Inspiration

Jingle All the Way???

 

Currier and Ives did it to us. Those serene scenes of horse-drawn sleighs filled with perfect families and horses that never pooped. Burned into our hearts, we saw them year after year and like Cinderella trying to squeeze her two sizes too small foot into that glass slipper, we just keep trying to make our holiday fit into that envelope too.

 

Every year I am surprised by it. The complex ups and downs, wishing I had _____, missing what I used to have and most of all, wanting for all the world to feel that idyllic feeling of those “Yuletide carols being sung by a fire”. And all the while, knowing in my head that I can’t have what used to be, forgetting that THIS holiday is a blessing.

 

A colleague recently sent me a story about eating an artichoke. She loved artichokes, craved what she remembered about how that “heart” tasted, dipped in melted butter. Having never cooked one however, she began stripping off all the leaves…no small feat when you are dodging the sharp uncooked leaves. She’s persistent and finally got to that fuzzy center. Plopping it into boiling water, she couldn’t wait to get it into her mouth. Lifting the lid after 25 minutes at a rolling boil, her mouth fell to the floor. It was mushy and she could feel her salivary glands freeze. Then it hit her…you cook the whole thing and the leaves protect that heart center like some amazing dessert that waits for you while you enjoy it one leaf at the time.  Like an artichoke, holidays are the whole thing…the past memories, current life challenges, and all those voices saying how we should do them.

 

 What if we just savor each leaf and try not to get lost in what we think is waiting for us?

 

Some years we are struggling with life. These are the times when holidays can be challenging if we keep staring at those horse-drawn sleighs. The gift that is most important in those years is one of self-love and compassion. The relief of saying, “Yep. This year it’s tough to feel the joy”. Acceptance, kindness, and by all means, being honest with those you love who can give you gifts of listening and support. Never forget, giving is a gift too and loved ones feel the joy of the season even more when they can give to us. So, reach out this season. Giving and receiving…it’s what it’s all about.

 

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

510-817-4242   donna@donnasbigredchair.love

www.donnasbigredchair.love

 

Big Red Chair

 

Holidays…You Gotta Love “em”, Right?

 

 

 

Yesterday afternoon I gathered with a bunch of women who decided not to go winter alone. We call it the Women’s Wisdom Circle because despite the cesspool filled with messages to the contrary that live in our heads, we all know that we ARE wise indeed.

 

The only challenge is holding on to that belief as it moves from our gut that says, “Yes! That’s the right move!” to what comes out our mouths which can sound not at all like the truth. Imagine the journey from gut to voice…past our grandmother’s voices, the church’s bony finger, the library shelves marked, “Boys” and “Girls”(Yes, that once did happen, at least up in Northern Maine), and mothers who took little blue pills to keep their voices quiet.

 

In that room yesterday there was wisdom galore. Taking a deep breath, I owned my one word we were allowed describing how we really feel about winter…DREAD!. One woman jumped on it, saying “it’s all in how we define it in our minds”, urging us all to be grateful, keep a journal, relish the alone time, go inward. I tried to buy it, but it wasn’t working for me, at least last night. She didn’t know me yet, so how could she know that going inward was not my challenge, and that I had stacks of gratitude journals, and that I AM grateful for so many things in my life? There are times when all the gratitude in the world doesn’t touch how we feel this time of year…both because it’s winter, and for some of us, because we’re alone and want to go outward toward another human being. To find love again and cherish alone time rather than looking for ways to stay awake just to have less of it…that’s what we want. 

 

I recently moved after a rather difficult year back in CA. I wasn’t well most of that year and lost my apartment in a market that only the tech folks can afford. And yes, I was grateful then as now. But, change is just plain hard, even when it’s good. Now, I can begin to feel the good of it as I sled down a hill in my grandson’s backyard almost crying from the joy of it. New friendships are feeling warmer and I’m in the circle most days rather than feeling outside it. And, I’m waking up to the want again. The longing for love and all that it brings to winter’s chill.

 

Turning on my computer to browse faces, scanning the rooms at the art opening, remembering that those bright, sweet men I seek might be at the library. Remembering how much lovelier holidays are when you can share them with someone special makes it well worth the layers of underwear, down coats, ugly hats and sturdy shoes it takes to put one foot in front of the other.

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to share this next chapter of your life with someone special? Are you tired of watching sunsets alone? Are you ready to do whatever it takes to find love again?

Begin NOW, and perhaps next year’s holidays will find you dancing!

 

Call me and let me get you started on your90 Days to Love”

510-817-4242  or email me at donna@donnasbigredchair.love

 

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

www.donnasbigredchair.love

Big Red Chair

Love at the Farmers’ Market??

 

It was as if someone turned the spigot on that morning. Love was flowing through me, rusty pipes and all.

I never cease to be amazed…

Saturday morning I made my way down to Batavia’s Farmer’s Market. My first time. And though I’d heard it was a great little market, my expectations weren’t a match for the experience that awaited. Already booths were abundant with organic fruits and veggies, flowers bunched and wrapped in that brown crinkly paper, tied with yellow grosgrain ribbon…the kind your Grandmother used to hold your hair back out of your eyes.

 

Local honey and stories about bright green and yellow patty pan squash, no longer yellow, but swirls of bright yellow and the deepest forest greens I’ve ever witnessed on a vegetable. Seems the bees were cross-pollinating now (something many of us single folks sometimes have on our minds!). Beets, sweet and the color of strawberries came with a promise that if I tried them and wasn’t happy, the farmer would give me a refund.

 

Happy chickens that actually walked around all day, cows that didn’t go into the barn ’til sunset. Just like the Midwestern folks I’ve met, seems the food must be happy too. Of course, being a virgin market attendee, I overbought…maybe to have an excuse to invite my son and grandson over for Sunday brunch?

 

Done now, lugging the bags toward the top of River St., I glanced over to see the most beautiful handmade bread and pastries ever!  Well, the exception is my best friend, Charlotte’s breads whose Grandmother, Ida created and lovingly passed on to her. There they were! So I had to stop, right? Knowing I’d be eating enough gluten to inflame the joints of every soul I knew didn’t deter me one bit. Salivating, I watched him pull the loaf of walnut raisin rye, two almond scones, and a half dozen English muffins. Anxious, diving into my wallet, I saw the sign…“Cash only, please”. I could feel the disappointment flooding over me as I stood with my useless debit card. Then, that sweet guy’s voice stopped the spiral of despair. “Don’t worry about it. Really. Just enjoy it. Next time you come to the Market, pay me then.” I began the offers…“I can find an ATM. Let me just take a croissant. Keep my driver’s license. How about I give you my first-born?” He handed me the bag, smiled and repeated, “Just enjoy it.” 

 

I walked away feeling a bit teary with joy. There’s no shortage of love even in these days that can feel as if we are living in the darkness of an empty cellar at times. It’s so easy to lose sight of the love all around when we are busy, not feeling well or watching the national news…or when we’re alone, in a new town, out of a relationship with someone we thought was our forever love.

 

Just for today, take time to be loving to those you meet, recalling all the people in your life who love you to the moon and back. If all else fails, go to the movies and see the documentary about Fred Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. It’s worth the money and a couple of hours of your life and a box of Kleenex to be reminded of what they say in another of my favorite films, “Love Actually”…“Love really is…all around”. 

 

If you’d like some help in finding that love of your life, why not call me and see how that can happen?

 

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

510-817-4242   donna@donnasbigredchair.love

Sign up for my blogs to the right of this one and you’ll always get the new ones…and no spam!

 

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