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Self Care vs Being Selfish

December 2019

Greetings Friends!


As always, I hope this letter finds you happy, healthy, ...and feeling loved


Well, it's beginning to look a lot like the holidays! Even if you don't celebrate anything, it's really hard to miss, isn't it? Whether you're driving through the neighborhood, grocery shopping, listening to the radio, or (heaven forbid) you turn on the Hallmark know it's happening. Ready or not.


And I'm ready! Well mostly ready. I'm always ready for the season that encourages spreading good cheer and giving to others. It's sort of my jam. I love the smells (and taste!) of the foods that remind me of happy times with my family and spending time with friends. I love celebrating traditions that remind me of our true spirit - love and kindness. The holidays are an opportunity to see the best in ourselves and others.


It's also an opportunity for cozy pajamas, curling up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa, and watching "Elf" on repeat. These days, that's my idea of holiday heaven on earth. And up until yesterday, that's exactly how I was envisioning spending Christmas day this year. And I was actually excited about it!


For years (50 to be exact), my Christmas day looked something like this - wake up, cook a couple side dishes (or the entire turkey dinner), finish wrapping presents, and head to my parent's to spend the day with my brothers and sister and grandparents. Or they would all come to ours. We gather around the tree, open presents, eat, laugh, drink, and be merry. Of course, I did a lot less cooking when I was little, but you get the picture. We were an interesting bunch (imagine the Griswolds with fancy dishes). I cherish those times with my family and have wonderful memories. But over time, things have changed. My grandparents now join us in Spirit. My one brother lives in VA Beach with his fiance, my other brother moved to Maine with his wife and daughter, and my sister is in San Francisco with her partner. Once my grandparents passed, it seemed as though they were the glue that held the holidays together because we rarely are able to get the whole gang together at the same time anymore. It's a little sad because it meant our traditions were no longer traditions. They were beautiful memories.


I have come to terms with this. My mother has not. So every holiday, she still gets a little melancholy when everyone isn't home to gather around the family table. But she insists on having a big dinner with all the trimmings in the hopes that everybody will magically appear. My husband and I show up since we still live close by. Sometimes I host, sometimes Dad does (Mom is unable to cook or clean....but she's good at directing). Sometimes my niece joins, sometimes my brother comes home. Every few years, my other brother or sister come to town. But lately, holiday and birthday celebrations look a lot like an odd double date with my parents. Which is totally fine. It's nice to spend time with them. I don't, however, like feeling like we have to do things for the sake of tradition. My brothers and sister have branched out and are creating their own traditions. They hold our past Christmases close to their hearts but they have also embraced change. So why can't we? Well, surprisingly I can. My husband can. My parents? Not so much. One year, for example, I suggested that we not exchange gifts....and instead, donate to our favorite charities. That was shot down quickly. Another year, I thought it would be nice to cook a ham instead of a turkey. Nope. How about we eat out? That was not even up for debate. So, to keep the peace...I go with their flow. I know it means a lot to my Mom....and Dad, too (happy wife, happy life!)

This year, my brother announced that he would be hosting Christmas in VA Beach. We won't be able to go because my husband has to work. And since I recently hosted Thanksgiving, I was more than happy to pass the torch. I enjoy family time, but it can be extremely draining for me (physically, mentally, energetically). Shoot, I still feel like I'm recovering from last week! And I was also happy that my parents would be getting to spend time with my brother. Sure, I'd miss spending Christmas day with them. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved. No pressure to clean or cook. No pressure to make sure there were plenty of presents to unwrap (that's another thing that's very important to Mom...she likes a lot under the tree no matter what). No pressure to stand in for the rest of the family that Mom really wanted to see, but couldn't be there. My brother was taking the reins and I was pretty stoked. I was actually looking forward to spending a quiet day at home with Paul. Takeout? Maybe. Visit with friends? Possibly. Volunteer? Also could happen. Go for a hike? Sure. Lay on the couch all day? Most likely Yes!!!! Merry Christmas to me!


It's not that I don't care to celebrate. I was just relieved of the pressure to recreate the idyllic family experience when the family gatherings just don't look the same anymore. I can celebrate in other ways and make new traditions. Between the Light Works holiday party, a few plans with friends, and my lazy day Christmas, I was looking forward to the upcoming weeks. In fact, I found myself whistling "I'll Be Home For Christmas". Life is good!


So where is all of this going, you ask? Well, as of yesterday, I was still unsure about what to write about this month. I decided to pull some cards for inspiration and here are the three I pulled:

“Round and Round” - Are you refusing to see your own personal responsibility for repeating lessons you don’t need to relearn? You have to surrender now to the fact that you are the common denominator in all these repeat performances. Be happy, for this is a wonderful spot to be in! You can now see the cycles that you wish to exit.


“Not for You” - Don’t chase after what flees from you. Don’t obsess over what eludes you. Don’t bang your head against the wall. There is nothing romantic about what is unavailable, no prize given for torturing yourself, and nothing to be gained by refusing to see the red flags that have been waving since you began your pursuit.


“MAIDEN MA GU” - Maiden Ma Gu, an immortal expression of the Divine Mother of the East, now brings you a special message from Kuan Yin. She guides you to trust that if you enter into the darkness of the unknown parts of yourself, you will emerge into light, reassembled and reborn once more. If you are going through chaos in your life, because you are allowing yourself to grow, Maiden Ma Gu also reassures you that the order and light will emerge out of the chaos in due course. Have faith and keep growing!


("Round and Round" and "Not For You" from the Colette Baron Reid "Wisdom of the Oracle" deck; "Maiden Ma Gu" from the Alan Fairchild "Kuan Yin Oracle" deck)

Nice cards, I guess. But I really wasn't sure what I was supposed to make of them or how they related to what was going on in my world. And I certainly didn't have any 'aha' moments about what to write. My Mom had called as I was pulling cards and I thought that maybe I got distracted, broke my energetic connection with my spirit team, and pulled the 'wrong' cards (I'm sure my team thinks that's funny...they just love when I second guess them). So I decided to put the newsletter aside for a while and give my parents a call back.


Turns out, they aren't planning to go to my brother's for Christmas after all. They don't feel comfortable traveling for various reasons. So now, Christmas in NoVa is back on and the question is whether they will come here or we will go there (which loosely translates to "we want to come to your house"). And while I probably should be excited about the news, the truth is that I'm not. And I feel guilty. As much as I love them, I was really excited about the freedom of having no obligation to anyone other than myself this time. And now I feel selfish. And now I know what the cards mean.


Some of the major spiritual themes for me this year are related to surrender, healing old wounds, releasing guilt, and exercising self care.


The Round and Round card speaks to "lessons" that keep coming up until we break the cycles. In this case, it's about putting myself first. There are times when it's important for me to do for others and there are times when it's important to honor my own needs and wants. Now is one of those times. I have to trust that when I do, everyone will be okay. In fact, everyone will be better than okay (as the little fearful voice inside my head screams....ooooh, Mom is going to be so pissed!)


The Not For You card speaks to my tendency to try and ram the square peg in the round hole. This means going against what my gut is telling me. Saying "yes" to something I don't really want to do. My internal compass is pointing to my Christmas couch day because I likely need that day for me...for whatever reason. If I offer to spend days cooking, cleaning, and hosting, I will most likely regret that decision.


The Maiden Magu card reminds me that growth only comes from looking at my shadows (judgments, good or bad, of myself) and recognizing the importance of working through them. And that others are presenting themselves and lovingly playing roles for me to work on my own unique life lessons. The message in this card also speaks to rebirth and new light once the lessons are learned. Traditions are great but sometimes things change. And sometimes life happens to bring an awareness to places within us that need healing.


So who knows what we'll end up doing. I'll probably meditate on this some more for clarity and ask my team for some assistance. Perhaps my parents will come over Christmas day, we'll eat donuts for breakfast, order Chinese for dinner, lay around in our pjs, and watch movie. Or maybe I'll take Christmas off and we can get together for New Year's. We shall see. As of right now, I think the moral of this story is for me to honor traditions when I can, give love and energy when I can, and that sometimes I will make memories with my family and friends....and sometimes I need a break. And that's okay.


I understand that my story my not speak to you and that's okay, too. As always, take what resonates and leave the rest. I also realize that there are many of you who are missing your loved ones this year, and would give your right arm to have another holiday with your beloved family members and friends. If you've experienced loss, have fallen on hard times, or are feeling disconnected from your loved ones, the holidays can be especially tough. If that's you, know that I am sending some extra love your way.

If you are planning on celebrating family traditions that are still standing the test of time, I think that is beautiful! If you are exploring new ways of celebrating this year, I am excited for you, too! Know that whatever you do or wherever you are, I wish you all a very happy holiday season!


Sending love out to all those who need/want it and prayers to those who may be hurting today. May you find peace in your heart and a smile on your face no matter what is happening in your world And if you need a place to go to lift your spirits, I hope you'll stop by sometime

Here's what's happening at Light Works this month...


First, to celebrate the holiday season, there are TWO specials this month that I want to share with you:


Special #1 - Speaking of holiday traditions....don't miss the Light Work's 4th Annual Holiday Party on December 7th! Come out and enjoy some food, drink, and some holiday cheer at Old Town Sports Pub in Manassas. There will also be door prizes and White Elephant gift exchange. Click here for more details and to RSVP. Hope to see you there!


Special #2 - Gift Certificates are a great way to gift someone a reading, a Reiki session, animal communication, or a class or workshop. And this month, when you purchase $100 in gift receive a $25 gift certificate for yourself! Click here for more information!


Then on December 8th, guest psychic medium Theresa Tinsley will be visiting to teach us all about the energetic cleansing art of smudging at "Smudge Stick Make & Take with Theresa!" If you're looking for a fun and creative activity, and an opportunity to learn about the use of burning natural plant material to cleanse your space, look no further! We'll begin with an informational segment and then we'll create our own unique masterpieces to take home.


Are you a Reiki Level I practitioner ready to take your Reiki Level I training to the next level? We've got Usui Ryoho Reiki Level II Certification class on December 14th. Reiki isn't just a healing modality. It's a lifestyle that promotes self well as physical, emotional, and Spiritual health. Become certified as a Level II practitioner to help others...and yourself!! Are you a massage therapist looking for a class that offers CE credit hours that you can apply towards your license requirements? Receive 6 CE hours when you take this class!


Next, I'll be teaching Meditation with Connect with Spirit! on December 15th. Want to learn how to connect with Spirit? In this class, you'll learn my method of connecting with the angels, spirit guides, and loved ones...and, yes, anyone can do it


Enjoy pulling cards for yourself? Interested in learning more about using card decks for guidance or validation in your daily life? Well then you might want to check out Fun with Angel & Oracle Cards! on December 18th. We'll talk a little while about the different ways you can use card decks and then we'll practice pulling cards for ourselves and for each other. No experience needed - all are welcome!


And lastly, on December 21st join us a Sound Bath Meditation with Biansa! Allow Ansa to guide you through a world of sound vibration for a deep cellular experience of alignment that will leave you feeling rested and connected! Enjoy the sounds of singing bowls, chimes, gongs, and much more. A Sound Bath can be an unforgettable sound experience for those who seek deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and an acceleration of their inward journey.


So, these are just a few of the things happening this month at Light Works.


As always, new things are popping up on the Light Works Meetup page . Be sure to join the group to receive announcements. Stay tuned, stay connected, and stay in touch!


Sending lots of healing energy and LOVE to you all...hope to see you soon!


In love & light,


Juli Richardson

Certified Reiki Master Teacher, Psychic Medium, & Animal Communicator

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