Connecting to Spirit Amid the Seasonal Rush

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May your guiding light shine brightly on your path.

At their core, winter holidays are about celebrating the returning of the light. Candles, luminarias, fireworks and Christmas lights are potent reminders of this. It is a time of hope and promise when darkness is at its greatest. Both the physical and spiritual are included in the meaning.

In nature, winter is a time of hibernation and dormancy, of restoration and renewal.  For human beings, it also a time of reflection and reconnection to vision and purpose. We are invited to step out of the flow of the material life and listen to our hearts.

This is not so easily done in the midst of the manic shopping frenzy and marketing hype that pervades our cultural corridors at this time of year. The equation of love with financial expenditure is deeply woven into the fabric of our existence going all the way back to early childhood. Even those of us who choose to step out of the holiday madness cannot completely escape it. We are bombarded with its hyper-drive energy every time we venture from our homes.

If you are one of the many who are reeling from a recent loss — whether from death, divorce, poor health, financial challenge or other drastic changes — reconnecting to spirit and its message of hope is both doubly difficult and doubly needed. While the promise of hope can seem hollow and distant in the dark void of loss, the core message is a good one — in the blackest of times, light returns. Now is a time for rest and regeneration: to be like the caterpillar huddled in its cocoon waiting for the butterfly to take shape in its puddle of green goo.

Mindful of the huge contrasts inherent in this season – light/dark, manic/restful, gracious/anxious, isolated/socially over-whelmed . . . I offer a few suggestions to assist in staying connected inside. They can help whether you are navigating the turbulent emotional sea of loss or simply trying to stay balanced in this material-crazed world.

1. Breathe with awareness. Deep, lung-filling, tension-releasing breaths are restorative and grounding. They are also the quickest way to connect to self, to the moment, and to spirit. Yes, it is difficult to do when we are running so fast we hardly have time to can catch our breaths. Fortunately, the universe offers us some perfect opportunities if we would just seize them, e.g. while waiting in a long line at the store, when stuck in slow moving holiday traffic, when we first wake in the morning or as we drift to sleep at night, whenever we are about to enter or exit a door. BREATHE!

Release the human urge to curse the plodding driver who jumped in front of you or the cashier chatting amiably with a customer as you inwardly race to make an important engagement for which you are already late. Resistance and resentment only makes these annoying experiences more unpleasant and, per the law of attraction, more frequent.

2. Do One Thing at Time. When we have so much to do, it is easy to be tempted to multitask in order to accomplish twice as much in the same amount of time. It is a fool’s strategy often leading to error and even more work. Last Saturday, I rediscovered this truth when I decided to start stewing a pot of dried fruit while putting away the groceries. I wanted to get a jump-start on preparations for a small dinner party we were having that evening. Unfortunately, I never thought about the fruit again until the aroma of burning food wafted out the kitchen door while I was trying to steal some precious moments of relaxation in the warm December sun. The manic me would choose to blame the incident on my taking a break; the calm higher self points to the folly of trying to do two things at once.

3. Make More Room for Yourself. Try not to overbook yourself. Save some space in your schedule for the unexpected. It will occur! Naturally, this is especially challenging to do because of all the additional invites we get over the holidays. When the crush of things-to-do gets overwhelming, consider cancelling or postponing some appointments. This is never easy for those of us who place high value on responsibility and calendar integrity. However, this past week I found cancelling four meetings to be a liberating experience. Not only was everyone very understanding; some even expressed gratitude for the unanticipated extra time it gave them. A cautionary note: beware of the tendency to quickly fill the newly acquired space with a whole array of new tasks and demands. Try doing something playful instead — like visiting the heirloom seed bank in Petaluma.

4. Release Your Creative Child. We are often told that Christmas is about children. They bring the zest of wonder and joy to our holiday celebrations. So let your inner child loose. Have fun! Be imaginative! Create your own homemade gifts, decorate the house, cook new holiday recipes, play an old board game, do something completely out of character. Your inner child will be thrilled, your heart will soar and you will reconnect with the spirit of the season and yourself.

Those coping with grief are encouraged to do something creative to honor and acknowledge their loss. Instead of ignoring the elephant in the room; invite it to supper. If the loss is the death of a dear one, remember him or her at family gatherings. Set an extra place, write a letter of remembrance, flip through an old photo album, watch a home video, and share stories. Allow the tears to flow. Crying is both healing and releasing. Crying with family and friends can be even better because it is often accompanied with laughter. Laughter is great medicine for the wounded heart.

5. Express Your Gratitude. Make a list of all the things in your life that make it livable. It is a very uplifting exercise guaranteed to shift the darkest of moods. Start by looking around the room and noticing all the items that you cherish or enjoy, e.g. this computer screen and keyboard I am currently working on, the soft chair supporting me, the thesaurus to my left replacing old tired words with new ones, the wooden rolodex George made me many birthdays ago. Try not to notice the dust or what needs fixing. Continue until you go through every room in your home. There is so much to be grateful for and the universe loves gratitude.

Next, shift your focus to the people in your life. Feel love swell in your heart for good friends and loving family members. Giving gifts comes easier when coupled with an awareness of our gratitude.

If there are people in your life that bring you heartache or suffering, be grateful they are not present in this moment and move your thoughts to better company. If there is no one in your life for whom you feel gratitude, go directly to Tip 6 and set your intention for finding real friends. We are social creatures. We need each other to thrive.

6. Set Your intentions for the Coming Year. Take some time to think about what you would like to change in your life. What would you love to be doing? How do you want to feel and be? Whom or what do you want to be part of your world? Write down some ideas and create a vision for this coming year.

To help you realize the full power of this annual intention setting, I am pleased to invite you to a special New Year’s Day on-line event with evolutionary astrologer and friend Marina Ormes. In her 2014 Personal and Planetary Intention-Setting Call, Marina will be guiding us in setting our most important intentions for the coming year and will be showing us how to use some powerful game-changing tools. Put it in your scheduler to make sure you don’t miss this great opportunity to jumpstart your vision for next year.

To register and learn more about Marina and this life shifting free event CLICK HERE.

Marina’s work is both subtle and transformational. It can change the way you think and live your life by simply listening to your self. Attend this live event and find out how the progression of planets can both guide and heal you. Ask questions and learn directly from Marina about manifesting your heart’s-desire with the help of the stars.

Best wishes for a peaceful and joyous holiday and new year.

Secrets of Life and Death

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief Transformation Coach Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D. helps people transform their grief with a holistic approach to mind, body and spirit that heals trauma, reframes past attachments and releases limiting beliefs while uncovering a true life purpose and direction. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of being with death and loss, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at

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