundance and Happiness. I haven't yet read their book, but after reading this post I'm certainly going to check it out soon! 

 

As we approach Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season, we hopefully find our hearts opening, eager to share in uplifting feelings like gratitude, inner harmony and joyful relating. During this time of year we can realize that true happiness comes not from possessions and accomplishments but from inner feelings of compassion, thankfulness and belonging to a greater community of family, friends, and world sharing.

But experiencing these uplifting feelings during the holiday season, for most people, is easier said than done. How can you take charge of your own inner experience, and actively tap into the true spirit of the holiday season?

My co-authors and I sought to answer this core question in our new book and upcoming film, Tapping the Source, wherein we explore in depth the true “secret” to achieving not just wealth, health and material abundance – but spontaneous joy and lasting happiness. 

The secret of feeling genuinely good inside your own heart has been known for thousands of years: you must first look inward regularly and reconnect with your ultimate Source of life and love and power, in order to nurture all the good feelings that constitute happiness. Connect with your Source, and then open and up and feel natural thankfulness for everything that’s coming into your life each new moment.

The truth is, without experiencing gratitude you will never be able to access the true joy of your authentic self. Feeling thankful, and in response giving of yourself to others, does feel good! That’s the heart of the holiday spirit. Your challenge is in remembering to focus on these positive feelings, so that they manifest in your life.

In our book, we explore practical Focus Phrases that will help you refocus your attention regularly inward, so that you make essential contact with the spontaneous feelings of thankfulness and sharing which are the true secret of the holiday season. At the core of your being you are an essential part of the that infinite wisdom and power that created this entire universe and continues to manifest each emerging moment. Your challenge is to remember to focus on your Source – and then bring its infinite love more fully into your personal world. 

When you look inward to your Source and realize the joy inherent in your true nature, you naturally become brighter and more giving in your life. While interviewing over a hundred highly-successful people for our film and book, we were told again and again that the greatest joy for these artists, entrepreneurs, writers and  leaders was to be of service to others. They talked about the gratitude they felt in just waking up and being alive every new day – to breath, to see, to experience … and to share their feelings and creativity and insights with others.
 
Where you focus your power of attention determines everything in your life. And as you approach this new Thanksgiving holiday it will be important to focus, as philanthropist Shari Arison states, “on what is, and not on what is not.” 

Enjoy each new breath. Accept your family and friends just as they are.  If you can remember to focus regularly on your ability to create joy for yourself and others, and feel thankful for each new moment of your life, then your holiday will naturally flow with more brightness and heartfelt sharing.

To help you do this, try holding special Focus Phrases in your mind as often as possible. As we teach in Tapping The Source, you can let these key words fill your whole being with the clear intent of what you want to manifest in your life:



        1:  “I choose to enjoy this moment.”

        2:  “I feel thankful for all that I have.”

        3:  “I want to share my happiness.”

        4:  “My inner joy is right now perfect and complete.”



Whatever you do this holiday, and throughout the year, you can hold these Focus Phrases often in your mind. Aim your attention in uplifting directions more often, and you’ll feel brighter, healthier, and more loving. In this age of ‘magic bullets’ and synthetic external solutions, it’s wonderful to know that you need nothing outside of yourself to feel gratitude and joy.

For more audio and video support in focusing upon what you really want this holiday season and for the rest of your life, visit www.TappingDaily.org where you can preview the movie and the book, and share your experiences and insights with others.

© 2010 William Gladstone, Richard Greninger, and John Selby, authors of Tapping the Source



Author Bios

William Gladstone
 is an author, literary agent, and pioneer in the publishing industry who has worked with respected and influential authors including Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and many others.

Richard Greninger is the producer for Muk Victor Hansen's book, Mega Speaking, and the Mega Marketing seminar programs; John Assaraf's "Cloning of Success" seminars; Debbie Allen's "Maximizing Success" seminars; and Adam Urbanski's "Small Business Success Summit" seminars.

John Selby
 is the author of more than two dozen self-help, spiritual-growth, business-success, and psychology books published in fourteen languages with over half a million books in print. Early in his career he conducted mind-management research for NIH and the New Jersey Neuro-Psychiatric Institute, and explored innovative approaches to meditation with J. Krishnamurti, Alan Watts, and others.

online gratitude: 33 thankworthy finds

 
thankful
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With Thanksgiving just a few days away, of course I'm thinking about all of the great things I'm thankful for in my life. My gratitude list is endless, but one thing I'm particularly thankful for this year is the plethora of online resources, sites, and inspiration I've come across. I spend so much time online, but I rarely stop and think about how awesome it is that we all have such great access to the world and to so many other people doing awesome, inspiring things. Though I could probably write hundreds of blog posts about sites I'm thankful for, I've narrowed my list down to 33 things I'm really grateful to have discovered online. Some are 2010 finds and others have been in my online repertoire for years, but whether I've been constantly clicking the links or just discovered them, they've all impacted me positively. So, as a gesture of thanks for reading Positively Present (thank you! thank you! thank you!), I've decided to share them with you...

 

  1. Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr! Oh, how I heart you! You are my 2010 favorite. 

  2. Jessica's Daily Affirmation. I want to wake up and be just like her every morning. 

  3. Our arms, like leaves... A brilliant quote from Miranda July on You Are Remarkable

  4. Joie Magazine. Indie Fixx's magazine all about the joyful art of living. 

  5. Positively Present on Twitter. It's a great way to connect with readers. Thanks for the tweets! 

  6. Scoutie Girl's Creating Action Mini Course. Utterly heartfelt inspiration delivered right to your in-box. 

  7. Perideau Designs. Modern stationary for the young -- and young at heart. I just love her style! 

  8. White Hot Truth. Because self-realization really does rock and site founder Danielle LaPorte knows it.  

  9. Life After College (the book!). It's coming in 2011 and gonna flat-out awesome. Pre-order now

  10. Brave Girls Club's How to Be Amazing. No matter what, just be amazing anyway. Excellent advice.

  11. Free downloads on How About Orange, including a Make-Your-Own Owl Calendar

  12. Be Yourself. A poem we could all use to remind ourselves that what we are is all we need to be. 

  13. Color Me Katie's banner. The website's pretty great too, but I just love that banner!

  14. Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design. An excellent resource for learning more about yourself. 

  15. Daydream Lily. Some of the most beautiful, inspiring images I've seen. 

  16. Here's the truth... A Kind Over Matter blog post that picked me up just when I needed it. 

  17. Winnie the Pooh's Guide to a Happier Life. He does seem pretty darn happy, doesn't he? 

  18. Pizzazzerie. Want to entertain in style? This is the go-to site for entertaining fabulousness.

  19. Being featured as a Kind Kindred. Yay! It made me happy to be spotlighted on Kind Over Matter. 

  20. Tiny Buddha. Tiny Buddha offers up fantastic wisdom on various topics. Follow on Twitter too. 

  21. Life Through the Lens. Beautiful photographs you can buy on Etsy. Love them. 

  22. Art Pixie. So much more than just design & inspiration...Photos. Fashion. Downloads. And more!

  23. Pugly Pixel's E-course and Tutorials. I particularly enjoyed the preview e-course on Design

  24. Art by Kelly O'Connor. Her Disney-inspired pieces inspired me to create collage-like art of my own.

  25. Living in Moment Makes You Happier article. Science proves it! Hooray for living in the present!

  26. GoodReads. I love being able to track (and share!) what I'm reading. If you love books, sign up. 

  27. Wordle. Create cool "word clouds" online using their software. Oddly fun to play around with. 

  28. My post featured on Think Simple Now -- site that inspired me to start Positively Present! 

  29. Life...Your Way Printables. These are super helpful if you want to get (or stay) organized. 

  30. Gifted. A holiday magazine and gift guide that, whether you're shopping or not, is beautiful to look at. 

  31. AOL Muchness article. So excited my blog was mentioned (and called amazing!). 

  32. Amazon. Helped me to find childhood favorites (like Alpha-Bakery and Ed Emerley drawing books). 

  33. GalaDarling. One of my favorite sites, hands down. Fashion. Advice. Sass. All in one great spot! 

 

As I'm sure you can imagine, there are more than 33 links I love, but these are some of my favorites and I hope you have a chance to check some of them out. If you're looking for inspiration, they're certainly some of the best places I'd recommend visiting. I'm grateful to have found them and even more grateful that I have a place here on Positively Present where I can share them with you. I hope they, in some small way, help you to be more positive and more present!

 

What online goodies are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
Which sites do you return to again and again for inspiration?  


words to live by: happiness is...



happiness is()

 

"Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter