Winter Solstice Letter 2012

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Dear Family and Friends:

I am rather late writing this greeting, not only because I have been somewhat over involved in some of my activities, but because I decided to focus my reading for the last few days, on a new book just out, called: "The End of Your Life Book Club". Although it sounds somewhat dark, it is actually one of the most life-affirming books I've ever read. It is written by Will Schwalbe, a former publisher, about his two years ‘of being in a book club with his ailing mother. Mary Ann Schwalbe was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and was a great reader, among many other professions and attributes. Many of the books mentioned, described and discussed, I have read, but was amazed at the applications of meanings in most of them, which Will and his mother revealed and practiced in their lives and work. Mary lived for over two years with cancer, while receiving treatment for it, reading and sometimes re-reading books. I can thoroughly recommend this book, whether or not you might have a relative or friend with a life-threatening condition. It is warm in its description of family, friends and the benefits of a life devoted to serving others.

For Peter and me, it has been a busy, but successful year. Although I have more young students in my studio, I am delivering instruction in new ways. I enjoy it very much. My adult students are just as enjoyable, wanting to learn with more depth and willing to branch out to new material. I've written considerably more poetry, but no recent articles. I have yet to begin writing my novel and play.

I continue to be at home in the Harmelodic Club, with its membership of lively, multi-talented women musicians. Although we did not produce a concert this past year, on February 10, 2013, we will present a concert of Celtic music. It will be a joint benefit concert, split between Mackay United Church, and the Harmelodic Club. I am the co-producer, as well as one of the performers. One of my compositions, "Shepherd's Wail", will be performed by one of our members. I have found that, once again, animals are some of my best teachers for imparting the elements of unconditional love. Our cat, MIKO, was lost this past February, for thirty-eight days. It was thanks to neighbours who read closely my colour-printed flyer, who caught a glimpse of him in their yard, and then, called me. When I successfully returned him home, I was in tears. He does go out, but stays very close by, visiting immediate neighbours' gardens and under-deck shelters. He comes when he is called, and is very affectionate.

I've had to admit that I've had my challenges with unconditional love. I have not really understood the simple complexity of its profundities. I've been afraid of it, from having trusted, when very young, much too easily, and then not been able to read accurately, the obvious signs of it. I have made mistakes. I do not always know how to remedy them. For the last few months, I have often thought about what I should do with the energy I have now. I don't have the huge amount, (which seemed endless); I had when I was younger. I never thought I'd run out of energy. Yet another misconception!

I know that many Solstice Letters written by others are usually just an account of the events in their lives, but this past year has been one which has enabled me to reflect on experiences from different perspectives. Several friends have recovered from cancer. Others have had close relatives die from cancer and other diseases. Weeks and months fly by so quickly, I often believe that there is no way I can control the moments when I'm with those I love.

What I am trying to do is to become even more acutely aware, in every part of me, when I'm with you, either by phone, in person, or even by e-mail, is how uniquely wonderful you are in your being with me in any given moment or hour. Being with family and friends gives me energy. I hope I can return some to you.

When I perform onstage, I feel the energy of the audience, which then I return with my music, poetry or addresse. It is a peak experience for me. When I am viewing the interactions of parts of a single cell on TV or on a website, I experience this deep thrill just as much. It is the magic spark when energy becomes matter and matter becomes energy. It is in constant flux and multiplication.

Perhaps unconditional love is more like the actions of cells, animals and our own inner animal nature. I am grateful to each and all of you for being who you are. I am glad that I am able to be in touch with you in different ways. I'm happy that Peter and I have had a mainly healthy year; that those loved ones of ours have also had a healthy and mainly happy year.

December 21 is the shortest day. Each and every day until June 21, will be ever longer. Peter and I wish you many days of continual growing into the day light, to give you many peak experiences. Even in your sad days, may you remember family and friends who helped you laugh.


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