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A rock found by my friend Ralph MacIntyre while he was choosing not to be stressed out by holiday shopping.

Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice ? the darkest time of year in the Northern hemisphere.

We are gearing up for the Fourth Annual Personal and Planetary Intention-Setting on New Year?s Day and the following is a rewritten version of an article I have posted in the past that will help you understand why setting intentions at this time of year follows the natural cycles of evolution and transformation that guide our human lives.

It has become a tradition for me to post this article during the holidays. I find it gives me comfort to remember the significance of the holiday season at deeper levels. I hope it does for you too.

Here you go. Enjoy!

It’s the holiday season, and at least in the Western world one of the ways we honor this natural progression of the seasons is by shopping. We spend and buy more during this time of year than any other.

Regardless of your belief system or what you celebrate, I’m sure you have noticed this ?natural? increase in consumerism. Many of us experience inner conflict about participating in this collective behavior, even though we may be more than tempted to indulge in the discounts, the gift-giving, and the opportunity to have new things. Why do we do it?

Let?s take a deeper look.

In natural rhythms and cycles of the seasons, at least in our largely Northern hemisphere collective ancestry, Christmas and other winter holidays fall near the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year. In the not too distant past, we very literally experienced dwindling food supplies, struggles to remain healthy, and dark and cold that was unmitigated by electricity and fossil fuels. Reaching deep inside to affirm that the light was returning, that abundance would come, that spring rebirth would bring the promise of continuing for another year, we celebrated.

Celebration in the time of darkness is a prayer.

Celebration and gift-giving are ways of claiming your birthright to the abundance life has to offer, even when you experience lack. It is a time to think about what you need, what you have to give, and what makes others happy. It is a way to affirm that life is full of love and joy, even when we are sometimes challenged to feel that way.

So, whether you are shopping, making things, or sharing time with others, allow yourself to embody this deeper truth: that you are celebrating the abundance life has to offer. Buy, and give and receive, with intention. Make it fun.

When you make your holiday purchases with conscious intention, you can do so as an affirmation of true abundance. Don?t expect yourself to give or be given the ?perfect? gift, but allow yourself to symbolically give and receive an affirmation of life.

And when you are asked, ?what do you want for Christmas?? look deeper. Let yourself reach for what you would not ordinarily ask for.

Perhaps there is an old habit or pattern that is ready to die in the darkness of the season. While surrendering to the darkness, you can dream the future. You can imagine new realities into being.

This season as the light returns, it is time to stretch beyond your comfort zone. Reach for the world you want to live in. Allow in the love and support that helps you move away from reactions based upon fear and toward the joy and passion of being who you really are. Uncover what you are capable of creating. Your darkest moments are your greatest gifts, because within them lie the opportunity to surrender to new possibilities.

In choosing your intentions to affirm life and to align with abundance, you are claiming new possibilities for your life and the world.

As we move into 2016, may your wildest dreams manifest before your very eyes.

Join us on New Year?s Day for the 2016 Personal and Planetary Intention-Setting to learn more about how natural cycles of healing and evolution can help you manifest the life and world you want.