Tag Archives: Christmas

LoveGram: Make the holidays your own

 

 

Hello beautiful friend. 

Welcome to your Sunday audio LoveGram. 

Today I send you a tiny brown bird with a yellow belly. 

I send you a shiny penny on your path. 

I send you a dark sky overhead, studded with stars. 

***

Thank you for being here with me. 

I love that we get to share these conversations. 

I’m grateful for the times you respond and let me know what you are thinking about or how the audio landed for you! 

I’m grateful when you listen and reflect all on your own. Or, maybe you talk to someone in your circle about the ideas here. 

It means a lot to have a chance to share what’s on my mind with YOU! 

In today’s LoveGram, we are creating space to think about the upcoming holidays. 

For some people this time of year can be stressful and exhausting. For others, it feels too quiet and lonely. The holidays can be extra happy and bright. Or, they can feel like a drain on time, energy, and money. 

(To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

***

There’s no judgment AT ALL for whatever your feelings are about the holidays. I hope you will offer yourself the gift of being able to assess ’em without feeling like there is a “right way” to feel or be. 

There’s not! 

It is essential to give ourselves room to choose who and how we want to be in our lives — even at the holidays!

So, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t or can’t choose to go along with some age old rituals that other family or friends love. 

It just means we can be intentional about choosing — and not simply stumbling through all the holiday happenings in a trance, as if this is a play and the script has been finalized. 

I hope you will take 15 minutes to listen. 

***

Thank you for being here and being someone who cares deeply about living a life that is aligned with who you are and your true values. 

Thank you for who you are and for your wonderful, loving heart! 

Listen to your audio LoveGram now.  

I’m grateful to be on this journey with you. 

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

 

P.S. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, come to this free workshop in Mill Valley on Friday, November 18th. I want to meet you!! We’ll be talking about how to make the holidays more meaningful. AND, I will be walking everyone through the joyful process of creating a LOVE LIST! Register here!

P.P.S. Just published an article in Kind Over Matter on this very topic! Find more reflection questions here! 

 

End the Year with LOVE !

 

Hello Beautiful Friend!

It’s the last day of 2021 and you are on my mind.

I’m feeling so grateful for us being able to walk, side by side, through all the ups and downs of life.

I know this past year has been filled with a lot of uncertainty, loss, and disappointment. And, also, it has also been filled with connection, joy, and love.

Whatever you have experienced, and however you are feeling right now, I want you to know that you are not alone and that I honor your journey. I trust your path. I see your goodness.

Because you are here with me, I know that you share my values of friendship, family, connection, love, creativity, and self-expression.

I wanted to pop by today to remind us all that we have the choice to focus today on these values. We can turn our attention to simple gratitude and to love. We can end this year by practicing living what we value most.

I don’t say that in the sense of “don’t feel your feelings” or in some silly Pollyanna way. I say it in the purest sense of gifting ourselves with a few moments of basking in thoughts and memories that feel good.

I say it because I love you and I want you to remember that joy is a practice.

Celebration is a practice.

Love is a practice.

***

So, as we end the year, I want to share with you something off the top of my head that I posted to social media yesterday. It is an example of what happens when we turn our attention to love.

I had a simple urge to share a photo of our upside down Christmas tree. When I went to Instagram to post the photo, I was overcome with a feeling of appreciation and deep love for my son, Kayne.

I listened to that feeling and let myself write from that place.

Here’s what tumbled out into that post: 

{❤️ Reasons why I LOVE my son}

He’s home for the holidays and nothing makes me happier than when I step in the house + he’s there, at the kitchen table, studying French. He always looks up and says in a happy, hearty voice: “Welcome home, Mom!”

(Sometimes he says it in a squeaky mouse voice or a sing-song voice. Sometimes he draws out all the vowels, so the phrase lasts a loooooong time!)

I love that sometimes he does handstands in the living room. Sometimes he sings silly made-up verses. Sometimes he makes funny faces in the mirror. Sometimes he pretends to be our cats talking. Sometimes he looks up how to properly pronounce words like caprese, ratatouille, or Carcassone.

I love that he is quirky — and completely unapologetically himself.

That’s us in front of our #upsidedownChristmas tree.

I love that he singlehandedly selected which of our dozens of ornaments should be hung this year + then he specially designed it. (You can’t see it, but the whimsical bird looks like she’s flying toward the pickle to eat it. Just one example of the pockets of stories on our tree!)

Every year since he was little, I asked my son to pick out an ornament. Usually they reflected his current interests — a chess board from when he was seven, a musical note when he took piano lessons, a kung-fu kid from middle school years.

As he got older, ornament choices got a bit more unconventional. See that pencil dangling from the bottom? That represents the year he got into the SF School of the Arts Writing program. There’s also a crumpled up essay from his first year in college.

So, this post is just a random rambling as thoughts dropped in. YOU can DO THIS, too. I call it a LOVE LIST + it makes an amazing gift.

Maybe at New Year’s Eve dinner tonight, you write 3 things you love about each person + slip ’em under the plates? Maybe you get a jar and fill it with slips of love? Maybe you print a photo and send in a card along with some things you love? Maybe you text someone, wishing them the best and telling them something lovable about them?

There’s really nothing more fun than LOVE! Sending oodles of it your way today — into 2022 — and always.

***

In case you are brand new to my world, let me tell you a little more about the LOVE LIST:

The Love List is simply this: a list of specific reasons that you love someone. It is the ways this person has impacted your life + the reasons they are unique in all the world.

A Love List is sweet, funny, sexy, or serious. It can include any number — from five to fifteen to fifty — of loving attributes, characteristics, or memories about someone.

A Love List can be created with photos, in a Joy Jar, in fortune cookies, scribbled on a sheet of paper, attached to flower stems with  ribbon, taped to the back of dollar bills— or in countless other ways!

***

So, today on New Year’s Eve, I want you to know that you are on my mind and that I am sending you love and peace.

I’m also here to remind you to take care of yourself by intentionally thinking some good thoughts. Maybe do what I did and look at a photo that makes you happy. List the reasons why it makes you feel good.

And, if you have the energy to do so, please throw some light out to someone who needs it.

Please consider mixing some extra love into your New Year’s day. Use your imagination and see how you can combine a Love List with something you are doing with others.

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

 

P.S. If you have ever made a Love List — or when you make your first one!— please take half a minute to log it on my Million Love List page. (I want to inspire a million Love Lists in my life and YOU can help me reach that goal!)

P.P.S. Please take some time today to appreciate yourself and to celebrate who you are. Don’t wait another minute to acknowledge your generous heart and your beautiful spirit. I see you. You are absolutely lovable. YOU MATTER!

 

Permission to let go.

 

Happy holidays! Here are some gifts from me to you. (I know I sent you these last year, but I believe they are gifts that keep on giving!) 😉

I send you peace, love, and ease.

I send you a long nap in the middle of the day, your cats snuggled beside you.

I send you Grandma’s quilt wrapped around you as you read a great book.

I send you laughter with your best friend as you sip cinnamon tea.

I send you the memory of your childhood and the sound of your mother’s voice late at night.

I send you a kiss on the forehead.

I send you a deep sigh of letting go.

I send you a heart that can hold your grief just as confidently as it holds your joy.

I send you the surprise of colored lights as you turn a corner where you thought it was pitch dark.

I send you striped candy canes and the smell of pine.

I send you a pillow scented with lilac.

I send you deep sleep.

I send you a sky full of twinkling stars who hold your secret dreams.

I send you oceans of release.

I send you long meals with people you love.

I send you clove scented candles and flickering flames.

I send you a hot bath with eucalyptus bubbles.

I send you a space of time to sit and gently watch the sun set.

I send you the giggles of children.

I send you your own heart’s squeal of delight.

I send you buttered toast on a quiet morning before the sun rises.

I send you the sound of snow crunching under your feet.

I send you the smell of a newborn’s sweet cheeks.

I send you a box filled with hope.

I send you one more breath, one more moment.

I send you here, now, all okay.

I send you the deepest love for who you are and for your sweet heart.

I send you peace.

No matter what you celebrate, may it be cozy and full of love. 

Seek celebration—even in the dark corners,
xo Sherry

 

Live your truth — even at the holidays!

It’s a rainy Sunday here in San Francisco and I was thinking about you as I sipped my morning coffee.

I was thinking about how the holidays can be such a beautiful time — all of the colorful lights and connections with people we love.

And …

I was thinking about how the holidays can also be such an overwhelming and stressful time. Especially if we are grieving, lonely, ill, exhausted, or low on time or money. 

The holidays can be filled with unspoken expectation or obligation.

Here in the U.S. there is a cultural norm during the holidays that seems to include overspending, overeating, over-drinking and over-socializing.

How do we take care of ourselves during a time when the overriding messages might be at odds with who we are or how we really feel? 

This morning, I simply wanted to give you permission to pause to think about what YOU NEED.

How can this holiday season be a time that supports your heart and gives you strength? 

Are there events and activities on your schedule this month that you are dreading? If so, can you find ways to cancel them or somehow make them more doable?

Are there people whom you know will drain your energy? How can you give yourself a break from them? How can you redirect the time with them so that it fuels you? And if you can’t, is there a way to lovingly remove them from your schedule?

Are there endless things to buy or do? If so, can you challenge yourself to make a change? Could you find the courage to do things differently?

Are there traditions or rituals that you want to let go of? Are there those you want to add?

What if, as the quote above suggests, we choose to prioritize our inner peace? What would that look like? What experiences would we ask from others? How would we give to others differently? 

I want to encourage you to ask for what you need.
I want to encourage you to give only what feels true and joyful.
I want to encourage you to rest more.
I want to encourage you to let go more.
I want to encourage you to let others know when you are in the dark.
I want to encourage you to be the nightlight for people who are afraid.

My own story of living the truth of what the holidays mean to me

Ten years ago, my clan here on the West Coast made the choice to do things differently at the holidays. We always all fly to Ohio to visit my mom and other relatives back east … and we love that. But the cost and stress of all the flights and also buying everyone gifts was simply exhausting.

It also felt inauthentic. As if it were coming from that place of “this is just what people do at the holidays so we have to do it, too.”

We decided to create something that felt more aligned. We started what we call “The Holiday Hoopla.” The Holiday Hoopla is a themed day of activities, games, and challenges. We try to make it fun and funny. We add in great food. We decorate. We make it silly and relaxing and filled with long-lasting memories.

The Holiday Hoopla is our way of claiming the holidays in a way that feels right to us.

If you think something like this might be fun for you and your family/friends, here’s an article about it that I wrote for Kind Over Matter that could jumpstart some ideas.  Here are some other ideas on my website. As you’re reading about this, remember that your own version could be quieter or more intellectual or sweeter or more spiritual. Think about your own values, your own family, and know that you can create a ritual or event that is exactly right for YOU.

The point is: would you want to try creating an experience as a gift, rather than giving material gifts?

I want to put in a word here for families who are grieving or who are care-taking someone ill. Is there a lovely, more quiet, experience that will allow you all to be together in a way that is not stressful or that doesn’t insist on a fake cheerfulness?

If you are sad, grieving, or dealing with illness, how can you create a ritual for the holiday that feels supportive and authentic? 

I’m in your corner this holiday season, cheering you on to take the steps toward creating what supports your heart — and your inner peace!

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,
xo Sherry

Permission to let go.

I send you peace, love, and ease.
I send you a long nap in the middle of the day, your cats snuggled beside you.
I send you Grandma’s quilt wrapped around you as you read a great book.
I send you laughter with your best friend as you sip cinnamon tea.
I send you the memory of your childhood and the sound of your mother’s voice late at night.
I send you a kiss on the forehead.
I send you a deep sigh of letting go.
I send you a heart that can hold your grief just as confidently as it holds your joy.
I send you the surprise of colored lights as you turn a corner in the part of your world where you thought it was pitch dark.
I send you striped candy canes and the smell of pine.
I send you a pillow scented with lilac.
I send you deep sleep.
I send you a sky full of twinkling stars who hold your secret dreams.
I send you oceans of release.
I send you long meals with people you love.
I send you clove scented candles and flickering flames.
I send you a hot bath with eucalyptus bubbles.
I send you a space of time to sit and gently watch the sun set.
I send you the giggles of children.
I send you your own heart’s squeal of delight.
I send you buttered toast on a quiet morning before the sun rises.
I send you the sound of snow crunching under your feet.
I send you the smell of a newborn’s sweet cheeks.
I send you a box filled with hope.
I send you one more breath, one more moment.
I send you here, now, all okay.
I send you the deepest love for who you are and for your sweet heart.
I send you peace.

Seek celebration—even in the dark corners,
xo Sherry Richert Belul

P.S. I encourage you to print this page, cut out your permission slip, and post it someplace you will see it often. Please know that you are enough. YOU are the gift.