Happy Holidays!

winter landscape with snowy pines


I send you my blessings for what the New Year will bring:

May you be surrounded by friends and loved ones, and bask in the beauty of the natural world.

May you allow the time to celebrate what is truly important in life, and make it a habit to give thanks for all of the good things that surround you.

May you continue on your journey and ascend to levels of higher consciousness.

And above all, may you honor yourself for all that you already are.

Wishing you peace and joy for the New Year.





Anticipating the Light

Newgrange, Irland

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned
that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
~ Albert Camus


As the seasons continue their relentless cycle, once again we find ourselves nearly at year-end, facing the darkest day of the year. December 21, 2013 marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, when we’ll experience the shortest day and longest night and see the sun peak at its lowest point in the sky. The term solstice means “sun stands still,” and for a fleeting moment the sun actually seems to pause in the sky – a signal to the world that the long night is over and we can look forward to the weeks to come when the days lengthen and the sun once again begins to work it’s magic here on earth!


For most of us today, the challenges of winter don’t go much beyond travel delays, ice on our windshields and the need to bundle up in warm coats, scarves and gloves. To others, the grey, gloomy days of winter can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) a mood change that’s associated with the change of the seasons. To ancient cultures, the winter solstice had much greater significance as each year citizens calculated their odds of living through the winter, dreading the approach of cold and darkness as they longed for spring to return.


The longest night of the year marks the return of the light in many cultures and has long been held as a sacred time of year. We can see evidence of these ancient tributes in places that were built to acknowledge this astronomical event, and in many of today’s winter holidays and rituals.


At Newgrange, a Stone Age passage tomb in Ireland, the sun shines down its long passageway into the central chamber at the first crack of light on the winter solstice. Each year, people gather at Newgrange on winter solstice to wait for the dawning of the light, and just as it did over 5,000 years ago, for seventeen minutes as the sun rises the whole chamber is illuminated. It’s an extraordinary experience to wait in the darkness for the longest night of the year to come to an end, as the old sun dies and the new sun is born. In 2007, for the first time, the illumination at the passage tomb was broadcast live so that people around the world could experience this magical moment in their own living rooms.


Gods have a way of appearing just as things are at their darkest! The infant Jesus, whose birth is celebrated right around the time of winter solstice, brought light back into the world. In the days of the Roman Empire, many of their gods were born near the time of the solstice: Apollo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus. In the third century, their festivals were combined into one “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” on December 25th. In Japan, the sun goddess Amateratsu emerges from her cave at this time of year.


Simple rituals, ancient and modern, help us to shed our own light on the darkness. All over the world people gather together with loved ones, light candles, decorate their homes, share meals and/or exchange gifts. All these winter holidays—Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Saint Lucia Day, Dong Zhi (which literally means “the extreme of winter”), Diwali, Koleduvane (a festival in Belgium for the birth of the sun), Gody (in Poland), Shabe-Yalda (rebirth of the sun as celebrated in Iran) – are celebrating the return of the light during the darkest time of the year.


As a spiritual teacher and energy healer, I encourage you to remember that without darkness, there can be no light. To celebrate the seasonal cycle, why not develop your own personal rituals to mark the passing of darkness and the ascension into the light! Take a hike to a high outdoor peak, attend a meditation retreat or energy healing workshop, create a special journal entry to process any darkness that you have accumulated this season, or find a way to spread some light to others who are experiencing hardships or depression.  Enjoy this mystical and hopeful time of year!


Have The “Perfect Holiday” on Your Terms!


“Christmas, my child, is love in action.
Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” ~ Dale Evans


Whatever holidays you celebrate between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, you might find yourself anticipating the upcoming festivities with more dread than joy. Who can blame you? For many, the holidays are way too full of unrealistic expectations and that nagging feeling that you owe yourself and your family the “perfect holiday” no matter what financial, emotional or family challenge you’re facing.


The way I see it, common holiday gripes fall into three categories:


I can’t afford it! If it’s hard to make ends meet under normal circumstances, the additional cost of buying gifts, mailing out cards, and putting up holiday decorations – plus splurging on festive clothing, and holiday meals – can make your bank account scream for mercy.


I don’t have time!  Wondering how to heap all the extra holiday chores on top of your normal workload?  Wish you could skip some (or all) of the decorating, shopping and entertaining? Doing the holidays up right is a big job, especially when you’re also juggling family, work, and household obligations (and who isn’t?).


My extended family makes me crazy! Unresolved family issues from the far and recent past are often exacerbated by the holidays.  As an energy healer, I can assure you that memories of holidays and special occasions, good or bad, lodge in your psyche – and come flooding back every year. Unresolved family issues, resentment, trauma and abuse come to the surface when everyone gathers, and what was supposed to be a season of brotherly love can become a pressure cooker of stress and anxiety!


You can take control of the holidays, and have a light filled season on your own terms. Here are some tips that you owe it to yourself to try:


Scale it down. Got time or financial constraints? Give yourself a pass on any events or obligations that you can’t (or don’t want to) handle.  Henry David Thoreau may have been on to something when he said, “Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.” If you’re dreading attending a fancy event, quote Thoreau to yourself and blow it off in favor of something that gives you real joy – like cuddling up on the couch drinking hot chocolate and watching The Good Wife! Scaling down goes for gifts, cards, travel, or anything else that doesn’t contribute to your true enjoyment of the season.


Give yourself and your family the gift of forgiveness. Hit the “reset button” with your family. Spend time before the holidays journaling about each of your family members, and consciously forgiving them for past wrongs. You don’t have to forget, I fact, pushing down negative feelings is the worst thing you can do! Simply acknowledge your feelings about the person or event, and choose to forgive them. You will feel a sense of relief and lightness that will carry you through the season. While you’re at it, forgive yourself in advance for tackling the holiday on your own terms – skip the guilt if you choose not to bake, send out cards, or buy gifts.


Experience the joy of helping others! Being of service is the key to your own enlightenment and balance. Spreading your light to others less fortunate is especially important during the holidays, and it can be accomplished in small ways that bring joy to the giver as well as the recipient! Bring cookies to someone ill or alone, sing in a choir, donate clothes or small gifts to the needy, or just make a special effort to have a kind word for the harried service people who are working extra hard this season. When you take the pressure and stress off yourself by approaching the holidays on your own terms, it gives you the spiritual bandwidth to help others!


Take care of yourself.  Don’t let holiday obligations cause you to put your own spiritual and health practices aside.  Make sure you schedule time for yourself to meditate, exercise and journal. This will keep your mind clear and your spirit light – allowing you to enjoy the season and spread that joy to others around you. Get plenty of rest, and don’t go overboard on rich food or drink.


The goal of tackling the holidays on your own terms is to finish the season with an abundance of joy and more light. Make time for the things that you love about the holidays, and skip the rest! You’ll wake up in January ready to tackle the New Year – without finding yourself in the hole when it comes to your finances, your health, or your spirit!