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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Readers on How to Keep the Holiday Spirit Alive All Year

Nov 30, 2009 08:46PM

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by Linda Sechrist

The spirit of the holiday season ignites a sense of gratitude, love, generosity, compassion and wonder in our hearts, from the moment family and friends gather around the Thanksgiving table. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the days become a string of magical times, when strangers offer smiles, kind gestures and a level of generosity that evokes deep feelings of love for all humanity. This month, Natural Awakenings queried five local individuals who intentionally keep this spirit alive throughout the year, for insights on how others can do the same.

Life Coach and Co-founder of Church of Spiritual Light, David Essel, creates daily rituals.

“Our spirit comes alive during the holidays because, whether consciously or unconsciously; we feed it by participating in many rituals that breathe new life into it. We go to holiday parties, raise money, join prayer circles to pray for peace and even buy gifts for strangers who are less fortunate. In general, these rituals keep us focused on the needs of others, which gives us a sense of purpose and nurtures feelings of unconditional love and happiness. It’s a vacation from our regular lifestyle.

“To keep this state of consciousness alive all year-round, I have created simple, daily rituals. For instance, before I get out of bed in the morning, I surrender my existence to God and ask to be filled with light. Then, I light a candle on my dresser, which serves as a small altar. I go through a series of prayers that takes me about 60 seconds. All of this keeps me grounded in the spirit and aware that my life is one of service to others.”

Psychotherapist and Life Coach Michael Racine stays connected to family and friends through established monthly traditions.

“I make time to reach out and connect with family and friends on a regular basis, not just during holidays. We have created traditions for our monthly gatherings that include making a point of talking about the good things we are presently grateful for. Often, our gatherings include a celebration of art and music; they always include a joyful celebration of one another.

As a group, we give back to our community, an effort that pays dividends all year-round, because it keeps us cognizant of the need to be generous and care about others.”

Holistic Health Solutions Owner Richard Campanella makes every day a celebration.

“By remembering how my life changed in the course of one moment—one second I was on my way to the beach, the next I was in an accident that left me in a wheelchair for a while—I remain grateful throughout the year for the important things in my life: my health, family and friends. This especially helps me to live in the present and make every day a celebration.”

Happehatchee Center Founder Ellen Peterson regularly participates in ceremonies and celebrations.

“Here at Happehatchee, we share celebrations, ceremonies and healing circles every month, so the spirit is continually nurtured within me and everyone who participates. Many who come here say that the sense of spirit is palpable, which makes me happy.”

Health & Harmony Center Owner Kandy Love relies on an awareness of breath and a gratitude journal.

“Every night before I fall asleep, I write three things in my gratitude journal for which I am grateful. I keep it simple. Also, throughout the day, I am aware of my breath, which is a connection to spirit. Journaling and breath work help me maintain an attitude of gratitude and a state of moment-to-moment awareness that the spirit, with its gifts of compassion, love and joy, is always present. It is we who get caught up in the outer world and become absent from it.”

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