I found this on my walk yesterday. I just loved it, so I went home, got my camera and came back to capture the image. It was appropriate as Monday was looming and there is a lot on my plate this week.

People often ask how I manage to get so much done and stay so organized. It has taken a lot of practice, but I am pretty self-motivated and I think that is one of the most important traits to have when we own our own businesses. We don’t have anyone standing over us cracking the whip-which is what we wanted-so it is up to us to know our rhythm and set the pace. Sure, the procrastination bug gets a hold of my pant leg every once in awhile, but not for long, as by now, I know the longer I procrastinate the harder I will be on myself and the worse I will feel. I wonder why we do that to ourselves?

I had such a nice response to this months newsletter and feature article on Gratitude, I am going to post it here. Feel free to let me know what you think by contributing below.

Contribute: How will you incorporate Gratitude into the up coming holiday season?

The Feature Article:

I woke up this morning to the most extraordinary dream. It fit quite nicely with my intention for the month-and for that matter the holiday season which is nipping at our heels-which is to focus on gratitude.

The other day I had to go into Target to get some office supplies. I watched in amazement as a frantic mother, cell phone ringing and Starbucks in hand, loaded up her already overflowing cart with enough toys, clothes and kids stuff to satisfy a small country.

I wanted to gently reach out to her and say, if you had to pick 4 meaningful gifts out of that enormous pile in your cart, what would give your children the ability to really thrive in their lives? The answer? I believe our kids want more time with us.

In a culture where the term multi-tasking and working to support ourselves and our families has taken on new meaning, I believe our children are yearning more than ever for one on one time with us. Not as one more thing on the to-do list, but true cell phone and TV off quality time. Some of this quality time can be about educating your children about the concept of gratitude and creating new holiday family traditions based on your values-while leaving behind the pressure of consumerism.

By identifying what we feel grateful for today, we release the false feeling of need. Here is what I do when I feel that feeling of need or want. I check in and ask myself what emotions lie beneath the surface. Is this an empty hole I am looking to fill, only to wind up feeling emptier when I realize it did not "fix it," or do I really need this to make my life better?

This way of celebrating gratitude actually started for me one day in Target shortly after we moved into our new home. We had all sorts of unexpected problems when we first moved in. Our realtor and seller had run for the hills and would not communicate with us about some of the issues. I was definitely frustrated, angry and mostly sad about the lack of integrity that I was experiencing from people I had trusted. And so in a misguided effort to cure what ailed me…I went shopping, hoping to pick up a few items we needed for the house and as I have learned, to unconsciously make myself feel better.

Shortly after entering the store, I went into my usual big store zombie state and started to put things into my cart that I thought would make our new home feel cozy. Just about the time I had some truly meaningless items in my cart, my cell phone rang. It was my husband checking in. He asked where I was and it was enough to break the trance-like state I was in. I looked into my cart and was truly horrified-which is why I related so deeply to the mother I mentioned when I began this article-there were about 3 things in the cart that I actually needed, the rest of it was pure fill the hole it’s empty items. I thanked him for calling in the nick of time and one by one put the non-essentials back on the shelf. To be honest that day, I left empty handed, convinced that this was the only way to break this habit and you know what, it worked! To this day, I use the techniques I will describe below. Try it this holiday season and see if it works for you. Feel free to post your comments. I would love to hear from you.

How to break the trance of consumerism and celebrate gratitude:

3 Responses

  1. I am moved by thinking about gratitude, for me when I feel a need, sometimes it is about wanting a person in my life to be different better to me in some way. So I asked myself if I am filling a hole (I got a resounding “YES”) and it gave me new perspective.
    Thank You.

  2. Every year, I get 1 surprise gift from an unexpected source. So this year, I am “paying it forward” to a friend in Washington State. She just started quilting and I have cotton fabrics I’m not using. I’m going to give her that surprise gift from an expected source. And it feels right and good.

  3. It’s funny that you mentioned your experience at Target. I, too, had a similar experience during the last holiday season while shopping there. I was there to pick up some “stocking stuffers” for my kids. I started pushing my cart rather aimlessly around the store, very conscious of my environment. There were people, lots of people, with carts full, rather overflowing, with “stuff”. I became very anxious, as I manually added up the extent of their “consumerism”. Was this all they were spending or had they been to other stores? I began to sweat, thinking of the potential future debt and all the worries associated with it. Then there’s all the packaging and wrapping paper, trashcans will overflow. What about when all this “stuff” breaks, off to the landfill it goes. The cycle seemed to go on and on in my head until I stared down into my still empty cart and realized I had now been in Target for two hours! I left that day with nothing, but with much more than I came with!

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