A Money Coach in Canada

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Waiting for the Return of Light

I used to call them my demon nights. Sleep patterns and the hours between 3 – 4:30 am can really mess with our heads. Our insecurities and vulnerabilities are magnified and it’s hard to find our inner core. I frequently experienced insomnia at this hour and went through a silent hell. I felt utterly alone in the universe. Anguish.

I don’t experience those torments anymore, Thank God. Somewhere between then and now I have, over the years, become at ease in my own skin. Between long-lasting and robust friendships, discovering my own unique strengths I bring to the world, and a particular romance which, though it didn’t end in marriage (a sadness I will always carry with me) nevertheless dropped tender love into my heart, between all these, I’ve become (generally) at ease and secure. Also rooting myself into a faith and belief in an all-loving and tender and compassionate God has been foundational.

There’s a proverb that says: Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.

So on this Christmas Day, I encourage us all to hold lightly to the gifts we received (or maybe didn’t) – delight in them, yes. But mostly hold them lightly because mostly what we all need – by definition of being human – is love and belonging. What love and belonging we each have in our lives, be it little glimpses or in spades, let’s soak it up. If we need more, let’s set our intentions to build and deepen our community. If we have some to spare, let’s open our hearts more widely to others.

And for those who are inclined toward religion, let’s open our hearts all the more to the God of Love, and spill that love as indiscriminately wide and far as possible — Peace, on earth, good will to all.

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For a time as a kid, our family had barely middle class income. Oh, we never went without shoes or anything, but things were tight.

During those difficult few years, there were a sprinkling of glorious moments when something so wonderful happened it felt like a miracle. One occurred when I was in grade 2. I’d just learned how to tell time and I wanted a watch for Christmas. Desperately. But I didn’t expect one, that’s for sure.

On Christmas Eve (we followed the northern European tradition of opening presents Christmas Eve), there was a special box for me. It was an unforgettable moment, unwrapping that gift. Not only did that box contain a watch, but it had six different coloured straps which could be interchanged, and three different casings which could be interchanged. The permutations and combinations were infinite to my 7 year old mind. Not only did I receive a beautiful watch, I received an infinite number of watches!

And I wore a new one every week for that year, and I bet the year after that, and the year after that.

Anyway, that’s one of my most magical, glorious moments of Christmas that I can recall.

How ’bout you? Did you have any particularly thrilling gift-moments that you can recall?

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Photo Credit: mysza

One of my girlfriends dreads gift shopping events – birthdays, weddings, and above all else, Christmas. She feels like whatever she purchases just won’t cut it with the recipient. Similarly, a former client of mine deliberately traveled out of town on any occasions involving gifts, holding the firm view that she’d rather choose what she wanted for herself rather than accept whatever someone chose. Fair enough. (No, they weren’t sisters!).

Me? I enjoy the process of selecting gifts, for the most part. Most of the time, I’m reasonably confident that the recipient will enjoy what I’ve purchased, at least enough to have made the effort. And usually once per season, I find That Perfect Gift which goes over particularly well. For instance, when cds were just coming out (yes, I’m That Old), I found a christmas album (The Hollywood Bowl Christmas Album, recorded in 1957) which had been a christmas staple in our family, but the vinyl version had long since been all scratched up. It wasn’t spendy, but it was quite a hit. And usually once per season something I was less confident about ends up being a surprise hit. Perhaps I have particularly polite friends and family, but on the whole, selecting gifts is pleasurable.

I’m curious: do you enjoy selecting gifts, or hate it? Do you have any awesome “find” stories to share? Or any disasters?