Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor
Dr. Toni Galardi

Dear Dr. Toni:
The holidays are coming and I am alone again. It isn’t enough to go and volunteer at a homeless shelter. My body is aching to be touched and massage is not enough. I need to feel passion through touch but I don’t want to just go out and have casual sex with a stranger. I have been turning to food as my lover…a lot. What do I do?
Jonesing For Touch

Dear Jonesing:
My heart goes out to you. You are not alone in your experience; at this time of year when people are with their families or a partner, it is particularly poignant if we are without intimate connection.

Because most of us were not raised to give love to ourselves on a physical level, the opportunity here is to learn how to have a sacred sexual relationship with yourself.

How do you like to be touched? If you don’t know, experiment. Begin by touching your arms lightly, stroking them from your shoulder all the way to your hands. How does that feel? Notice what comes up emotionally as you touch different parts of your body. Allow for tender or scary feelings to come up. Most importantly, cherish yourself. If you feel inclined during this process, allow for self-pleasuring in whatever way you need and give that gift of presence, safety and acceptance.

Now, sit in front of the mirror with a candle in the dark and make eye contact. Allow yourself to deeply connect to your soul through your eyes. After about 10 minutes, go back to lying down and imagine you have a lover next to you. Turn to that imaginary lover and look into his or her eyes and feel the connection—the one you had to yourself when you were sitting in front of the mirror. Now imagine he or she is touching you exactly as you would like to be touched. Go through the entire scenario from a place of deep intimacy.

The last step is to bring that connection to your day. Be in your sensuality as you do the dishes, drive your car, eat your lunch and I dare say, as you interact with others. You can be very loving and sensual even with children and animals in a very sacred way if you are in that space with yourself.
Have fun with this!

Dear Dr. Toni:
I am dreading Christmas. I can’t afford to go home and visit my family. My kids want gifts and I don’t have the money to buy them much this year. I’m not sleeping at night because I am self-employed and business is down. Can you enlighten me as to a way to salvage this holiday so that my kids don’t think I’m the L.A. scrooge?
Eager to Transform Bah Humbug

Dear Eager:
Many people are experiencing the same frustration you are this year. If this were the holiday of getting I would say that you are truly handicapped, but it is not. If I could, I would put up a big billboard in every town in America that says, “Remember, the point of GETTING the Christmas spirit is BEING the Christmas spirit.”

The gift of Christmas doesn’t come in a beautifully decorated box with a bow. It is being in the presence of love for yourself and a great model for your children. If you go to, there is a five-minute video from “Good Day LA” where I talk about how to inexpensively model for your kids the true spirit of the holiday through giving back to those who have even less than you do.
We are in a massive evolutionary shift on our planet. It is requiring us to leave behind the old tribal mores for love. This economic contraction is here to assist us in releasing our old ideas of what makes us happy. Something needs to change if we are going to evolve. Transforming our old inner concepts of Christmas that reek of a Hallmark TV afternoon special into our own version of It’s a Wonderful Life (watch this film if you haven’t seen it) allows us to see that our value to our children is in who we are, not what toys they get from us.

Your children take their cues from you. If you clear out the guilt you are feeling about not being Santa Claus and choose to stand for being love, not doing love through material buying, they will get it and follow suit.

When we are brave and break from cultural programming, it is only then that our creativity can blossom. For example, go through the events section of your newspaper and find out what free concerts or other Christmas-themed events are happening that are geared toward kids. Make it a family project to go through old toys and clothing that are no longer being used. Donate them to a charity that supports homeless families and take your children with you so that they can experience the contribution.

To all of my readers: Create a new Norman Rockwell painting in your mind’s eye for the possibility of who you and your children can be this holiday season.

Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, public speaker, and the author of her new book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (Not Just Survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. Dr. Galardi works by phone internationally with people in transition and can be reached at 310.712.2600. To submit questions for “Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor,” contact