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"Points of Light"
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Over the last few years, I've sent out, in addition to my regular quarterly/seasonal newsletters, a special "Holidays" edition, something simpler to offer a moment of pause during this time of year when "busy" and "stress" often lead us to miss the beauty and and the quiet invitation of the sacred dark. This year, I'm including a few resources that I imagine might serve as "points of light" during this particular holiday season: a new, Jungian take on an old holiday classic; a poem that speaks to our capacity to find our way through darkness; quotes from two people (a movie star and a bishop) that you probably won't find coupled anywhere else; and that rarest of occurrences: a holiday CD of new, original songs (i.e. not just more "covers" of the old tunes you already know).
I am already at work on an essay for the Winter edition of this newsletter, which I'll send out in January. For now, I hope you find here...some unexpected holiday gift, something that rekindles, amidst the deepening dark of winter, a renewed hope for the return of the light, and of justice, and of peace.
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Points of Light: Resources For The Holiday Season:
(podcast): "Scrooge On The Couch: How The Numinous Transforms." Three Jungian Analysts, in a special holiday edition of their podcast "This Jungian Life," take a fascinating dive into the psychological depths and nuances of Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol.
(quotes): "Optimism is informed hope," and "With gratitude, optimism becomes sustainable." (Michael J. Fox). The 59 year old actor, originally known for his work in "Family Ties" and films like "Back To The Future," has become equally well-known for the mature, dignified, and inspiring ways he's lived with Parkinson's disease for more than two decades, and raised millions for research. These quotes are from a New York times interview about his fourth memoir: No Time Like Like The Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality.
(quote): "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." (Desmond Tutu)
(poem): "We Grow Accustomed To The Dark" (Emily Dickinson). In a few short lines, Dickinson offers a hopeful take on our capacity to find our way through dark times, showing how "sight...adjusts itself to Midnight...and Life steps almost aright."
(holiday CD): "Come Darkness, Come Light" (Mary Chapin Carpenter). Long one of my favorite examples of a mature, mid-life singer-songwriter, Mary Chapin Carpenter applies her talents here to an album of mostly original compositions (rather than the usual holiday "covers" of familiar tunes), with gentle arrangements accompanying her warm, soothing vocals.
(photo): "Morning Snowfall Through Leaded Glass." (Dan Keusal). A friend with a cabin in eastern Washington has generously invited me, on several occasions, to enjoy a getaway there. This photo, taken early one winter morning through window of the bedroom where I sleep there, offers glimpses of the snow that had fallen overnight, seen through the old, elegant architecture of colored, diamond-shaped panes of leaded glass. It's not the "artsy-est" photo I've ever taken, but sometimes a cell phone camera, a moment, and a certain quality of light are enough. Click on the photo below to view it on my web site, and download a copy for your own enjoyment.