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Mummy’s Magic Kiss

When she was a little baby and scared of the dark, she felt safe after mummy’s magic kiss.

When she was a little girl and scraped her knee, the thing that made it better was mummy’s magic kiss.

As she got a little older, she found out that not everyone was nice, but it didn’t matter when she had mummy’s magic kiss.

As she got older still, she pretended she didn’t need or want it, but secretly she still adored her mummy’s magic kiss.

The day a boy broke her heart for the first time, it started to heal again with the tenderness of mummy’s magic kiss.

The day she left for University, the thing she missed the most was the comfort of mummy’s magic kiss.

Stepping into her first real job, nervous as a baby, she was grateful for the strength of mummy’s magic kiss.

Stepping over the threshold of a home of her own, the thing that eased her nerves was mummy’s magic kiss.

Later still, as she held her own little baby, she understood the full force of love that is delivered in a mummy’s magic kiss.

And later still, when memories were all she had, she knew forever in her heart would live the love that never dies – mummy’s magic kiss.

 

Love Is…

Do you remember those old cartoon strips with the cutesy girl and guy and the ‘Love Is’ quotes?

I’ve been thinking about those two words quite a lot recently. Love is so many things to so many people. I know it’s the obvious – the hearts, flowers, chocolates and all that. But it is so much more. It isn’t just romantic. It isn’t always dramatic. Sometimes it’s hidden away and you have to really focus to see it. And sometimes, you need to unearth the love within you, buried so deep inside you’ve forgotten it even exists.

As it’s been almost a year since my last ‘what’s going on with Heena’ blog post, today, for me, Love is sharing last year with you. Sharing my personal story always makes me nervous but here we go.

Love is…my beauty salon making time to see me when they were fully booked because they didn’t want me to go into hospital for a major operation with bad eyebrows

Love is…my brother Vijay and my Mum ignoring my grumpiness on the morning of my operation because they knew it came from fear.

Love is…my family spending the day either glued to my bedside or looking after my dog, only going home at 10.30 that night when they knew I was through the worst and was safe.

Love is…my friends Matt, Andy and Mark coming to see me in hospital and making me laugh so hard I thought my stitches would burst

Love is…my friend Jo coming in while I was resting to leave a card for me at the hospital when she had so much going on at home with her own family

Love is…my friends Angela and Jemma taking over bedside duties from my family and making a night in hospital feel like a night at the pub, and again, laughing so much I thought my stitches would burst

Love is…my consultant losing his temper with me, because I haven’t been a model patient and because he cares so much.

Love is…the incredible nurses who were so gentle, generous and compassionate

 

Love is…both of my brothers taking a week’s holiday to look after me and my dog

Love is…Vijay making me eat huge bowls of spinach salad because it will help me heal

Love is…my Dad sneaking me some chocolate because it’s my favourite and he felt sorry for me eating all that spinach!

Love is…Ajay learning to cook a curry so he could make me a fresh, healthy, nutritious meal

Love is…my Mum not only cooking for me but bringing it over, because I was too tired to do it myself, even though she’s now in her seventies and it was frickin’ freezing outside.

Love is…my friend Matt sending my terrible ‘Doctor Doctor’ jokes daily to ‘help the healing’

Love is…my dog Loki climbing over the sofa and onto my armchair like a furry Ninja just so he could cuddle up to me

Love is…my work family Ann and Linda going to incredible lengths to make sure I didn’t miss the Year-End drinks party even though I could barely walk

 

Love is…the kindest radiotherapy nurses who see that you’re scared and hold your hand for as long as they can

Love is…your brother taking you and your dog for a walk, juggling one of you that wants to race ahead with the other who can only walk at a snail’s pace

Love is…your Dad picking up your dog’s poo because you can’t bend over to do it

Love is…the biggest, tightest, longest hugs from your cousin when they finally find out what you’ve been through

Love is…friends that won’t let you hide at home for too long and text you just because

Love is…family that selflessly give up their weekends to you for nearly three months because you can’t go out yet

Love is…relishing your first theatre trip in six months

Love is…crying at your leaving do with your work colleagues because you’ll miss hanging out with your friends on a daily basis

Love is…spending a whole week away in Italian sunshine with your family and everyone getting along

Love is…friends that help you see the funny side of a disastrous dating experience and encourage you to keep going

Love is…waking up at 6am, even though you’re not a morning person, so you can get a workout in

Love is…friends who find a dog-friendly pub so you can go out on a Friday night and take your pooch with you

Love is…your friend nagging you to go for a check-up, knowing you’re scared and also knowing you still need to do it

Love is…opening the laptop and starting to write again, even though it feels rusty and the words sometimes get stuck.

 

Love is…everywhere. In everything we do, whether it’s for someone else or for ourselves. It’s remembering how someone takes their coffee. It’s checking they got home safely. It’s sharing a joke because you know they’ll find it funny. Sometimes it’s getting cross with them because you want more for them. It’s choosing the spinach salad and gym today and tomorrow so you can have pizza at the weekend and still feel healthy!. It’s the light in your eyes when you do something that heals your body or makes your soul sing. Love is surviving.

Love is. It just IS.

My Life My Way

It has been almost a year since my last post. I have been meaning to write another one for a while but for various reasons have been putting it off. Last month I received an invitation, asking me to share how I run my business in my own way.

Why am I taking this particular invitation seriously and stepping up to the plate again? Because it is from Judith Morgan – my coach, mentor and an altogether fabulous force for good. She is also a self-published author herself, having written a brilliant little nugget called Your Biz Your Way – an essential tool for all entrepreneurs. Once this is published, Judith will, in her generous way, continue the dialogue on her own blog.

When I think about the question, it becomes a little bit bigger. My business isn’t just a business. It is the way I want to spend my life. My business is writing. Three years ago, I finally realised a dream of mine, when I self-published my book “Coping with the Horroffice‘ That book came about because of a handful of absolutely awful experiences I survived as a contractor, working for some atrocious companies. I had been lucky enough to work for a few companies at the other end of the spectrum and I wanted to share my hard-earned knowledge, in the hope that it might help others in the same situation.

The self-help genre isn’t the only writing I am playing with. I am currently working on both a script and a fiction book. I’ve written (although not published) some poetry. I’d love one day to write lyrics. Maybe a play. There are so many routes I can take, and I look forward to sauntering down them all eventually.

But for many many years, writing wasn’t my business. Writing was a pipe-dream. I was in a job I didn’t enjoy, and had been for over a decade. I was stuck so deeply in my particular rut that it took a major illness to shake my out of that stupor and re-assess my life.

In the middle of what most people would see as a successful career (manager at a Big Four accountancy practice) I took the decision to quit. With no real plan, and no real idea of what I wanted to do. I tried coaching. I gained a qualification, I set up a business and I enjoyed it, but it still didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel fulfilled. I learnt fast this time and I gave up the coaching within two years.

In the meantime I needed to earn money and I reluctantly decided to go back into finance, but as a contractor. It gave me the opportunity to earn money and pay my way, but I was still free from the usual office politics and the pitfalls of a long-term career. My time was my own to a much larger extent. Not only did I not feel obliged to work excruciatingly long hours, I could also take breaks of a few weeks or a few months.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but that was the beginning of establishing my business, and my life, my way.

Because finally, I wrote. Some of it was terrible, some was ok, some was not bad at all. I wrote blogposts, I wrote articles, and eventually, during my lunch hours at one particularly bad contract, I wrote the draft of ‘Coping with the Horroffice’.

Contracting, not having a secure financial income, not having a guaranteed career path, not knowing whether you’ll succeed as a writer – this isn’t the option most people would choose if given the opportunity. But I know now that I need to write. Writing isn’t just a hobby. It’s a vocation, an urge, a need. Contracting gives me enough freedom from the 9-5 to satisfy that need. For example, my current contract is due to finish in early May. Later that month I am hoping to go on a writing retreat. In the meantime, I am planning to finish the first draft of my script during my lunch hours and evenings.

The knowledge that I live with an unprecedented level of financial uncertainty and yet here I am, surviving and thriving, accords me the courage to do other things my way too. So I am finding myself living more and more of my life on my terms. I am finding it easier and more liberating to do without the need to rationalise and explain myself or my choices to anyone. I realise that finally, I am running not just my business, but my life in my own way. Writing feeds my soul. Living on my own terms by my own rules feeds my soul. I have spent far too long starving. It’s time to feast!

My Streetlights

In the last twelve months, as I dealt with some unexpected lows as well as some welcome highs, there were a couple of quotes that resonated with me time and again. (Here’s the link to the blog about that time, if you’d like a peek.)

 

The quote I want to focus on today is this one…

“Good friends are like streetlights along the road. They don’t make the distance any shorter, but they make the road easier to navigate.” – Melchor Lim.

 

After publishing last week’s blogpost I was completely blown away by the kindness of my gorgeous readers, my heart touched and healed by the supportive messages I received. Almost all those messages praised my bravery.

 

Last year was unimaginably tough. There were moments when I got so tired of dealing with illness, of living with the pain and of feeling the white-hot darts of fear, I wanted more than anything to just crumple into a corner and stay there. That’s not very brave.

 

The reason I’m here today, writing this, is because of the people who lent me their bravery last year. I think real bravery is in seeing someone stumble in the dark and lending them your light. It is in lending them your strength and power when they feel weak and vulnerable. Real bravery is recognising the long, difficult journey someone else is taking, and unflinchingly stepping onto that path with them.

 

The path I was on last year was not a pretty path. It was not strewn with rose petals and fairy lights. It was a path lit by the glaring and unflattering light of despairingly long cold hospital corridors. It was littered with stones and gravel. I had no choice but to walk along it regardless.

 

The people I want to thank are the ones who had a choice. They could have chosen to send me a meaningless platitude or two, then continued moving on with their lives, without getting themselves tangled up in the mess of mine. But they didn’t. They chose to walk with me, to keep me company. On those days when I wanted to crumple into a corner, they pulled me back into the light, and into their love.

 

This is real bravery. To walk with someone else, when you don’t need to. To lend your strength, your courage, your love and your light to someone when you don’t need to. This is love. These are the real warriors.

 

I am grateful to every single person who has helped me through, but today, I would like to acknowledge my own personal army of wonderful warriors.

 

I will never forget how brightly you have shone your lights along my path. My gorgeous gleaming friends – Jemma, Angela, Pippa, Emilia, Gaby, Matt, Andy, Mark, Jo B, Jo L, Rajan, Ann, Linda, Lisa, Judith, Georgina. My lovingly luminous family – Mum, Dad, Ajay and Vijay. My stunningly stellar streetlights.

One Day, One Year, One Life

It’s been just over a year since I wrote my last blog post. For a very long time I haven’t wanted to write any more blog posts. In fact, I haven’t wanted to write anything at all – not blogposts, nor chapters for the new book, not even to-do lists (which I love and live by).

 

I’ve struggled with writing anything because for me, writing is about releasing whatever truth I’m working through at the time. And from the end of February 2016, I was dealing with a significant truth that I didn’t feel I could share. In the spirit of honesty, I’m still not 100% sure I want to share all the gory details of that truth – not yet, anyway. But I’d like to share a little of it with you.

 

The title of the blog post should really be two days, one year, one life. There were two specific days in February 2016 that changed my life.

 

The first was 17th February – the day the wonderful breeders I had been in contact with for the last few months told me that their gorgeous girl Amber had given birth to ten healthy puppies, and I would be getting one of the boys. Losing Simba in 2015 was one of the hardest things I’d dealt with, and there was a huge dog shaped hole in my life that was about to be filled. I was fizzing with so much excitement I felt like it was bursting through my skin into the air around me.

 

The second day was just as momentous, and as much of a low as the puppy announcement had been a high. Until February 2016, I had been in remission from Endometrial cancer for over seven years. But on that second life-changing day, 28th February, I was told that it was back.

 

I had had huge plans for 2016. It was going to be my year. 2015 had been consumed by the loss of Simba and learning to deal with the grief but by the end of the year, I had found my mojo again. My head was full of new beginnings and new plans – I was more than ready for 2016 so I could get going with them – more writing, better writing, publishing another book, a new puppy, maybe even getting back on the dating scene.

 

Plans. Lots of plans.I still have the vision board I made with my 2016 plans. But, just as in that famous quote “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”, my actual 2016 looked very different.  I spent March and April in a haze of weekdays coping with a full-time contract, as well as the side effects of the new medication, added to a whole new health and fitness regime to help my body fight off the cancer, and weekends full of visits to play with the puppies. I treasure those hour long visits with the puppies – they reminded me that I had something wonderful to look forward to and fight to get healthy for.

 

I limited my social life to time with the very few wonderful friends and family I had shared my diagnosis with. I lived 2016 in segments. Three months of treatment, two weeks of operations, recovery and results (results which just wouldn’t go my way, no matter which drug combination we tried), then another three months of treatment, and so on. I will be forever grateful and forever in the debt of that select group of exceptional souls for keeping me going, keeping me focused on the positive and holding me up when I couldn’t hold myself up.

 

The highlight of 2016 was 17th April, when I brought my new puppy, Loki, home. He was (and still is) absolutely adorable, and settled in so quickly it felt as though he’d always been with me. I was besotted. But I felt permanently exhausted from a crazy combination of looking after a new puppy, working full-time at a great contract, working on the book at lunchtimes, and trying to fight the side effects of the medication. Three months into this schedule, I conceded that I just didn’t have enough energy to juggle all those balls. But the only one I could let go of was the writing. I cried all weekend after making that decision. I was putting on hold one of my biggest, most dearly held dreams just when I felt it was within reach, and it hurt like hell.

 

Painful or not, it was the right thing to do. I needed to focus all my energy on getting better. I was going to be fine, and I was going to hold onto my womb. I held onto that truth with fists balled up tight, in case it slipped even a millimetre. Each time a particular drug combination didn’t work, I convinced myself that the next combination would be the one that did. At the beginning of November, my consultant told me we had run out of drug-related options. The only way to beat this now was to have a full hysterectomy. I’d always know this was a possibility, all the way back to when I was first diagnosed, right back in 2006. But I had always imagined I was the exception, I was the one that the drugs would work for, and one day, I’d have children. And for almost eight years I was the exception. In November, I stopped being the exception. The choice was … well, it wasn’t a choice. It was the only path left to take. Cancer was going to take away my chance to give birth. The operation was scheduled for January 2017. I was determined it wasn’t going to ruin my life or even the end of 2016. I chose to have the most amazing Christmas – I said yes to every invitation, went to every party, and spent as much time as possible with friends and family. I had a very lovely month indeed.

 

I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of January 2017. I didn’t do a vision board. I didn’t write a single goal. I focused on becoming as fit and healthy as possible in preparation for the major surgery I was about to face. My personal New Year would begin after the hysterectomy at end of January.

 

I’m pleased to say the operation went well. The tumour has been removed. I need a little radiotherapy, which I’ll have as soon as I’ve healed from the operation.

 

I’m still not making any plans for the rest of 2017. I don’t know what is ahead. I hope that it’s good. I even dare to hope that it’s better than last year. I do know that I have the most amazing friends and family (and a wonderfully supportive work family too). I know I have my lovely little Loki. I know I have options. They just happen to be slightly different to the options I thought I would have. So now I will take action. Every day, I’ll do something that takes me forward. I’m going to start writing again. I’ll be back at work soon. As soon as I’ve healed I’ll be able to start walking Loki again, which I miss more than I can say. I’m also going to make sure that every day I do something that makes me smile. That’s an easy win, as I have my lovely Loki around. And every day I will be grateful for the monumental privilege of being here, of living.

 

And then?

 

Well, then…life. Just life. Glorious, unpredictable, terrifying, exhilarating life.

Love is like a beard

REAL LOVEI saw this in amongst the myriad of ‘Love Is’ memes doing the rounds at the moment.

The actual quote is “True love is like a beard. It never ends – it only grows.”

I’m sharing it with you because it made me smile and it made me think. Maybe we should all be like beards.  Note – we should not BE beards. That would be weird and unhelpful. But if we decided to be LIKE beards, and we dedicated ourselves to always growing, how awesome would our lives be?

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit this weekend. It’s Valentines Day today, and my thoughts have naturally turned to those I have loved, those who have loved me, and those whose love I have wanted but haven’t had.

It was a lovely surprise, as I was going through that mental list, to find that actually, looking back at the way life has worked out, I’m glad that I didn’t get the relationships that I thought at the time I wanted so much. In some cases, it was a false idea, and has since come crumbling away. In other cases it’s because something better came along and swept away all old ideas.

The biggest thing – for me – is this. If I had gotten what I wanted, when I wanted it, I don’t think I’d be the person I am today. I doubt I’d have been following my writing dream. I’m not entirely sure I’d have had the time and the opportunity and the space to truly think about what I want and what I don’t want in a relationship, or in life. And I don’t think I’d have been as confident in my own skin as I am (don’t get me wrong, I’m still not there on this one. It’s a work in progress…but there has definitely been progress).

It’s a realisation that’s taken me a long time to get to. And I will probably need to keep reminding myself of it, especially on days like this. Days when I look around and I see lots of coupled-upness, and could easily fall into the trap of feeling as though I might be missing out somehow, or that I’m not enough because I don’t have any coupled-upness of my own. Because actually I’m not missing out. I’m happy where I am.

And I feel hopeful that being happy with me, or at least happier with me than I have been in a very long time, also means I might be able to allow someone else to be happy with me when the time is right.

I hope that wherever you are, whatever your situation, whether you’re coupled-up or singled-up, that you spend some time on you, on finding ways to be happy in your own skin, to really love who you are. Because it’s only then, when we love who we are, that our proverbial beards can grow.

What do you think?

The Power of Your Potential

the power of potentialHappy New Year!  I hope you’ve had a little time over the festive season to recharge, reconnect with friends and family and maybe even think about what you want to focus on in 2016.

I have to admit I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions. I talk about it in a little more in today’s newsletter. If you want to see why, and you also want to find out how to implement ‘word of the year’ which I much prefer, then sign-up in the space opposite.

If you’re definitely a new year’s resolution fan, then you’re in for a treat. I actually found some, through the ever fabulous Judith Morgan, that I absolutely love and I hope you do too. Here’s the link to the Buzzfeed article – I’d love to hear what you think of these!

Whether you use resolutions or a ‘word of the year’ or nothing at all, the end of the year is a time when you can’t help but think about the past twelve months, and how you’ve coped with the ups and downs in your journey. I came across this quote, which makes me feel slightly melancholy and yet hopeful at the same time.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice, and to make an end is to make a beginning.” – TS Elliot

I will be saying goodbye not just to a difficult period in 2015 when I lost my beloved boy Simba, but also saying goodbye to that whole chapter of my life. On the other hand, 2015 included one of the biggest highlights of my life, when ‘Coping with the Horroffice‘ was released. 2015 was certainly a defining year. As I say goodbye to the past twelve months, I also start to look at what 2016 might hold for me. And I’ve found a great guide in the form of the quote below…

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws but for potential.” – Ellen Goodman

More often than not, our resolutions for the coming year are also a well-disguised list of our flaws –  for example, ‘I want to lose 10lbs’ might also be translated as ‘I’m not happy with my body’. Of course, it would be great to have a lighter, healthier body and it’s a great goal to work towards. But maybe it would also be great to acknowledge that the body you’re in right now has carried you through to where you are now, and that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

So here’s an idea for us both to try out – whether you write out resolutions, or work out your word of the year, or do neither, perhaps you could find just five minutes to remember and give thanks for all the wonderful things you’ve experienced in 2015, and to look for all the beautiful potential you already hold as you go into 2016.

Here’s to a 2016 full of love, joy and the power of your potential.

 

Sending Love

Sending Love (1)I’ve been thinking about what I could include in this penultimate blog post of the year when it’s not quite Christmas Day, but it’s tantalisingly close. I was also looking through some pictures and quotes for inspiration. Nothing seemed quite right. I decided to take a break and make myself a tea, and as I was waiting for the kettle to boil, I read through the Christmas cards I’ve received and smiled as I thought of the people who had sent them.

And then I realised something. Do you know which word is included in each and every one of those cards? It’s not ‘Happy’ or ‘Merry’ or even ‘Christmas’. It’s ‘Love’.

‘With love’, ‘lots of love’, ‘love from’…it’s all about love.

And I think that’s part of the magic of Christmas. It’s the one time of the year when we are all, collectively and consciously, thinking of others and sending love. It might be a little extra patience with a work colleague who hasn’t delivered, but you can’t be mad ‘because it’s Christmas’. It might be spending an extra hour at the shops when you’re already exhausted, so you can get something that’s just perfect for a friend ‘because it’s Christmas’. Or it might be waking up at an unspeakably early hour so you can make sure you have everything ready for your family ‘because it’s Christmas’.

How wonderful to spend a whole month focussed on thinking about everyone who means something to us. Whether it’s a card, a phone-call, a text, a present or meeting them for a hug and a chat and a catch-up, underneath it all, what we are doing is sending love.

Even when we are thinking of those who aren’t here to enjoy Christmas with us, there may be sadness, but there will undoubtedly also be funny stories and happy memories, and love.

“I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. – Rachel Cohn”

I think that this collective thinking of our loved ones and sending out loving wishes is a rare and special magic. For me, that’s part of the magic of Christmas.

So as you read this, please know that I am thinking of you, and I am wishing you a wonderful Christmas, and I am sending you love.

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”

Heena. x.

May The Force Be With You

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOUIt’s impossible to avoid it, so I’m not even going to try. This week we will see one of the world’s biggest and most extravagant and most eagerly anticipated movie premieres of all time – Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And although there are a whole host of memorable characters in the franchise, the one that I love the most is the teeny tiny green Grand Jedi Master and all around most awesome creature in the known (and possibly unknown) universe – Yoda.

 

Did you know that Yoda was involved to some extent in the training of almost every Jedi? It’s true – Wikipedia says so! It would be rude to ignore such a galactic level of wisdom, so today, I thought we could remind ourselves of three of Yoda’s most famous quotes.  Here they are, in reverse order….

 

#3 – “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” – Yoda

A pretty meaty one to kick-off with, isn’t it? It’s something we all find hard to do – we learn to hide our fears from our colleagues, our friends and family and especially from ourselves. We’re taught to ‘show no fear’. But I’ve learned that hiding away from my fears just makes them bigger and more fearsome. Facing them, even if it’s initially painful, is really the only way to start to banish them. Rock on Yoda!

 

#2 – “Luke: I can’t believe it. Yoda: That is why you fail.” – Yoda

Another cracking quote with some power-packed truth behind it. For a very long time, I didn’t believe I could be a writer. When people asked me what I was doing or wanted to do, I would always say I was an accountant and working towards becoming a writer. I don’t say that anymore. I tell people I’m a writer, with an accountancy background. I work as a finance contractor to pay the bills whilst I develop my writing. I also believe there’s a shiny sparkly day not too far away when I will be a full-time writer, living comfortably from my writerly (yes, it’s a word, honest!) earnings. The more I believe I’m a writer, the more the Universe is conspiring to make that true. What do you need to start believing for it to materialise?

 

#1 – “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

I’ve saved the best for last. This is an absolute doozy. I spent at least ten years wishing I was a writer, telling everyone I wanted to be a writer and dreaming of becoming a writer. Do you want to know what my total literary efforts were in that entire decade? Three poems, one short story, and one very short children’s book (the first draft of which actually took me less than a week to pull together). Ten years, and not even 100,000 words.  So clearly, although I said I wanted it, I wasn’t actually doing anything about it. And what happened when I decided to ‘do’?  I decided in May 2014 to write Coping with the Horroffice. By February 2015 it was written, edited and up on Amazon. I’m almost at the end of the planning stage for my second book, fiction this time. I have notes on at least five other ideas for books (fiction and non-fiction) that I want to work on. Yoda was right – if you want something, there’s no space for half-hearted half-assed efforts. Go all in, and, as Yoda says…Do.

 

So there you go. Three monumental quotes and three mighty rules to live by. Let’s agree to put all three into place, awaken the force inside ourselves and see what a magnificent 2016 awaits us.

 

May the Force be with you.

Christmas Dazzle

ChrstmAs we head into the middle of December, all around me my friends, colleagues and family are getting into the Christmas spirit. It makes me think of two quotes that seem particularly relevant, and I want to see what you think.

“Remember, This December, That love weighs more than gold!” – Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

A great quote, don’t you think (And a great name too!)?  It’s a touching sentiment and strong idea but I think it can sometimes get lost as we let the marketing men dazzle us with golden promises. Love might be more important, but sometimes it can feel light as air.

Here’s the second quote, one that made me smile a little ruefully, because I have to fight the urge to do this myself, and especially at Christmas when I want to shower the people I love with fabulous treats.

“Christmas is the season when you buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money.”  – Author Unknown

You know how it goes. We start off with the best of intentions. We have ‘that’ talk, with our friends, with our family, with our work colleagues.  It goes something like this

“I can’t believe it’s December already.  I haven’t even started thinking about presents.  I’ve got so many to get, it’s just silly.  Really, Christmas has become too commercial, it’s all about spending money. I’m going to stick to a budget this time, and only get things people might really want” 

But then you hit the shops, and you start looking around, and you start putting things in your basket because you want to make Christmas feel really special. When the people you love open their presents, you want the present to shout out how much you love them. And so the budget moves a bit, and then a bit more, and then it goes out of the window.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?  Of course we have.  So why do we do it?  Do we really think our friends and our family will love us less because we’ve spent a little less money on their presents?  Or think about it from a different angle – would you really love your husband, wife, children, parents, siblings, or friends less if they spent on your present only what they could actually afford, rather than what they felt they should be able to give you.  If they gave you a huge box of your favourite chocolates and an ‘I Owe You’ for a whole evening, a whole day or even a whole week of their time and attention, wouldn’t that be even better than an expensive perfume to add to the ten you already may have, and a hurried half hour for a coffee and pressie exchange?

Think about why we love presents so much.  It’s very rarely the thing itself that we love.  It’s the feeling that someone you love has spent time thinking about you, and has made the effort to get you something they think you’ll enjoy.  And when you think about some of the best Christmases’ you’ve had, what do you remember?  A cosy couple of days with your family, or finally catching up with that friend you haven’t seen all year, and really being able to relax and catch-up, to talk, to share, and to laugh.  None of those memories are about things, they’re all about people.  Spending real time (not just a rushed coffee catch up, or quick call or text) with the people you love is the ultimate luxury, the most extravagant present you can lavish on someone.

If you choose it, and without spending any money you can have a very very luxurious Christmas with the people you love.

Wishing you a luxurious loving and festive season!

Heena. x.