HOLIDAY LIGHTS: SYMBOLIC REMINDERS ABOUT LOVE AND LIGHT IN OUR LIVES
By Michael E. Berrett, PhD
What is light? Light has many beautiful meanings:
– We can light a fire, or “ignite”- In a literal way, we can start a fire -or symbolically we can “light a fire under someone we care about” in the intention to encourage, motivate, inspire, lift, or lead. We help them to take action and move away from “stuckness”, “darkness”, and “merely surviving” – into a place of “moving, growing, and thriving”. Simply put, “Recovery is moving from darkness into light”.
– We can make another’s burden light – we can “lighten” their burden with engagement in their lives through presence, support, friendship, love, service, and guidance. We can help bring healing in “lightness of heart”, “lightness of burden”, and a “lightness of broken heartedness”.
– We can “give light to” or “illuminate” – that is, “to make it possible to see”. We can help another to see a better path, see the brightness of positive possibilities in the future, or to see the capacity and goodness in themselves they previously could not see.
I have always had a fascination with light and darkness. A common thread through it all has been my love for the lights of the Christmas and Holiday Season. From the colorful bulbs on the tree to the flickering flames of the Jewish Menorah – those small lights have sparked feelings of warmth, peace, and hopeful anticipation in me since I was a young child. I have experienced – as we all have – the absence and the presence of light.
When I was about 11 years old, it was my responsibility to take turns with my brother in irrigating the family fruit farm. Sometimes, our water turn was in the middle of the night, and I would find myself alone. I learned the value of light. It was wet, cold, lonely, and dark. From fear arousing imaginations, to lying peacefully on the ground, on my back, and watching falling stars in the “milky way” – the flashlight and the starlight were my friends when I found myself in the dark alone.
The light which comes from senses beyond the miracle of eye sight has also been a part of my life. The messages of the heart which have revealed, “You are going down the wrong path – make a change!” and “Yes – this is what you need to do now”. These messages of the heart have illuminated for me which path to take. For these, I am grateful and forever indebted. Our hearts can truly guide our lives.
As the lights of the Christmas and Holiday season bring us to an awareness of the importance of light in our lives, I offer a few suggestions towards noticing and nurturing that light at this season, and in every season of our lives:
1) Strive to live daily according to the spiritual beliefs which you claim as your own. Integrity generates its’ own light. When we live according to embraced truth, we recover who we are, we find ourselves, we illuminate through example to those around us.
2) Honor the light you receive by following the impressions of your heart – not as an isolated event – but as a way of living – day by day and moment my moment. Whether the messages of the heart to you are defined as the “best self”, the “real me”, “intuition”, “impression” or “God talking to me” – listen to and follow those important and transcendent messages.
3) Reach out – ask for help from someone who loves you. Be specific, vulnerable, and direct. As you allow them to serve you- your love for them will grow, their love for you will grow, and an increase of love and light will benefit both giver and receiver. When we invite and allow others to serve us – we give them the gift of inclusion and acceptance.
4) Express more fully, through word and deed, your love for those in your life. Face fear, get out of the comfort zone, express your love “as big as it is”, and do it now! Life is short, and its’ end is unknown to us. Choose a life of abundance over scarcity. Do this one moment, and one individual at a time.
5) When we have a sense of our deepest desires, when we honor our passion, when we are doing that which we are excited about doing, when we have a glimpse of the purpose of our lives, when our daily lives are in step with that purpose, when we have dreamed our dream and are striving to live our dream – then our hearts are “lighter”, and our lives “enlightened”.
6) Step away from any and all addictive processes in your life with all the energy of your soul. Addiction in any form takes from us dignity, clarity, light, love, and freedom. Recovery from addictive illness brings confidence, inner peace, and the brightness of hope.
7) Go often to your source of light and truth. If that is Nature – go there. If that is God – then spend time on your knees. If it is meditation, or yoga, or mindful practice – then be often in that place. If it is in uplifting writ or book – then spend time reading. If it is in relationships – then enjoy undistracted time there. If it is in solitude – then solo more often, and if it is in “doing for others”, then become engaged in serving the needy, the suffering, and the downtrodden.
We can choose more light, and less darkness. In this Christmas and Holiday Season – may the symbols of the season – including the beautiful and colorful lights- remind us of the light we have been given, and the light that is available in our lives. If we will, in a mindful way, notice it, and in an active way, diligently seek it, then we will have it.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays. May God bless you in this special and meaningful season of light.
** NOTE: Dr. Michael E. Berrett is a Licensed Psychologist, CEO, Executive Director, and Co-founder of Center for Change.
Coping With A Loved Ones’ Eating Disorder During The Holidays
For most people, the holiday season is a wonderful time of year. It is often a time of family reunion, socializing, and celebration – a time when families, friends, and coworkers come together to share good will and good food. The season is meant to be bright, happy, and full of the best of relationships. Yet, for those who suffer with eating disorders, this is often the worst time of the year. For those who are trapped in the private hell of anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, the Holidays often magnify their personal struggles, causing them great internal pain and turmoil.
We hope the following article is helpful in better understanding the significant and difficult ordeal those who suffer from eating disorders will face at this season of the year. We hope this awareness and understanding will help us identify the best gifts of the holidays for those we love and care so much about at this time of year. Click here to view Coping With A Loved Ones’ Eating Disorder During the Holidays.
A Season To Remember Our Troops & Their Families
During this Holiday Season we would like to remember and recognize our troops, their families, and the sacrifies they make for each one of us. Center for Change is proud to be a TRICARE provider and we are honored to support our troops and their families. Please call our admissions department today at 888.224.8250 to learn more about how the Center serves TRICARE clients.
Did you Know?
Center for Change offers a short-term triage and stabilization program to meet the needs of families who may have limited financial resources and/or limited insurance benefit coverage. Patients who may benefit from this program include:
– Those who are actively engaged in treatment with a solid and consistent outpatient team but who may be going through a particularly difficult time and require stabilization.
– Patients who are in a partial hospitalization program or intensive outpatient program who are deteriorating and need some short-term stabilization with the intent to return to structured care.
– Those who are in need of intensive medical and clinical stabilization, treatment triage, and aftercare recommendations.
– Patients who need inpatient care but whose insurance or personal financial resources will not allow longer term care.
– Patients who would otherwise be treated for their eating disorder on a general psychiatric unit or hospital medical floor that does not provide the structure, behavioral intervention, and specialization of an eating disorder program.
For more information or to schedule an assessment for this program, please contact our admissions team at 888-224-8250.
The CFC National Eating Disorders Conference Is Almost Here!
The Center for Change National Eating Disorders Conference for Professionals is quickly approaching with just a few registration spots still available. The conference is being held at Center for Change in Orem Utah on January 27th & 28th 2012, with an optional ski day at Sundance Resort on January 29th. The conference features Carolyn Costin, M.A., M.Ed, MFT as the keynote presenter, along with other distinguished speakers from the eating disorder field. CEU’s are offered.
Olympia Eating Disorders Network
December 14th, 2011
Please look for Cassie Riddle at this event.
Center for Change National Eating Disorders Conference for Professionals
January 27th-28th, 2012
Keynote Presentation by Carolyn Costin, MA, MED, MFT
Center for Change
Click here for more information.
Miami Area Free Community Event
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Ransom Everglades Upper School Auditorium
Coconut Grove, FL
Michael E. Berrett, PhD and Jenni Schaefer will be presenting.
Miami-Dade NEDAW Steering Committee Presents: Honest Conversations from Both Sides of the Couch, Finding Reasons for Recovery
Friday, February 3rd, 2012
8:00am – 12:30pm
Barry University, Landon Hall, Room 110
Michael E. Berrett, PhD and Jenni Schaefer will be presenting. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Call in from Anywhere!
MentorCONNECT Teleconference: FREE
For more information, visit www.mentorconnect-ed.org.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Connect from Anywhere!
4:00pm – 5:30pm EST
Webinar: Volunteer Speaker Training: NEDAwareness Week 2012
NEDAwareness Week Key Messages and Sharing Stories Responsibly in Outreach Efforts by Ilene Fishman, LCSW and Jenni with NEDA staff Susie Roman and Elizabeth Saviteer.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
FREE Community event at Arizona State University as a part of Body Pride Week, 6:30 PM, MU 230. For more information, visit http://www.asu.edu/studentaffairs/mu/clubs/BodyPride.htm or email Ryan at [email protected] Book/CD signing to follow event. Sponsored by Center for Change.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Center for Change Family Week
Jenni will be speaking with patients and their family members at Center for Change. This event is not open to the general public. For more information about Center for Change, visit http://www.centerforchange.com.
Author, Life Without Ed and Goodbye Ed, Hello Me
Consultant, Center for Change, http://www.centerforchange.com
Ambassador Council, National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), http://www.myneda.org
Follow me on Twitter: http ://twitter.com/JenniSchaefer
http://www.jennischaefer.com – Please check out my NEW music CD!