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Eric Hellman

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What will you do this Season to:
- feel more joy and meaning...
    - celebrate the solstice...
        - find the "christ" in Christmas... or
            - bring in the New Year in a different way?
I have to say that I love this Season: the lights, the giving, the unabashed caring & kindness, and the sense of possibility for the miraculous and the sacred. Yet at times, I also have difficulty connecting with it. Getting into the spirit, feeling the presence, or taking time to be still and let it in...
If any of you feel the same, I’d like to share five things I will be doing this year - to re-mind, re-connect, and open myself up a little bit more to the magic and meaning of this Season.

1) My Favourite Cards:
I don't receive a lot of paper greeting cards any more. (Most of my 'card' exchange is now electronic.) However, each year I save a few of my favourites to put around my living room the next year – to feel inspired by their beauty and remember my friends and family. I did that this week, and it’s made a big difference to my spirits – as I enjoy them each time I look around the room.

2) Music and Carol Singing:
There’s something about music that enriches my soul. So each year at this time, I buy a new Christmas CD and listen to tunes I love. As I post this, I am playing “Aspenglow” and "A Baby Just Like You" by John Denver... and listening to my favourite online source, Accuradio. (No need to "Join or Log In" there. Just click "Play.")

I also love singing Christmas carols. Therefore, on Thursday, Dec 19th, I’ll be going to an outdoor carol sing at St. Andrew’s United Church, 117 Bloor St. East, Toronto. It’s actually their Christmas party, with dinner (for $5.00) and a carol sing afterwards, but anyone is welcome to attend. (More info at 416.929.0811, ex. 6.)
 And by the way, that reminds me: “Thank you, St. Andrew’s” for becoming the new host of our Centre programs this year. I am most grateful...

3) A Drive to Niagara Falls:
When I was in relationship for 17 years, my wife and I loved to visit Niagara Falls during the holidays. We enjoyed the drive, the Disney-character lighting displays, the lights in the forest around the Dufferin Islands, the fireworks, and of course, the Falls themselves. Even though we are no longer a “couple,” we still take time each year to drive down and enjoy this experience together. It’s a good way of remembering the joy we had, the friendship we still have, and to share in the spirit of a Season we both love so much.

4) Do More “Soul Seeing”:
Author and Sister Joyce Rupp recently wrote a beautiful “Reflection” that touched me deeply, and I’d like to share a bit of it here:

"This Advent I'm making a personal commitment to look more intentionally and clearly, to engage in 'soul seeing.' I want to welcome the One Great Love more fully into my life and extend that Love to others. Here are some ways I intend to do this:

Look into the eyes of children. See a reflection of the hidden possibilities in my own being for uncluttered joy, clarity of outlook, and unconditional love.

Look beneath the differences and disagreements separating me from others. See the One Great Love dwelling inside those I'd prefer to ignore or rebuff.

Look beyond impatience and discouragement that arises when tasks remain undone. See that loving presence is more vital than achievement or completing goals.

Look closely at church services and social events. See how each person carries his or her burdens, how these can be eased by a thoughtful word or a gesture of compassion.

Look at the cards and gifts I receive. See the attention and care that accompanied the sending and the giving..."

This year I will be following Joyce's lead, and doing some of the same. [For her full "Reflection," click here.]

5) Attend the Dec 31st World Healing Meditation:
Each year since 1986, on the morning of New Year’s eve, an event has been held in many parts of the globe to connect minds and hearts for the healing of our world. Called by various names in different places, in Toronto it is called the World Healing Meditation. And this year I will be attending once again. The simple event is a time of music, prayer/meditation, singing (to the Pachelbel Canon), and for some, breakfast afterwards. And for me, it has become the most serene and beautiful way I know to enter the last day of the year... and prepare for the new one.

If you are in Toronto and want to attend, it is held at St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King St. East at Jarvis, and begins at 6:30 A.M. - on the morning of December 31st. (More information here.)

Whatever you celebrate or observe, I wish you a rich and hope-ful season.

And if you would like to share what YOU will be doing - to feel more meaning, joy or connection in the month to come – please Register (see above, top left), then click on "Reply" to this one, and share YOUR thoughts or events!

All the best of the Season,
to you,

Eric Hellman
Centre for Spirituality at Work

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