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Stories We Tell: Grief and the Holidays

When we so fear the dark that we demand light around the clock, there can be only one result: artificial light that is glaring and graceless and, beyond its borders, a darkness that grows ever more terrifying as we try to hold it off. Split off from each other, neither darkness nor light is fit for human habitation. But the moment we say “yes” to both of them and join their paradoxical dance, the two conspire to make us healthy and whole.                                    ~~Parker J. PalmerAccepting the bad with the good is part of life, or so the idiom goes. Grief and loss happen throughout a lifetime, but then also come great gifts of joy and happiness. It’s an irony of the greatest degree that the holidays, these festivals of light that we celebrate, happen for us at the darkest time of the year. Or perhaps it’s a beautiful gift. At the most basic level the stories we tell around the holidays can be healing at very deep levels.
“God rest you merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay.…
Recent posts

Laughter as Medicine

Want the change by Rainer Maria Rilke English version by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming
a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.
This morning as my chair yoga class at the Florence Bain Center in Columbia finished savasana and gently drew their hands to their hearts into prayer to whisper the closing “Namaste”, I was overcome with emotion. These seniors who show up to practice yoga, despite their physical and cognitive limitations, have taught me muc…

Ego and Soul

If you fall I will catch you. I will be waiting. Time after time.
~~Cyndi Lauper

The leaves are beginning to change. Already. And I have a summer cold.
One is asking me to move forward, to do something. The other is forcing me to slow down, be still. 
Changes of season can be challenging. New allergens in the air cause the respiratory system to adjust accordingly. Sometimes our systems balk at and try to resist this call to change. Our bodies attempt to rebelliously override the external change. 
Likewise, when our bodies ask us to slow down and take notice of an inflammation, an ache or a nose that runs like a leaky faucet,  I/we often want to ignore this invitation with things that mask the symptoms, like lozenges or drugs. We can be feisty, we humans.
What if we paid attention to both and allowed movement and stillness to happen together?
How could that possibly work?
Our ego is the part of us that wants to prove something. “We got this!” “We’re better than the other guy.” “We’re special.”…

Our Sacred Gardens

My friend Christina has a beautiful vegetable garden that she and her husband built a couple of years ago. She enjoys growing and sharing beautiful flowers and gorgeous veggies and fruits from the Spring to the end of Fall. I visited her garden when it had just been built. I am not gonna lie. I had full-out garden envy. Check out a HHY! podcast about the upside of envy here.









Several weeks after I had built and planted my raised bed garden Christina and her husband came for a visit. I showed her my basil and rosemary, my zucchini, beans and cucumbers, kale and tomatoes. She gave me the gardener's green thumbs up. She agreed with me that I may have over-zealously planted my tomatoes too close together and I had possibly more zucchini than I could ever eat or manage to give away. Encouraging me, she told me to “just let it go and see what happens.” This advice sat well with me. It felt like freedom. I had planted some seeds and I had permission from my garden guru to let my first attem…