Category: Positively Positive

The Year I Figured Out the Truth about Santa


If you believe Santa is real, you might want to stop reading right now…spoilers ahead!

If there’s one universal experience for kids whose families celebrate Christmas, it’s the day we realize that Santa isn’t real.

There’s something so sweet, so innocent, about kids and Santa. Who didn’t love the idea that there’s some benevolent being who not only can tame reindeer and employ elves but can also make deliveries to every house in the world in one night (Santa’s better than Amazon!)

As a kid, it was nice to know that if you were “good” you would be rewarded with presents. It made all those times you held yourself back from smacking your little brother or pilfering candy from the store worthwhile.

The day you realize that Santa doesn’t exist is the day that you first start to lose your childhood innocence. As that sense of wonder and miracles falls away, one thing is clear: reality sucks!

I’ll never forget the day I learned the cold hard truth about Santa.

It was the day after Christmas when I was five years old. I was in kindergarten, and I’d made my very first friend from outside the neighborhood.

I think I had a vague understanding that people in my neighborhood were “poor” but I didn’t quite know how the lives of poor people differed from rich people. Until that December 26th when I was five.

I’d made a best friend in kindergarten whose name was Kim. We both went to Catholic School and she lived in a different neighborhood than me. Kim’s mom asked my mom if she could pick me up for a play date.

I noticed right away that Kim’s mom’s car was much nicer than ours. It was shiny and there was no duct tape on the seats. It was super quiet too, probably because it had a functioning muffler.

Then we got to Kim’s house. It was much larger than ours, and there was green grass instead of weeds and junker cars on the grass.

But then the most shocking thing of the day happened: I went inside and saw an enormous pile of Christmas gifts around the tree. It looked like the Toys R Us catalog had come to life right there on the blue shag carpet.

“Where did this all come from?” I asked in wonder.

“Santa Claus,” Kim told me.

This didn’t make sense to me at all. There appeared to be a discrepancy here. Rich kids like Kim got many nice new presents from Santa. Poor kids like me got one or two used toys from the Goodwill. (In fairness, I now understand that Kim’s family was solidly middle class, not actually rich, but they seemed incredibly rich to me).

The realization hit me like a ton of bricks: either Santa was a total asshole or he was fake.

I was pretty sure that Santa wasn’t an asshole, so do the math…Santa was a fraud. When I went home I told my mother I knew there was no Santa Claus.

“Why do you think that?” she asked.

“Kim got a Barbie Dreamhouse and the Talking Crissy doll and Toss Across and an Easy Bake Oven and lots of other stuff and it’s all in brand new boxes like in the store!”

Mom took a drag of her cigarette and shot me an annoyed look. “Just don’t tell your sister”.

And that, my friends, is the day I started to lose my childhood belief in the magic of Christmas.

How about you? When did you realize that there was no Santa? Share your stories in the comments.


Rose Bak is a freelance writer, author and yoga teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. As a dedicated multipotentialite, she writes on a variety of topics including self-care, aging, inspiration, business, and pop culture. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. In addition to writing, she teaches accessible yoga and sings. Sadly, she has absolutely no musical talent so she’s forced to mostly sing in the shower. For more of Rose’s work, visit her website at rosebakenterprises.com or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

Image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio.

Helping Your Child with Anxiety

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Everything Will End


“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” Frank Herbert

There will be a last time for everything. Everything will end.

A last time you pick up your kids and carry them around.

A last time you hug a friend.

A last time you pet your dog or cat.

A last time you smile at a stranger.

A last time you hold hands.

A last time you feel the sun on your face.

A last time you feel the grass under your feet.

A last time you smell the salt of the ocean.

A last time you hear laughter.

A last time you laugh.

A last time you read a book.

A last time you see the stars.

A last kiss.

A last time you say I love you.

A last time you take a breath.

Everything will end.

But there is also a first time for everything.

A first breath.

A first day.

A first smile.

A first step.

A first word.

A first tooth.

A first hug.

A first kiss.

A first trip.

A first experience.

A first feeling.

A first love.

Everything has a beginning and an ending.

Today is a beginning — a first.

Yesterday was an ending — a last.

Today is the day to focus on the firsts instead of the lasts.

Today is an opportunity to start over and create new firsts. To find what you’ve been looking for. To live instead of merely exist!

If you are reading this, TODAY IS A BLESSING. Many experienced their last times today. So take advantage of the blessing you have received.


Jeff Barton is a writer, ultra-runner, lover of books and zombies, a practitioner of positive thinking, and most importantly, a dad. Living and loving life one day at a time. You can find him at jeffthewriter.com and jefftherunner.com.

Image courtesy of S Migaj.

Goal-Setting Tips to Create an Extraordinary Life

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Just CTFO This Holiday Season!


These days anything that is anything has an acronym. IMO, SMH, TTYL, WFH, IDK, YOLO, and the list goes on. So, I created my own. It’s CTFO. That’s right.  CHILL THE *F* OUT.

A constant reminder to myself to CTFO.

Many of us go through life so tightly wound. We are pulled in so many directions. Our home life doesn’t look like we imagined it would. The kitchen is messy, the laundry is still in the basket waiting to be folded, unopened mail has sat for weeks, we are angry with our partner. Work never seems to ease up. Just when you clear one hoop, there’s another fire to put out and a new project that you are already behind on. There just isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done. You want so badly for everything to be in order and to be able to let loose a bit on the grind.

That everyday chaos we all feel is then compounded by the approaching holidays. Traveling, cooking, wrapping gifts, parties to attend and host, school events, work events, projects to finish up…it becomes overwhelming quickly! The anxiety and stress of it all gets projected onto our kids or other loved ones. It’s not the right place for it and we know that, but that stress must come out somewhere. That’s where CTFO comes in. Sometimes you must tell yourself to just CTFO.

Unless it’s life or death, and 99.9% of the time it is not, then CTFO.

Running late in the morning? Yelling to hurry up. Screaming to get shoes on. Chasing the kids so they don’t forget their water bottle or backpack….simply does not do anyone any good. All that does is increase the anxiety and set everyone up for a day aiming in the wrong direction.

Quietly think to yourself CTFO.

How does that look? Just be quiet. Opposite action. Pause and allow yourself to CTFO. Turn down the energy in the room. You might be five minutes late, but truly what is the big deal in that? Is it life or death? No. Chilling the *F* out will only improve your inner peace and set you and your family up for a better day and a better holiday season.

There will always be stress in our lives, especially around the holidays, but does our mindset make it better or worse? Are you adding to that stress or are you actively dissipating it by CTFO? Look inward. You may realize you simply need to CTFO. We are all human, but I’m guessing if I need to CTFO, some of you do too! Cheers to a “chill” and joyous holiday season!

*Originally published on LifeChangers.info.


Joanna Hakimi is a proud entrepreneur and can often be found singing in the car with her two kids. Starting her first successful business when she was 17 and being president of the Young Entrepreneur’s Society at the University of Georgia, she never closed the door on opportunity. She then went on to Northwestern University and attained her Masters in Science, becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. After being a successful LMFT in the northern suburbs of Chicago for more than 15 years while simultaneously running a mindful goods boutique for 5 years and accomplishing a 200 hour yoga teaching certification, Joanna was itching for a new adventure. After a phone conversation with a friend in California discussing ways to grow her Life Coaching business, the idea came about that independent professionals, such as Life Coaches, Health and Wellness Coaches and other similar people in the life changing business, needed a resource to connect potential clients with the LifeChanger they were seeking. That’s how her newest venture, LifeChangers.Info was born. LifeChangers has a mission to connect professionals with a new client base using a simple and inclusive site. When she’s not seeing clients or working to grow LifeChangers.Info, you can find Joanna hiking, making terrariums or, well, singing in the car with her kids…likely to Billy Joel or Indigo Girls. You can follow Joanna on Instagram.

Image courtesy of Elina Fairytale.

Little White Lies = Big Fat Problems


Why tell the truth?

According to a 2016 study, one in six Americans are on some sort of psychiatric drug, mostly antidepressants. Imagine what it is now. The statistic alone is depressing. But what if our unhappiness epidemic has way more to do with us than we know (or are willing to admit)? What if one of the reasons we have trouble sleeping, toss and turn at night, grind our teeth, and need that cookie, drink, or pill is from the anxiety that comes from managing all we’re not saying (aka lying about)?

Maybe it’s us…

Yes. We’re calling us liars. But aren’t we practically born liars? The minute we figured out how to talk, didn’t we figure out how to lie? Whether it was to get out of trouble or get another cookie from Dad when Mom already said no.

No?

Obviously, lying isn’t something any of us are particularly proud of. It’s why we hide the fact that we lie in the first place. And not only do we hide our lying, we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to justify it, defend it, and/or blame it on anything else but our own sneaky and cowardly selves.

But not to worry. We are not alone.

In a study by Robert P. Lanza, James Starr, and B.F. Skinner (University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University), two pigeons were taught to use symbols to communicate information about hidden colors to each other. When reporting red was more generously reinforced than reporting yellow or green, both birds passed through a period in which they “lied” by reporting another color as red.

So you see. Even pigeons lie for a “cookie.”

We’re trained early on that when we don’t do what we said we’d do or when we’re caught doing something that is frowned upon (e.g. allegedly cutting up all of your mother’s favorite Pucci scarves to make clothes for your Barbie), so long as we feel terrible, look sad, and say we’re sorry (whether we mean it or not), we’re decent people. Even as adults, most of us still think that as long as we feel guilty that we, for example, didn’t call our mother and we have a legitimate enough excuse to go with it, well then, we’re doing okay. But, here’s a question for you: Does feeling guilty, so long as we have an acceptable excuse, really make us a decent human? Or does it make us, more accurately and simply, well-intended liars?

What do you think?

Worse than just feeling guilty or justified or sincerely having meant well, lying also has other repercussions. It has gotten us into a bit of a bind. The real reason we don’t and cannot fully believe in ourselves and our dreams is because out in the real world, we are not fully being ourselves. We have wrapped ourselves pretty darn tight in the pretense of who we want people to think we are.

Even worse, lying affects our health.

In a study by Dr. Anita Kelly and Lijuan Wang, PHD (University of Notre Dame), entitled, “A life without lies: How living honestly can affect health,” they found that Americans average around 11 lies per week. In the study of 110 people over 10 weeks when half of the participants had to stop telling major and minor lies, their health significantly improved.

Some of lyings other side effects include:

Secrets create reality. The act of keeping and hiding a secret is what gives it weight and credence. We hide it because we want it to go away, but that is exactly what causes the opposite result.

Secrets hide the real you. If you hold onto secrets long enough and insulate yourself with them, in a sense, you become your secrets.

Secrets manifest problems elsewhere. Secrets isolate you.

Building a relationship on a foundation of secrecy and lies is like building a house directly on sand. You cannot sustain deep connections with people who only get to see the carefully edited “you.” When you don’t say what you think, people don’t know you. You never feel fully loved for who you really are.

So how do we do it? How do we speak the truth when our species is seemingly hardwired for lying?

Learning to tell the truth is an art. If you can start to see and feel the difference between who you are being when you are honest and who you are being when you are not, you can bridge the gap. In order to have true love, intimacy, and real connections, we must not only lighten up about our dark side (our liar), but have honest conversations about the hard stuff.

Transparency, what we all aim for, is sharing the real you. Unfiltered and unrehearsed. When you are being fully transparent, everyone in your life gets the real, unedited you. You feel totally alive, honest, current, and are dealing in your life fully.

After twenty plus years of coaching and thousands of clients later, we can’t tell you how many people, once they cleaned up their lie list and had tough conversations to resolve the big ones, felt a real relief of depression symptoms.

OK, fine, that’s a lie. We could tell you. We just won’t.

Seems the saying, “the truth shall set you free,” isn’t just old. It’s TRUE.

If we were going to radically change the world, we’d eradicate lying. Everyone has a list. Make yours. Some are easy to fix and some are not. Know your brand. Pick the one brand you are going to eradicate. Proudly tell on yourself, rat out (scientific term) how you do it. Have the hard conversation.

What if the conversations are only really “hard” because you haven’t had them yet?

Have them.

Love,

Beth

P.S. Inner.U LIFE is a 12 session online course that gives you the tools to hack into your own life, hone your dreams, and have every last thing you want in the areas that matter most to you: CAREER, MONEY, LOVE, TIME, etc. Do this life thing better from wherever, whenever!


Beth Handel is the Co-Founder of Handel Group®, a seventeen plus year executive life coach (back when it was totally unheard of and not cool), who has taught thousands of clients to human better. Beth is the one who (already great, top of the top) CEOs, venture capitalists, and gurus go to. From Live Nations’ Michael Rapino to Gary Vaynerchuk to NFL players Justin Pugh and Nolan Carroll to singer Michelle Williams to name (drop) a few. She founded Handel Group with her sister, Lauren, almost two decades ago and has developed it into a multi-platform business with Corporate, Life Coaching, Education, Sports and Product Divisions. The Handel Method® is a unique, cutting edge, straightforward, brutally honest methodology that has been taught and developed at over 50 universities and institutes of learning worldwide, from MIT to Stanford University School of Business to Yale to Columbia to NYU and the New York Public School System. Beth’s coaching style, mad skills, and tool kit, plus the humor and honesty she wields as she owns her own dark side is exploding now, as the world implodes, and the truth about humanity can no longer be contained, even in a pandemic. What truth? Beth’s… She has worked with public and private companies delivering doubled and tripled sales, integrating previously “warring” divisions, and identifying obstacles to signing multi-million dollar contracts in short time frames. Beth’s ability to evolve corporate culture and bring about exponential financial growth has become her legacy.

Image courtesy of Sound On.

Practice Letting Go! – Easy Tips for Releasing What No Longer Serves You in 3 Mins


Hello Spiritual Warrior, where have you been holding on too tightly? Where can you let go? In this short video, we’ll practice letting go of what no longer serves you.

Like the daily practice of meditation – the process of lessening our resistance includes surrendering, accepting, detaching, and then trusting that this moment is THE moment – bringing our awareness to the fluidity and evolutionary nature of life. This is what is means to practice letting go.

When we oppose what is flowing into us, we are saying NO to the universe. We are denying our most divine nature. When we resist, we suddenly put an end to infinite possibilities.

And so of course it would follow that when we resist letting go, we are also denying the Universe.

There are many lessons (and growing pains) along the journey of our life, which may contribute to the underlying challenge that makes us reluctant to trust and welcome the unknown. But we can shift that non-nourishing mindset very easily and quickly by beginning the processing of ALLOWING ourselves to receive what’s being offered to us right now.

But if your hand is tightly clenched in a fist holding onto something, it’s incapable of receiving. When you resist letting go, there is only one outcome that you are carving into the moment. Simply by opening yourself to another outcome rather than one, life expands, new possibilities arise, and your choices become liberating as fear and constriction drift away. You can practice letting go just one thing to get this new momentum moving.

Miracles often appear when we least expect them…when we are innocent and vulnerable to the next moment. The magic of life surges into us when we remain open without expectation & are willing to listen without assuming that we know how the universe is supposed to unfold.

As the Seventh Dalai Lama wrote, “All things found in the world and beyond are illusions created by one’s own concepts. Grasping at them but further distorts perception. Give up grasping and see things as they are.”

So, this week, let’s give up grasping… let’s give up fear… let’s give up RESISTING… let’s truly practice LETTING GO! The best is yet to come.

In the meantime, remember to LIKE & SUBSCRIBE to my channels to keep your ripple flowing in our community & support this content!!! I am so grateful that you keep showing up, keep doing your best, and I hope you know how valued you are as a member of this community.

Better yet, go deeper into the community by joining the MIND SHIFT membership too  More details are below if you are interested. I would be honored if you decided to take the next step in this community.

Sending you expansive love, personal growth, and health. Be well.

Namaste. -davidji & Peaches the Buddha Princess

Want to add this to your personal meditation library? Download it here.

Originally published on davidji.com.


davidji is a globally recognized mindbody health & wellness expert, mindful performance trainer, meditation teacher & author of Amazon’s Best Seller destressifying: The Real-World Guide to Personal Empowerment, Lasting Fulfillment, and Peace of Mind, Sacred Powers: The Five Secrets to Transformation and Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace & Personal Transformation, & winner of the Nautilus Book Award. Connect with him on . davidji.com Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Josh Hild.

The Grinch That Stole Christmas, as Never before Experienced


Just last evening, as my two sons were winding down from a typical Tuesday at school and slipping into the typical Tuesday evening routine at home, I noticed my youngest son lying on the sofa with a large book in his hands. While both of my sons are avid readers, and this is not an out of the ordinary occurrence, his focus seemed razor sharp, and I was curious what held his attention so fully.

“Hey Bud, watcha readin’?”, I asked. He held up the book without saying a word. It was one of my absolute favorite holiday delights, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’. I could tell he was completely mesmerized with the words and pictures as he excitedly turned each page.

Years of nightly, pre-bedtime reading to this newly nine-year-old little boy, when he was much younger and much less capable of reading on his own, flashed through my mind. Sitting in my comfortable over-sized lazy-boy, holding this little nugget on my lap, smelling his freshly washed little boy hair and smiling to myself at his precious little boy pajamas, as I read countless bedtime stories each night before putting him to bed.

Oh, how I miss those days! When ‘just one more, Mommy…’ is anything I would give to hear again.

While memories flashed through my mind like a Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation slideshow in the attic, I said: “Would you like me to read the book to you?”. My son shook his head and informed me he could read it himself. Doing a quick reassessment, I said: “Well, it is one of my favorites; maybe you could read it to me?”. He contemplated this for a split second, and then sheepishly crawled from the sofa, across the living room to where I sat, in the exact same chair I rocked him as a baby all those years ago.

That little boy proceeded to read the whole book (he started over so that I didn’t miss anything) to me. I held my tongue when he came to a word he did not know how to pronounce. He figured them all out, even the ‘Suessery’ words that did not quite make it into the English lingo we use daily.

As I sat, barely holding this nearly full-grown child, half on my lap and half sitting beside me, I lost myself in the story I could practically quote from heart. It was almost like hearing it for the first time, as my youngest son, with his sweet little voice full of excitement, read it with full-on overly-zealous and theatrical Dr. Suess flare.

How quickly time passes and how one’s perception of a situation is the key to one’s acceptance and…even enjoyment.

If I had let myself sit there too long, I would have become weepy and misty-eyed, considering the passage of time and how my baby is no longer my baby.

Yet.

Reveling in his newly found reading skills, I was able to enjoy spending quality time with him in a way that was different, yet completely enjoyable, for both of us.

In taking the time to read to me, his Mommy turned Mother, I was able to fully immerse myself in the story, revel in the reading skills this child has developed, and feel as close to him as I did when he was a small version of the young man he is today.

Time is sure to change our relationship with our children. But that does not have to be a bad thing! Letting our once needy and helpless kids take the reigns once in awhile and take care of us parents, whether it be driving us around, fixing dinner, tucking us in once in a while, or reading us a bedtime story as we once did for them, can be quite a beautiful and unexpected gift. “Try it, you might like it” comes to mind, but I realize that is the wrong Dr. Suess story…

I can assure you, dear Mommy and Daddy friends, as my son sat with me in that big, over-sized lazy-boy recliner, and read one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time, my heart grew five sizes (which is two sizes larger than the Grinch’s after he unsuccessfully attempted to steal Christmas from the Who’s of Whoville).


Manndi Maphies DeBoef works at the UMKC School of Pharmacy at Missouri State University. She also enjoys freelance writing. Her greatest passion is being a boy mom to her two sons, William and Waylan, who never fail to provide daily entertainment, which inspires many of her writings. She writes about everything from being a single mom and dating after divorce to finding love later in life, the devastation of miscarriage, the loss of a loved one and starting over. Her pieces are lovingly filled with inspiration, encouragement, and always a touch of humor. “Live a life worth writing about.”

Image courtesy of Ksenia Chernaya.

Gifts of the Season


If you’re anything like me- you adore this time of year.

The food! The festivities! The decorations! If you’re in a cold climate and love it- SNOW! I’m perfectly happy with a California Christmas, but I have plenty of loved ones that cherish the cold and snow.

I’m the person that buys special pajamas for my whole family because I love how cute everyone looks, and because it’s such a fun thing to do every year. I love that even though my daughters are getting older, they still participate. My husband happily does it too. I love the bright wrapping paper under the tree, and the family traditions.

As much as I love the end of the year, and the time with my family, I also love it for another reason. It’s a wonderful time to practice gratitude, to look around at your life, and acknowledge what you have.

There’s no better time than the present to appreciate your life, but the end of the year is a really good time to look back and feel good about what you do have.

My entire life, and business, is built around gratitude. I practice it daily. In the midst of the stress of life, finding moments each day to acknowledge what I am grateful for provides peace. Usually, they’re small things. But small things are often big things, you know?

The end of the year is when I really love to focus on the true gifts of life, the real things I’m incredibly grateful for. The things that are the foundations of my life, that contribute greatly to my joy and zest for life.

My daughters, first and foremost, I’m forever grateful for them. I’m grateful for what they’ve taught me, and continue to teach me. I’m grateful that they’re happy and healthy.

I’m grateful for my husband, for the safe space he is for me. I’m grateful for the different perspectives he provides, and for his constant energy- even when it drives me nuts.

I’m grateful for the home I live in, in a warm climate. I love that my home is cozy, and safe, and that everyone that comes inside feels loved. I have a roof over my head every night, and a clean bed to sleep in.

I’m grateful to have access to such amazing, healthy, and nutritious food. I have clean water to drink, as often as I need it, and clean air to breathe during the many moments of my year when I need to talk deep, calming breaths.

I also remain incredibly grateful for my tribe. The people that are there when I’m down, that I’ve shared endless laughter with, and always have my back. I wouldn’t have gotten through this year without the incredible people in my life, and I am so blessed to be loved by them, and to love them.

These things I’ve listed, I think about often, and frequently thank the universe for. But, I also like to really feel grateful for the these things as each year ends, and feel the beautiful energy of life around me. Life is beautiful, and there are so many wonderful things in each of our lives.

So before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, and your thoughts inevitably turn to the new year, and the new things you want to happen, I ask that you please take time to think about what this year has been.

Every year provides gifts, and memories, and you leave each year a new version of yourself.

There are always things to be grateful for, and proud of. So take some real moments, and honor what this year has been. List out what your true gifts are- not the shiny ones wrapped in paper, but the things you can’t live without.

Really take a moment to be grateful for those things that kept you going, those things that are your foundations, and all the things you do have that you might be taking for granted. We all do it. There are people with so much, that forget what they have. And there are too many people with far too little, that want what we all take for granted- warmth, food, and loved ones to celebrate with.

Now, I’m not guilting you here, but there’s truth in all of this. You very likely have more than you realize, and it really is a wonderful time to give thanks for those incredible things that make up your life.

So I ask you, what are the true gifts in your life?

In Gratitude,

Robin


Robin Lee is a medical intuitive, author, mentor, gratitude advocate, and speaker who has helped thousands of people around the world understand the language of their bodies. Robin believes that our bodies innately know how to balance and heal themselves if given proper care and support. Visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter, where she shares tips, tools, and techniques to honor our bodies and heal our lives!

Image courtesy of Any Lane.