uealse Christmas - Dr. Dina Evan's Columns

Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Time to Be Born?

Four times, I have witnessed the birth of my grandchildren. It was miraculous every time. The doorway to an unknown world opens and life embraces a tiny human and the mystery begins. Who will this one be? And, who did you intend to be? This is a time of year filled with issues of birth and rebirth. It is a time to reevaluate who we are and ask how, in the time remaining in our life, will we fulfill the purpose we chose at our beginning, just before our first breath and fresh look at this world.

How many people do you think fulfill their purpose? How many even know their purpose? This is an amazing question and what I know about is that at the time of our death, seldom do we regret what we did, good or bad, during our life. What we regret is what we did not do. Did we love fully? Did we allow ourselves to be truly loved? Were we the best we could have been? Did we tell the truth and be authentic? Did choose to do the ethical or moral thing even when no one was watching? Were we a true companion? Did we do soul work together? Did we fulfill our true purpose?

We run through life. We fill our date books. palm pilots and every waking moment with doing. We seldom stop to realize that every new moment presents us with a priceless, precious opportunity to be who we really are, and do what we really came here to do. One moment after the next we have another chance to step forward into our own destiny. That is a miraculous thing! But, how do we get there when life appears to be so full?

There are some things we can do to get back on track. First, you need to realize that fulfilling your purpose and being your highest self is what you came here to do and it will make you incredibly happy. It is not tedious, limiting work. For instance, look around, see what you have been in the process of doing and how you have been living your life and ask yourself if you are happy. Are your friends making you happy? Is your relationship making you happy? Are you happy with the possessions that you have? If not release them and find out what, or who, it is that does make you happy. Make a commitment not to accumulate things, activities or people who do not add real value to your life. Be willing to risk being alone by choice, rather than to remain willing to accept less than you deserve of anything.

Deliberately create alone time. Your Spirit cannot speak to you in the middle of chaos and drama. Your hearts desires can not be heard when you have your awareness filled with chatter that does not enhance you or teach you something about yourself. It has been said that unconscious people talk about other people. Intelligent people talk about issues, and conscious people talk about becoming more conscious. What kind of talk is your life filled with? If you are not listening to your own inner wisdom, your life is no doubt filled with drama, delays and detours away from your true purpose.

Transformation and transcendence do not mean living in isolation. In order to transform, one must be willing to bring spiritual awareness into daily life and apply it to every human circumstance. How many of us think we, I will get spiritual after things slow down? The assignment, especially at this time, is to be spiritual in every facet of your daily lives as things evolve faster.

Fulfilling your purpose is a transformative experience rather than the act of playing with ideas and concepts. It involves a deepening relationship to Spirit, whatever you perceive that to be. You cannot deepen a relationship unless you are fully immersed in it. That means every activity and thought is influenced by your desire to wake up. That may sound like a very difficult, overwhelming task. In actuality, it is a simply matter of slowing down and asking your self, What feels good to my Spirit, and then doing that.

The Sufi’s often say you have arrived in the instant you have taken your first step. Every moment says, “Begin now.” Every sunrise says, “Today is your day to find yourself.” Every true friend says, “I believe in you.” The entire universe is designed to support you in this process. Therefore, in this season filled with the awareness of birth and rebirth, I encourage you to make the next birth your own. I can, with out any hesitation, guarantee you that you will not be disappointed and when you have found yourself, not a single thing will be missing. You will find you are the gift you have been seeking all along. Happy Holidays.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

The Greatest Gift

“Nice to see you,” she said as if she knew I’d be coming.

“Yeah, nice to see you too. I know it’s been a while. I’ve been busy.”

“So how can I help,” she said, using her standard familiar phase for getting right to the point.

“Well,” I stammered, “The holidays are coming and I just can’t seem to get into it. It’s been a hard year and frankly, I am tired. I’m not sure I can get up for this,” I said.

“So, your holiday glow is gone…huh? ” she said mocking me.

“Don’t be trite,” I snapped back, “I think I’m depressed”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound trite. I just remember that this is the way you feel when you can’t figure things out and want everything to work like you think it ought to. ”

“I don’t know why I put up with you,” I retaliated.

“Yes you do,” she said smiling. “What exactly is giving you a problem?”

“I guess I don’t feel very joyful,” I said defeatedly.

“Maybe you are too busy looking at what you think isn’t right to see what is.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? Have you seen what’s going on out there? Women are loosing ground, minorities are loosing ground, and spiritual people aren’t being heard at all The whole damn planet is dying and nothing seems to getting better. I’m not quantum leaping. I’m not even leap frogging any more. I hate it. Where’s the ecstasy? Where’s the safety? Nothing is satisfying! It’s all just hard!”

” Yep. So?”

“So, I thought as I got older, it would get easier. I want to lay back a bit. Cool out. Take it easy,” I said.

“So what is stopping you? Go take it easy.”

“God! Didn’t you hear a word I said? The world is falling apart and so is my life!”

“I heard you. The world is falling apart. Your life is falling apart and you are tired. In addition to that, I hear you taking it all personally. You know Don Juan once said the basic difference between an ordinary person and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as either a blessing or a curse. Feeling a little cursed are we?”

“Maybe,” I responded feeling busted.

“Well, what have you learned from all these challenges? What gifts have they brought you?”

“I have learned there’s a subtle difference between holding on and hanging in,” I said reflecting. “I had to let go so many times this year my hands are chapped. But you know it’s funny every time I did it, the thing I feared most would happen, didn’t. After a while it became easier to just accept that no matter how hard I try, bad things will still happen and I can endure them. Here I still sit, alive and well. I guess that means the terror is not out there, it’s in here,” I said pointing to my heart.

“I even learned how to take those moments of defeat with more grace,” I continued, “because in that moment of letting go, the grief of my child seemed to transform into the hope of an adult. In that sweet place of letting go, I found great release and relief. I think I also cured my spiritual arrogance of believing that you get to a certain place in your spiritual evolution and then you don’t have problems anymore. I guess you just deal with them differently.” I looked up and saw her expression, ” OK, OK, so I’m not quite finished with that one.”

“What else,” she asked, “as if that’s not quite enough for one year!”

“I think there’s a strange new awareness of the now,” I answered, trying to work it out in my mind. “It’s almost as if there is no point in planning for tomorrow because today is all that I can know for certain. Everything in my life is constantly changing. There can’t be any long-term goals anymore because I have no control on what is coming around the corner that may take me off one track and plunk me down on another. Life is an “E” ticket ride right now. I used to think life unfolded in some orderly manner. Not true. One minute I am swept back into dealing with some old childhood pain and in the next I am out dancing in the ethers with a client who professes not to believe in reincarnation but who, by the way, is having a conversation with the spirit of her dead grandmother. It’s a trip! All I can do is be present to each moment and hang on for the next.”

Without giving her time to interject, I admitted, ” I’ve actually learned a lot this year. I’ve learned that what I value most is ineffable. What I treasure most is not material. What I fear most is not a certainty. What I distance from, I create in another space. The only thing I have control over is my integrity. What I accept in life, I conquer. And, that which I judge is probably God in disguise as my teacher.”

I took a breath to hold the tears back and said, “Not such a bad year after all.”

Quietly she responded, “Many gifts for which to be grateful.”

I took a long slow breath. “I am also grateful for you ,” I told her as I got up to leave.

“You’re welcome,” she smiled knowingly. ” Have a great Holiday!”

I looked around my meditation room, wondering why it had taken me so long to go there. One of my greatest gifts was always there waiting patiently for me to remember her. “I’ll hang that exquisite crystal ornament on the tree in her honor,” I thought, feeling once again peaceful, as I blew out the candles and closed the door behind me. Merry Xmas to all and to all a great moment alone to remember how blessed we all are. With love to each of you from all of us at Arizona Together.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Ho, Ho, Ho, Jingle, Jingle, Jingle, Yada, Yada, Yada

“For many of us Christmas is a big bah humbug! It’s that nauseating time of year that begins long before Halloween, when the hawking starts in every store isle and Christmas becomes a commercial extravaganza of sensory overload. Step right up, get em’ while their hot becomes the mantra of store owners everywhere. Christmas has become a lot like eating five pounds of Sees chocolate in one sitting. When it’s over all you want to do, but can’t, is burp. Haven’t they heard, too much of anything is still too much?

Now marketers are even hanging out in coffee shops and mall restaurants, innocuously playing with their computerized toys, acting like Joe Citizen, getting people interested and then getting their emails or phone numbers for a sales call later. All this done of course, under the guise of community sharing or just your neighbor hanging out. Is nothing sacred?

Some things still are, but what? What is sacred in your life? Oh my kids, my partner, my privacy, my freedom, my home some of you might say. But really, when was the last time you took a peek at what you hold sacred in your life and are those things slipping away in the din of sound bites and lost priorities? Lately, I have had several friends with death or near death experiences. Makes me wonder what might be different if this Christmas was our last one. Would we hold our beloved a bit tighter. Would we take more care and time to find the perfect right gift from the heart? Would we watch the children in malls with a bit more wonder and awe? Would you sing a Christmas carol and let it touch your heart? Maybe now is the time to get our priorities in order, reclaim the sacred in our lives.

Why is it we wait until some foreboding event arrives to remember how precious our lives are? We get pricked with a 9-11 or the threat of a disease and we suddenly have a newfound appreciation for everything we have and hold dear- all of which a moment ago we were taking for granted. Do we create these events to wake ourselves up and help get our priorities in order, and if so, maybe we could skip the crisis and just take a moment to get back to what matters.

Close your eyes right now and listen. Listen to sound of conversations in the air or the wind rustling through the trees. Listen to the traffic noise, even the horns honking and know this is the sound of life happening. Even with all the pollution, all the traffic and all the freeways, at the end of the day you are sitting in your car going home to somewhere you care about and to someone who cares about you. And if there is no one there, you still have lot’s of shopping days beyond Christmas to find him or her.

Look at your self in the mirror. See the person who has overcome great challenges and who has made it to celebrate another Christmas. Think about the courage it took to simply be here and the millions of small and not so small decisions along the way that have made you who you are. Put you hand on your heart, feel the beating and know that in this moment you are still alive to make choices, love the people in your life and make a difference. What an enormous gift – this gift of time. Time to do it better. Time to learn more. Time to watch another sunrise or sit in the stillness of spirit. If there is not another thing in the world that you can be thankful for, you can be thankful for this time.

Somewhere in the world a child is born and a child is dying. Somewhere there is peace and somewhere there is war. There is pain and suffering and in the same moment there is exquisite joy and you and I are blessed to be in the middle of it, embracing it all. Even in the midst of sound bites, plastic Santa’s that rotate, and Christmas in October…we are so incredibly blessed. Have a warm, loved filled Holiday with special blessings from all of us at Arizona Together.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Irene, the Angel

Irene Thorstad was a saint. Her crippled little eighty-seven year old body was nearly doubled over. The first time I walked into that congregation at church an eon ago, I spotted her. She was different. She had some kind of grace and energy that I had never been around before – it was a glow. She could barely reach her slip-on shoes. Shoestrings were out of the question with those knobby, arthritic, knotted hands. Canes stood waiting in every corner as she made her way through her house and through life. But that didn’t stop her. Every week for at least 10 to 12 hours, Irene was out doing her spiritual service work teaching others. The more time I spent with her the more I was convinced that Irene was an angel. I recall long hours just sitting at the feet of my dear friend listening to her talk about life, her beliefs and her faith.

One afternoon Irene and I were walking in a neighborhood when a ferocious dog lunged out at us from the bushes. He backed us into a ditch and barked incessantly, baring his teeth, white, foamy saliva oozing from the corners of his mouth. I gasped and put my arms around Irene to steady her. “Now, now dear these are all God’s creatures,” she said in a reassuring tone. Into her pocket she reached for the trail mix she carried with us everywhere in case she needed it for energy. She pulled out a handful and tossed it to the dog who looked a bit stunned and befuddled by her offer. He moseyed over to where she had thrown her ransom and after several bites he disinterestedly exited the area feeling pacified by the gesture. We crawled out of the ditch and went on our way, later laughing until we nearly wet our pants at the sight we must have been. To Irene God was in everything.

Irene often saw people do hurtful things and heard hurtful comments. She would always respond when I was outraged by their behavior, that these were people who were simply not yet healed and that some day they would understand. I always think about Irene during the Holiday season. Perhaps because she embodied all the things I feel the holidays should be about.

Irene never met a person she felt the need to judge. She never knew a person she couldn’t grow to love. Irene dedicated the majority of her life to living right, aligned with her own principles trying to making the world a better place for all of us. There were no strangers to Irene, only family – huge family in every part of the universe. Irene cried at the sight of beauty or an unselfish act of love. She felt joy for the good fortune of others without an ounce of envy and she always found a way to gently tell the truth. To Irene, success and excellence was not about achieving perfection or reaching a state of enlightenment but rather it was about having the character to strive for it. It was about having the courage to be on the path.

Irene taught me that no matter where I am in the world or what the circumstances of my life are, that Sprit is always right in the middle of it all when I am willing to see it. She taught me that everything has wonder even darkness, not knowing, vulnerability, mistakes, and everyone and everything I ever labeled as wrong or right. She taught me that no matter what is, it is from that place that I can begin to build what I want. She made everyday a wonder, another opportunity for gifts of love and giving, another Christmas. Irene knew that love was the greatest gift in the Universe, whether she was receiving it or giving it. Everyday to her was Christmas because she had fallen in love with God, with life, and with everyone whose life touched hers. She was radiant in that love. She has been my angel since she left the earth.

This Holiday, I give you the gifts that Irene gave to me. If you can step out of the holiday chaos, take a breath and feel the absolute glory in being alive, you can know for a moment what Irene felt every day, even in her broken body. I wish you tender moments of connection. I wish you joyous laughter and light. I wish you new awareness of the value of life. And most of all I wish you great love.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

You’re the One

In a world and in a season where we are often focused on accumulating more of everything, I have been in wonder about the number one. One little word that contains so much power.

In almost every era there has been one remarkable human being who forever changed the world. Each of these people no doubt had one opportunity to make one decision that went directly to the place inside that held the one highest truth of that person.

It takes one note to start a song, one smile to change a day, and one “I’m truly sorry,” to stop a fight. You can eradicate darkness with one tiny flame from a candle. You can overcome hate with one act of love. It takes one smile to begin a friendship or one kiss to start a lifetime together. One tree no doubt started the forest and one breath, a life. It takes one word to start each prayer or mantra.

In the din of chaos or confusion, it takes only one voice to return to wisdom. It takes one act of righteousness or courage to start a movement. It takes one song to make you remember and one card to make you cry. It takes only one person who cares to make you want to try harder and only one who loves you to make you want to stay on the planet and play.

It can take one touch to show you care and one voice of hope to make it possible to take the final step. One vote can change a nation and one moment of insight, a reality. One truth can shatter illusion while one idea can create a vision. A single notion can create an exploration. One question can begin a whole dialog and one more new philosophy.

Though out our life we seek the one perfect beloved, the one right moment to meet him or her and the one right song that says it all. We look for the one space in which to be safe and the one career that will bring us satisfaction. We long to fulfill the one purpose for which we came.

Sometimes it takes only one mentor, teacher, guru or one compassionate soul to give us one glimpse of the truth that we are worthy enough, lovable enough and able to make a difference in the world. It only takes one look at a new born to know that some Divine Source exists in the Universe and only one kiss of puppy breath to know that it is surely love. Most – no, not yet – but many of us finally understand that there is only one us manifesting in a multitude of different hues, countries, lifestyles and different forms. There is only one of us who feels the heart break and heart beat of the earth – one human family, one precious, fragile experiment.

There are a million scientific studies that prove it only takes one of us to begin the ball rolling – to start the accumulation of morphic-resonance or mass conscious energy required to positively change the world forever. So, perhaps this Holiday, you and I could take one moment amidst wrapping all those packages and offering Holiday toasts to say one prayer of thanks, to speak one word of peace on behalf of the earth and do one act of good will toward another. Perhaps we could choose to take that one step toward a family member or friend, make that one decision that brings greater unity or creates one moment that evokes healing. And, take one moment to go outside and thank whatever you perceive the Universal Energy to be.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Joy To The World

Visions of sugar plumbs and rain deer have never danced in my head. As a little girl, Christmas came in the middle of the Yuma, Arizona desert with my family of five in an old one room Army trailer smaller than a normal bedroom. At night, winter winds would whip so hard across the desert I feared our tiny sand-ravaged trailer would blow over just as the outhouse often did.

One night, at age five, I awakened to the wind scratching loudly on the side of the trailer. In the corner, a dimly lit silhouette projected a shadow against the wall of my Mom hunched over. She was quietly cutting up her deeply prized, brown velvet Indian Kachina Squaw skirt. I could have sworn I saw her crying. The next time I saw that fabric it had been lovingly hand sewn into tiny new doll outfits that became my sisters and my only Christmas present.

As I grew older, I spent Holidays south of the Border with many different Hispanic families. My family brought gifts and clothes collected through out the year from our neighbors, and they created delicacies that resulted in my ever-present passion for Mexican food. I didn’t speak their language, nor did they speak mine. Somehow through frantic pantomime, and some unspoken affinity, we understood each other. I sat on their dirt floors to eat and watched the joy dance in their children’s big brown eyes as they opened presents. It was then that I became ashamed of the privileges and opportunities I had even as a poor white person. I knew I enjoyed things that they didn’t and probably would never enjoy. Yet, with all our external differences, we understood we were very much the same inside. As I grew older, Christmas became that dreaded Holiday when Mom would get drunk and fight with Dad. Even in the worst of times, during the Holidays we all secretly, silently believed in magic, and for a short time, magic came. It still comes during the Holidays.

Holiday magic comes in odd ways. It suddenly appears in our desire to give, and our willingness to receive. It infiltrates our music. This music somehow permeates and opens our hearts. There have been many late Christmas nights, when the scent of evergreen fills my living room and the lights on the tree reflect multi-colored prisms against the wall. Streisand’s voice crawls in next to my heart softly singing “Oh Holy Night.” or “Ave Maria.” It is in that perfect moment, no matter what else may be going on that I do finally feel the magic of the Holidays and the willingness to begin again.

I also see the magic in the faces of people walking in malls, those who might never have otherwise glanced up to smile. It shows up in the hours that volunteers make themselves available to help those less fortunate. It shows up in donation canisters, in visits to hospitals and time with those in homes for the elderly. It shows up in the willingness to reach out beyond ourselves and be connected to something not material. It appears in our willingness to allow children to believe in something they can’t see. It ignites in us as hope, love and charity.

You see, the holidays are not yet about what is, they are more about what can be. They make a cameo appearance that peaks in once a year to remind us that strangers can smile at each other and mean it. It’s a reminder that families, both biological and spiritual, are incredibly important and not defined by color, race, sexual preference, religion or gender. It’s a time to focus on the children, inside of us and out. It’s a time when spiritual truths get illumined and we recommit to doing it better, with more aliveness, authenticity and love. It’s a time when we begin to see the priorities again and put things back into perspective. It’s a time for gathering good thoughts, loving messages and pounds that get harder to loose. It’s a time to reach out and touch those we love who live too far away the rest of the year. It’s a time to put your hand against their cheek or on their shoulder and remind them, even when you’re not around, you are.

Most importantly, it’s a time when we begin to believe in us again. I let go of the disappointments, take a deep breath and muster up every ounce of hope I can find in the recesses of my soul. From the chaos of the Holidays, I hear the words of Teilhard De Chardin….

“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God/ess the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.”

On that day for the first time in the history of the world, we will have created Peace on Earth and made manifest the magic of the Holidays.

As a child, I wondered, Could we hold the thought longer, could we believe harder, could we maybe make the magic happen for good if we also had Christmas in March, August or July? Would the smiles last longer and the hearts be more open? I thought so then. Now, I don’t think so. I think if the magic is going to stay, we have to make it Christmas every morning. Without a single word to anyone, we could play Holiday Carols in June and July and tell people we love them for no apparent reason. We could smile without thinking even in April. We could do random acts of kindness without a forethought anytime. We could believe in each other and act as if we are all just one happy family of human beings. Together we could create the magic, couldn’t we? Have a wondrous Holiday know that you are each deeply, deeply loved.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

The High is the Ride

Oh Gawd, it’s that time of year again. One Christmas my son gave me tennis shoes with bright neon side panels and a pump up arch. The next Christmas he gave me bar bells, turquoise colored bar bells, graduating in size and weight. The kind you can’t miss when walking into your room at night. The kind that ominously make tsk-tsk sounds and project guilt from their matching stand. When he gave them to me I sat in the warm glow of the tree, with all family eyes upon me as the bright red bow and metallic green wrap fell away. I unveiled my prize and agonizingly pulled and strained the muscles of my cheeks up, up in an effort to smile. Teeth showing. Lips wide. The bar bells got sent to my bedroom as the last guest left that day, and not a muscle has been strained or pulled higher than my ankle to remove them from their stand since Christmas two years ago.

My son is a surfer. He is buffed out and thirty-something. He has not yet come to appreciate that I too am an athlete. I too am a surfer. Agile. Daring. He surfs the ocean and I surf the crests and troughs of life. Up. Down. High points. Low points. Tenuously balanced, shifting my weight and awareness, poised and awaiting the next big wave. We are both seeking independence, freedom, the joy of balance. We are both hoping that we will not wipe out and die. The thrill and the danger are the same.

Achieving balance is easier said than done. It is tricky! The more you embrace life, become involved and present to all the possibilities – the higher the highs and subsequently, the lower the lows. When you decide to take on the most challenging surf – you will no doubt get a more exciting ride. Eventually, as you ride in the middle of each life experience, you become aware of the polarities that wash you from one extreme to another.

The more I acknowledge the places I am little, the greater I become.The more I achieve success, the more I fear failure.The more I long for distinction, the more I must be humble to truly be it.The more I acknowledge evil, the more I overlook good.

The more I hold on to ecstasy, the more I resist the pain.

The more I seek independence the more I am in the state of dependence upon being independent.

The more I seek Spirit outside myself, the more I loose my awareness of It within.

In the time it takes to inhale a single deep breath, I can be washed from one wave to the other. In my son’s vast ocean, the waves are not separate from the ocean itself. I too am forever riding two ends of the same continuum. Not two separate ideals or realities. Not two things wholly different, but rather two ends held captive by the stream of life.

I want balance. However, no sooner am I immersed in the joy of helping to birth my grandchild, than the news arrives that my beloved aunt has died. She died just before I could arrange a long promised trip to be with her in Florida. I am again caught up between two ends of the continuum. Hello and good bye. Departure and arrival. Loss of love and new love.

In the last few years, relationships of every kind have become my finest workout, the ultimate trainer. Clients move swiftly from hating me to liking me, from thinking I am a charlatan to thinking I am a mentor. Deftly, I try to remain balanced during our pilgrimage together, not attached to what they feel about me, but only what they learn for themselves. My ego wants to be gratified, my spirit knows their journey could take place in any quiet holding space because it is their journey and not mine. The woman in me wants to pack and go sit on a beach in Maui. The final reality: I am the visitor on their path, the guest at their unfolding.

Friends move in and out of my intimate circle of extended family. Some I have grown out of, some have grown out of me. It is all Spiritually correct, all part of the same wave called life.

My children quickly move from wanting a mom, to wanting a friend, to wanting a silent listening ear with no input at all. And just as quickly I must be able to pull from my Mom bag all that I know, tuck gently back into my Mom bag the knowing that I know, or move into admitting that I really don’t know or don’t need to know.

In my personal relationships, this ride on the tension of life is at its best. I am forever face to face with letting go of my need for the safety of sameness and upholding my love of diversity. I eat health food, they like junk. I go to sleep late, they go to sleep early. I take homeopathics, They down Nyquil. There is no justice, not even in old age. It is this tension of embracing life fully that creates the excitement – the element that provides the drive. Life is an on-going challenge, and perhaps balance resides somewhere in the willingness to just get up and ride the waves. And I ride.

When he is fifty-something like me, my son will bring me medals for Christmas. By then, he will have earned some of his own.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Gifts of Gratitude

How do we remain consistently exuberant and exhilarated by life? What is the secret? It’s all about gratitude. It’s about being delighted in the ordinary and surprised and awed by existence — our own and everyone else’s. It’s about sitting around your Holiday table feeling vitally aware and profoundly grateful for every breath and awareness, every bite, every sensation, every bad joke, rewrapped gift and retold story.

Fifty years ago, Abraham Maslow, the father of humanistic psychology, recognized the power of gratitude to recharge the soul: He spoke of the capacity to “appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others” as a central gift of what he called “self-actualizing individuals.”

When you are in the state of gratitude, you experience a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life, more than simply a pleasant emotion to experience or a polite sentiment to express. It’s an effervescence, a visceral sense of joy and heartfelt connection to life.
Recent psychological research shows that:

1. People who are experiencing gratitude have greater resistance and protection from the destructive impulses of envy, greed and disease.

2. The practice of gratitude as a spiritual discipline may cure excessive materialism and negative emotions of envy, resentment, disappointment, and bitterness;

3. Gratitude supports well-being by displacing resentment, regret, and other low level energies that are deterrents to long-term happiness; and

4. Grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions — happiness, vitality, optimism, and hope — and greater satisfaction with life.

5. Grateful people have a higher level of reverence for life and every living thing.

6. Grateful people have better health and a sense of grace.

One way to make sure you keep gratitude in the forefront of your everyday awareness is to start a gratitude journal, or a gratitude mantra each day. On your way in to work instead of cursing the traffic, think about the fact that you are still here to curse it, that you have just taken a breath of life into your body. Be thankful that you have a multitude of choices, probabilities and possibilities throughout your day and you have the free will to make any of them as you go about creating your own reality. Think about the fact that you have the opportunity to tell those you love how much they mean to you while you are still here.

Think about the fact that you still have time; time to set things straight, make things right and express appreciation for all that this life has affords you. The sunsets. The dawn. The crimson and pale pink of a rose. The scent of aspen and fir on the mantel. Your friend’s laughter ringing through the air. The lights twinkling on the tree. The touch of your beloved. The crisp morning air. The sound of fine music. The taste of great food. The feel of silk slipping. The unconditional love of your child or your pet. The moments of true connection. The joy of new truths. The ecstasy in new awareness. Old photographs. New friends. Making history. The last bow. Pumpkin pie. The warmth of a fire. Old flannel shirts. New flannel shirts. Every breath. Every breath. Every breath. We have so much for which to be grateful.

One of things for which we are most grateful, is you. You give us a reason for being, for writing for telling our stories and truths. You give us a reason for reaching out and touching, beyond the distance into your homes and hopefully, your hearts. . You help us create a sense of community and caring. So, this Holiday, no doubt, one of the things the Arizona Together Family will be most grateful for is you. We hope your holiday season is filled with wonder and magnificent moments of gratitude.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

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