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December 16, 2014     0


My Top 11 List for Keeping Sane and Calm this Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again. Time for decorations, pretty lights, reuniting with family and visits home. It’s also time for overtaxed schedules, family arguments, mall parking lots and all the other things that make the holidays a royal pain in the ars! So in the spirit of taking on only what you can, having a stress free holiday season and ensuring you show up for both yourself and others in a meaningful fashion, here’s my top 11 (I couldn’t make 10 work) list for keeping cool, staying sane and being present this holiday season.

1. Create the MUST List. It all starts with getting organized. Creating a must do/must have/must see list helps you stay organized and prevents you from getting distracted by things that aren’t a priority for you. Make the list and stick to it!

2. Start with you. I pretty much give the following advice to my clients on a regular basis; you can’t be there for anybody else in your life until you’re there for yourself first. Self-care is the only sure-fire way to ensure you show up and be present for everyone and everything this holiday season. Take care of YOU first and you’ll do a better job of taking care of everything else.

3. Learn to say NO! The fastest way to holiday burnout is not appropriately setting boundaries with the people in your life. Saying yes to everybody’s requests is going to leave you with no time for yourself. It isn’t a badge of honor to run yourself into the ground, nor should it be treated as such. It’s important to be comfortable saying no when you are busy, overextended or just plain tired. No martyrs allowed this holiday season. Get off the cross, we need the wood.

4. Learn to ask for help. Human beings are hard wired for connection and support. Our society has this concept turned on its head, acting as if real strength comes from doing everything yourself and not relying on anyone for anything. This idea is isolating and creates separation and judgment. Real strength comes from not only admitting you need help, but also reaching out and asking for it. This applies to all the different areas (and events) in your life, not just when you need to bake holiday cookies, pick up Grandma from the airport and figure out which holiday bulb is burnt outside on the house (although I’m not sure if anyone would help you with the last one – think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation).

5. Remember the true meaning of the holiday season. Different holidays come with different spiritual beliefs, but they stem from the same truth. This holiday season is about celebrating your connection to the Source (God, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Cher, etc.). And for those of you who might not have a spiritual practice, this season is about giving back to your fellow man, remembering we are all connected and celebrating the miracle of our existence. Sure, Santa, gifts and Uncle Harry’s balloon animals are fun, but there is a powerful significance to this season we all need to remember and celebrate.

6. Keep the partying to a reasonable level. . We all know that with the holidays comes a whole lot of “spirits”, sugar, caffeine, fat and a whole slew of other toxins we have the opportunity to ingest which can lay waste to our bodies in all of its domains (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual). Be cognizant of the choices you’re making and remember the negative impact of going overboard (depression, exhaustion, sickness, weight gain, etc.) By no sense of the imagination am I suggesting you say no to Grandpa’s infamous, “Hanukah Happiness” cocktail, just remember to partake of the holiday goodies in moderation.

7. Get physical. No, I’m not talking about getting in a fist fight with Uncle Larry over the last bite of Nana’s stuffing. I’m talking about exercise. You know the deal. Exercise creates endorphins. Endorphins create happiness. It’s also a great way to eradicate stress and anxiety. If Aunt Mildred’s visit is starting to take a toll on your overall health and well-being, take a run around the block. You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel. Oh, and feel free to scream the entire run, that might help too.

8. Have a less than perfect holiday. You’re not perfect and neither are your holidays. So why try to replicate your favorite seasonal movie by chasing after the illusion of “holiday perfection”. Skip the heart attack by not trying to create your favorite Judy Garland holiday. If time and sanity are at stake, buy the cookies at the local bakery (gasp), go pot luck for the family dinner and skip the holiday cards this year. You’ll find yourself with way more time, energy and calm.

9. Center yourself. I’m a huge proponent of meditation and have a daily practice. If you are at all interested, you should check out Russell Simmons’ introductory book on the subject entitled, Success Through Stillness. If you’re not a meditator, sometimes centering yourself is as easy as closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Maye it’s spending some time by yourself, doing absolutely nothing at all (VEG out). Whatever your approach, take the time to center yourself so you can be present, peaceful and compassionate during the holidays.

10. Learn to say yes. You definitely want to make sure you have a must do/have/see list and be prepared to say no to competing priorities, but you also want to ensure you’re open to the little synchronistic surprises the universe has in store for you. Whether it’s saying yes to a loving moment with your significant other, enjoying an impromptu glass of nog with friends, taking moments to give thanks for all that you have or giving back to those less fortunate, building in a little flexibility to your schedule to participate in these universal gifts can only make your holidays brighter.

11. Schedule a second and third Holiday get together (if necessary). Listen, not everything needs to be done on the exact holiday itself. If you have a must see list that doesn’t allow visits with everyone by the time your holiday is over, schedule a visit the day after, over the weekend or in the New Year. Feverishly driving all over the city in a futile attempt to see everyone stresses you out, compromises the quality of your visits, jeopardizes innocent pedestrians and doesn’t bode well for your little niece when she accidentally pours her soda down the front of your new holiday sweater.

So, give yourself the gift of sanity this year. Remember to hold on to the true meaning of the holiday season, stay grounded, learn to say no, schedule appropriately and most importantly, take care of yourself first!

Have any additional advice to offer up on keeping your sanity this holiday season? Join in on the conversation by adding your comments below.

I wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy holiday season! Peace, love and joy to you now and in 2015!

Keep Moving Forward!

As always, my goal is to give my readers something useful, tangible and worth their time, so if you don’t like something you read here, leave it, and only take away what works for you.

December 19, 2013     2

Santa meditation

8 Ways To Not Freak Out This Holiday Season

This is a season of lights, beauty and warmth. It’s also a time when people tend to go f-ing bonkers if they’re not prepared for the onslaught of family, food, and shopping. So it’s important that we equip ourselves with the right tools to minimize this attack on our energetic well-being. Life coach Joel Readence is back with 8 tips for keeping our spiritual and emotional health this holiday season.

1. Find some meaning in the holiday season. Whether it’s donating to your favorite charity, volunteering some of your time to someone who needs it, letting go of past grievances with a loved one, or attending a spiritual service—just do something that’s meaningful to you that enriches your heart and soul.

2. Take time for yourself. We want to do everything this season. We want to be twice as productive and organized as we usually are in the hopes of completing every errand on that “mile high” to-do list, or we want to attend every holiday party and make the most of all the food & booze. But the fact of the matter is, this type of behavior can lead to “energetic burn out” if we’re not careful. Take some time to chill out; meditate, read a good book, take a quiet walk, go to a yoga class, whatever it is that will recharge your body, mind and spirit.

3. Let go of your attempts at control. We may have this idea of how our holidays should go. This, of course, leaves us disappointed when real life sets in (i.e., family fights or no family at all, burnt cookies, travel delays, breakups, etc). Let go of the fantasy and embrace your reality. There’s beauty in the imperfections of our lives. Remember, the upcoming holidays are about giving love and so feeling it in return. Make that the focus of your holiday season and trust the universe will take care of the rest.

4. Take it easy with the “holiday cheer”. Everybody likes to party during the holidays. And this season affords us the opportunity to party, eat, and play in excess. Be careful of the “wear and tear” you put your body through and understand that overdoing it with booze, heavy meals, and sugary processed desserts can lead to a compromised immune system, the onset of the holiday blues, and the inability to handle any stress whatsoever.

5. Make authentic and thoughtful choices. It’s easy to overextend yourself by trying to be everything to everybody. This year, why don’t you start by being something to yourself first and only agree to participate in the things that truly resonate with you? Decide to treat yourself well first, so that you’ll feel better and become a brighter presence in the world.

6. Remember to meet people where there at. The practice of living a conscious life is challenging at times, especially at the holidays, and especially with family. It’s easy to get frustrated and angry with people who don’t live a life you approve of, or who don’t act in a manner you feel is appropriate. But the fact of the matter is, your greatest assignment in this world isn’t to change or save the people in your life, it’s to focus on your own personal growth and development and let go of your need to try and control the world around you. Make an effort this holiday season to meet your loved ones exactly where they are in their lives and let go of the need to try to “fix” them. We are all on our own path. Each one of us is unique and deserving of love and compassion.

7. Remember to count your blessings. Remember just how fortunate you are compared so many others in the world. Be grateful for everyone and everything you have in your life, and then express that appreciation by doing something for someone less fortunate than you. Remember, being thankful for what you have is the first and most important step to creating more abundance in your life.

8. Keep it within budget. Oftentimes, in our effort to ensure a perfect holiday season, we go a bit overboard financially and end up in debt. We succumb to the multi-million dollar marketing campaigns that tell us expensive presents with pretty bows are the only way to show the people in our lives just how much they mean to us. But truthfully, the real spirit of the holiday season is one based on connection, compassion, and joy. You don’t need to drive up the balances on your credit cards to show the people in your life just how much you care about them. You just need to tell them. Even better, show them. Show ‘em you love ‘em the same exact way you wish someone would show you they love you. Give the love you want to receive. That’s the holiday spirit!

Have any additional advice to offer up on keeping your sanity this holiday season? Join in on the conversation by adding your comments below.

Wishing all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous holiday season and New Year to come!


As always, my goal is to give my readers something useful, tangible and worth their time, so if you don’t like something you read here, leave it, and only take away what works for you.

October 22, 2013     0


Life Lessons from a 42 Year Old Wisdom Junkie

So I turn 42 on Sunday. Yep, I’m one of those crazy people who claim their age and feel no need to hide it. I subscribe to the philosophy that as I get older, I get better. Age and experience have offered me increased wisdom and a deeper understanding of who I am, why I’m here and how I can make a difference in the world. They also continue to impress upon me the fact that there is still so much more learning and growing to be done.

And it was during this birthday contemplation, I decided to share some of the life lessons I’ve learned along the way, and the impact they can have on your life. I’ve touched upon a few of these in previous articles, but they definitely bear repeating. Many of them will seem like such simple concepts, yet the majority of people in the world haven’t mastered them. You may recognize some, or maybe even all of these lessons. My goal here isn’t to stump my readers with obscure knowledge and B-side concepts, instead my hope is that the information provided is transparent, easily digestible and something that leads to reflection and growth. So without further adieu, here are 10 life lessons I’ve learned along the way and how they can impact your life.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison leads to separation and judgment of yourself and others. Recognize you are enough just as you are and that we are all on our own unique and incomparable path.

2. Let go of the need to be perfect. This form of control keeps us constantly trying and constantly failing to live up to an unrealistic ideal of who we think we should be. If only I were thinner, prettier, stronger, smarter, etc. Let go of your need to be perfect and see just how much happier (and easier) life can be.

3. Own your vulnerabilities. We all have them. So why do most us look at them as some sort of shortcoming and weakness and pretend they don’t exist? The fact of the matter is, it’s only when you’re able to own, accept and learn from your vulnerabilities that you’re able to treat yourself, and others, with the compassion, understanding and forgiveness we all richly deserve.

4. Learn to say no in your life. In order to be there for the people in your life, you need to be there for yourself first. So learn to be okay with saying no to others so you make the time for those things that add meaning and enrichment to your life. You’re not a bad person for making yourself a priority.

5. Don’t keep company with the wrong people. You’ve heard it said time and time again, including by yours truly. You are the company you keep. So why not surround yourself with people who let you be the real you, support your dreams and foster an atmosphere of acceptance and love.

6. Stop trying to be someone else. Trying to live in the mold of others people’s expectations is a fool’s errand. It’s an exhaustive effort that takes us farther away from who we really are. Impress others by following your own path and find your acceptance by leading a fully realized and uncompromised existence. Check out my blog, Are You Keeping It Real.

7. Stop trying to control every aspect of your life. A kissing cousin of perfectionism, control is another enemy of peace of mind and happiness. You can have a beautiful, meaningful and fulfilled life without micromanaging every aspect of it. You just need to have faith, accept that things won’t always go as planned and not be afraid to ask for help, either from your higher power or from your loved ones.

8. Learn to move past fear. Fear is without a doubt the greatest paralyzer in the world today. Fear of failure, fear of success and fear of judgment by others debilitate people and keep them from pursuing their dreams. Recognize that you only have one life to live and that you don’t want to be on your deathbed filled with regret over what could have been. Identify what it is that makes you afraid, ask yourself if it is rational (or even real) and move past it in pursuit of your dreams. Check out my blog, Letting Fear Be Your Guide.

9. Live in the now. We spend too much time regretting the past and dreaming of the future. We trap ourselves into feelings of guilt and embarrassment by holding on to shameful or humiliating memories and putting them on perpetual playback in our heads. Conversely, we propel ourselves into the future by dreaming of the day when we will have everything we think we need to have a perfect life. But it’s only when we stay present minded, grateful for everything we have and dedicated to our life’s journey (not the destination) that we learn, grow and become the people we’re meant to be.

10. Stop gossiping. I’ll let you in on a secret. People only gossip for one reason, insecurity, plain and simple. They figure if they’re pointing the finger at someone else, no one will be able to see what they’re trying to hide about themselves. This nasty little habit does nothing but create separation and judgment in the world. So the next time you’re thinking about joining in on a gossip session, remind yourself of your own inner work, learn to practice compassion and end the conversation before it has a chance to begin.

Did any of the above life lessons strike a chord with you? Learn anything new about yourself from reading this article? Join in on the conversation by adding your comments below.



As always, my goal is to give my readers something useful, tangible and worth their time, so if you don’t like something you read here, leave it, and only take away what works for you.

September 26, 2013     6

happy 3

How to Avoid Common Impediments to a Happy Life

A happy life is becoming ever more elusive these days. Our society conditions us to believe that happiness is only achieved by looking outside ourselves for guidance on who to be, what to do and how to act. Truth be told, this lifestyle ignores the one surefire way you can achieve happiness in your life, by looking inward for your guidance and answers. Here are some common, externally focused roadblocks to being happy and how to overcome them.

Wearing masks - Trying to live in the mold of others people’s expectations can be exhausting and take us farther away from who we really are. If we wear these masks long enough, we run the risk of losing sight of who we really are all together. Gay men are especially susceptible to this type of negative behavior due to the unaccepting environments we grew up in. Impress others by following your own path and find your acceptance by leading a fully realized and uncompromised life. Check out my blog, Are You Keeping It Real.

Judging Others - Truth be told, people love to judge. We like to judge others who share our same insecurities. If we’re pointing the finger at someone else, we’re keeping the spotlight off of us. Judgment takes on many forms, but one of the most prevalent is gossip. Gay men love to judge, and we certainly love to gossip. How many times have you watched a group of gay men shred another gay man for how his hair is styled, what he’s wearing or how he’s acting? I’m certainly guilty of judging others and participating in gossip. I recognize now it was simply my desperate attempt to mask my own insecurities. When we recognize our judgment of others comes from a place of fear and insecurity, we’re able to shift our perception to one of empathy, compassion and understanding. Shifting from a fear based perspective to one of love is the key to living an authentic and happy life.

Looking to others for your life purpose - Much like wearing masks, this form of external living keeps your life in the control of others. A great example is letting others choose your career for you. I can’t tell you how many times I hear stories about people who went into a specific line of work because their parents wanted them to or because people told them they wouldn’t make any money pursuing their real passion. If this hits home with you, you’re in good company. Many people let outside influences guide their life trajectory. Designate yourself the #1 expert on what’s best for your life and don’t let others steer you down the wrong path.

Procrastinating - We’ve all experienced the negative outcomes associated with putting off important things in life, so why do we continue to do it? When you procrastinate on those things that are important to you like pursuing your dream job, mending broken relationships or spending time with loved ones, feelings of guilt, sadness and shame can surface. Procrastination can start small, but end big. Time moves quickly and if you’re not careful, days, months and years can go flying by. You certainly don’t want to be on your deathbed with a laundry list of excuses for not being the person you wanted to be and not leading the life you envisioned for yourself. The time we have on this planet is uncertain, so don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today. Check out my blog, Regrets of the Dying.

Living in the grip of fear - The number one reason people fail to make positive change in their life and realize their full potential is fear. In our society, people are under the misguided notion that fear equates to weakness, so we pretend we’re indestructible and nothing gets to us. Of course, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When you acknowledge your fear and identify what exactly you’re afraid of, you weaken its hold on you. Oftentimes, you realize the real truth about fear; it’s not real or rational. My favorite way of explaining fear is with a well-known acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. Check out my blog, Letting Fear Be Your Guide.

Seeking perfection - Want to know one of the quickest paths to experiencing failure and shame? It’s trying to be a perfectionist. Society (via loved ones, advertisements, TV, etc.) sends us an inaccurate and all together unfair messages that if we can’t brilliantly execute on all aspects of our lives, that we’re not enough, that we have somehow failed. We hold ourselves to this unrealistic ideal, hide our perceived weakness and shame ourselves for not being perfect. The fact of the matter is, you are enough just the way you are. It’s okay to not be able to do everything. It’s okay to talk about your feelings of weakness and inadequacy. And it’s definitely okay to ask for help.

Trying to control - A kissing cousin of perfection, control is another enemy of peace of mind and happiness. When you spend all of your time trying to control every inch of your life, you burn through a ton of positive energy and burden yourself with worry. So do yourself a favor, ease up on the reigns, and trust everything in life is happening exactly as it’s supposed to be. You can have a beautiful, meaningful and fulfilled life without micromanaging every aspect of it. You just need to have faith, accept that things won’t always go as planned and not be afraid to ask for help, either from your higher power or from your loved ones.

Keeping company with the wrong people - You’ve heard it time and time again. You are the company you keep. So why not surround yourself with people who let you be the real you, support your dreams and foster an atmosphere of acceptance and love. Enough said.

Feeling a sense of entitlement - Many people have the misguided notion that the things they want for their lives can and should be handed to them with no effort on their part. The reason why they have this mindset can be attributed to any number of things, but the outcome is almost always the same. They make no progress towards achieving their dreams. Remember,

Awareness is powerful, but it can be rendered useless without action!

Knowing what you want for your life gets you nowhere if you don’t take action to obtain it. Don’t wait around for others to give you what you want or you may never achieve the goals and dreams you have for your life.

So are you dealing with any of the above impediments to a happy life? Have you overcame any of the above happiness barriers and have wisdom to impart on other readers? Join in on the conversation by adding your comments below.



As always, my goal is to give my readers something useful, tangible and worth their time. If you don’t like something you read here, leave it and only take away what resonates with you.