When I think about the holidays coming up I feel myself being very reflective of the year that is about to come to an end. What went right and what went wrong. What did I learn? What kinds of experiences did I have and how did they shape me. This year was a life-changing, life-affirming experience to which I will carry forward with me forever changed and influenced towards a more broad understanding of life, human interaction, and our true connection to the Divine. And through all the loss, the pain, and suffering I witnessed all around me this year I know one thing is true. When family has that rare and beautiful bond of “sticktogetherness”, you should consider yourself fully blessed. Over the year I have had many experiences of hearing of others and their hardships and often times it was because of family, or made worse because of a breaking down of that family bond. It made life much harder to push through the bad times when that link to those of relation were not there to offer their hand to hold through the storms of life.
Last night I got to witness a beautiful bonded family. It wasn’t just the laughter and conversation. It wasn’t just the sharing of a Christmas dinner and the exchange of gifts and memories. It was the sharing of hugs, smiles, plans and ideas and adventures, openness and genuine interest and caring of the other that truly builds and solidifies bonds that create family “sticktogetherness”. This bond can create a bedrock in your heart that lets you know that whatever comes your way, you know you have solid ground to stand on. I often think of lighthouses and how they guide people through storms to safety and safer shores. But these lighthouses stand strong against the wind, unrelenting surf, and rain because of the rocky solid ground they are built on. What good would a lighthouse be if it were built on shifting sands? That solid ground in life is family and it is a wonderful, powerful, healing blessing when you are surrounded by those of relation who stand behind you and help you up when you fall without judgment or expectations of reciprocation.
If you find yourself during these holidays without this strong familial bond in your life, focus your love inward and start anew from yourself with outward focus. All is not lost. Be a rock for others on which to stand and you will find your ground will grow solid as well. Soon you will find your footing and you will feel restored, balanced, and able to weather the passing storms in your life. Be the hand for others to hold and the universe will give back to you that which you gave.
Love and Light to the Keast family.
It’s me, Holly. I haven’t written you in a long, long time. First and foremost I want to express my gratitude this year for all the years of my childhood that you filled with happiness and magic. It’s been a really tough year and I have come to the conclusion that it would be a good idea if I wrote to you again. In the past when I was a child I would send you wish lists for toys I wanted and you always seemed to come through for me. There was always a stocking full of candy and wonderful gifts under the tree. Christmas was always made magical by you, and for that I am grateful.
This year is different, I am older and a bit wiser, and my wish list has changed. Instead of asking for toys like I did in the past, this year I am asking for your help in helping me bring back some magic to our house this year as I am really struggling on how to make that happen. I know you know what happened to our family this year, but what I want to ask of you is to send me some early Christmas presents. I need some magic sent my way so I can set out a tree and hang some lights and a wreath on our front door. I need some smiles and a glad heart as I walk around the department stores thinking of gifts to buy. Please help me infuse love into the Christmas dinner I cook and the cookies I bake as I seem to have lost the enthusiasm for that tradition. Can you send me some extra time and some strength to write out some Christmas cards as well? And maybe with this early Christmas present request I can turn things around. I have someone counting on me to make this year special, and that is first and foremost in my mind and heart. What I need is the same thing that you need to get your sleigh off the ground~ magic.
If you can come through for me this year, I will take that enthused Christmas cheer and do all I can for those around me to spread your love, your magic, your cheer, and your generosity as far and wide as I can. That can be my gift back to you.
With Utmost Gratitude and Warm Cinnamon-Laced Love,
So much of my focus in my recovery from grief has been about being strong and forward moving and living in gratitude. Those were pillars from the get-go for me to keep my footing and not fall into the abyss of grief. But I have recently discovered through reflecting back that I missed an important aspect of this process that I want to share.
We all have an ego. Ego is the command center of the mind and it is up to us as individuals on how we nurture and grow this power center. It can destroy us. It can destroy nations. It can empower us and ground us and protect us through life’s storms. Again, like so many simple truths, ego is a core element of the human experience. What we do with this ego is a manifestation of God-given free will. We can use it for good and learn and grow and become authentically confident, or we can feed the ego from a negative space and a path of diversion or darkness can ensue. The ego is neutral, tasteless, colorless, and lacking in definition. Free will, intent, and human emotion and thought create its color and characteristics. It takes on form and function based on what you add to it. And from what you add to your ego, you create who you are, how you act, what you think about, how you treat others, and most importantly~ how you feel about yourself.
If I am authentically honest with myself, I must say that through fear I have fed my ego with thoughts of strength and forward motion without stopping to think about the benefits of slowing down and allowing myself to truly, authentically feel vulnerability, weakness, and face the truth of what really happened this year. Through feeding my ego with diversion I did not allow myself to be authentic about what was happening to my family and myself. I was hiding behind strength, moving so fast as to not slow down and grieve and really allow in the feelings of what it is like to lose and to experience the aftermath of the death of a spouse and the father of my son. In a way, I am still grateful for feeding my ego in that fashion and I am not really ready to say that was not the way to move forward. But I am now retrospectively learning that it is okay and admit to being in pain and to be sad and to come to a standstill and accept the wave of grief that I have been denying myself many times. It is authentic to hurt. It is naturally human to slow down and admit life is too heavy sometimes. Sometimes it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself, to sit on the couch, and not move. My fear of never getting up from that position kept me from that space. My fear of being stuck kept me looking far ahead on the path. But now I am realizing in being authentic and honest with my core self that I have to admit that I fed my ego those elements, yet they cannot be sustained. It is not just about turning to the left to see only one aspect~ positivity; it is about looking left and right and accepting the whole picture of what comes to us. From there we have to have faith in knowing that true understanding and enlightenment comes from seeing the whole picture, living a whole life, and experiencing all emotions that come our way. Faith will carry you through and help pull you from the abyss and from getting stuck, not just our forward-moving actions and thoughts. So much is missed when we move too fast and the knowledge of authenticity is so powerful that it shouldn’t be missed. I am ready to authentically live. To really cry when I feel like it. Be angry and sad when I need to be. And I am ready to admit vulnerability and weakness is as much of an element of the human experience as all the other emotions on the spectrum. I have just turned to my right and now opened a whole new door of understanding to my world and for that, once again, I am grateful.
*Thank you for standing by me, David. Much love to you. You are an inspiration.
Being honest with those we connect with in our lives starts with being honest with your core self. When we operate from our true selves and take honest appraisals of what it in our hearts and minds we can find ourselves in a position of being truthful with others because we are navigating from our inner truth. The outcome is trust. And this process takes strength and a firm sense of self-worth to move forward because in this world we live in, it is all too easy to have our trust broken. When we find that person in our life that we can trust it is an amazing bonding experience and it soothes the soul and we can settle into a level of comfort and peace that is like nothing else. This process is a delicate dual balance and it takes being honest and loving, open and willing to listen to each other. What a beautiful rare gift we have available to us if we just open our hearts to one another and allow in this experience.
All too often trust is broken and we feel let down or hurt. Our hearts harden to the outside and we guard our core selves for we know our own goodness. But what we don’t realize is when we guard our hearts we close ourselves down from this gift and true happiness cannot be attained. We begin to stand in our own way. What we need and seek, we ourselves block.
Once again, this is a choice we make for ourselves. Our focus needs to be on what we want, not what we are afraid of. Focus will get you through the pain of disappointment. Strength will lead you to the one person who you can have this balance with and your heart and soul can live in harmony together. This is what soul mates are made of. Seek this relationship with an open heart and it will find you.
Through life’s experience we learn behaviors in order to shield our hearts from pain. One of these behaviors is the shutting down of communication and not being honest. We think we protect ourselves but what we really do is cut ourselves off from that which we fully and rightfully deserve. The key is to ground yourself, know yourself, love yourself, and to be honest with yourself. When you operate from this rooted belief system in your heart and soul, you can navigate through life’s waves and keep your compass pointed towards your true north. With an open heart you will then find this person. It is the law of attraction. Seek and ye shall find. Ask and ye shall receive.
When you help one, you help many.
Mother Teresa once said, “ Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” There is a profound, deeper meaning to her words through her simplistic, thoughtful, loving advice. Look at the impact she had on the world. Her actions and thoughts were based on the daily individual connections she made. Her work had impact that is still in motion today. She is telling us we have the ability to do the same. Whether we see the result of our actions or not is not the point. When you help that person nearest you with good intent and with a loving focus, that person then is able to move forward as well to help another, and another, and another. And those persons move forward doing the same. The act starts with you and exponentially your actions create positive momentum forward and fan out farther than you can imagine. Open you mind. Can you see it?
There is a simple message here. It is spiritual physics in motion. Positive kinetic energy passes from one person to another for the greater good of all. The reverberations of kindness towards another causes a positive chain reaction of events and serve as a catalyst of health and healing both physical and emotional in nature not just for the person that you help, but also for yourself.
Thank you for your insight, Mother Teresa. You truly are a saint!