The Midnight Sun
The Good Life
Take me. I'm yours.
The Way Home
We Take Care of Our Own
The Holy Days
Fall On Me
Bringing It All Back Home
Learn to Be Still
Love the One You're With
Continuing with the words from Alan Cohen, I found this next sentence absolutely powerful, insightful and accurate! “Heightened materialism during the season is the ego’s response to the increased spiritual energy on the planet. Rather than surrender to love, the ego tries to distract us from Spirit by dangling gold before us.” Wow! I have never heard such a statement. It struck a deep chord within me and I have been contemplating this for several days now in order to really understand all that Cohen offers in his observation.
My distancing from the materialism of Christmas began many years ago. It was slow and subtle at first as I began to open myself up to what Christmas means to me. It required a lot of soul searching as I took a fine tooth comb through my personal history to see what still had meaning and value to me now and what no longer served me. During this process, I still found myself writing cards, buying gifts and running around from invite to invite striving to be in the “Christmas spirit”. Overtime, though, the gestures began to feel hollow and filled with duty and obligation.
If I were to graph this transformation, there would be a direct correlation between my spiritual deepening and my releasing of all traditional ways in which I celebrated Christmas. In retrospect, perhaps I had to clear the slate so that I could mindfully choose every element that I was now weaving into my adult life and calling my own. In addition, I began to understand the consequences of consumerism to mother earth and future generations. This too has touched a core value in me. Seeing garbage bins overflowing with wrapping paper, plastic and boxes has begun to feel uncomfortable. Why do we need all this stuff?!
In replacing the present with the presence, I’ve come to realize, what I value, what matters most, what feels authentic and true. Growing up Catholic, it’s no surprise that rituals remain a powerful practice for me. Incense, sage for smudging ceremonies, candles and my meditation bowl all sit upon my “altar”. Christmas Eve service with my spiritual family is of prime importance because it feeds my soul, opens my heart, centers my mind and aligns me with Love. Singing at 4:00 pm on Christmas Day at the Dunham’s is a joyful and fun experience twenty years later. Spending time with my tribe, my other family, fills a heart need to be with friends. My sister even cooked the traditional Christmas Eve fish dinner last year which was, of course, delicious! All of those moments involved the gift of our presence, time spent, love exchanged.
This year however, while here on the east coast, I go without Christmas Eve with my spiritual family, drinks with my tribe, singing with friends and time spent with one sister in order to be with the other. However my spiritual practices and rituals keep me tethered to my understanding of The Christmas Story, which is the birth of the Christ Consciousness that dwells within each of us, the birth of our inner divinity. Within that vibrational atmosphere of Truth, I am able to feel connected with everyone and everything.
“But the real gold is within,” proclaims Cohen. “You are the gold, and the game is to find the gold in your brothers and sisters.”
Let the games begin!