Happy Holidays,

A colleague shared with me a wonderful holiday mantra from her meditation instructor, Joe Zarantonello.

    Stay Present, Be Kind, and Lower your Expectations.

We’ve all thought about who we want to be for our family and friends before, probably many, many times.  And then life intervenes and we forget.

The holidays can get hectic, with gifts to buy, things to do, places to be. And then in the midst of all of this wonder and possibility, we get frustrated, anxious, or stressed when reality doesn’t quite live up to our expectations.

So this might be a time to remind ourselves about who we want to be and how we want to act during the holidays.

I love phrases that help me remember to be at my best with family and friends. These are phrases or perspectives I’ve practiced and explored in the past:

    Assume good intentions.

    I make mistakes, too.

    Choose joy.

    There is no place to get to.

    Be calm and calming.

    Life is great!

    I can be the big person here.

    Let it go. Get over it. Move on.

    If there is an experience in front of you have it.

Perhaps my all-time favorite is this quote by Jodi Hills:

    If I am not happy in this time, in this place,
    then I am not paying attention.

So, find a phrase that gives you the freedom to be at your best. Then find some way to remind yourself—post a note in your car, begin wearing a bracelet, change the photo on your phone—so that the phrase stays at the forefront of your thinking.

Granddaughter Zoe gave us a new phrase recently. I like you, because you like me. I’m sure she won’t mind if you use it freely over the holidays!

Thanks for reading,



Paul Axtell is the author of the award-winning Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids: Creating the Relationship You Want with the Most Important People in Your Life, named Best Parenting Book of 2012.