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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Essence of Christmas

From my e-newsletter:

Out of the Chrysalis
- Where caterpillars find their wings

Maria Stepek Doherty

It has been six months since I last wrote to you. It has been a eventful time filled with opportunities for growth and the practical application of love in testing situations.
Next year I believe I will have assimilated and processed enough of the lessons of this year to convey them to all of you in a meaningful way. I hope you are sitting comfortably because there will be much to tell.

As I write here in my warm, safe, comfortable office snug within my home, it is Christmas morning. We were up at 7a.m. to open our presents which had been piled under the Christmas tree, a smaller one than in previous years, but perfectly shaped and beautiful, dressed in her sparkling red and gold decorations. Our fifteen year old son was delighted with his gifts, which included the new PS2 portable, totally unanticipated by him. The big bear hug he wrapped his now comparatively, diminutive mother in was the best present I could have received. Last year, unprompted by anything other than his own sweet spirit, he sold almost all of his computer games and consoles to raise funds for the victims of the Tsunami. He is the greatest gift in our lives; he is the beating of our hearts and the peace in our souls. He is our Christmas and every Festival of Light celebrated throughout the world.

Unlike so many people in this world, we have a secure roof over our heads, a reliable source of heat, food in our kitchen and a wider family which although a little bloodied after this year of change, remain lovingly unbent. Like the willow, we have learned to sway gently in the winds of life; better to bend gracefully than snap. Nature has many lessons to teach us if we will only look and learn.

Today I will give thanks for all that I have in my life, the tears as well as the laughter.

I will give thanks for the lost loves who returned to my life this year and the lesson that once we give our hearts, it is given forever, if love is true and not a hollow illusion. The way we express that love may change with the passing of the years and the shifting dynamics of human relationships, but the love never dies.

I will give thanks for the life of my friend of over thirty years who slipped quietly out of this mortal guise and into the beauty of her pure spirit earlier this year. It hurt to lose her physical presence but I sense the pure joy in her freedom and transformation. Then the hurt diminishes and the pain softens.

I am grateful for the gift I was given in being fully present to another old friend as he walked the last steps of this journey with his much loved brother. I am in awe of the fighting spirit of this man, the incredible battle his doctors put up for him, their grief when they lost him. They make me proud to share the same humanity.

I am grateful for the prayers and healing which poured in from around the world when I asked for spiritual energetic support for both of my friends. Each one of these wonderful people gave their time and their love to a complete stranger, then we are only strangers when we make that choice to remain so.

I am grateful for the glossy coated little black dog, our own Gremlin eared Jessie, who was never more than a few feet from me, for the fifteen years of her life with us. We rescued her, half-starved, cruelly cowed and beaten, when she was around a year old. She was my constant companion in the three years I have now worked from home. She passed yesterday and I miss her presence so much.

I am grateful for each client who blessed my practice this year. I received far more from them in so many ways than I could ever have given them. I learned from their courage and I grew with their growing.

I am grateful for my schizophrenic brother. He teaches me to stretch my patience, my compassion and my love. He also teaches me how to set boundaries which allow for my own self-care. Above all, I am grateful for his choosing me to be his conservator, the one he trusts to make the decisions about his life when he is not able to do so himself. It is a sacred trust and a very precious gift.

There is so much to be grateful for in all the light and darkness of this life. It is the shadows which give our lives their richness and depth. They are our challenges and our opportunities for growth. It is better to embrace them and allow the lessons of the pain to flow through our lives, than to resist and remain trapped in them.

I am grateful for every breath, for every tear, for every smile.

I am grateful for the incredible gift of life and I am grateful for each one of you who reads this

Take time to be deliberately aware of all you have to be grateful for in your lives, especially in those moments when external circumstances weigh heavily on you. It is in those time of sadness and shadow that we can be so much more awake to the beauty of the light in our lives. You have only to make the choice to see it that way and your heart will overflow with love and gratitude for all that has been, all that is and all that is yet to come.

My Christmas

Christmas is not a universal feast, but the underlying spirit is common to all of us, regardless of religious belief.
It is the celebration of light in the darkness, the warmth of hope spreading in the cold winter of life.
Christmas is about gratitude and appreciation of all we have been given and are still to receive.

This is my idea of Christmas.

Christmas is the distilled essence of love.
It is a time of angel's wings on earthly bodies, a time when the soothing touch of a nurse lets a dying man know he is not alone.

Christmas is the distilled essence of all that is good on this earth.
It is a time for softly spoken words of love that reach into the hardest heart, for it is only in giving our love unconditionally that we release the heart song in others.

Christmas is the distilled essence of a quiet joy.
It rings out crystal clear in the singing of the soul. It is the music of heaven played out on earth in each carefully composed note of giving.

Christmas is the distilled essence of the innocence of childhood.
It is their laughter, their astonished delight, their belief in magic,wrapped up in the overwhelming warmth of the love we feel for them that sets free the child in us.

Christmas is the distilled essence of peace.
It is the profoundest stillness of the soul when it quietens the rampant chatter of the mind and hears the single heart beat of the universe.
We are never alone.
In that stillness, we are one heart, one mind, one soul.

Hold the distilled essence of Christmas in your daily lives all year around.

Reach out in love to those around you.

I will always believe in magic.
Open your mind and let magic believe in you.

Christmas is here and now and every day of your lives.

Live it !

In Love and Light,

Maria Stepek Doherty
Chrysalis Transformations
where caterpillars find their wings

Should what I write reach out to you in a significant way, then I ask you to pass this on to someone you feel could also benefit from it. Thank you for joining me today as we journey through our transformations to becoming all that we may be.
Should any of the issues which were raised in today's letter, bring up anything that you feel
the need to talk about, please e mail me and I will do whatever I can to help. I welcome your questions, comments, input.
Please feel free to use this article in your publication as long as it is credited to me and any alteration is first approved by me.
Maria Doherty is Founder of Chrysalis Transformations.
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