Weekly podcast from livesensible.comIf you ‘re in a rush for last minute holiday shopping or have high expectations on what gifts you  may give this year. Here’s a thought,  sometimes a meaningful gesture is worth more than a purchased gift.  Consider offering assistance to your loved ones and friends that are simple and practical, but are highly appreciated.  Your time and consideration are worth a great deal, and will be valued and remembered for a long time.  If you are strapped for cash like many people this year, this  is a less stressful way to celebrate that can deepen bonds between family members instead of always having a monetary attachment to your values!

So instead of rushing to the mall and dipping into your savings to buy the perfect gift, here are some sensible holiday gift ideas that are cost effective and helpful…[…]

Grief and the loss of a loved oneGrief is a very personal and painful experience.  Whatever means we use to find solace in our time of grief is significant and should be valued.  I lost my mother to breast cancer at the age of sixteen.  It was, as one could imagine a great shock to us all.  A friend said to me in a strange consolation “I don’t know how I (meaning herself) would ever get through that kind of grief.”  I said in a very stoic way I’m sure, “You just do.”  She then repeated my words which evidently struck her…”You just do.”
As we drove away from the hospital after my mom passed away in my shock and grief, my greatest fear was that I would forget her:  her face, her hands, her voice and eyes.  I thought “well, now it’s been an hour since I’ve seen her.  Someday it’ll be a year then five years, then ten!”  Now, here it is twenty years this past August since I’ve seen her beautiful eyes in person.  But here is the great, great thing about feelings, dreams, and yes, even grief.  She is with me and I feel her – it may sound cliche or like my own fantasy hope but seriously,  there have been several times where I had a dream of her and I woke up and I felt her presence-viscerally.  This website is about listening to and honoring your senses and using your intellect to help sort through and deal with challenges we all face.  Grief over a loved one is one of the biggest heartaches in our collective human experience.
I have tried to remove myself, to comprehend, even to get over this event but I know now that it is impossible.  I’ve surrendered to that because it shapes every moment of your life after something like that happens.  You no longer see people and the world in the same way.  I really understand how fragile and impermanent this all is because I witnessed it first hand.  My perception of time changed too.  Most teenagers have an invincibility attached to their behavior-that was never a part of my viewpoint of the world.

havenNestled in the bustling side-streets of SoHo is a true Haven amongst the busyness and at times, this chaotic center of shopping, restaurants and art galleries.  Haven has been around since 1998 and is one of New York’s original and affordable day spas. The ambiance here is incredible in that as one walks through the halls it  feels less like a spa in SoHo and more like a retreat in a remote and quiet place in New Mexico.  Haven is gently well lit and inviting with warm hues of mauve and plum.

I have enjoyed a variety of services here as I proudly was employed for five years at this spa.  This makes me favorably biased which is a good sign.  Not everyone can recommend places they were previously employed.  The owners have diligently put together a spa menu that is a head to toe fantastic and rejuvenating experience.  From body treatments to specialized manicures and pedicures.  I witnessed them consistently experiment till they would find the right combination of essential oils, scrubs and other delicious products for their services.  It would be difficult to review all the services offered here but I recommend Haven highly as a full service spa for grooming and relaxing.  Waxing is also available with both regular and organic wax for sensitive skin.

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chakraThe practice of Yoga has gained an immense popularity over the last few decades.  There are classes in gyms everywhere in small rural areas to cosmopolitan centers.  Among the benefits of participating consistently  in a well instructed class are good alignment, improved breathing and more spiritual connection (alignment through the Chakra system).  This last part is often forgotten or completely overlooked because yoga is often represented as simply another form of exercise.  Yoga means path or way.  The practice of the Asanas (poses in yoga) are meant as a way to connect to one’s center,  to source energy and spirit. Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that effects your body, mind and spirit by practicing balance, strength and focus as we connect to the chakra system.  The words Yoga and Chakra were taken over by a flighty new age perspective at one point -it is important to reclaim them as they are refreshingly structured and grounded.  They are concepts that have been around for thousands of years and for good reasons.

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