I got a text early this morning from a radio station in New York asking me to participate in their show this evening. I grew up in Brooklyn, so I was immediately on board. No matter how long I live in Atlanta or any other place, Brooklyn will always be home for me. As we approach the middle of the month it feels a lot like the calm before a storm. The holidays are approaching with all of the nostalgia, food and festivities, but also with stress, obligation and isolation for many. Along with the advent of Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s, we also have a growing COVID peak on the horizon. The show that I was invited to is The Quiet Storm, but today feels more like the calm before the storm.
This Christmas will be different for me. It’s the first one I’ll experience without either of my parents being alive. It’s the first one I will spend in the past nineteen years without my daughter with me. And, like much of the nation, there are few places to go to connect with people personally. Even though I was raised Catholic with lots of Christmas traditions, I’m not a Christmas person anymore. I really love the week-long introspection and celebration of Kwanzaa and the annual rebirth that is New Year’s Eve. My holidays will include all the things I love: family and friends, food, yoga, hiking and writing. This year is a perfect time to try new holiday activities, since large gatherings are not an option. Here are a few tips for your 2020 season:
• Prioritize yourself – This has been a rough year for everyone. Plan a holiday that doesn’t add additional stress, whether financial or emotional. Decide what’s best for you and your family and stick with your plan. It’s always okay to have boundaries.
• Give more love than money – Instead of focusing on the fanciest new gadgets, consider baking a tin of cookies or whipping up a batch of vegan eggnog to share with loved ones or neighbors. Kwanzaa gifts are also great because they’re either handmade or educational. Books are an excellent way to give the gift of knowledge. If you can’t do any of that, give a smile or a word of encouragement. They are more valuable than gold.
• Let go of disappointments – 2020 has taught us that there are many things beyond our control. One thing that you can control is your attitude. Do things that build your happiness muscle: start a gratitude journal, learn to meditate or send someone a thank you note by snail mail. Try taking a virtual yoga class. Give old clothes and household items to Goodwill. New experiences are an important element of happiness. Let go of old worries and try something fresh.
Every year is full of ups, downs and changes. 2020 packed a bigger punch than most, but it’s taught us how to be more introspective, creative and resilient. Don’t miss the lessons. Put them in your pocket and take them with you through the upcoming holiday weeks. Be the light in your Zoom celebrations and, most importantly, in your own heart. No matter whether your physical home is in Brooklyn, Atlanta or anywhere else in the world, at the end of the day home is where you feel the most love. And, you can have love whether you fly solo or with a crew.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is me recording my most recent vlog, “Taming the Lion.” It’s my first recording since my dad passed away in September, and I’m so thankful to be back to doing what I love. I’ve been through plenty of storms. Click the link to check out my vlog and subscribe to my YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/cml2WMGUxhs If you haven’t gotten your copy of my new inspirational journal, 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey, you can get a copy with the link below. It makes an excellent gift for anyone you care about.