Zentertainment Talk Radio
with Jo Davidson 


Happy Holidays 
Hello and Happy Holidays!

I just posted a video of a fun Christmas song I wrote with my 9 year old niece.
 "It's called "Dingely Dangely!"
I was laughing so hard the entire time I put the video together.
There is nothing like the combo of creativity and laughter to move stuck energy! 
The song is about two friends. 

It's a beautiful time of year. I love the holiday season. 
But for many people this time of year also brings some additional stresses. 
It can be a real roller coaster when you are dealing with health challenges, grief, or loss.

This year, I wanted to do something different and offer you some 
real down to earth holiday tips!

I have been really touched and moved by the many responses I got back, and I 
included the ones here that I thought would be the most helpful!

I love this list so much that I am sure I will refer to it at other times as well. 
The list is pretty long, but it's full of such great stuff, that I didn't want to
edit it too much!

You can also read it on the journal at:

I wish you a peaceful holiday season, and I hope 2011 is a year full of healing and growth.
New shows will start up again in January....Feel free to write me anytime, and remember......

Never give up!

Jo Davidson
Zentertainment Talk Radio

Looking for soothing meditative Christmas music? 
"Merry Christmas & Happy New York"


*Holiday tips for anyone facing an illness, grief, or loss*

"No matter what your circumstances are, do something to make someone else's life 
better -- an actual gift, simple words of friendship, a small act of kindness, a prayer, 
it hardly matters what.  The act of giving is a powerful realization and statement 
that you are not totally depleted; there is yet a reservoir on which you can draw.  

The Zuni tribe in New Mexico, where I live, have a saying:  "The power is in the gift." 
The power flows both ways -- to the receiver, and also back to you, the giver, making 
you stronger than before.  Giving also breaks the sense of isolation and aloneness that 
comes with being sick.  It reminds us of our inseparable oneness with others. 
That is how giving helps restore our connection with life. "
~ Larry Dossey, MD
Author:  Healing Words and The Power of Premonitions and other books

"For me, because I also deal with the swallowing issues, holidays are difficult because 
they revolve around food. My own lesson has been in self compassion. Be kind to self 
and also practice self compassion- Christ was about compassion, and Christmas is the 
holiday that honors his birth. By practicing compassion for others and self during this 
time, we are honoring what Christmas is about. 

Even when a person is not ill, they can have a hard time during the holidays as it can 
bring up loss, grief and family issues. We also have so many obligations as well as things
to do. Practice compassion and relaxation techniques- also appreciation for beauty 
around us. Passing by the pine smelling trees being sold on the corner of the streets and
being grateful for the first snowflakes- the joy of children- these things bring me back to 
center and gratitude for what I can do and enjoy. Also being born a Jew is a plus as I 
don't have to deal with any family christmas obligations.:) 
Enjoying the small gifts opens us up to the bigger gifts within and the true meaning
of this holiday."

-Julia Tuchman

"Do what makes you happy by living as if this were the last holiday you were going to experience. 

And keep doing that for the rest of your life. Spend more time with the things and 
people you love and who love you and remember you control one thing; 
your thoughts and feelings, so keep your power and enjoy the holy day each day is."

Bernie Siegel, Author of 365 Prescriptions for the Soul 

"What I would I tell people is that they are the ones who know their own bodies best; 
like Faith, they'll need to be the one to initiate the healing process. 
I can also say that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but perhaps the greatest strength 
shown. We have to be willing to put aside any pride and get help when we need it 
and be willing to help when we can."

-Jude Stringfellow, the grandmother of "Faith the Dog" who walks on two legs

"I think taking time out to pamper oneself in simple ways...such as...
meditation...a few quiet moments with a cup of herbal tea...
an aromatherapy bath... a massage... or a gentle yoga class,
for even if you do not have a high energy level, some easy activity can
ease tension. 

This being said, as a cancer survivor who was confined to my bed for seven months, 
before and after treatment/major thoracic surgery, I understand complete lack of energy or 
mobility, and how overwhelming this can feel. During that time calming music and 
"listening" to books on tape was extremely helpful.  I also would engage with 
visualization exercises where I would out-picture my favorite warm and sunny place or activity...
putting my mind in a space where I could be there, and used my sense memory to 
re-experience how these things made me feel when I was healthier. 

Also hopeful discussions with family and friends, having nothing to do with my illness, 
helped me to detach from my pain, even for a little while.

All these choices can refurbish depleted energy, in whatever state one's health is. 
Lastly, as we don't always make great food or drink choices during this time, 
ease off any guilty or negative self image self-talk. And as you enter the new year, 
you can focus on the changes and healthy choices you want or need to make...
one step at a time...

Try and remember the holidays are about sharing time with loved ones, 
and for being thankful for what we do have that is good in our lives. 
So if you keep your internal focus there it will help dissipate stress and tension 
surrounding the holiday season...
Happy Holidays!
Cybele Kaufmann

1. "If you feel like grieving, grieve. Even if is the holidays. To get past a feeling, 
you need to first feel it. Once you are done feeling it (which by definition is when 
it no longer FEELS GOOD to feel it), then it is time to let go of it by choosing to 
continually shift your attention to things that feel good.

It is surprising to notice that it can feel good to grieve, or be angry , (having an immense 
self righteous hissy fit can feel very good), but it can--and is both OK and necessary.

2. There is a story of a king (who I guess must have been very bored) 
who gave his wise old advisor this task:  

"Find me 4 words that will make the happiest man sad and the saddest man happy."
The wise man returned 3 days later with a ring on which was engraved
 "This too shall pass."

What you are grieving, and the grief itself will pass. It simply needs the time 
and to be felt.

3- Many people unnecessarily suffer with chronic disease , debility or pain --
because their doctor said there was nothing they could do. 
In the majority of these cases, whether it is pain, heart failure, or a host of other 
conditions, I have found that effective treatment was available using a mix of 
natural and prescription therapies. The problem? These treatments are not 
patentable, and therefore cheap, so no one pays to get the information on the 
research to physicians. How to get started? How to treat over 100 common 
medical problems can be found (free--my holiday gift to you) on the iPhone and 
Droid apps Cures A-Z or online at:
Check these yourself, and you may find a Christmas miracle;-)"

Jacob Teitelbaum MD, author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now, 
and Fatigued to Fantastic

"Remember, this too shall pass.
Do something nurturing for yourself at least once a day, something special that is JUST for you.
Get lots of hugs.
Ask at least one person a day to tell you that you matter and that they believe in you.
Try some motherwort herbal tincture daily during the holidays, 
a dropperful on the tongue at least three times  day. It helps."

Stephen Buhner, author of Healing Lyme

"There is a practice known in Buddhism as "mudita" which means to cultivate joy in the 
joy of others. It's the perfect antidote for envy that can arise over the things we can't do. 
It takes practice though, and at first I didn't always succeed. I'd think of the fun that 
others were having and try to feel joy for them, but it felt like fake joy. But I kept working
at it and gradually, the feeling of joy became genuine. And now, the practice has turned
inward and so, not only do I feel joy in their joy, but I feel as if they're having fun 
for me too.

I still have difficult days when I wish I could participate in all the holiday activities. 
It is hard being sick, day after day. The relentlessness of it can be the most difficult to 
deal with. But at least I now have some tools and coping skills that I can turn to for 
help in alleviating the pain of being so isolated.

Toni Bernhard, author of 
"How to be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers"

"I am a cancer survivor in current treatment and my
family has also lost my brother to his battle with cancer.

Each Holiday brings with it new challenges.

I'd say for me what is helpful is to elect (officially or not) a
spokesperson to speak about your health on your behalf. Because that
way you don't need to repeat your own sad story over and over again as
you see all of your family and friends.

In addition I have a blog that my family and friends read so that they
are updated and it keeps the questions to a minimum.

As far as the lost of a loved one around the holidays I'd say- don't
ignore their life. We hang my brother's stocking, his ornaments, tell stories about Christmas' 
he spent with us. It's sad, but it would be so much worse if he had never spent a Christmas 
with us at all. We are all so much better for having had him in our lives. 
The holidays are about focusing on your blessings.  It's tough when you
have cancer but try to count your blessings."

Happy Holidays!

Give gifts from the heart- handknit mittens, a handmade card, a poem
detailing what is special to you about the recipient.

Make time for self care before and after get togethers. A walk in the park, a hot bath, 
lots of pure water, and a long nap can do wonders to help you prepare or recuperate.

Avoid sugar, allergenic foods and other triggers. Go prepared to family gatherings 
with your own pre-made delicious sugar free snacks and desserts, or eat your own 
meal ahead of time so you are not tempted to fill up on foods that you will regret later.

If you cannot attend family gatherings, give yourself the space to feel sad/angry/or 
relieved. Create your own ritual at home-treat yourself to a massage, your favorite 
Netflix movie, organic popcorn in bed, a foot soak, a long phone call from a friend, 
whatever makes you feel nurtured and comforted."

-Julie Genser
Founder and Director of http://www.PlanetThrive.com

"First, it's OK to do less than in previous years.  It's also OK to tell others "I can't" 
if asked to perform tasks that are more physical than you're comfortable with.  
They need to know you're doing all you can by just being there.  
Avoid late nights and early mornings.  You need as much rest as possible.

Along with that is accepting this is the way life is right now, and not getting pulled into
comparisons with the past.  It's very easy to get depressed about how much better you 
felt in previous years, and the unfairness of your illness or loss.  The goal is to enjoy the 
season as much as possible.  Focus on the love and caring of friends and family, and e
njoy the time together.

If your finances have taken a beating, as mine have, give everyone nice cards and call it 
good. Increasing your debt to buy gifts is an unfair expectation and will only increase 
your feelings of stress.  The gift you give this year can be your smile, your laughter and, 
when possible, your participation.

I also have a favorite visualization that I keep tucked away for the really tough times.  
When the emotional roller-coaster is at the very bottom and my optimism is down there
as well, I have a favorite place (alongside a mountain stream) that I can close my eyes 
and go to.  The peaceful feeling helps soothe my spirit and rejuvenate my belief that I can and will get well again.  Because I'm going to get well again.  It's just going to take some time."


Shari writes in with some thoughts she would like others to know:

-"Please understand that I am not rejecting your wonderful cooking, I am on a strict diet to 
help my illness. 

-Please help me have a perfume and scent free environment. It really does matter!
-Too much stimulation can affect me right away or sometimes not until the next day, 
so gatherings needs to be low key. I have fatigue to the degree that a short visit is 
all I can do for the day. Please do say something encouraging and yet brief. 
We often feel like life is leaving us behind and a few kind words of acknowledging our 
situation helps us not feel so invisible.

-Understand that when you ask, "How are you doing?"-  I will make light of my symptoms- 
otherwise I will sound like a complainer- so I will just say something relative to the situation. 
Such as, "hangin in there"!
-Please share with other extended family members about my health before Aunt Agnes sees me for the first time in 10 years say for instance. Especially in big families. We can spend the entire few hour visit- just updating people about what Lyme Disease is!
-Please remember we may be very sick and yet don't look sick.
-Your compassion makes a difference- so please stay in my life. 
I/we need our family and friends still- even more so. 

"Since this is a time of increased exposure to others who may be carrying germs your body is 
unaccustomed to, protect yourself by taking 1 Mucococcinum tablet 
(a Canadian homeopathic for cold/flu prevention), every 2 weeks, dissolved under the tongue, 
and away from food or drink by 20 minutes.  

If symptoms arise, take 1 tablet once or twice in that day.  
Many call this a true miracle remedy.  
It is not found in US health food stores so contact me to purchase."

Andrea Candee
Specializing in reversing chronic Lyme Disease and its viral co-infections
Author of "Gentle Healing for Baby & Child"

"Distract, distract, distract! And Laugh as much as you can! Do whatever you can that is
 creative, whenever you can, to whatever degree you can. If laughter is one of our 
best medicines, we've gotta go after it. Don't let other people or 
hard circumstances steal your joy permanently.

Let yourself cry and let out the grief and loss. Find a close friend or a counselor to talk to.
Also, when you are dealing with these kinds of challenges, it is normal for the days to be
like roller coasters. Don't beat yourself up about it. Just try to ride the waves and float. 
Remembering the impermanence of things, especially when you are in the tough spots, 

Surround yourself with supportive people and positive input. 
Read the Bible or something spiritual that resonates with you. 
Read uplifting stories and watch happy films.

It helps me to keep a journal. I don't believe that there are good or bad feelings, 
I think there are just feelings. I know that for me, having a place to express ALL of them
is very helpful. And I would say to myself and others, be as kind and compassionate
to yourself as you would to any of your friends if they were in your shoes. 
Sometimes we are so much harder on ourselves.

Even in the midst of the challenge of illness, there can be places where we come into our
talents and gifts in new ways, and find ways to be of service in the world. When we give,
we also get back just in the giving. My advice to myself all year long and especially 
during this holiday season, is to be aware of what new things, what new ways of being, 
relating, loving and dreaming are trying to be born in me and through me. 

Examine what next steps you want to take, and make an action plan for the new year. 
This will make you feel proactive and hopeful. Look to people who have gone through 
what you have, and see what helped them, too. One of the things I do when I am in the 
low lows and I need a slow moving relaxing activity, is to cut out inspiring quotes and 
pictures from magazines and post them in a scrapbook. I call it my "dream book." 

Find ways to give to others and it will boost your spirits. It feels so good to give. 
Also use the spirit of this season to let go of any grudges or resentments you have held 
onto. They weigh you down. I've been thinking of the happiness of others as my happiness too. 
Send blessings to everyone. It feels good to wish everyone well.

When visiting with friends, don't be afraid to say what you need. When you look normal,
people have no idea of what you are going through. Speak up if you need to. And if you
feel like you have to stop talking for awhile, or lie down in another room or in the same
room, do what you need to do to take care of yourself. The people who love you will love
you no matter what.

If you can't go anywhere, try some gentle sitting qigong. 

Listen to healing music.
(For a very relaxing, meditative, holiday CD- I play my own!)

You might want to keep an activity log for each day and write down what you have 
accomplished. It helps me when I feel like I am "doing nothing."  When you keep an 
activity log- it's like a way of recording your accomplishments. Then you see you actually
did do something. I might write down the simple things - I got dressed- I played with my
niece- or maybe I had a friend over- I made myself lunch and cleaned up,  I wrote a song
or an article, took some pictures outside, or etc . Congratulate yourself on anything you 
CAN do no matter how small it seems. (Even if you only could do one thing that day). 
Writing it down will help to give you a sense of some accomplishment.

Don't worry about tomorrow. I remember someone once telling me that although we 
love the mountain tops, it is usually in the valleys where we do our deepest growth. 
Use this current challenge as a way to learn the lesson of how to be in the moment 
rather than worry about what is next. During huge challenges, it is the time when it is 
the hardest to do this, and yet what better time is there to learn this practice? I have to 
remind myself that meditation and worry are just two sides of the same coin. Instead of 
meditating on worry, flip the coin and meditate on love. And take each day at a time, 
sometimes in small little tiny sections. Micromovements are key.

-Stick to an organic whole foods diet, avoiding genetically processed foods, artificial 
ingredients, and toxic cleaning and body care products. The more you can support 
yourself in this way, the better you will feel in the long run.

Have some fun in whatever ways you can.
For me, creativity is a great healer, and so is laughter. These are some of the things
that help me.

-Jo Davidson

My mother, with whom I was very close, passed away on Dec. 27, 1995, after a long 
battle with cancer.  Up until then, our family Christmases had been these incredible 
Swedish feasts and celebrations as my mother and her twin sister (who sadly passed 
away when I was in high school) were from Sweden, and we had maintained their 
childhood customs with my mother leading the way. 

After my mother's passing, the holidays have never truly been the same for me. 
Every year, I notice that in December, I find myself getting melancholy and "blue".  
I am sure that not only does Christmas now remind me of my mother's actual passing 
and her long illness (as it was just 2 days after), but it also reminds me of the many 
dear family members who are no longer with me. 
Christmas has never truly been as joyful for me since 1995, and I have accepted that.  

I am sure many people can relate to my experience. 

So, I find that I am less interested in all the holiday partying and shopping excursions.  
I notice I want to hibernate and go more inward, when it seems most of the city is on 
high adrenaline. It is not easy when it seems the whole world is on high Christmas cheer,
and for me there is this underlying melancholy and sadness. 
When one feels this way, there is then also a feeling of separateness.  

So leading up to the holidays I find that going for long walks in nature 
(for me, Central Park) really helps to raise my spirits. I've also noticed that when I meet
 strangers and chat with them about how the holiday season is treating them 
(such as cab drivers, waiters, and salespeople, who are working around NYC, etc) 
it is really interesting and uplifting.  Having those positive moments of personal 
connection with someone who you don't know and most likely will never meet again
is inspiring to me. Maybe it helps to make me feel more connected and less separate. 

For me, the holidays are now most about the next generation in my family. 
My husband and I don't have children, but we can see how exciting the holidays are to 
our nieces, nephews, and cousins.  Seeing the holidays through their young eyes can be
uplifting.  And I hope that the young ones also realize that the holidays are more than 
just receiving gifts, as gifts can always be exchanged, but the family members in our 
lives are all "one of a kind" and we should appreciate them while they are with us. 

Wishing you all the best for 2011,
Melissa  Elstein
Good Energy Yoga & Reiki

"After interviewing a multitude of my cancer clients, those dealing with pain, 
depression and grief, the most mentioned effective and helpful tools to getting through
tough times are:

1 Surround yourself with positive and loving helpful people. 
2 No matter what find even the smallest of things to be grateful for every day. 
Gratitude is a huge healer
3 Say both what you want and need as well as what you don't want and need. 
Don't make people guess.
4 Humor.. movies, jokes anything to get you laughing."

Diane Mandel

*Prioritize and choose what you are going to do rather than get into obligation and do 
too much. Be realistic about how much work you can take on and don't be afraid to ask
for help with tasks that are too draining.

* Plan to take regular rest. If you don't plan for rest, the busy holiday season can be 

* Relax but don't abandon the lifestyle and dietary regimen that has been helping to keep
you healthy. It's easy to feel rebellious around the holidays but if you eat the wrong 
things, don't get enough sleep or abandon your exercise regime you could end up 
feeling a lot worse and less able to enjoy the festivities."

-Jill Blakeway, acupuncturist NYC

I suffer from S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I use a dawn simulator lamp/alarm
clock and a 10,000 lux light box (SunTouch Plus). The light boxes contain the blue 
wavelength (the same as the blue sky), which shuts off melatonin and turns on serotonin.
Getting regular light doses helps to set circadian rhythms and improves sleep. 

I also suffer from anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder & Social Anxiety Disorder). 
I tried various drugs, but found the most powerful tool to be CBT 
(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT helps me hear my thoughts and see whether they
are in line with logic & reality. It is a type of mindfulness. Likewise, Psychodynamic
therapy has helped me become mindful of emotions, while Yoga has helped me become
mindful of body tension (specifically muscle tension and breathing, two key components
of anxiety). Together, the total mindfulness has helped me achieve the emotional calm 
needed to ease my spirit and handle the stress of everyday life 
(esp. amped up during the holidays). 
(see:http://www.itmonline.org/shen/chap3.htm ) 

Exercise and diet are incredibly important too. The trick I think is that exercise must be
fun. One must *want* to do it, rather than feel like *having* to do it. 
For me it's watersports and yoga. 

Spark natural healing: use massage and heat/cold to spur circulation and waste removal.
Muscles account for 50% of our body weight, and up to 75-85% of our pain. 
I use massage (Trigger Point Therapy http://www.triggerpointbook.com/ & 
Acupressure http://amzn.com/0553349708 ), ice wraps and hot epsom salt baths
to do this. Also, mindful muscle tension release and easy breathing do wonders for 
healing, something I discovered through yoga practice. I can literally use my mind to 
relieve pain.

Lastly, studies show the importance of a social support network for good health. 
Having a good time with friends, deep laughs, or a shoulder to cry on are vital.
Jeff Schultz

"It's vital to tune into your intuition to listen to your body's deepest needs and also 
about what direction to go in treatment. Measure intuition in with the advice you're 
given to find the answer that feels best in your gut and soul."

Judith Orloff MD Author, Emotional Freedom

"Honor your feelings. All of them: positive ones and more challenging
ones: anger, fear, grieving, sadness, helplessness. Each one needs to
be acknowledged as all right. There are no inappropriate feelings.
Don't judge yourself for any feelings you have either. Stop that
little voice that tells you that you shouldn't grieve or be angry
about any situation, right in its tracks. There is also no "correct"
amount of time to feel each feeling. Keep in mind that each person's
process, each person's journey through the emotional landscape of
dealing with an illness is his or her own.

Connect to others in your community and family, too. Reach out for
help if you need it. You give people a gift when you ask for their
assistance. Talk to people about challenges you are facing around the
chronic illness and let family members you are visiting or who may be
visiting you how they can best support you during the visit- and what
your limits are in terms of being able to participate in holiday
activities. Simply expressing it is tremendously healing.

Reach out to help someone else without expecting anything in return.
Talk to a senior at a senior center who might not have anyone else to
talk to during the holidays. Pray for or simply hold in your heart
anyone else who is suffering. Or these acts can be as simple as
letting a person ahead of you at the grocery store, yielding to
traffic, complimenting a person or smiling at someone. Dedicate in
your own heart every kind act you do in a day to others who are
dealing with a chronic illness or who are alone or suffering.

Take deep breaths often, particularly when you are with family and
friends or alone during the holidays.  Breathing consciously brings
you into the present moment and what you are experiencing here and
now. It helps you get in touch with your true feelings, rather than
cutting off from them.

Express Gratitude Regularly. To help maintain perspective, regularly
recognize what's right in your life and with whatever is going on
during the holiday season. Keep a gratitude list and refer back to it
when you need a reminder.

Lukara is the author of Riding Grace: A Triumph of the Soul


"Don't Over-Commit. Many people over-commit, try to please everyone, rush around 
and do too much.  So decrease your load and enjoy the fewer commitments you make.

Stay Present or Be in the Moment. The more you are in the moment with awareness, 
the less you are caught up in the mind and all the things you still have to do or haven't 
done yet. Be aware of your breathing. If it becomes short and shallow, 
you know you are getting anxious.

Take Breathing Breaks. Whenever you get a chance, take breathing breaks....
not only when you feel yourself getting anxious. Make the time for them, 
even if it is only 5 minutes at a time, it will re-invigorate you. 
You can do it anywhere, just find a quiet spot. It will get you back into the present
and out of your head and will help you let go of worries and tension.

Do some Restorative Yoga. When you get home in the evening, 
do a restorative yoga pose for 15 minutes to rejuvenate you. 
Or do a restorative yoga pose if you feel the need during the day 
to help recharge your energy It really does restore you.

Move. Try walking as much as you can. Take your dog for a walk. 
Take a walk with a family member or friend and combine walking with connecting. 

Have your Smoothie in the Morning. The more you fill yourself with good nutrients
 in the morning, with good protein, fat and phytonutrients
the less space and craving you will have for the junk food.

Have Fun, Laugh, Commit to Enjoying the Holidays.

Give in a Way that Gives you Joy instead of out of Obligation."

Dr. Frank Lipman, author of Revive and Total Renewal


"The holidays can be challenging when you are also struggling with the 

effects of an illness. 

Dr. Robert Schuller wrote a book with a title that really says it all: 

 "Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!"

Andrea Chervenak
(see the link below for more tips)

"Perhaps, this holiday season you don't have a mate, or it feels stressful to visit 
family, you may be grieving a loss in your life, or struggling financially. 
We all have dilemmas that we contemplate on a daily basis. Instead of feeding the 
problem with a fast fix of food indulgences why not think of something else. 
Feed your soul with a walk in the park, call a long missed friend, take a hot bath 
with essential oils, schedule a massage or put on your favorite music and 
sing and dance. I do!

Gratitude is the best medicine on earth. Even if you can only be grateful for each
breath you take. Your life is a treasured gift to cherish during the holiday season."

Donna Perrone

"I would say my motto is to live in gratitude. Every night before going to bed, 
I say thank you for three things...at least!
Also I am always thankful for the grace of music, 
(especially from beautiful musicians like you!!!!)


(Thank you Tina for making me smile)

"I try to picture myself two, three, and even ten Christmas's from now-
well and healthy, surrounded by loved ones with all the energy I could dream 
of! This is what I hope for, and I think it's possible. For now, I do low energy
things that help to being some sort of Christmas spirit to the holidays.
I would suggest that people do anything they CAN do, baking or decorating
cookies, picking a charity, one person or a volunteer opportunity that is
within your abilities. Visit an elderly person, or if you can't get out, send a
card. Helping others is so good for the soul. It's so necessary for the soul.
Doing things for others really is a seratonin boost."



"Glad During the Holidays No Matter What!

The holidays are full of pressures to be glad even if you don't feel that way. 

People talk about "holiday cheer," "finding the silver lining," 

"looking on the bright side,"all of which are fine when we feel those things, 

but can actually add to feelings of loneliness and depression when we don't. 

There is also a certain kind of "holiday tyranny" where we are encouraged to 

hide how we're actually feeling, for the "sake of the holidays."

We are meant to feel what we feel when we feel it, then let it go. 

Most people don't know how they're feeling, or that it's okay to feel it. 

We are not taught how to have, or hold multiple feelings simultaneously

so many people choose one and cling to it. 

That one feeling might be described as happy or sad, but it's not a true reflection 

of our complexities as humans, and results in our feelings not flowing. 

Instead they get stuck, or other feelings are left untended.

For example, you might feel happy to see your mom at Christmas, 

sad that she's physically declining, 

angry that your sister isn't doing more, 

and worried about the future. 

If you fixate on just one of those feelings, it will not be as productive or helpful. 

Instead, it would be much more effective to feel all that you feel, 

respond lovingly to yourself, your mother and your sister, 

and create good systems for your family and self-care practices too. 

Practical Gladness means living in the "messy middle" of all of your feelings 

and finding your "glad ground" underneath. 

From this glad ground place, you can be aware of and hold all of your feelings, 

notice ways to respond instead of react, and transform what's possible to transform.

When we find our glad ground in the middle, it is possible to enjoy the holidays 

truly, authentically, and with grace and wisdom. 

Here are some practical ways you can experience more gladness this holiday season:

1. Create a new self-care plan - Think of what you need to feel good during the holidays,

 and provide it for yourself. Some of these things might be:

*Special foods that you know you will enjoy

*Call a friend to share how you're really feeling- not how you think you should be

*Practice ways to experience less stress, like going for a walk or attending a yoga class

*Write in a journal or book with lists of things that nourish you, and do the things.

2. Adjust and lower your expectations, or better yet - have none - 

Notice how your expectations bring suffering when they aren't met. 

Change your expectations about what you or others "should be" doing or acting like, 

and practice allowing how it actually IS. Focus on what's good and working

3. Educate others in the best ways to support you-

Become clear about what actually feels supportive to you, and ask for others to 


 4. Experiment with new traditions and rituals for the holidays -- 

Do things differently. We all tend to repeat and become habituated. 

For example, "we always have our meal at _______." 

Some of my greatest holiday experiences have taken place at the movies, 

miniature golfing or serving food at a shelter instead of trying to participate 

in rituals or traditions that no longer represent who I am now.

 5. Allow yourself to experience your holidays imperfectly - 

Revise your ideas of perfection and increase your capacity for spontaneous joy. 

For example, if you get tense and pressured about preparing a meal, 

buying gifts, sending cards, or trying to do it ALL, try:

*Doing less and feeling good about it-refuse to be a prisoner of others expectations

*Doing parts of things - fix the dessert, ask others to bring the other things

*Doing tiny amounts - consider attending a holiday party for 5- 15 minutes 

with no explanation about why

*Asking others to help and then don't control or manage "how they do it"

6. Practice transforming what hurts into what helps - 

Find the places that aren't working and speak up about them. 

For example, you might ask a group of people in your home to talk about 

different subjects like what they're loving in this moment, 

instead of sitting there judging how bored or dissatisfied you are feeling.

Being glad no matter what is NOT about feeling glad when you don't- 

how annoying. It's about practicing with all of your feelings and feeling glad 

as often as you possibly can- especially during the holidays!

-SARK is a best-selling author and artist. Her newest book is Glad No Matter What

 http://www.planetsark.com or call her Inspiration phone line at 415 546 3742.



Jo Davidson
Zentertainment Talk Radio
New York, NY
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