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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

When I reference Groundhog Day, I can’t help but think of that hysterical 1993 movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. If you have never seen it (although I would question where you’ve been!), Bill Murray’s character experiences the same Groundhog Day over and over again. Each time the day starts again, he adjusts based on what he knows will happen so he can get it “just right”.

This movie has me reflecting on two lessons I have learned over the years that look a lot like this Bill Murray’s character’s experience:

  • My days of living the Groundhog Day life in my career and business are over. I learned early on in corporate to save everything- every file, every document and every email trail- because invariably the senior leadership team would reposition an old project or initiative as a brand new, enterprise-wide opportunity in which I could be put in charge. Common practice was to pull out those saved files, relabel them and start over again. It got so bad in 2002 that I bought my entire team a copy of the movie! (VHS of course) Today as an entrepreneur everything is new -every day. No reusing ideas for me. It is all fresh and exciting. No more slapping another name or spin on an initiative and calling it new! Phew– However, I am free to reuse those fabulous corporate ideas at my corporate clients all day long!
  • The Universe will continue to put similar people, situations and opportunities in my path until I learn the lesson I am here to learn. And it is often equal parts frustrating and hysterical.  Like the movie Groundhog Day, I just keep coming back to the scenario over and over again, adjusted a bit each time, until I make the major shift. The most recent lessons have been painful and tear-filled but the “other side” is looks like days of endless rainbows compared to the ways I was living tied to those toxic people, places and things.

Where is that happening in your life?

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Screen shot 2012-12-16 at · Dec 16 @ 4.39.32 PM

This weekend feels so strange… not really the weekend before Christmas but I am definitely feeling the pressure of heading into the week before Christmas. Because let’s be realistic; there will not be a lot of people working next Monday. It is basically an upcoming 4-day weekend with the celebration of Christmas. In fact, each time I look at the calendar, I think, “gosh it is almost Christmas!” It is coming so quickly!

Have you been feeling this, too?

Therefore, this was a weekend of preparation. That is how I spent my holiday celebration time of which I have been blogging for the past 2 weeks.

Day 14: Friday: Made plans for Christmas Eve. Wanted to be certain I had a plan. I will be staying in the city this year and not returning to Rochester to my family’s so for me it was important to have a plan. Which church service was I attending, what volunteer work would I be doing, where would I celebrate with friends before church? All the details got worked out. Plan in place.

Day 15: Saturday: A beautiful day in NYC. Warmish for this time of year and a day that I had set aside entirely for fun. No work. Just “me time”. That “me time” included the most relaxing walk through NOHO and SOHO- looking in store windows with all holiday items displayed in the window. So much creativity and happiness everywhere. Plus, the walk was with my best friend who I had not seen since before the Hurricane due to all kinds of obstacles so this was just a wonderful, leisurely holiday celebration.

Day 16: Sunday: Since I decided not to send all my hundreds of holiday cards this year, I wanted to make a mini-plan for holiday greetings and beyond. Sitting quietly with a cup of coffee, I wrote a mini-list of family members who deserved a holiday greeting from me- regardless of the fact that my work life is so uber-busy that I determined that I would not be sending out cards.  I decided that family members would be the exception.  I then made a list of friends and clients who I wanted to be certain to celebrate. That list will be tackled after the New Year with a deliberate sit-down in a coffee shop to write individual notes to each one. I would rather sent a heart-felt note to wish them a Happy New Year than a generic holiday greeting just to get it in under the wire of December 31. Hopefully, they will all feel the same!

Now, we head into the week before Christmas. Wow.

Be Merry and Bright!

Screen shot 2012-12-16 at · Dec 16 @ 4.39.00 PM

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starbucks

 

This was a short, but super fun holiday moment for the blog.

Day 4 in my quest to find something celebratory about the holiday season brought the fun to me…

As I waited at the Starbucks bar for my Grande Americano (one of many for the day!), the holiday music was playing overhead. So I…. yup… started humming and then singing softly and then realized that I was not alone. The barista making my drink was singing. So we smiled and got a little louder at which point other customers and other baristas joined in and soon we were all singing “Winter Wonderland” together.

When it was over, we all cheered, giggled, hi-fived and went on drinking our coffee!

Love my neighborhood.

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New Apartment Building in a New Neighborhood.

Yesterday, I decided to decorate the door to be more welcoming at the holidays as the “new girl” in my building!

Hung this wreath in the morning and when I arrived home, it made me so happy to come up the stairs and see this greeting me!

(and it jingled every time I open my door or when a neighbor slams theirs – there is a silver lining in all the door slamming!)

my holiday door

But even better is the situation with my neighbor across the hall who has a daughter under two. Since Thanksgiving they have had this Santa on their door and each and every time someone knocks on the door to visit (or when her parents arrive home to greet her) they say “ho ho ho”. She squeals with delight so loudly, I can hear her in my apartment.

santa on the door

Simple pleasures. All it takes is a few decorations on the door to make me smile.

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I took a chance on a concert this evening called Quiet Moments at Middle Collegiate Church sponsored by a multi-cultural, multi-faith global initiative I volunteer with called Intersections. One of my favorite things about the holidays is music- from all cultures and all spiritual practices. This expression of the season makes me so happy.

Tonight, I was delighted by Fred Johnson and his featured artists on percussion and piano. Quiet Callings is a joyous contemplative presentation of both composed and improvised selections of music gleaned from Quiet Callings (a collection of mediations received and authored by Fred Johnson in 2009) and The Great American Songbook. I met Fred after the performance and he is as warm and delightful as he is talented.

The only word I would use is WOW.

The added bonus is that they performed a few of my favorite Christmas songs like The Little Drummer Boy. Magical.

So happy I headed all the way downtown to make this my day 2 holiday celebration event.

Here’s a taste of this trio!

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This morning in my journal writing I got this clear “hit”. Time to celebrate the holidays in a new way. You see I love the holiday time- especially December and the lead into Christmas. So much sparkle and song! But during many holiday seasons past the days fly by and before I know it, it is New Years Day. Very disappointing. It is just not the same finally being in the mood to celebrate in January.

Therefore, I decided to do one “holiday activity” each day for the first 25 days of December and blog about it. Share about it. Celebrate it!

Today’s kick-off was the tree lighting in my neighborhood. Courtesy of the Washington Heights Business Development Council, Fort Washington Collegiate Church and many local businesses.

In August, I moved to Washington Heights and immediately fell in love with the diversity and energy of this magical part of NYC. My best friend calls it “secret NY”.  Today marks the beginning of the holiday season for me in this new neighborhood.  New traditions. New experiences.

The tree lighting ceremony was simple. Children running everywhere- meeting Santa, decorating cookies, singing songs- and then we all gathered around a crooked tree in the front of the churchyard and counted down to the lighting. I stood with some new friends and felt a part of everything. Cheers from the hundreds of neighbors as the tree glowed in colored lights and then we all sang carols.

My idea of a holiday kick-off.

2012-12-01 12.56.20Washington Heights tree lighting

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WAIT!

Before you throw away those cards and letters, let me give you an idea!

I know. I know. You have a stack of those perfect family photos, the long annual family letters, and happy holiday cards that you are ready to clear out. You have read them and smiled. And now it is time to clear the clutter.

However, before you throw them all away, look through them one more time.

Find two family members or friends who you have not spoken to for months.

  • Maybe they do not know about your new business.
  • Maybe they have not heard about your new career ideas.
  • Maybe they do not know that your daughter is off to college next year.
  • Maybe they have not heard that you have a new fascination with opera.

Call them. Yes. Really.

  • Call them and invite them to lunch or coffee.
  • Not local? Plan a Skype session to add some pizzazz to a phone call.
  • Will you be traveling this year? Find someone who lives in that city and make them a part of your upcoming travel plan.

I challenge you to make the most out of those holiday cards! You never know where the conversation will lead.

 

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