"Ritual and ceremony can bridge our past and our present elegantly, making it possible for folks like you and me to
travel through life, honoring the good and bad times we’ve been through. They can help us become human “well-beings,”
ready to take on more life and liberty and ready to pursue our happiness.- Carl Jung
It's the holidays! The holidays...why are you so glum? Why do you grumble about attending a family gathering? Why do
you think you'd rather stay home? Buck up and get out there. It is important to honor the celebration, to gather with
friends and indulge in good food and merriment. It is at this time that relationships are renewed, the bonds of friendship
and family ties strengthened. Whether it is a harvest festival wedding, a birthday, a religious holiday, or a national
observance, our celebrations are woven tightly into our identity. Joining the celebration holds a magic for us all. By
recognizing and celebrating holidays and interacting with family, friends, and our community we acknowledge the
seasonal change, attune with the natural tides and acknowledge the rhythms of life, death and rebirth as we recognize
that we are a part of it. Participating in holiday celebrations helps us feel connected to our place in society. Through
ritual we connect to generations, past and future. It is through ritual that our lives gain meaning. Seasonal observances
not only help keep our relationships connected, they help to reconnect us to the natural world.
“Without meaningful ritual, people suffer. Ritual and ceremony can bridge our past and our present elegantly, making it
possible for folks like you and me to travel through life, honoring the good and bad times we've been through. They can
help us become human; well-beings, ready to take on more life and liberty and ready to pursue our happiness.”- Carl
So celebrate! This is the time to gather together and feast, to renew relationships, to strengthen the bonds of friendship
and family ties. Not only does participating in these traditional gatherings anchor relationships, partaking in holiday
celebrations helps us feel connected to our place in society and gives one a stronger sense of self. A major portion of an
individual's memories are based around their holiday experiences. Who isn't transported back to dinners with their loved
ones by the smell of pumpkin pie or baking gingerbread? Joining in the celebration contributes to how we see each other
and ourselves. A major portion of childhood memories are based around our individual holiday experiences. Barbara Fiese
writes in the Journal of Family that families that celebrate holidays are more likely to raise kids who have a strong sense
of identity, are healthy, have close ties to family members and succeed in school. Dr. Steven J. Wolin, a clinical
professor of psychiatry at George Washington University Medical School, cites that the power of ritual comes from
heritage, tradition and most of all something being emblazoned in your brain over time. And that family rituals protect
the individual against a sense of loneliness and uncertainty in daily living as it transmits shared beliefs of the family
group across generations. Dr. William Dorherty, director of the marriage and family therapy program at the University of
Minnesota, has identified two kinds of rituals in our society. The first is the traditional secular and religious rituals
surrounding holidays, weddings or funerals; the second involve ritual a family or individual has created to celebrate their
life. Through particpation we connect to generations, past and future. Traditional celebrations hold many of the core
aspects of any culture. Through celebration we give meaning to our lives.
This season spend some quality time with friends and family. Renew your connection to your tribe. Gather with friends
and let your heart swell with joy. Participate in the celebration and make some new memories. Only you can make your
life richer and fill it with meaning. It's the little things that add to your life. Celebration is part of the human experience.
Acknowledging the seasons is a simple way to harmonize with the world and to recognize that we are a part of it. It's
easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and let days, weeks and even months slip by. So make time for
seasonal celebrations, set aside a morning to try out that new recipe. Take a moment to meditate on your blessings.
Take in the beauty around you. Rejoice. Let your heart be glad as you gather your family to you and celebrate knowing
life is good.