Finding Balance through Centreness
Counting your blessing this ChristmasI'm not a particularly religious person and I find myself at Christmas sometimes feeling like I'm a little two-faced when it comes to observing the trimmings of the season but not really being fully into the religious activities. I find comfort in going to Christmas church services but I am not like some of my friends who's inner spiritual life is lit up with heartfelt joy for the season.

But I am someone who has to find an authentic path for reaching into the season. So for me, I've realised that it is the holistic messages of peace, goodwill and being thankful that matters the most. I find deep joy in having so many in the community around me celebrating these essential elements.

I think it's so very important for a society, a community to take time out to reflect and discuss what the spirit of goodwill, peace and thankfulness means and to offer it in wishes for each other.

Our world is always going to have strife, it's the heart breaking side of being human, as unnecessary as it is, there will always be weak and insecure egos that will feel the need to harm others to get what they want - so often power. And that's in any society; race, religion or country makes no difference.

So to have a time every year when so many of us stop our busy lives and wish peace to another is vitally important.

A treasured girlfriend moved with her husband to the other side of the world to a very conservative society, very different to our bright and friendly Australia, and said mournfully on the phone early one morning that she had 'never known so many overly religious and underly Christian people in' her life. While I wanted to bring her immediately back home I ended up thinking on her succinct words.

An important part of our friendship was how we saw the act of giving, of sharing. We would both give multiple presents to the Christmas Wishing Trees, learning the vital lesson of giving without thanks and giving whole heartedly. Over the years this has ended up being where I do my biggest gift giving - to those who are having a rough time and need to feel the love and care from someone else in their community. For if we don't look after each other, who will?

As an adult I had to create my own meaning of Christmas and the season. This was especially true when my sister passed away one December and I had to make a decision about how I was going to live with the season as it coincides with an anniversary with so much grief. So I started counting my blessings and saying thank you for them.

Christmas evolves for each of us, with the lives we create, our friendships, families and own personal inner journeys. Being thankful and counting blessings, sharing goodwill with others through gifts of presents and love and offering peace to all is how I've found a way to define my own authentic experience of Christmas so it is a good season that I look forward to.

I wish for you peace, goodwill and thankfulness.

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