This Holiday Season: The Gift of Permission


Editor’s Note: The following article was written by contributor Glenn W. Frost, LCSW-R

As the season of giving is upon us, we sometimes forget to give something to ourselves. Perhaps the greatest gift we can bestow upon ourselves is the gift of permission. We might have had some struggles this past year but why not give ourselves permission to be happy anyway? Everyone around us is telling us to “be in the holiday spirit” but you might be thinking of someone special who you have lost this year, so why not give yourself permission to be sad? Why not give yourself permission to be courageous, or permission to be scared? These are emotions that all of us feel all year round but these are also some emotions that we are told, subtly or not, to not express, especially this time of year. The “holiday spirit” is to be happy, however, we each define happiness in many varied and personal ways. I, myself, define being happy as being true to myself, whatever I might be feeling.


A Stabilizing Influence: Elisha Goldstein’s Daily Now Moments

The last month has been one of turbulent transition. The move of my office to a bigger space is more settled now but ongoing. Mail not getting delivered, people not being able to find me, waiting for the Internet connection to work… The days are full of little crises that,  like paper cuts, sting like the dickens but won’t kill you. Yesterday I finally got a desk which is a vast improvement over the card table I was using, let me tell you! To save money I picked it up, delivered it to my office and assembled it myself. Not only do I have a nifty new writing table, I burned calories! But, boy I did not enjoy it at the time.

Then there’s the adjustment to a growth spurt on the business-side of running a practice that is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s a quote I read somewhere that goes something like this: “You work eight hours a day for someone else to get to the point where you can become your own boss so that you can work twelve hours a day.” It’s funny because it’s true.

Even “good” transitions come with stress. My daughter is applying to college, requiring trips to visit campuses, SAT prep, making sure all materials are where they need to be and imagining life as an empty nester.

Then there’s the usual stuff: elderly parents, medical issues, bills to pay. Nothing me, you and a million other people aren’t dealing with every single day. It seems like we are forever in transition.

Transitions can make us feel untethered, as if we have lost our anchor and are left adrift. It’s a pretty yucky, anxious feeling unless we give ourselves time to remember what anchors us.

One life-line that has helped me to surprisingly delightful effect is Elisha Goldstein’s Daily Now Moments. These micro-blasts of mindfulness come to me every day through my email. While there are those days when the note is kind of ‘meh’, there are those gems that make me think, how the heck did Elisha know I needed just that message just at this moment?

Here is one that arrived a few days ago. It turned up on my list of things I am grateful for:

What is one thing that you can do right now or today that is an act of loving yourself?

Here are seven ideas; treat this week as an experiment to put some of these to work and see what you notice:

1) Start your morning by thinking of five things you’re grateful for.

2) If possible, practice mindful eating for a few minutes in the morning, or mindfully drink your coffee or tea.

3) Practice a Mindful Check-In once or twice daily.

4) Take at least a 20-minute walk each day to care for your body.

5) Put your hands on your heart and wish yourself well: to be healthy and to be happy.

6) When things are tough, just acknowledge that it’s a hard moment and keep your critics at bay.

7) At night, look back on the day, forgive all the people you’re holding a grudge against, releasing that burden and having a better night’s sleep.


Elisha Goldstein, PhD

Simple yet effective! You can sign up for these Daily Now Moments at Dr. Goldstein’s website

Image courtesy of Kohtzy via Flickr


A True Test of Mindfulness

I just spent an hour writing a brilliant essay (Really! It was brilliant!). Then I got distracted by a pretty, shiny object (“Oooo, pretty!”) and *Poof!* I lost it! Gone into the Ethernet! Arg!

This is a true test of mindfulness! There’s only one thing to do, OK maybe two.

Breathe deeply and eat ice cream.

Have you been tested lately? What happened? How did you get your mojo back? Please share your thoughts.

Everyday Mindfulness When Stuff Happens

Watch this video of a renowned concert violinist playing for free in the subway and see what happens. Elisha Goldstein, author of The Now Effect, offers thoughts on how mindfulness enhances resiliency. Funny I didn’t expect to use this lesson just a few minutes after reading his post.

This morning woke up with a purpose: to appreciate the small beauties that surround me. Just being able to use my legs to walk, the softness of my dog’s fur, hot water when I want it! I was doing great when my daughter called from school needing something urgently that she forgot. She needed me to drop everything and bring it to her right away!

My body tensed up like a spring. It was remarkable how fast I went from serene to severe! I was irritated that my routine was being interrupted in this rude manner. I couldn’t shake the feeling entirely but I was able to breathe enough, create enough space, to lower the volume on the irritation and know my perspective would return if I gave it a little time.

When I dropped the stuff off that my daughter forgot, she looked me in the eye and said, “I’ll make it up to you.” Knowing that she meant it, I smiled, recognizing another small beauty, and said, “Thank you.” Just like that, I fell back into balance.

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