NEWSLETTER – WINTER/SPRING 2004 “SEASON’S GREETINGS” Such a poignant, rich, meaningful & full time of the year. Many cultures and traditions interface – the Christian – Christ’s birth and our culture’s Christmas, the pagan Winter Solstice, the Jewish Hanukkah. The music of Christmas pours from the radio and our stereo collections, lights flood many houses, buildings, cranes, boats and yards, the stores and billboards are constant reminders with their decorations and exhortations to buy gifts for one’s loved ones as there is only so many more days until Christmas. So many Christmas concerts and functions as well as the parties and gatherings put on by friends and the multitude of tasks that accompany this season. The common question is “Are you ready for Christmas?” For many people, it is also a very difficult, even depressing time of the year. Expectations, disappointments and negative family experiences leave their imprint. For some, like Scrooge, Christmas is humbug! Perhaps rejecting the predominant commercialism, it is difficult to find some meaning and the songs for joy and peace leave us empty. Personally, I loved Christmas as a child and when my children were young, I was caught up in their excitement. Then, some years ago I realized that I wanted to find a meaning in this time of the year that spoke to me personally and to the many experiences that have come into my life. I wanted to develop both for myself and with my community of friends and family, our own ways of celebrating and ritual that incorporate the traditional paths. That has been and continues to be a challenge.
“Are you ready for Christmas?” I offer you this challenge, the challenge to find your own meaning within the culture and the traditions. I also offer you the gift of suspending your beliefs, of questioning and being curious and attending to yourself throughout this time and in the new year to come. Seasonally, this is the dark time of the year, moving into the Winter Solstice and the return of the light. In that vein, it is a time of hibernating, of dreaming, of gestating and renewal, in preparation for spring and the new seeding into one’s life of what has been laid fallow. Let yourself, as Terry Tempest Williams expresses so beautifully, “become a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness,” so that you can “slow down and recover the rhythm in the heart that moves the body first, and the mind second.” “Open the space” and let yourself have “time to breath, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray, to move freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember.” Wishing you joy, peace, love and re-membering! December 12th, 2003 With love & blessings,