Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or your own spiritual rituals during this time of year, what you choose to celebrate is honored and deeply respected, and we wish you a Happy Holiday season.
Personally, I happen to come from a family that celebrates Chanukah and Christmas, and I also honor the nature based practice of Winter Solstice ceremony.
This email is actually being written during the tail end of this year’s Chanukah, and I must say it’s honestly the most intense Chanukah I’ve ever observed, and one where I’ve felt my heart shatter time and time again given what’s going on in Gaza, Israel, and throughout the rest of the world including Ukraine, Sudan, Congo, our own country and more.
That being said, while what’s occurring is dark indeed, I’m finding my heart focus on the literal light of each candle on the menorah, as well as the figurative light of hope.
The hope that we humans can dream up a better world than this.
You see, I grew up in a family of educators, and one of the many gifts of growing up in a family of teachers is that I got to learn a lot more than I did just from my own education in school. Some of this additional learning was to witness the behind the scenes experience of my mother putting together materials for Multicultural Week at her school. Our house would routinely be filled with books, drawings, artwork and the like, which represented the numerous other cultures from around the globe.
One of my favorite images to see was an image of earth in the center with humans from all different cultural backgrounds holding hands around that earth. I was always so taken by the beautiful and unique differences in each person holding hands.
It’s this vision that’s propelled me to become a world traveler, exploring and connecting with other cultures first hand, and even right here in our own city of Chicago. I’ve always loved experiencing how other people around the globe experience and perceive life, and create art, textiles, cuisine, architecture and other customs.
There’s such rich diversity in how humans live, and there’s so much we can learn from one another. So what’s with all the fuss that leads to cruel violence and hate!?
This vision of holding hands with one another, no matter our external differences, is one I hold in my heart as the world I want to live in; because let’s face it, there’s far more that unites us than divides us. This includes, but is not limited to, the fact that we all have hopes and dreams, we all have a heart, we all experience emotions coursing through us.
I share this hope of a better, more united world under no false pretenses….we do have a long way to go!
From what I’ve seen over the years, this journey starts with us.
What I mean is, if we don’t have patience with ourselves, and if we don’t value what we have to bring to the table, it’s far more challenging to allow others to be who they are and accept what they bring to this world.
So this holiday season, not only do I invite you to connect with a sense of hope within the darkness, I also invite you to practice patience with yourself.
As many of you know, one of the things what makes the John Barnes Myofascial Release Approach (JFB MFR) unique is the matter of time. The 5 minutes (or longer) amount of time that we hold in a release is key to an effective release in this methodology.
When we take the time to be with the fascia in this way, and feel what comes up, this allows for a release not only on the physical level, along with the release of Interluken 8 (our bodies natural anti-inflammatory) that occurs at the 5 minute mark; it also allows our fascia to experience a potential release on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels all well.
This factor of time in JFB MFR doesn’t need to only apply in session, it can also be applied in life.
So this holiday season, if you feel like you’re bumping up against any challenges that arise from not having enough time to purchase gifts, to overworking before the holiday break, or some other stressors, be patient with yourself. Take 5 minutes (or longer…as long as you may need) to be with yourself, breathe and feel what’s coming up for you rather than resist it and stuff it down.
When we take this time for ourselves without resistance, we’re allowing ourselves to be in the moment while preventing the experience to become stuck in our tissues that can result from stuffing it down.
Mind you, there are some experiences that are serious and can be traumatic, where this practice may not be possible, and you may need some professional assistance, such as talking with a trusted therapist. However you can start by practicing on smaller scale circumstances such as being stuck in traffic or running late to a holiday party.
Whether or not you choose to give this suggested starting point a go, it’s my hope for you that you experience a sense of peace within yourself this holiday season in whatever way you choose to observe it.
I know that I’ll be keeping the following sentiments close to my heart as we bring 2023 to a close…
Through the act of patience with ourselves, may we cultivate self-love. May this self-love help us connect with the humanity within our own hearts, and may this connection extend outward to one another, and in turn, make this world a more safe and loving home for us all.
With big love and light,