Happy Holy Days

December is host to many multi-cultural celebrations including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Pearl Harbor Remembrance, Winter Solstice and Boxing Day. Some are sacred and some are secular. Few months have more teachable moments of love, joy, peace and good will to all men.

December is renowned for shopping and baking and decorating and giving and partying and feasting and traveling and entertaining and stressing. Am I ready for Christmas? Yes, I am. Oh, there is still baking and decorating and other chores to do, but I suggest being ready is more an attitude than an activity.

It is the attitude of living within your means rather than over-spending. It is the attitude of caring for self and others without over-extension. It is the attitude of patience with the harried clerk at the store. It is giving a smile, and refusing to gripe and complain. It is the attitude of graciousness to stressed fellow travelers. It is the attitude of compassion for those with opposing beliefs. It is the attitude of thankfulness for our many freedoms, including worshiping as we choose. It is the attitude of appreciation for the men and women near and far that willingly put themselves in harms way for our protection as well as to bring liberty to the oppressed.

Even with all the hustle and bustle, I love the holidays. Although I like to give and to receive “Merry Christmas” greetings, I am not offended by being wished “Happy Holidays”. It is a quick way of encouraging another to remember that the long celebration season is filled with holy days.

In liturgical Christian churches, the holy days begin with Advent four weeks before December 25th and ends with the Epiphany, January 6th. This period is for reflection upon the true meaning of the season; a time to prepare our homes with lights and streamers and to entertain family and friends and to give gifts, and to ready our hearts to receive afresh a baby that has already been born, with twelve days afterwards to rejoice in the love gift given to mankind.

I believe in Christmas. I believe in the Christ of Christmas. Maybe as one makes every day “holy” during the extended holiday season, he will be better able to keep focus on peace on earth, good will to all men.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”


Reinforcing Boundaries

In this economy of lay-offs and role reversals, boundaries often become clouded. A working wife recently mentioned the frustration of needing downtime after a hectic workday and her house-husband's failure to honor that request. Here are some thoughts for being true to yourself.

Need vs. need. Trouble ensues in any relationship when prevailing attitudes are “my need is more important than your need.” We are needy individuals and it is okay to have your needs met. And they can be, in ways that are good for you and the relationship.

The value of appreciation. Anything that appreciates goes up in value. An authentic appreciation of your mate’s role in what he does lends itself to understanding and a willingness to negotiate. Having an appreciation of your contribution to the family can give you the confidence to firmly, yet kindly, set your boundaries of what you do or do not need.

Be a polite nag. Sometimes a person has good intentions yet fails to follow through. If your boundaries are not honored, speak up with a gentle reminder. Change occurs easiest when it is the person’s idea. Say something like, “Have you forgotten that you have agreed to allow me decompression space when I get home?”

Provided his response is civil, it may be necessary that you speak up again and again until he “gets it”. And graciously accept a slip and an apology. As Alan Alda says, "Be fair with another and stay after him until he is fair with you."

Find an adequate alternative. On the way home, stop by your favorite coffee shop for quiet time. Don your headphones and jogging suit and go to the park.

Delay is not denial. Perhaps your need to be self-nurtured outweighs your need to interact. Perhaps his need for companionship outweighs his need to respect your space. What about a switch-a-roo? Come home to a loving embrace and share a few moments of casual conversation – being genuinely concerned about each other’s day - then slip away for solitude.

It is my consensus that the most mature one in the relationship will make the most concessions. But never do so at the expense of you. Stuffing your irritation and later exploding is unfair to both of you. Make relationship more important than rights. When sacrifice is for the betterment of all, it transcends, and is no longer a sacrifice.

Mona Dunkin is a Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach. Read past articles at www.monadunkin.blogspot.com. Contact her at mdunkin@flash.net.



There has been a lot of press about studies from the Blue Zone; countries and townships where the inhabitants are healthy and live into the nineties and even one-hundreds. Contributing factors are diet, relationships, activity, spirituality and resiliency.

New Webster’s Dictionary defines resiliency as “Capable of resuming its shape or position after being subjected to stress. Capable of recovering rapidly, especially from an emotional shock. To spring back."

Life, lemons and lemonade. Sounds a lot like the adage, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Resiliency is the ability to take negatives and make positives, and in the process, to become a stronger individual. Resiliency is the belief that life - all life -has meaning, and finding the courage to see significance beyond the pain.

Being a resilient person may not seem natural to the human condition. But it is something you can teach yourself. It begins with a decision. Let’s look at becoming a resilient person by making an acrostic.

R – Relationships Realize that each person (you included) has infinite worth and value as a human being created in God’s image, regardless of labels or circumstances. See relationship as more important than opinion. Being moral and upright in all your affairs.

E – Emend Emend comes from a Latin word meaning, “to take the fault out”. It is to stop placing blame and look at reality. It is to give up the stress of controlling another by taking (or leaving) him as he is, instead of manipulating him to your ideal.

S – Spirituality Seeing you as a human being, subject to death, but also as an eternal spirit, destined to live forever. To surrender to a higher purpose that brings ultimate meaning to life. To recognize we are spiritual beings on a human journey.

I – Insight See beyond the surface to deeper meaning. Ask tough questions and give honest answers. Get brutally honest with you.

L – Larder Have a storehouse of new information and skills from which to draw. Being curious about the universe and open to learning. Be willing to evaluate, test and to stretch yourself.

I – Interdependence Realize we live in community and need each other. Learn to set healthy boundaries for self and respect wishes of others. Take initiative and exercise control of your own thoughts, actions and behaviors.

E – Embrace To hold in one’s arms. To see life as a precious gift and look forward to the dawning of each new day. See change as a means for growth.

N – Natural Know who you are and being comfortable in your own skin. Develop your innate gifts and talents.

C– Creativity See with different eyes. Learn to bring beauty out of chaos, meaning out of pain, and purpose from troubling experiences. Finding humor in the tragic.

Y – Yield To resist too stringently is to break. Be flexible. Know when to concede. Yield is also to bring forth fruit, to be productive, to give birth to.

Resiliency is the suitable combination of optimism and realism. You cannot control the events of life, but by choosing what you dwell on, you can control how you respond.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”