"In winter we lead a more inward life. Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts, whose windows and doors are half concealed, but from whose chimneys the smoke cheerfully ascends."  Henry David Thoreau

My house after the first of two blizzards to hit in 2010 (credit: Blog Author)

Today, our planet is tilted in such a way that half of us will experience the shortest day of the solar year, the Winter Solstice. Personally, this is my favorite time of the year, for as Thoreau so poetically wrote, this is the time of the year most suited for leading an inward life.

I grew up in the northern part of the US where the days were short, the nights long, and snow blowing in the bitter wind. Ah, heaven! The sun would set around 4:00pm or so and a purplish haze would envelop the area just prior to the arrival of darkness; my favorite time of the day. Why? I'm not really sure, to be honest. It may be because that's where I grew up and so the memory of cold winter evenings brings a warmth to my thoughts. It may be because of my penchant for quiet…

Read more: tips for finding hope in winter

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To quote a popular song of the season: “It's the most wonderful time of the year!” While this sentiment may be true for many of us, it is not necessarily the shared sentiment of everyone. As the end of the year mark's a time for celebrations, holidays, and traditions which bring together families and spark feelings of joy, there are those whose memories and sentiments of this time of the year are quite different from customarily expected.

There are those who suffer from mental illness or whose memories of the holiday season are not of pleasant times. It is unfortunate that many of us forget that not everyone perceives this time of the year in the same way that we do. I'm not writing this to chastise anyone or to bring down the mood the season. What I am saying is that we need to be mindful of those around us who may be suffering while we celebrate.

Many of us feel the burden of unreasonable expectations for perfection this time of the year. While we still have our day-to-day tasks to do we must also decorate, buy gifts, and attend social functions. These expectations can cause stress and…

Read more: Tips For Helping Those Who Are Suffering During The Holidays

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Fall scene in MA (credit: Blog author)

Way back in the 1980's I took this photo while I lived in a small town in western Massachusetts.  Most people I know tend to get excited, perk up, prepare for, and are encouraged as Spring moves into Summer.  Not that I don't like Summer, but for me, I do the same preparations for the beginning of Autumn.  I must say, Autumn is by far my most favorite season (with Winter a close second).  And now here we are, the first day of Autumn (officially starting at 10:21 am EDT)!

As far back as I can remember I have enjoyed Autumn.  Growing up in the northern reaches of the US I am used to the colder seasons, probably part of the reason for my enjoyment of Autumn.  Of all the seasons I find this one to be especially focused on family and God.  During this season there are holidays, gatherings and the beginning of school.  Halloween and Thanksgiving are near with Christmas not too far away.  The cooler weather draws us closer together as we huddle indoors, and as we do so I hope we recognize the presence…

Read more: autumn: learning from change

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Heart Cloud (credit: unknown)

Today, as many of us celebrate Valentine's Day, our thoughts turn to love and those whom we love. But do we really understand what that simple, yet very powerful word, LOVE, means? This four letter word holds power, and not just power over our emotions, but also power over the prospect of world peace.

So what does this word mean? Personally, this is a tough word for me to reflect on since my natural inclination is more toward the intellectual pursuits not understanding my emotions. Yes, as a counselor I deal with emotions, but note what I wrote: "my" emotions. I have no issue in helping others to come to an understanding of their own emotions and how they affect their lives. But my emotions, well, that's a whole different story.

So, what is love? This is what the Christian bible states about love:

1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I…

Read more: Rest Stop (Valentine's Day) ... love is an action

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Winter Scene (Credit: unknown)

As I write this I, like millions of other people along the NE coast of the US, have hunkered down in the house due to the blizzard occurring. As of this moment it is still snowing and I already have two feet of snow on the ground.

Personally, I love snow. This event is a joy for me, and I am like a kid again. I see the beauty in the snow, it’s uniqueness, the sights, sounds, and smell in the air. All of this is perfect for me! Yet, I do realize that my love of this weather is not shared by everyone. There are many people who despise this weather, and, there are those who have been panicking for days before the start of this storm.

I am not in any way judging anyone, since each us views life from our own perspective, and that perspective is our reality. So, although I was not panicking over this storm, those that were truly felt fear. Panic is defined as: “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons.” (Panic at Dictionary.com. 2006. 24 Jan. 2016. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/panic) One of the reasons we panic is because we allow ourselves to “live” in the future where we have no control over the events. That realization of our lack of control brings on our panic.

Living in the moment is when we will feel at peace, but living in the moment is not always easy to do. In this short video I talk about ways we can change our perception to therefore change our reality to find peace.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfMN_UXaBiQ]

Share with us your ways of coping with events which otherwise would worry or panic you.

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If you're ready to explore life coaching, I would be honored to help. You can read more here about my life coaching practice or call me directly at 301-850-2177. 

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Read more: Rest Stop (Saturday) ... coping with the Blizzard 2016

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