With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I find myself grateful for all of YOU. I find it heartening to be connected to so many other people who seek to live deeper, richer, more soulful lives! The holidays are, indeed, fast upon us. This month’s email features some new ideas on how to transform holiday stresses, making this a true season of light, peace, and joy.
In this email:
· “Food for Thought”—quote of the month
· Beating the Holiday Blues—tips for a happier holiday season.
· Web Site of the Month (new feature!)
· Special Holiday CD Offer
· Astrology Gift Certificates
FOOD FOR THOUGHT—QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“I search for spirit in the tangled emotions, the impossible relationships, and the endless failures that come along in most lives. This is the opposite of spirituality as escape; it is an appreciation for the spirituality to be found in the depths of experience, in the never-ending efforts to make sense of life, and in the ordeals that can be seen as spiritual initiations rather than failures to achieve a self.” (Thomas Moore, The Soul’s Religion, p. xvii).
BEATING THE HOLIDAY BLUES
Many of the world’s wisdom traditions recognize a sacred quality in this time of year—the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, the pagan observances of harvest and the Solstice, the Haida Indian myth of Raven taking the light out of hiding and returning it to the sky, and of course the Christian celebration of Christmas.
It’s a time of year that holds up the possibilities of light, peace, and healing. But those very expectations evoke in many people a case of “the holiday blues.” Maybe a relationship with a friend or family member is being stressed; maybe your job is boring you or is in jeopardy; maybe your resources feel stretched too thin. It’s easy to feel that holiday gatherings and traditions (or their absence) make such things worse. But this is exactly what Thomas Moore is talking about in the quote I offered above—“ordeals can be seen as spiritual initiations.” What does Moore mean by this? Ever been in a dark room for a while when someone throws on a bright overhead light? At first your eyes “hurt” and you’d just as soon have the light back off again. The dark places of our lives can react this way to the light of the holiday season—that light at first serves only as a painful reminder. But if we are willing to let our eyes adjust, that light holds the possibility of bringing those wounded places out into the open, where they can be cared for, transformed. A light on the dashboard of our car, pain in our bodies, suffering in the soul—all are just indicators that something needs attention and care.
Counseling offers such attention and care, as well as the opportunity to learn new skills, explore new perspectives, and experience healing and growth. If you or someone you know begin to experience the “holiday blues,” perhaps it’s time to start a new holiday tradition—giving your soul some attention and care in counseling (see the counseling page of my web site for more info: www.dankeusal.com/page2). In the mean time, here’s three suggestions for how to beat the holiday blues: 1) Get some exercise. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or involved; even taking a 10 minute walk on your lunch break can help. Studies repeatedly show that exercise can offer some of the same benefits as medication and/or therapy when it comes to fighting depression 2) Get outside. The rest of the world has known for thousands of years that “nature heals”—now science is catching up: studies also show that we need light and fresh air for our mental as well as physical health. Take that 10-minute walk outside and give yourself “double points!” 3) Get contemplative. In a season that can be hectic, turn the old adage on its head: “Don’t just do something, sit there!” Take a few moments each day in quiet to contemplate what you’re grateful for, what this season really means to you, or what changes you’d like to make. Again—you don’t need an elaborate “meditation practice”; just sitting still and breathing deeply for 5 minutes each day can make a difference. If you’d like a “bonus suggestion,” see the next item…
WEB SITE OF THE MONTH (new feature!)
Though the world wide web creates its own set of questions and challenges for our culture, it does hold the potential to connect us all in ways that were not possible just a decade or two ago. Starting with this month’s email, I’d like to feature one web site that may enrich your life in some small way. I hope that the sites I feature will expose you to soul-making in it’s various guises—music, literature, community-building (“webs” of a different sort!), along with topics more directly related to the practice of psychotherapy and astrology that is at the heart of my work.
This month’s featured web site, www.songspace.net, highlights the work of Seattle’s talented “singer-songwriters.” The musicians on this site are writing and performing vibrant, articulate, intimate music—and doing so under the radar of large record companies and mass-media hype. Songspace features a calendar where you can check on upcoming performances, links to the web sites of more than 100 Seattle-area performers (including Songspace’s own “Artist of the Month” feature), a directory of venues that feature live music, and information on resources for “independent artists.” Whether Songspace leads you to a concert, a CD, or just the web site of an interesting local artist, I think you’ll find something here to feed your soul. Visit Songspace by clicking on the link above, and enjoy!
SPECIAL HOLIDAY CD OFFER
My own CD, “All Along,” costs only $8 and makes a thoughtful holiday gift—perfect for your office’s “Secret Santa” party, or as a “stocking-stuffer,” or simply as a gift for the music-lovers in your life. The CD features my original compositions—contemplative compositions in the singer-songwriter tradition, rendered with understated acoustic guitar, warm vocals, rich harmonies, and subtle backup work by some very talented musician-friends of mine. As my gift to you for the holidays, shipping and handling is free—a savings of $2. To listen to samples from the CD, visit the music page of my web site: www.dankeusal.com/page5. To order, send a check for $8 (payable to “Dan Keusal”), along with your name, mailing address, and email or phone number (just in case I encounter a problem with the order—like not being able to read your writing!) to Dan Keusal, 155 NE 100th St #220, Seattle WA 98125. This offer is good through December 31st.
ASTROLOGY GIFT CERTIFICATES
Astrology offers valuable guidance for key areas of life like relationships, career, spirituality, creativity, community, and more. Astrology doesn’t “tell you who you are” or “predict the future,” it helps you gain a deeper understanding of your soul’s purpose, shines light on the opportunities and challenges of your unique journey through life, and empowers you to respond with creativity, vitality, and hope. I offer colorful, custom-made gift certificates for astrology sessions; give someone a gift that truly keeps on giving. For more info, call me at 206-363-1366 or email me at email@example.com. For more info on Astrology’s benefits, visit the “Astrology” page of my web site: www.dankeusal.com/page3.
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Until next month…
Web Site: www.dankeusal.com