Holiday Series

Ready for the Holidays?

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Ready for the Holidays?

Dear Reader, I don’t need to tell you life can be hard. But during the holiday season, hardship for many of you is on steroids. For twenty years, I’ve gladly held my clients’ hands as they navigated the end of the year. Even now I ask my clients, are you ready for the holidays.  Dear Reader, are you? If you’re reading this, the answer is probably “no.” No, I’m not really ready to face my dysfunctional family, I’m not ready for spending the holidays alone, I’m dreading the shopping, the awful muzak, the cheer that all too often feels...

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Gut Yule! and the Spirit of Reconciliation

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Gut Yule! and the Spirit of Reconciliation

Gut Yule! Did you know that the date set for Christmas was actually an act of conciliation? It seems strange to me that at this time of the year, there’s so much tension about what we’re celebrating, when in one form or another, we’re all celebrating the light.   According to some historians, the first Christians to venture into what is now the British Isles discovered that the nature-loving folks on that island we now refer to as Pagans had a wonderful celebration on the Winter Solstice, honoring the rebirth of the Great Horned God. Yule itself has Germanic origins, and involved a...

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‘Lone for the Holidays

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‘Lone for the Holidays

This year, for one reason or another, many of us will be alone for the holidays. And for THESE holidays, where we find everywhere images of togetherness, being alone can be brutal.  For many, it’s a choice to protect the heart, avoiding social contact. For others, those early lessons in not belonging replay in present life. And there are some of us who, as introverts, simply do not enjoy the throng.  For way too many, the ghosts of Christmas past haunt us.   Yet it is hard to resist the pull of others, and that old Norman-Rockwellian picture of togetherness that we’re supposed to...

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Knowing When Enough is Enough

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Knowing When Enough is Enough

When is enough, enough? I’ve been wondering that since a chance encounter I had when I first arrived in Austin. A friend of mine and I, bored of the party we were attending, jumped into Lake Travis and swam over to the private yachts doting the piers. We were hailed by a well-groomed man on his floating home, and boarding, were given the tour. The yacht was exquisite, yet the man seemed deeply unhappy and alone (hence the hail). Both of us were struggling financially at the time, and in merry abandonment, offered to take the weight of his wealth, of which he complained, off his hands....

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Holiday Strategies for the Socially Nervous

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Holiday Strategies for the Socially Nervous

Oh lordy, another holiday party. Some of us get tickled at the groaning board, or getting tricked out in new, or next-to-new, threads, or even engaging in some of the inane conversations that buzz and guffaw around us. Not you? Nor a surprising number of others. News flash: social anxiety and parties do NOT go together! First, if you’re one of those people who need permission from a person in (questionable) authority to do what you’d really like to do, I’m fine being the person that says you don’t have to go. Even if it’s a company party, and one of the few bright spots in the...

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FEYT: Festive End of Year Trauma (and what you can do about it)

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FEYT: Festive End of Year Trauma (and what you can do about it)

Ah, the merry prancing of little reindeer hooves! The lighting of the menorah! The parties, the food, the music (not the “I saw mommy kissing Santa Clause,” necessarily, but maybe some upbeat Gregorian chants, the Etta James version of a tune, some of the more traditional stuff), and the lights! In this season of the darkest days, literally and figuratively, the LIGHTS!!! What’s not to love? As a friend of mine recently wrote, she’s been waking up with a real feeling of dread. Sound familiar? Aw heck, let’s name it; most of us have Festive End of Year Trauma, or FEYT. FEYT impacts...

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