The following inspirations from local contributors for your Holiday enjoyment:

The following inspirations are from local contributors for your holiday enjoyment:

From Avram Chetron: We're part of nature, not a thing above or apart from it. So we respond to nature's rhythms, especially to changes in the seasonal cycle of light and dark. The holiday season brings us to the lowest ebb of the light at the solstice, and often our psyche hits its seasonal lowest ebb, too. But just think, you've found the bottom! Now you can celebrate the return of light and enjoy life readying itself for the glorious surge of spring renewal. How can your own life not get better?

From Gene Burnett: I find that the everyday Taoist combo-plate that works for me the rest of the year works just as well during the holidays: flow more — force less. Don't resist what is happening, don't insist on having things go my way, do what feels most deeply right, don't do what feels wrong, be as kind as possible and still be honest, and, most importantly, accept the polarities — the yin and yang of my existence — without trying to transcend or eliminate or suppress or banish the parts of me that are "dark" or "negative." Allow the whole mixed bag to be what it is and trust the inner intelligence of my nature and life itself to sort things out in good time. www.GeneBurnett.com

From Ed Hirsch: Surviving the Holidays. The holidays are "supposed" to be a time of family togetherness and even something on the order of "goodwill to all." Old friends and family, relating from the past, all loaded with their baggage can bring out old patterns in you. What can be done? When everyone is entrenched in their old personalities, the situation feels hopeless. So why not take complete responsibility for your behavior and not require anyone else to be different? You can make the holidays a choice point: "I can choose to go down the old path, with almost predictable results or I can choose to try something new, something closer to my heart."

The key is to become present in the moment rather than get caught up in it. Slow down, and come home to yourself. Deliberately breathe, feel. Imagine: this is your or their last holiday season, not business as usual. Wake up from autopilot and enjoy yourself and others.

From Janet Sonntag: The holidays are so full of things, mostly things of tradition that we expect each and every season: Sparkling lights, presents; lords a leaping and especially Christmas carols streaming in from every sound device. My favorite carol, though, is not about fullness, but about emptiness. Silent night: the night when, if we empty our hearts, the unexpected has room to come in. Once I found myself alone for the midnight mass at a big cathedral in Oaxaca, Mexico. I was feeling lonely and loveless and longing for all those holiday things I missed. At the point in the service where everyone greets those around them, I turned around and found myself shaking the hand of an Indian man with a radiant smile, dressed in sandals and a rough tunic. I thought: He has walked down from his mountain village and I have come here on a plane. Yet in the grace of that moment we shared our common humanity. Now each Christmas eve, I listen for silence and find it always brings something unanticipated, even if it's a new way of looking at the frozen pond in the park. jmsonntag@yahoo.com

From Julian Spalding: I will spend Christmas with my son and his family and their three girls. Their third daughter, Grace Liberty, was born Dec. 5. I will be Grandpa Nanny, and with the 5- and 6-year-olds, walk in the park, read from "Great Poems for Grand Children" (Sterling Publishing) nursery rhymes and nonsense verses like

A flea and a fly got caught in a flue.

Said the fly, "Let us flee."

Said the flea, "Let us fly."

So together they flew through a flaw in the flue.

We'll read about fairies, witches and goblins and Ariels' Song from "The Tempest." Yes, I'll introduce them to Shakespeare and fleas and flies and we'll have, oh, so much fun at Christmas time.

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