December 18, 2022
Good morning my friends. I hope you are doing well and enjoying life. Today marks the beginning of Hanukkah. It’s an eight day Jewish celebration and festival of the lights. A candle is lit (on the Menorah) each day to commemorate this time of strength and survival. I’m Catholic, but I want to celebrate my friends, and all people of the Jewish faith, at the beginning of this special holiday. Mazel tov! For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice arrives on Wednesday, December 21st. Besides being the first day of winter, it will also be the shortest day of the year; meaning the fewest hours of sunlight. This date (and time of year) is considered to be significantly charged with Yin (or feminine) energy. The new season, on the astrological calendar, represents a cold, dark, passive and moon influenced period. Typically, in historic times, winter weather meant life (and everything associated with it) slowed down. In many areas on the planet, where winter weather brings colder temperatures (snow and ice); daily activities and life patterns change considerably. Animals hibernate, plant life goes dormant and humans adjust their personal routines accordingly. There are parts of the USA (and other areas across the globe) already experiencing the full force of winter. Freshly fallen snow can create an incredibly amazing and beautiful landscape. It provides many individuals the opportunity to enjoy outdoor sports, and other chilly adventures out in nature. The seasonal activities associated with this time of year are not to be missed. Extreme winter weather brings a variety of challenges all its own. Navigating icy roads; for work, school, errands or just travel in general, may all vary from day to day. Alterations are made to adjust to the weather conditions, just to stay safe and warm. Wherever you may live, visit or venture during this time of year; be sure to use extra care and caution as you enjoy this special season. Stay safe so you can cherish each moment of this precise gift of life. Days with clouds, precipitation or even no sunshine may not be optimum; but I remain grateful each and every day for the opportunity to be alive. The external circumstances of life are beyond my control, so I stop worrying about them and just enjoy the freedom to breathe.
A couple of years after my daughter graduated from college, she decided to move to New York City. It had long been her dream, since junior high school, to live and work in “The Big Apple.” Being a Southern California girl through and through, I asked her how she’d handle the cold snowy winters. Her response was simple and direct. She said, “Dad, with the proper clothing I can handle anything.” She quickly learned, you don’t buy winter apparel in sunny SoCal. Those specialty items are best purchased in the cold climate place where you live. I was impressed with her desire, determination and attitude. I knew she’d be fine after her first winter. This story reminds me, that like life, if we are outfitted to deal with anything that comes our way, we will be fine. Humans are pre-wired to handle adversity. This trait makes it easier to move forward into each new day. The only difference between individuals who handle crisis situations well and those who do not, is the self-confidence and determination we muster at the right time and place. The first step is believing in your own ability and strength to get through any event or issue. There are times that courage is required; defined as “strength in the face of pain or grief,” to get us past the adversity or pain. The characteristic of bravery provides the grit and ability to accomplish something, even if it frightens you. We can’t change the weather, nor can we alter many circumstances in life, that are beyond our control. The better prepared we are; physically, mentally and spiritually; the less challenging adversity will be when it arrives. Some individuals go through life thinking they have all the answers, but are often ill equipped to traverse the pit falls that litter their path. Ego and arrogance, can easily block your path to success. Take the time to better prepare and equip yourself to deal with and resolve critical issues of life when they arise. I’m not asking you to stop a crime in progress, chase robbers or defend me (or a stranger) from an attack. I’ve learned when I open my heart and soul to God and the universe it reveals a new world of happiness and joy. Knowledge, experience, motivation and desire are great building blocks to success. An openness, and willing effort, to listen and learn from the words and wisdom of others is a blessing. I have been blessed with several individuals, during my life, that have shown me new or different ways to improve myself. I am forever grateful and happy I listened; as I am never too old to learn, grow or alter my behavior. Life isn’t about the speed at which we travel, but it is about the time and care we take while navigating the journey. Today, I am energized by the strength of Yin energy, that provides spirit to all things. I know I have the “proper clothing” for the coming season. I hope you are equally as prepared.
Winter (and especially the Holiday season) is a great time of year for me to reflect on what matters most in my life. The important pieces of life (for me) are; my daughter, family, loved ones and friends. These special individuals are the core of my existence. They bring joy, comfort, support and happiness into my daily life. Christmas will be here next Sunday. The end of the year is rapidly approaching and following week. It’s the perfect time to examine and adjust my plans for the future. I will not allow the dark coldness of winter, and the evil that lurks in society, influence my thoughts or life. I’ve learned many valuable lessons on this journey. Don’t let negativity dictate or control you; physically, mentally or spiritually. Your mind and attitude can steer your life with positive or negative energy. Learn to push the adverse, gloomy, unfavorable and weak thoughts from your mind every day. You are in command of your body, mind and spirit. When I begin each morning with gratitude, positivity and happiness; it sets the tone for my entire day. Kindness, productivity and goodness follow. Along my path I’ve learned it’s wonderful to have a plan to follow. I’m equally ready and willing to change direction or alter my course if needed. Life isn’t perfect, nor does it follow specific guidelines, rules or paths. There is much beyond our control. Events happen when you least expect and life keeps moving forward. You can change, adapt and keep moving forward with it; or you can be left in the dusty mess. I’d much rather pick myself up, quickly brush off the dirt and keep pushing up the road. The journey can be bumpy at times, but when you open your eyes to see the changes coming; life is an incredible adventure. There may be difficult or sad days, but just remember that life will improve. Your experiences will help you grow stronger into your future. Stay positive and happy, because you are in complete control of both. Follow your dreams. They know the way.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The puzzle of life is always changing. Change can lead to amazing opportunities. Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!