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How To Navigate Holiday Landmines: ‘Tis The Season For Grace & Gratitude

By November 25, 2015May 23rd, 20195 Comments

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The holidays are a time of year for gratitude. So why do so many find it so hard to celebrate?

There’s a brisk chill outside. By late afternoon it’s already dark. Our circadian rhythm dictates we slow down, hunker down and hibernate. But for the next month, we ignore the call of nature, mindlessly hurling ourselves into a frenzied state of overcommitted overextension.

Too many obligations. Overspending on things nobody really needs. Keeping up with the Joneses yet never quite matching up.

Stress. Anxiety. Conflict. Dread. Debt. But perhaps the biggest trigger of all? Family drama.

The treachery of extended family holiday get-togethers can accelerate a perilous emotional state to the breaking point. The patterns are age-old and hard wired, yet each year we make the promise: this time will be different. But then like clockwork, the buttons get pushed. Patience? Mindfulness? Forget it. Reason and composure vanishes, replaced with primal reaction. The spark is lit, and once again you’re once riding that emotional rollercoaster you vowed to finally avoid.

Depression ensues, only to wake up in January with an emotional hangover no narcotic can salve.

What if you could break the pattern?

This week Julie and I delve deep into strategies for a new and better holiday experience. Tips and tools to reframe the dynamic, gracefully navigate the emotional minefields, sidestep the consumerist insanity and embrace the fundamental spirit that is meant to define this time of year — gratitude.

Specific topics include:

  • creative vs. commercialized giving
  • prioritizing self-care
  • acknowledging family dynamic realities
  • exercising discretion with respect to social obligations
  • sealing your energy field
  • visualization and mindfulness practices
  • understanding conflict as growth opportunity

The show concludes with Humming— a brief humming meditation track written and performed by Julie from her album Jai Home.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange. Happy Thanksgiving!

Peace + Plants,


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Background, Context & Reference:

I handled editing duties on the show today. So if there are any sound issues, don’t blame Tyler — it’s on me. Theme music by Harrison Mathis. Transition music by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.

*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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  • Many thanks Julie and Rich for our 1st plant powered thanksgiving.

    Just about about everything was from the Plantpowered Way. Renee also made the dishes from the email we got from you guys. Many thanks for that.

    Everything was pure, from the soil. And to think we’re just getting started.

    If we don’t find your book, we don’t get to where we are today. We’re so grateful.

  • Joanna says:

    Julie, I just wanted to say you are my Hero. You are such a beautiful human being, inside and out! I really look forward to reading your Memoir. Love U, Joanna ♡

  • Carrie says:

    Hi Rich and Julie,

    We have eight children and started a similar tradition a few years ago we call “gifts of love”. The criteria for a gift of love is that it cannot be something you purchase but something you make or do for someone. As the years have gone by and children have left home, a gift of love includes coming home for Xmas (those tickets get expensive). The person who had the hardest time with this was my husband. The first year was easy for him, he wrote each child a letter about his life and what family means to him. The second year he wanted to just buy them “a little something”. As the years have rolled by we all look forward to a Christmas holiday that is greatly reduced in stress. We look forward to sharing our creativity, our love, and a lot of laughter.
    Thank you for sharing all that you do, it is a gift of love to all of us out here.

  • Jim Newell says:

    Made the Coconut Curry for Thanksgiving. It was lovely. My goodness, that recipe makes a ton of food. There were only three adults and two kids. I may have to invite more people next time. Thanks. 🙂

  • Tommy F says:

    Just love the idea of an un-commercialized Christmas. I stopped purchasing Christmas gifts years ago for all extended family members. Everyone thought I was a total cheapskate. But I didn’t allow myself to buckle. Eventually (after years of un-reciprocated commercialized-obligatory-giving from me), people got the message. They eventually stopped buying me crap I didn’t need, and then they each eventually stopped buying this crap for each other.

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” ― Mahatma Gandhi


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