Archive for 2009

30 dec

Completing the Year with Power

mike_robbinsThese few days before the start of the new year have a magical and sacred quality to them. I appreciate the lull in activity that often takes place this week and the opportunity we have to reflect back on the year that is ending, as well as to create new possibilities and intentions for the year that’s about to start. It often seems more exciting to focus on our “resolutions” for the coming year than it does to look back. However, before we jump ahead and start making our goals for next year, it’s essential that we complete the year that is about to end with power and appreciation.

As much as I personally love this completion process, I usually have mixed emotions reflecting back on the year. There is excitement, gratitude, and joy for all of the wonderful accomplishments, experiences, insights, and more. There is also sadness, disappointment, and sorrow over the things that I didn’t accomplish, the people and things I’ll miss, and the places in my life where I failed.

This is as true as ever as 2009 comes to a close. This past year I’ve experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life. I’m truly grateful for all that I’ve learned and experienced this year. And, while I have lots to appreciate from this past year, I also am glad to see it end! More than most years in recent memory, this one did not turn out anything like I thought it would twelve months ago. How about for you?

Due to the common mixture of emotions we experience and especially with a year like 2009 which created a lot of growth opportunities (to put it mildly) for most of us, it’s essential that we embrace and practice the art of completion. Completion is a conscious process we engage in whereby we do and say whatever we need to in order to create a true sense of closure to an experience (in this case, the year that is about to end).

Because we often have resistance to authentically celebrating and appreciating ourselves, reflecting honestly on our accomplishments or our failures, acknowledging our real results or lack thereof, grieving loss with depth, and more – we usually just roll through the end of things and either avoid completion all together or move onto the next thing as fast as we can. When we do this, however, we miss out on a sacred and important process.

Completion allows us to bring things to a close with a sense of gratitude, authenticity, and peace. When we allow ourselves to experience a sense of true completion, we move into the next phase of life bringing with us the gifts, lessons, accomplishments, experiences, and more from what we’ve just been through. When we don’t take the time to truly complete something, we end up carrying baggage, regrets, fear, and unresolved issues into our next experience. These things don’t serve us and often end up undermining our success and fulfillment.

As we get ready for 2010 and begin to think specifically about what we want to create and experience in this new year, one of the most important things we can do is to complete 2009 in an authentic and powerful way.

Completion Questions

Here are some questions you can ask and answer yourself, as a way to create a sense of completion for 2009:

1) What were my biggest lessons in 2009?

2) What am I most proud of from this past year?

3) What were my biggest disappointments in 2009?

4) What am I ready to let go of from this past year?

5) What else do I need to do or say to be totally complete with 2009?

As you take some time to think about and write down your answers to these questions, see if you can reflect on this past year with a sense of appreciation and empathy. The word “appreciate” means to recognize the value of (not necessarily like, agree with, or want to experience again). Whether your year was “wonderful,” “terrible,” or somewhere in between – we each have so much we can appreciate about this past year. And, it’s important for us to have as much empathy as we possibly can for ourselves, especially right now. If you’re anything like me, you probably had some big failures or disappointments this past year. When we can remember that we almost always do the best we can with what we have in each moment of our lives, we can hopefully let go of our feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment over any of the things that didn’t go as planned for us in 2009.

See if you can create some sacred time in the next few days to share your answers to these completion questions with some of the important people in your life (and maybe ask them to answer these questions as well). By creating a conscious intention for completion, you will give yourself the gift of appreciation for this past year and in so doing, allow a space to open up in which you can create your goals and intentions for 2010 with a sense of peace, power, and clarity. And, as you ponder these questions, you may realize that there is something important you want to do or say in order to leave 2009 behind and step into 2010 with freedom and peace.

Have fun with this. And, congratulations on completing another year of this magical, bizarre, wonderful adventure we call life – what a ride!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info –

Posted by Mike Robbins on December 30th, 2009 in General, New Directions, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

29 dec

Your Personal 2009 Inventory

spirituality_rockpathThe end of another year can bring up some tough times for many of us. We blame ourselves for the weight we put on. We criticize ourselves for the dream we didn’t pursue. We realize that we are yet again single for the holidays or we have racked up more debt. Whatever our demon is, we tend easily to forget a lot of what happened that led us to make our decisions. So let’s take a very different look back at 2009.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself that will radically change your view on this past year.

1) Whom did I meet this year who is now in my life?
2) What emotion really caused me to grow? Courage? Faith?
3) What emotion was I unafraid to feel? Fear? Sadness?
4) What am I most proud of?
5) In what area of my life did I really make some progress?
6) What did I do that completely surprised me and was unexpected to me?
7) Whom did I really help?
8) What is the biggest lesson I really faced?
9) What am I most grateful for?
10) What were the most fun times I had?

We get what we focus on. So despite the impossibly super-human standards we set for ourselves, we need to take a moment to realize what we gave to others, what went well, what worked out, what lesson life wanted us to learn this year, and what gifts were hidden that we could not possibly have predicted 12 months ago.

There are years for action and years for reflection. There are years for love and years for alone time. There are years for giving and years for receiving.

Be gentle on yourself and light on life.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 29th, 2009 in Ariane, Personal Stories | 2 comments Read related posts in

28 dec

Abundance, Health, and Harmony

In Chapter 8 of my book, Infinite Possibilities – The Art of Living Your Dreams, I want you to understand that abundance, health, and harmony are indeed your birthright, and I want to get you past the notion that this idea is simply wishful thinking. When you truly understand this, as you go about living your life, any thoughts or beliefs that contradict the idea that abundance, health, and harmony are meant to be in your life will be exposed and fall away from your thinking. With faith engaged, opposing thoughts and beliefs will automatically be defeated, clearing the way for “right” thinking. By understanding that abundance, health, and harmony are reasonable benchmarks for your life, virtually everything you think will then be cast in their light, and your course will be set.

Your Heritage
You are a miracle. Every cell and atom in your body is divine and alive, intricate and sophisticated, efficient and perfect. Lack, illness, and discord aren’t par for the course. They’re not the goals for any of us. They’re simply the byproducts of limited, fearful, and under-par thinking.

This place we live, Earth, is the emerald of all space. It’s spectacular, living, and giving. It’s alive with countless creatures that live in harmony above, below, and around it. It’s teeming with intelligent life, an animal kingdom, a plant kingdom, and adventurers like you and me. It’s lush with abundance and loaded with diversity—dazzling colors, sights, textures, and sounds, tantalizing sceneries from the plains to the mountains, from the seashores to the ocean floors, from the valleys to the glaciers and the deserts, sunrises and sunsets, snowfalls, rains, towering clouds, and crystal-clear blue skies. What’s going on here is a dance of becoming, not a dance of remission, and every element and compound, every beating heart and thought, are all born of a greater intelligence.

Are you beginning to see, perhaps a bit more clearly, your heritage, your power, your divinity? Are you beginning to see that with the power of your thoughts and the unending magic of this magnificent habitat, all things are possible?

The Universe has dreamed far, far more for you than you have dreamed for yourself. You are far more likely, by ten thousand times, to succeed than to fail. Your entire life is proof of this “imbalance,” your extreme predisposition to success, your wild inclination to prosper, your divine propensity to thrive. Do you now realize that abundance, health, and harmony are already yours, in a kingdom you rule with the thoughts you choose to think? The starting point is not that you don’t have any and you just want a little. It’s that you have everything and you just want a little. What a concept! You are the prodigal child, and feasts, banquets, and celebrations await your return to riches unimaginable—to an inheritance you’ve completely forgotten was yours, right here and now on planet Earth. All you have to do is finally recognize the truth about your reality and who you really are.

By Mike Dooley, as featured in The Secret and author of the New York Times best-seller, Infinite Possibilities—The Art of Living Your Dreams.

Posted by Mike Dooley on December 28th, 2009 in Global/Social Change | No comments

28 dec

Preparing for 2010

I recently received this article and wanted to share it with everyone. It tries to explain the bigger planetary-level changes that are going on. We must be aware of these and how they may affect us personally. Since I am always searching for ways to help us transition through these interesting times we live in, I think this piece is an interesting summary and perspective on what many of us are either already feeling or hearing about. The author is an evolutionary astrologer Maurice Fernandez.

Greetings! I feel compelled to write this note about what we astrologers are seeing coming. We are in the beginning of a very unique time in history that will redefine the foundations of our lives. The astrological circumstances are uncommon and very dramatic. Change is likely to affect every level of our being, even though each person will feel it differently and in varying degrees of intensity.

I’m writing this note so that you may make better use of this time and understand what it is about. As astrologers we are aware of cycles that affect our existence. Because this coming cycle is very unique, I feel it is important to share this information. I will try to keep it simple and not burden you with a long text and excessive details.

There are multiple planetary bodies that are gradually forming a very particular and rare alignment. This configuration began to form during the fall of 2008. Politically, that time was when the economical crisis exploded and when U. S. President Barack Obama was elected.

The configuration will move into a second phase during November 2009 and January/February 2010. (Saturn will move into the Cardinal sign of Libra and will form powerful angle to Pluto in Capricorn.)

The third phase is probably the most dramatic and intense, and will occur from the end of June to the end of July 2010, when all the factors of the configuration will align together in a cross at the very beginning of Cardinal signs in astrology. (Cardinal signs are the signs of new cycles. The planets in questions are Pluto, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars.) These planets are slow-moving bodies and therefore it is absolutely exceptional that these slow-moving bodies end up all aligned in a cross on these very sensitive degrees!

In normal circumstances, some people go through changes while others continue their routine. Here the alignment is so strong and dramatic that everyone’s life can be considerably affected. It is likely that your life will not be the same by fall 2010! The question that often arises is this. “Is it bad, or is it good?” The answer is that it depends on the way one deals with the events. A conscious approach can make a difference.

One thing is certain: Do not expect security, consistency, and predictability during this time. Reality is bound to change fast and so it is better to move with the flow, while remaining conscious of what is going on. Flexibility is one of the most important assets during this time. This influence is analogous to a gigantic wave forming. You can ride on that wave and go farther than ever expected—experience a powerful transformation that can elevate you to new grounds. But this wave can also destroy a lot of what you are currently attached to.

Redefinition may occur in different fields. You may change vocation, relationships, location, mindsets, to name but a few fields. New people will move into your life, current ones may leave. New ideas and projects will develop and you may feel inspired to completely reinvent yourself! The cards are re-shuffled! This is a time of an awakening, a revolution—an internal and social revolution.

Everything is shaking up—everything. From November 2009 until August 2010, nothing will stay still. It can be very good, but you have to learn to navigate these changes and seize opportunity when it comes. Don’t try to have it all perfect. Don’t try to keep the cake and eat it. Change can take you to a completely new and perhaps higher level of what you are about, but you will have to let go of your security during this time. It is a time for risk, reinvention, new ideas, new concepts, new vision, and the impetus to make it happen.

Marriages may break, jobs and possessions may be lost. People may get sick, and simultaneously, new relationships may emerge, new passions may awaken. A completely new lifestyle is in the making. You are embarking on an adventure whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not. My suggestion is to make peace with the idea. Don’t resist the adventure. If you accept it, you will make the best of it. If you fight and resist it, you won’t win. This is what I mean by being open to risk-taking. It may be time to take that “plunge!”

Risking does not mean giving in to every silly venture. It is about hearing a calling for truth about the things you have denied, postponed, avoided, feared. These are things you know were true. This is a time to be more truthful and to follow a calling.

Collectively, while the forces of corruption and manipulation may attempt to control the course of events, they are bound to disintegrate. Scandals will continue to hit the news. Natural events will continue to shake the earth. At worst, a war may break during summer 2010 or later because dramatic changes can spur fear and conflict. But it does not have to go that way. We are creators of our own destiny in the midst of the given circumstances.

As you go through these changes, it is crucial that you take good care of your immune system because as positive as the long-term changes may be, they can overwhelm you and weaken your immune system. Here are basic tips that can keep you grounded. Eat more healthy foods, avoid fast sugar, ingest raw garlic and onions daily—for example, in a sandwich—exercise, take time out of the intensity loop, do not let negativity take over.

This is important: The situation heating up is like a piece of molten iron that can be beaten into a better form—personally and collectively. Be an ambassador of good and avoid wasting time on trivial details. For example, as we see the earth being depleted and all resources and species dwindling, people waste time arguing if global warming is or is not happening, if it is man-made or not! IT DOESN’T MATTER! What matters is that the natural world is vanishing before our eyes because of our misaligned actions. Excessive pollution, deforestation, and peaking toxicity levels are a reality beyond global-warming debates.

Similarly, the economy is not likely to stabilize any time soon, perhaps necessarily so. And so it will be with many other aspects of your life. You will not have immediate answers. Be patient and keep doing your best. When the cycle will complete, new circumstances will emerge. This cannot be artificially rushed. These dramatic times are an opportunity for us to restructure our lives, personally and collectively. As many things are being redefined, we can relinquish bad habits and attachments, open up to new ideas, and invest in what works rather than settle for immediate gratification. Patience is another essential asset.

In this context, do not expect others to change for the better if you won’t do it yourself. We blame the governments and project our frustration on distant “evils,” but fail to open our own hearts. Being pro-active may work better than being self-righteous.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 28th, 2009 in Ariane, Global/Social Change | 2 comments

27 dec

Mental Shift

JayForte“The major adjustments we need to make are mental.” Price Prichard from “The Fourth Level of Change.”

To be great at work and in life requires a mental shift – a change in attitude that accepts the world on its terms, welcomes change and focuses on possibilities.

When we slept last night, the world changed. Technology has advanced our methods of communication. Science has changed our understanding of our beginnings, our development, our health and our world. We can watch all this happen around us and quickly be left behind. Or, we can realize that change and growth are what propels us to work strong and live stronger. We can realize that by embracing the new constant known as change, we can expand our understanding of ourselves and live and work in the most significant way possible.

Many of us are frozen by change because most people feel change will lead to loss instead of gain. We are convinced if change happens we will not be happy, safe, rich, or some other adjective, so we hold steadfastly to what we know. We freeze. We idle. We hide.

This creates the need for a mental shift. It is our choice to welcome change or fight it. We choose to advance, allow and augment, or whine, wince and worry. We control our perspective – we control our mental outlook. Indeed, we are constantly influenced by the information we receive and process all day, but it is our mental attitude (our outlook and approach) that determines how we process this information. If our outlook is pessimistic, resistant and reluctant, we will find things in our world that support this outlook – we become cynical, distrustful and suspicious. If however, our mental shift brings us to an outlook that is optimistic, upbeat and positive, we become more open, aware and responsive. We set the tone and the world will respond.

Here are my four steps for a mental shift to optimism and improvement

  1. Start today. True, a new year is upon us and people seem more committed to making improvements at the start of the year. Great. But as you build a year-round mental shift plan, commit to starting what you choose to do as you choose to do it. Don’t postpone. I had a friend who would only make changes on the first day of a month – even if he identified something needing changing on the second day of the month. Crazy. If it is important enough to do, do it now.
  2. Just a bit. Most people bite off more than they can chew. They try to make improvements that are too significant all at once. We are segmented learning creatures – we best handle things in “chunks.” So instead of trying to end a habit of poor eating, start one small new habit, such as eliminating dessert during the week, or eating 2 additional pieces of fruit a day. Just a bit. Small gains. And soon the accumulating small gains lead to significant change.
  3. Call them “improvements.” Stay away from the language of “ending bad habits.” Instead, focus on “doing things that improve.” Mentally, we are more supportive of events that are seen as positive; we are more likely to succeed when we focus on improving. And along with #2 above, make “just a bit” improvements to be more successful. I grew up in an Italian Catholic family. In the period prior to Easter (Lent), most people I knew gave things up as their Lenten resolutions. In our family, we focused instead on adding (new habits) instead of giving up – we added things of value; we used Lent as a period to “improve.” This lesson remains a good one.
  4. Celebrate your success. When success happens, applaud your effort, your achievement and your commitment. Start to change the internal voice from the critiquing old “grandmother”(the internal voice most of us have), to a supportive “friend” (the voice that allows us to improve, adjust and feel successful). Be kind to yourself. You are one brain and one heart in the middle of a large, often cruel and complex, world. Sometimes you will get it right; sometimes you will won’t. So, when you get it right, dance, sing, clap or do whatever helps you celebrate. Then move on to the next “little bit.” And when you don’t get it right, forgive yourself and start again.

I know today’s world moves much faster than I would like – sometimes it seems to give me more than I think I can handle. Despite this, I also know my attitude is the key to understanding myself, my world and to living and working in the most significant way possible. It is up to me to make this mental shift – to be positive, optimistic and to see possibilities – no matter what the world brings my way. And in the process, help to inspires others to do the same.

Shift happens – but only when we make it happen. What mental shift do you need to make to ensure you work strong and live stronger?

Wishing you a new year of mental shifts, small improvements and greater happiness.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

Posted by Jay Forte on December 27th, 2009 in Career, Diet and Fitness, Finances, Health, New Directions, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

26 dec

The Fifth Secret of Change

happier_confidencePeople who successfully navigate change know that the quicker they accept change, the less pain and hardship there will be.

Resisting change is never the answer, and yet, we all do it. We resist the new boss. We resist the expense cuts. We resist the new strategy from the top or job responsibilities we didn’t really sign up for. We resist the fact that we lost money. We resist that we are getting older! But as one of my favorite quote (by Byron Katie) says, “when you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time!”

People who successfully navigate change know that the quicker they accept a situation, the less painful it will be.

The image I like to share is of being in a river. Change is about going in the direction of the river. What makes change hard is when something we don’t quite expect or see as a positive happens. We desperately cling to a rock—we don’t know how things are going to turn out so we prefer keeping things at least as they are. We don’t switch gears. We don’t focus on what to do now. Instead we beat ourselves up or, worse, we start rowing back upstream. We want the team back, the job back, the relationship back. Remember this. Everything that is right for you now is ahead of you, downstream. We often longingly look back to how things were. Let go of the way you think life should be or work should be or the company should be. The quicker you can get to a place where you can accept whatever has happened, the less tough it will be for you. Don’t resist the momentum even if it looks totally different than what you were planning.

Acceptance comes in two forms, accepting yourself and accepting whatever may be happening to you personally, professionally and financially. Accepting yourself means allowing yourself to be human, to get it less-than-right, to make a poor decision, to miss out on an opportunity or deal, to accept how you look, to accept your strengths and weaknesses. How much time do you waste beating up on yourself, kicking yourself, telling yourself negative stuff. Ask yourself, what part of yourself don’t you accept?

Then, ask yourself what you still need to accept in your life. Did you miss out on the stock rally? Have you put on weight? Were you were dumped or fired? When you resist, you give these situations more power. When you don’t accept something, it’s like trying to drive forward with your parking brake still on.

Finally, ask yourself who do you need to accept? Is it your spouse, boss, an annoying colleague, a parent? When the people around you feel accepted, that’s surprisingly when they then start to change. Perhaps you are having a challenge with many people right now in your life. So, focus on accepting them completely instead of hoping they will change and watch what happens.

Allow things to be as they are and you’ll see where change really happens.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 26th, 2009 in Ariane, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in

23 dec

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas without Spending a Dime

With the Holiday season in full swing, the Mermaids want to share some gift ideas that won’t leave you fighting crowds or standing in lines!

Your Time.
It’s completely free and can mean more than any material gift. A simple gesture like offering to wrap presents for your elderly neighbor or your busiest friend…to organizing their holiday Christmas card list and stuffing envelopes! Take it a step further and volunteer to clean out a closet, an office space or an attic and really help someone start the New Year with a clean slate.

Share Your Gift.
We all have it–that one special gift that the world would never see without YOU in it! Maybe you’re a great photographer…offer to shoot a family photo session. Talented makeup artist or hairdresser? Help your girlfriends prep for their holiday parties. Have a career or degree in finance? Offer to sit down and go over family expenses and create a budget.

Free and Fragrant.
Instead of the typical candle, pull some fresh herbs from your garden and give a lift to a neighbor or friend’s kitchen–they smell as great as they look.

This Year, Lose the Labels.
Except for your own! Print personalized labels from your computer as a practical and pretty gift.

Pass the Pooch.
Dog sitting is a great way to relieve someone for a day or an overnight so they can complete their last minute holiday shopping or save a few bucks on a dog walker or doggy day care. The same goes for kids too!

Recycled Recipes.
A great way to share the gift of your favorite meals is by copying them and binding the recipes into a book covered in a lovely fabric or printed paper.

Create a Couture Collection Box.
Is your closet the gift that could keep on giving and giving and…giving? Dig out those gently worn vintage finds and garments that are a size too small or too big and finally break up with those “I have too many bad memories in these mules!” Gift a fashionable collection to someone you love and let them walk a mile in your shoes. You could also list your designer duds on eBay and use the “free” money towards a charity gift or donation.

Inspired by Style.
If you are a talented interior designer, home architect or just blessed with a trained eye for style–why not offer an hour or more of your time to help someone spruce up their space? Wallpaper, choosing paint colors, measuring for window treatments or just sitting together to flip through magazines or your favorite design blogs is a wonderful gift.

Rule of Fin:
Re-use any leftover wallpaper or fabric to wrap journals, photo books or CD cases.

Extras can also be used for stylish wrapping paper for extra special presents throughout the year.

Gifted in the Kitchen.
This year, our top chef friend ( gave his entire family the gift of a week’s worth of his gourmet home cooked meals.

Not so sharp with a steak knife? A sweet staple like holiday cookies are thoughtful and can look beautiful if you get a little creative with your decorating!

Whatever you give this year, keep in mind that “Meaning is the New Money.”

Celebrate and Swim Lightly,
The Mermaids

For more ideas on how to host meaningful memories, check out

Posted by Hilary Pereira on December 23rd, 2009 in General | No comments Read related posts in

22 dec

What Would Love Do?

mike_robbinsI had the honor of interviewing my friends Matthew and Terces Engelhart, the founders of Café Gratitude, on my radio show last week. In the course of our wonderfully inspiring conversation they brought up the idea of asking the question, “What would love do?” when making decisions or facing challenges in life. I love this question and it reminded me of one of my favorite songs with this same title, “What Would Love Do?” by Karen Drucker.

After the interview I got to thinking about my own life and some of the places where I find myself struggling, stressed out, worried, or stuck right now. I can see that instead of asking what love would do, I’m often asking other, less inspiring questions to myself like, “What should I do?” “What’s the right thing to do?” “What’s wrong with them?” or various other versions of these types of questions. Can you relate?

What if we did actually ask ourselves, “What would love do?” in all of the important areas of our lives, especially the most challenging ones? I bet that would dramatically alter not only how we relate to those people and circumstances, but also would alter what we did and said, and ultimately how we felt.

As we move through the holiday season and into the New Year, which often brings up lots of emotions (both light and dark) and gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on ourselves, our lives, and where we are – letting love lead the way, especially this year, is something that will benefit most of us and can allow us to listen to a deeper aspect of who we really are.

Everything I write about, speak about, and teach is really all about love. I sometimes find myself a little shy, embarrassed, or self-conscious to come right out and say it – somehow fearing that love seems too soft, too personal, too intimate, too mysterious, or whatever. However, being authentic and being appreciative, and just about anything else we aspire to in life, are all about love – of ourselves, of others, and of life itself. Love, I believe, is the most powerful force in the universe – yet so many of us, myself included, almost apologize for talking about it, thinking about it, and wanting to have it play a lead role in our lives.

As we interact with (or avoid) our families, in-laws, friends, and even strangers on the street or in stores or restaurants over these next few days and weeks – What would love do? As we sit back and reflect on this past year, and begin to plan, dream, and prepare for the year ahead, what would love do? As we relate to ourselves in the midst of all of this, what would love do?

As Karen Drucker says in her beautiful song, “Love has all the answers. Love makes no demands. Love will lead me to the truth and help me to understand…that life is all about love.”

Here are a few things to think about, as this relates to some of the areas and aspects of life where you may be challenged at the moment:

1) Pick a challenging or difficult aspect of your life right now. What’s going on and how do you feel about this situation or relationship? More specifically, what kinds of questions are you asking yourself about this? The quality of the answers we receive in life is directly related to the quality of the questions we ask.

2) Ask yourself “what would love do?” This may be an easy or difficult question for you to ask yourself about this specific situation or relationship. Allow yourself to hang out in this powerful inquiry and see what shows up. You may have lots of ideas or insights, or not. However, asking yourself this empowering question, will almost surely give you deeper awareness and insight for what you could do if you allowed love to lead the way.

3) Take bold and loving action, based on your answer to this question. Allow yourself to ponder and consider this question long enough that you really feel it in your bones. The paradox here is that it’s not so much about what you do – it’s more about where it comes from. If it truly comes from a deep place of love within you, you’ll know it, feel it, and it will be the “right” thing to do. Trust yourself and your heart – and then be willing to take the risk and put yourself out there.

This time of year, especially this year with all we have gone through, we are ripe with opportunities to practice asking ourselves this question. If we’re courageous enough to ask, to truly listen to the answers we receive, and to act on them from a place of real love, compassion, and truth – not only will this be a holiday season and a New Year filled with authentic appreciation and joy, we will have the opportunity to transform our lives and relationships in a real and profound way. Let’s do it…with love!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info –

Posted by Mike Robbins on December 22nd, 2009 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

22 dec

5 Tips for Singles to Survive the Holiday Season

Let’s face it, the holiday season can be a blessing and a curse. It can be a joyous time to celebrate religion and family and it can be a time of sadness and despair, thinking of friends and relatives that have passed on and thinking about relationships that have fallen into disrepair. It can also prove a difficult time for those of us that are single.

So, what can you do to survive the season?

1) Volunteer. Do anything – and you don’t have to do it on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day or over Hannukah. You can volunteer any day this holiday season and still garner just as much satisfaction. Volunteering will also give you a good perspective about your life and just how great you have it compared to others.

2) Spend time with your nieces and nephews. That’s right! Take off your shoes and sit on the floor with them. Play Wii Fit Hula Hoop. Color, do puzzles, play rock band, play hide and seek. Remember what the holidays are all about – family and love.

3) Visit your church, temple or mosque. When you’re sad, it’s a great time to reconnect with your spiritual side.

4) Join a community so you can honestly complain about being single/alone over the holidays. Your friends love you, but sometimes it’s easier to be totally honest with strangers whom have never heard your story before. Also, it’s also a little more fun to commiserate with people who “feel your pain.”

5) Reach out and touch someone. Send holiday cards or reach out via email and catch up with the people you love most. This is especially important if you have neglected to foster friendships and connections while you were dating (or married to) your ex.

Finally, remember that you’re not ‘really’ alone. Although my family lives all around the world, I know that they love me and will be thinking about me on Christmas Day. So even though I won’t be able to spend the holidays with them, in my heart I know that with their love, I have all the support in the world.

Happy Holidays!

MJ Acharya is a freelance copywriter living in Boston, MA. She is the founder of Her common sense breakup advice has been featured online;,,, in print; The Oakland Press, Hour Detroit Magazine, Strut Magazine, Sassy and television shows like Canada AM. To contact her, please visit

Posted by M J Acharya on December 22nd, 2009 in Family, Relationships | No comments

22 dec

Holiday Traditions: Family, Feelings and Festivities

JayForteTraditions are the passing on of customs and beliefs from one generation to another. At this time of year, there are many traditions that focus on celebration, fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving. It may be Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza. It may be December 25th, January 6 or any days before or after. It may be with candles, lights, gifts or song. It may be with pageants, rituals, food or religious ceremonies. Regardless of the manifestation, the essence is the same – family, feelings and festivities.

Different, but the same

Many people are upset lately by the use of the phrase Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Actually, Happy Holidays shows the awareness of and respect for the variety of holiday traditions that are celebrated this time of year – each meaningful, valid and right for those who celebrate them.

What makes our society so successful is its diversity. We are no longer a melting pot – where we have all blended to be like each other. Instead, we are now a tossed salad – together, but we maintain our identity and uniqueness. Our traditions are part of our uniqueness – they reflect our backgrounds, histories and perspectives. Our traditions help to keep us grounded, connected and happy. And whether we celebrate Dec 25, the week before or the week after, we celebrate with family and friends; we celebrate our feelings for each other – and we commit to the process of celebration.

When we accommodate and respect what and the way others celebrate, we actually learn more about each other; we better understand others and get closer to our own traditions. We are more connected as people.

The need to accommodate change

The second great thing about traditions is they evolve. Because people are influenced by life and today’s world, we constantly update our holiday traditions; we focus on their core meaning but change the way we celebrate them.

I remember the first Christmas after my parents divorced. The center of a close Italian family and its years of holiday traditions changed almost overnight. My brothers, sisters and I were determined to reinvent our celebration of family, feelings (because we’re Italian I’ll add “food”) and festivities and created a new manifestation of our Christmas Eve traditions; we created our “sibling party.” Though my five siblings and I are close, we committed that for at least for one night in the year, all six of us and our partners/spouses and families, would get together and celebrate the family, food, feelings and festivities that had always been so important to us. We maintained some of our prior holiday traditions and added some new ones. We stayed focused on the reason for getting together and rebuilt our (new) holiday traditions around it.

And as our kids start to meet their significant others and become part of another family as well, we will modify our traditions again. But the essence of our traditions is family, feelings, food and festivity. And if we need to create it in June instead of December, then June is just fine. If we need to host it on New Year’s Day instead of Christmas Eve – then we do. No complaints. No lamenting. No whining. We keep the spirit of our traditions intact – the date, time and place will move as life moves.

So, what is the real reason behind your traditions?

How do you keep the meaning of your traditions alive, as your family changes, grows up, moves out and moves on, and not allow these changes to undo what is important?

How do you work with life’s changes to keep adding more value to your traditions, share their meaning with the next generation and love the event, whenever and wherever it is?

What will you do to keep its essence clear and alive in a world that constantly changes?

“Christmas (Holiday) gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” 
~ Oren Arnold

Wishing you “Happy Holidays” – a time for the celebration of your traditions of family, feelings, food and festivity. May they be extraordinary.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

Posted by Jay Forte on December 22nd, 2009 in Family, New Directions, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,