Saturday, December 24, 2016

Aunt Lucy's Christmas Eve Secret

Not all sad and tragic Xmas stories end on a sad note.
In the early 1950s my Uncle Carlos was driving home in the snow from a Christmas Eve party. He drove off the road and into a parked bulldozer. Aunt Lucy was holding their baby, Margarita, in her lap. The baby died. I remember the little white coffin that they placed baby Margarita into. My cousins were in casts and stitches. It was a very sad Xmas.
Forty years later, our own son died. During our son’s funeral, Aunt Lucy pulled Denise and me aside. “I have a secret to tell you,” she said while holding our hands. “You know how I would forbid everyone from entering my kitchen on Christmas eve while I spend the day baking cookies and other Xmas treats.”
“Yes,” I said. “We all love the aroma of your kitchen on Christmas eve. And we love what you bake. You are the best cook in the family.”
Aunt Lucy squeezed my hand and shook her head. “People think I bake and cry every Christmas ever because I love this time of year. But that’s not true. I cry because my daughter died on Christmas eve. I grieve for her every year. And yet, it is not so bad. Because I can bake and make everyone happy and they helps me, too.”
Aunt Lucy’s words stunned me. Our son died about 8 weeks earlier. Grief squeezed its burning tentacles around my heart. Would I be hurting like this for the next 40 years?
The following Xmas was overwhelmingly sad. I walked the shopping malls, by myself, trying to find presents for Denise. I dragged my smile-less face behind me as I trudged down the store aisles. I left several times empty handed. I ended up buying Denise everything on her list on Xmas Eve that year.
Time heals. It didn’t take long to understand better what Aunt Lucy was telling us. Yes, we will continue to grieve, but, when we give of ourselves, the grief diminishes and life gets brighter. Yes, there is an empty spot under the Xmas tree. And although we may place a few tears in that spot every year, we can smile knowing that his organs allowed four other families to enjoy more Xmas’s with their loved ones. His death, although tragic for us, has brought us other gifts as well, some continue to unfold.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Blessing of the Dark Side

“You don’t know the power of the Dark Side,” Darth Vader said.

We tend to associate evil with the Dark Side. But that is a far too limited view.

The winter solstice has arrived. We are emerging out of the darkness and into the light. Although the days are getting longer, the dark nights still prevail. Take this opportunity to go to your own Dark Side and expose it to your own inner light. We are human and therefore dualistic. We sometimes become who we are NOT in order to evolve into who we are becoming. We have done things that we are sorry for, that we regret; things that are unkind, mean and cruel. And we have learned that those actions have not been beneficial to us. 

Bring your past Dark actions into the new emerging light and ask yourself. "What have I learned from these?" Write them down. Create your own ceremony in which you take what you've written and offer them to the new light of the fire and emerging season. As your past Dark actions burn, forgive yourself and know that even those dark actions have helped you evolve.

There is a great healing power in self forgiveness. When we forgive ourselves we can more readily see the divinity and the marvel that we really are. And then we are more easily able to be  better humans. 

Next write down the type of person you are hoping to evolve into and the personal qualities that you want to increase and offer those to the emerging season and the fire as well. Invite loved ones to join you in this ceremony to make it more powerful.