Holiday Series

Before Returning to Your Normally Scheduled Lives

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Before Returning to Your Normally Scheduled Lives

In my twenties, I did theater. On stage, behind the scenes, and quite a bit of it. In fact, I worked in a theater’s front office for a couple of years, the KiMo in downtown Albuquerque, and was planning on making a career out of it. Really, when you think of it, I haven’t strayed too far…the pull to express on the stage, to support the artists, and above all, the profound intimacy found in group artistic expression. So what has this to do with the holidays? About this time (and perhaps it’s the sugar), I get a weird mixture of relief and withdrawal. It’s not...

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Ready for the Holidays?

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Ready for the Holidays?

Dear Reader, I don’t need to tell you life can be hard. But during the holiday season, hardship for many of you is on steroids. For twenty years, I’ve gladly held my clients’ hands as they navigated the end of the year. Even now I ask my clients, are you ready for the holidays.  Dear Reader, are you? If you’re reading this, the answer is probably “no.” No, I’m not really ready to face my dysfunctional family, I’m not ready for spending the holidays alone, I’m dreading the shopping, the awful muzak, the cheer that all too often feels...

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Good Will

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Good Will

I’m writing this on the Solstice, the shortest day of the year, but what’s really taking up emotional room for my clients, my friends, and me…is Christmas. Whether or not you celebrate this particular holiday, whether or not you’re Christian, unless you’ve been living under a rock you, by now, are inundated by the cheer, albeit sometimes false, of this Currier and Ives season. It is inescapable. The expectation, like a strange shared delusion, that families are wonderful, that bounty has been restored, that peace has already been earned. From a client of mine who cannot go home to...

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Resolving To Be New in 2014: The Art of the Successful Resolution

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Resolving To Be New in 2014: The Art of the Successful Resolution

Ah, New Year’s. That time once a year when things are new and shiny, and hope springs, singing “I can CHANGE!” What a lovely, lovely idea…if only we could change that easily, I would be out of a job and into my fallback career as professional storyteller. Let’s get real. If I said to myself today, think I’ll run the marathon in New York this year, I wouldn’t start out training by trying to run 26-point-something miles. I want to be able to walk the next day!  Finding a nice little track, and doing a walk/run around the course, would be a much less painful start. Hopefully,...

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Gut Yule! and the Spirit of Reconciliation

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Gut Yule! and the Spirit of Reconciliation

Gut Yule! Did you know that the date set for Christmas was actually an act of conciliation? It seems strange to me that at this time of the year, there’s so much tension about what we’re celebrating, when in one form or another, we’re all celebrating the light.   According to some historians, the first Christians to venture into what is now the British Isles discovered that the nature-loving folks on that island we now refer to as Pagans had a wonderful celebration on the Winter Solstice, honoring the rebirth of the Great Horned God. Yule itself has Germanic origins, and involved a...

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‘Lone for the Holidays

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‘Lone for the Holidays

This year, for one reason or another, many of us will be alone for the holidays. And for THESE holidays, where we find everywhere images of togetherness, being alone can be brutal.  For many, it’s a choice to protect the heart, avoiding social contact. For others, those early lessons in not belonging replay in present life. And there are some of us who, as introverts, simply do not enjoy the throng.  For way too many, the ghosts of Christmas past haunt us.   Yet it is hard to resist the pull of others, and that old Norman-Rockwellian picture of togetherness that we’re supposed to...

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