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Cherish the Season with Compassion

The Earth has entered the season of stillness, encouraging us to go inward. As we go inward, we give ourselves the gifts of reflection, healing and clarity while uncovering the gifts of gratitude and generosity.

Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks asked four local contributors to share their thoughts: Lana Ryder, sound and energy practitioner and founder of Soundwise Healing; Kimberlee Peifer, associate for contemplative prayer and practices at Saint James Episcopal Church; Marcy Tocker, MA, clinical mental health counselor, equine-assisted therapist and founder of Grey Muzzle Manor; and Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, board-certified trainer of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. 

“Shifting language can invite gratitude,” says Peifer. “Write down tasks that have to be done. Next, rewrite those same sentences using the language ‘I get to.’ Finally, rewrite that same sentence and add ‘when so many others cannot.’ For example: I have to buy gifts for my family. I get to buy gifts for my family. I get to buy gifts for my family when so many others cannot.A simple language shift can bring more gratitude and joy during the holidays.”

“If we treat all people with kindness, acceptance and non-judgement, we are reminding them that they are not alone,” explains Tocker. “Generosity can be holding space and walking alongside each other showing that we understand. It can be an extra smile, patience, a simple word. All of these things are not only expressions of gratitude for what we have but acts of generosity in the biggest way possible.”

“The holidays are the zenith of opportunity for expressing generosity,” shares Ryder. “While material gifts can be part of that, the gifts of grace, compassion, inclusivity and forgiveness are needed. We can stay above the frenzy and let our light shine through generosity of spirit by practicing patience, giving the gift of time or granting instant forgiveness wrapped with a smile.”

“At this time of the year, I ask myself, ‘What will make this holiday season meaningful for me,’” explains Carnabucci. “This is a simple question, although it demands consideration and thoughtfulness about what is most necessary for the nourishing of our spirit. Once asked, then answered, we are able to find a direction. For me, and I think most people, we are seeking genuine connection with one another.”


Lana Ryder, 610-301-4356; Kimberlee Peifer, 717-397-4858; Marcy Tocker, 610-655-5271; Karen Carnabucci, 717-466-0788;

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