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A healthy dose of Easter (03/26/2008)
By Janet Lewis Burns
Skip the sugar and go for the spice! The spice of life can be different things to different people. The individuals who cross our paths richly season life, as one encounter leads to another throughout a lifetime.

Lent is a season that can lead us to reflect on our physical health. Many, realizing that they've been negligent, choose this time to "give up" certain foods and habits that inhibit good health, a noteworthy sacrifice.

Maybe one should consider, it's not so much what I "give up" for Lent; it can be a time of healing through positive life changes in my relationships with others, through forgiveness, and by nurturing my spirit for peace of mind beyond the Easter season.

A healthy measure of ceremony can lead to spiritual awakening. Easter Sunday celebrations abound, with sunrise services, their trumpets' resonant ushering of sun's first rays, Mass and church services with their hallelujahs resounding with joy, and choirs overflowing with spiritual energy!

The idea of enhancement through ceremony led me to Alexandra Stoddard's "Tea Celebrations - The Way to Serenity." With soothing words, she writes, "Tea helps a soul to ripen. Serenity and contentment are the result of this transformed awareness. The steeped tea leaves are not as significant to the soul as the time and space and beauty associated with the ritual."

For some reason, Stoddard's comments reminded me of Dolores Curran, who once wrote a column for the Catholic paper, "The Courier". We corresponded briefly before she left that position following her December 1997 article. Dolores sent me a letter from Donegal, Ireland, on 9/12/97. Enclosed was a sprig of heather from the village, where her family had rented a primitive cottage for six weeks every fall, maybe they still do.

I've just retrieved her letter to find the sprig of heather enclosed in clear plastic, its intricate design and lavender hue perfectly preserved. I had been searching for one of many columns of Dolores' that had made an impacting impression on me. I remembered that she wrote about how, in life, we are called upon to be "human doings" versus human beings only. I found the article of my search in a bulging file of correspondence from readers, precious communications.

Actually, Dolores wrote about how December can be looked at as an uninvited interruption, as one is bogged down with Christmas preparations and extra busy-ness. Yes, I realize that this happens to be Easter, not Yuletide! Her message is so year-round!

Dolores writes, " Much too late, I discovered that doing isn't our purpose in life. It doesn't bring joy but stress and a constant desire for more. I no longer view drop-in friends, family visits, or spontaneous unplanned activity as an interruption but as a gift to take advantage of now because now is the time in which we live, not yesterday or tomorrow."

I haven't heard from Dolores Curran since that letter from Donegal. Here's hoping that she is well and sharing her beautiful insights with those around her. That reminds me of something someone else said. (It seems I'm full of that!) A young student asked his instructor, "How do you know when your purpose in life is done?" The Monk replied, "If you're still alive, you're not done yet."

As Easter leads to full-blown springtime, I sit within the glow of a new day's dawning, my steaming cup of English Teatime cradled in my hands. I'm reading some of the letters I'd saved, immersed in harmony - mind, body, and soul. Dolores' sprig of heather is as vibrant as the first crocus poking through earth and as alive in this moment as the promise of fields of wildflowers and lush crops.

One thing leads to another, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Enter the ceremony with your entire being.

A healthy dose of Easter to all.

Janet Burns is a lifelong resident of Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com



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