|Humor & Hope
She was an Italian immigrant in New Jersey, a hard-working, frugal, Catholic single mother who lost her husband in WWII. She spent most days of her life as a spooler in a thread factory, retiring just before her job was automated. Her English was good, but she didnt always catch the finer points. She sang Italian opera arias just for pleasure.
One Christmas in the mid 1950s, the local tree lot advertised a new miracle preservative that would keep the needles on the (fresh-cut) tree, and keep it green. She paid extra for a small apartment-sized one, took it home and decorated it. When Christmas was over, the tree still looked good. So, she wrapped it up in newspaper, fully decorated, and put it away. The next year, she unwrapped it to find the paper full of needles. The tree was just a pathetic stick, with most of the decorations still on it. She was my aunt Elsie, and I know this story because she told this joke on herself year after year, and everyone would laugh. She lived every day with hope and a sense of humor.
Now, when I look back from the perspective of my own life, I see this as a metaphor for how she used humor to ease all the disappointments and losses of life. Every year brings new wonders, new achievements, and also loss. If we can view the losses with a sense of humor, pick ourselves up and hope again, we will also be more present when the gifts are revealed.
Richard and I enjoy doing this ceremony on New Years Eve and on our anniversary. You may want to make it an ongoing part of your relationship, too. Im sending this January newsletter a bit early, so you can join us in spirit.
Youll need paper and pencils. If you have a fireplace, get two small paper bagsif not, a large ashtray and some matches, and a new calendar that includes December 31, 2004.
Make two separate lists. On the first, list what youd like to eliminate from your lifehassles, difficulties, deprivations, disappointments, worriesthis is the release list.
The second list is the creation listwhat youd like to bring into or create in your life and relationship to replace what youre releasing.
Once youve written and shared your lists, crumple up the "elimination" list. If you have a fire in a fireplace, get your paper bag, put the list in it, blow in some air, twist the top tight and toss it in the fire. It will pouf into flame and be consumed. Or, simply light your list with a match or from a candle and place it in the big ashtray. As it does this, say out loud, I release this energy into the universe to be transformed into something more useful.
Do this as ceremoniously as you like. If you like tradition and ritual, have music, candles, incense, etc. Make your lists as simple or as fancy and artistic as you wish. If youre religious, include a reference to your God or goddess. For example, you can turn your release list over to a saint, to Jesus to Gaia or to your Higher Power and ask for your "creations" from the same source.
Then, take your creation lists and tape them on the calendar page one year from todays date. Theres nothing more to do for one year, until that day rolls around.
On that day, take out your lists, and youll be surprised at how much of what you wanted to create youve accomplished. Richard and I find this a delightful, encouraging process to do twice a year. We include lots of friends in the New Years Eve ceremony but keep our wedding anniversary ceremony private.
Our New Years Wish For You
We wish for you
A table of friends
Where the food is abundant
and the fun never ends
A holiday bright
With peace and good cheer
That continues to bless you
Throughout the new year.
May laughter and love
Find you day after day
And may many blessings
Come swiftly your way
We wish you a new year
To make your heart sing
Where the Spirit of Love
Brings you every good thing.
Tina B.Tessina & Richard N. Sharrard
© 2003 Tina B. Tessina
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