Winter Reflections-Guest blog by Jean Houston

Dear Friends:

Each holiday season, we witness the lights of Hanukah, friends coming together to share good wishes, and of course retell the story of Christmas. The winter solstice is considered the zenith of darkness. Lights fill the night streets, dance on the ceremonial candles and sparkle on trees as if to beckon the light back into our future days.

This year, the concept of moving from darkness into light seems especially poignant. The many memories of this past year, the financial upheavals, the both painful and inspiring transitions in governments, the medical breakthroughs, the proliferation of virtual communities, the challenges in education, the acute presence of global warming, and the courage of average citizens of every country influences every one of my days. Now, as one of the closing memories of the year, we have the tragedy of Sandy Hook school that reverberates through us like an earthquake of consciousness.

When President Obama read the names of those killed, he personalized each child, teacher and the principal for me. In once sentence, he reminded me that I was as connected to each of them as I am to my family. In fact, through our collective outrage and grief, we melded into a common family of compassion and tenderness for these, our children, and the senselessness of the act of a disturbed young man, who is of our family as well.

I believe that what we are witnessing now, is not unlike the dance between the darkness and light that we see around us this time of year. The unsettling absence of light demands that we become aware, observe the shadows more deeply and together create the call for a higher vision for our world. This must be done with such conviction that through action and faith, we make it a reality.

One of the most significant differences today is that we are not expecting the government, or other official bodies to set the course of change, but that people everywhere are asking the painful questions of what it takes to birth alternatives that are wise, just and inclusive. Without waiting for permission, individuals, companies and groups, are stepping into action. In our time, it is for each of us to not just beckon the light, but to become it so that our families grow stronger, our communities knit tighter relationships and anything that divides us from each other, and from our earth is transcended.

Each of us will have our opinions about what it will take to insure that the slaughter of innocents is not repeated. As the New Year approaches, I find that any apathy I may have had has dissolved. As the children of Sandy Hook are our children, so are the children of Afghanistan, Africa, India, and other countries, our children. We see their broken bodies flash across our news screens and never know their names, yet they are ours. Now, more than ever, let 2013, be the year of decisive action where we take the time and make the effort to understand the darkness that needs to be released and find a way to make our voices heard.

I am overwhelmed by the strength that every person has within them, and the even greater strength that we represent together. I celebrate you and bless you for allowing your heart to break open and usher in the light of hope, of vision and action. You are my family, and I know that together we will build a lasting legacy that is worthy of the world and all within it that we cherish.

In deepest gratitude for your powerful voice,

Jean Houston

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