Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas and the blessed baby

I’m not a member of any organised religion but because of where and when I was born, the Christian symbols and stories are the ones I’m most familiar with.

Of all the Christian symbols, the blessed baby speaks to me most strongly. I very frequently dream about babies, and these dreams always carry a wave of positive emotion, along with a sense of magic and mystery.

A baby is a bright bridge to the future, something fresh and new. During politically and socially turbulent times such as these, we might look to the future with fear and apprehension, but the baby is innocence of the open, trusting heart.

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Every Christmas, even though I’m not a Christian, I feel inspired by the archetypal energy of the blessed baby. I take time to contemplate and focus on celebrating every thing and every person that I love.

Family and friends, of course; people I’ve met and people I’ve yet to meet. Writing and teaching. Books, art exhibitions, theatre. The moors and coasts of Cornwall, where I live; the amazing cities I still have to visit.

This robin I can see right now, in the hedge outside my window. This coffee.

Every big and tiny thing we love reflects love back to us, warming and lighting our hearts.

My blog is both a big and tiny thing; it’s big for me, but tiny in the blogosphere. I love that some people come back again and again, until I feel I’ve got to know them, and some drop in from Africa or Hong Kong or Norway, giving me a sense of connection across the globe.

I haven’t had time to blog these last few weeks because I’ve been busy promoting my new book, Free-Range Writing, but I didn’t want to let Christmas go by without saying a warm seasonal thank-you.

Happy Christmas, and may you be touched by the archetypal power of the blessed baby, whether you follow any particular faith or none.

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What does Christmas mean to you?

Christmas can be the most wonderful time, or the most bleak, depending on what’s going on in your life. We associate the festive season with abundance, and as much as it can be an opportunity to celebrate all the good things we have, it can also heighten our awareness of what we lack.

Money, certainly, with so much pressure on us to buy, buy, buy. For some people, a home. Family maybe, or friends. Or a specific family member, now departed, or a specific friend. Like most people, I’ve had some very bleak Christmases in my life, but I’ve never stopped loving Christmas.

Because for me, Christmas is about love. The birth of love in the world, the symbolic baby which, in difficult times, is the gift of hope for a better future.

I think that in the modern world we can sometimes have too narrow an idea of love. We tend only to think of it in terms of other people – children, parents, siblings, wider family and friends. But love is much bigger than that.

We can experience a deep love and sense of connection with our environment, or our work, or our inner world, which is just as transforming as love within relationships.

Carl Jung says the creative mind plays with the objects it loves, and whatever else is going on in my life, I always love the beautiful objects of my imagination, which I meet on the page or in dreams. That love is a force behind all my work, including this blog.

Love of every kind enlarges us, holds and inspires us. When we’re with someone we love, or doing something we love, or in a place we love, we’re not thinking, we’re just being. Time future and past is gone, and we are truly present.

You can call it God, this context in which we lose our small self. You can call it Nature, Great Spirit, Soul, or simply Love. Whatever we love redeems us from the lonely responsibility of feeling we are all that there is.

Love does not depend on money, home, family, friends – it’s a force in the world, and in our human nature. More than ever in these turbulent times, when we can feel helpless and in despair, love is a choice we can always make.

For me, Christmas feels like a reminder of that, in case we forget.

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This Christmas, may you feel blessed. 

 

Coming up to Christmas, a gift from my dreams

I had a complicated relationship with my mother for many years, although we’re a little closer now. So it was wonderful to have this gift of a dream in the run-up to Christmas.

My mother when she was young
My mother when she was young

It was just a cameo, the briefest of scenes, but very vivid. We were in an open field on a bright sunny day, my mother and me, with green grass and meadow flowers all around.

In the middle of the field, there was a big scrubbed wooden kitchen table, a free-standing cooker and another smaller table with a red and white checked tablecloth flapping in the breeze.

My mother was making cakes, stirring the mixture, spooning it into the tins, putting them into the oven and bringing the ones that had finished cooking out.

She was too busy to talk to me, or even look at me, but I felt very happy to be there, helping. I cut the freshly baked cakes into squares and arranged them on my mother’s beautiful cake stands and favourite china plates.

The ‘I’ in the dream was so happy that I, the dreamer, noticed it and realised why. It was because my mother was young again, just like when I was little. I looked more closely, I savoured the moment.

A dream like this is a gift because when you are aware in the dream, you experience it exactly as if it was real life. I didn’t just dream about my mother; I was with her in a bright meadow, making cakes.

It reminded me of Christmases when I was little. My mother was always frantically busy, because she worked full time and had four children to look after, yet every Christmas day the whole family came to our house; uncles and aunties, cousins and grandparents, all squeezed in around every table and chair we could find or borrow.

Those childhood Christmases were my mother’s gifts to me, and I’m sure they were the seeds of my love for all things Christmassy today even though, because of our long estrangement, I planted them so far away.

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I’ve gone for understated this year!

Happy Christmas everyone. May your Christmas dreams be sweet.