Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I hope you’re enjoying all the good of this season, and taking all the ‘not so good’ with grace and stride.

No matter how old I get, there is still so much magic and beauty about this time of year to me. The traditions, our Christmas tree decorated, listening to music, my mom baking the peanut butter kiss cookies with my three year old that I made with her when I was the same age.

And, there is the dark side of this time of year that is very real for many of us, too.

Tensions between family members, unrealistic and unmet expectations, perhaps fear of getting older or missing out, losses old and new that can feel as fresh as if they happened yesterday.

That’s why when I posted December’s challenge in Dating Cocktail Lounge and with my coaching clients of choosing connection over protection, it was important to me that I followed along as well.

I’ll be honest, it’s been tough for me to bear witness to.

We were born connected to ourselves and to the love that is all around us. Love that supports us in every moment, even if that love is often overlooked or unseen.

Over time we experience hurt and pain in our lives from feeling judged, not being seen, family dynamics, losses of all kinds, and heartbreak.

This may be the heartbreak that comes with separating from someone who you thought you would marry. It could be the heartbreak that even comes with being a parent and seeing your children grow up.

Slowly these moments will have us creating walls as a way to protect ourselves, leading us away from our own hearts and the knowledge of our own self-worth to tap into the joy and love that is all around. Particularly during the holidays.

Instead of leading from our heart like I see my three year old do, our brain will take over to protect us. This is a completely normal reaction.

It creates fearful thoughts such as:

“I can’t tell him how I feel or set the boundaries that I want in case he leaves…

What if I put myself out there first and people make fun of me?

What if I say or do the wrong thing? I can’t be vulnerable like that…

Did I miss out on my best chance at love?

Maybe I should just give up on finding love because being single is much easier.”

We begin to analyze. We second guess. We spin down the rabbit hole.

A past client recently texted me for advice in knowing how long is a normal amount of time that should pass between a first and second date.

She said that she had a great first date, but because fear of it not working out gets in the way, she ends up over-analyzing and over-texting him before he even has the chance to set up a second date.

I reminded her that her past doesn’t equal her future.

That perhaps things haven’t worked out before because it wasn’t the right Divine timing in her life, or the right person. That now she is a different person in a different stage of her life.

She got out of her head and back into a place of trust, was able to stand her ground when he texted her initially about a second date but suggested they should “play it by ear”, and is excited that they now have a time and date set for brunch.

We have to start letting our hearts lead again and for most of us that can be one of the scariest things in the world.

The antidote: Connection. To yourself. Your spirituality. The love already around you. Life. Family. Pets.

This holiday season I asked the women in Dating Cocktail Lounge to focus on feeling the joy through connecting with others and your Self.

As you focus on connection you’ll also become more aware of those times where you choose to protect or get stuck in your head. Don’t judge when this happens, just recognizing that it does happen is valuable.

Examples include…

  • Placing your hand on your heart with your eyes closed and taking 10 deep breaths.
  • Taking a long walk with a hot cup of tea by yourself. No phone and no music.
  • Calling up a family member or close friend and asking them how they are. Then really listening.
  • Smiling and saying hello to a stranger.
  • Going to a party or holiday event you were inclined to say no to and really being present.

As I’ve done this work over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed how often I shut down, and honestly, it bothers me.

I’ve found it hard to not judge myself for this.

Laughing, giving someone a real hug, listening to another person, or just having fun FEELS good. I feel like myself in these moments.

And yet I still do it, like everyone else, I close a piece of myself off during the very moments when I would be happier if I chose connection instead.

It’s a work in progress. I am a work in progress, right alongside you.

So this holiday season, whatever it is that you celebrate, whatever stage you currently are in life, or whatever your relationship status might be at this moment, I hope that you feel overwhelming joy, connection, and love.

As my favorite Christmas movie “Love Actually” says….love really is all around.



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