This Christmas some of you may be feeling that it’s hard to find something for which to be jolly. However, this is exactly the sort of time, when I am exhausted, disgusted and annoyed as hell, that my favorite word becomes my mantra. That word is…and.

The election was a zoo. Never in the history of our country has an election become crasser, more combative, fraught with hostility and filled with far flung, ridiculous accusations. And, only in this country, with our democracy could this occur. Only here, could two diametrically opposed candidates provide people with such an obvious choice. Good, bad or indifferent, only here can people say their truth, whatever that truth may be, even if it’s not the truth at all.

We have experienced the worst weather in history, with the highest number of deaths and the greatest devastation to homes and communities ever. And, for the first time people who believed global warming was a farce, are only now beginning to understand the ramifications of that denial.

We have the worst addiction rates in the history of this country.  And, there are more sober-living homes, more AA meetings and other centers of support, more compassion and knowledge around this issue than ever before.

When I started teaching spirituality in the early 70’s people called me the next Jim Jones. And, today there are in excess of 300 million web sites and many more teachers than that, who teach consciousness and spirituality.

In 1982, I fasted thirty-seven days on water for the E.R.A. Women across the country had ratified the amendment in all the states but five and we only need three more to pass it. The insurance companies bought off the Senators who had promised us their vote so they could continue to charge women higher premiums. Today we pay women seventy-nine cents on the dollar and minority women earn sixty-three to fifty-four-cents on the dollar depending upon ethnicity. At the rate of change between 1960 and 2015, women are not expected to reach pay equity with men until 2070. And, there are more women owned and managed companies than ever before, more glass ceiling shattered than ever before and more women supporting women in business than ever before. Women can now run for President.  In other words, women have stopped asking for equality and we are giving it to ourselves and each other.

Here is the point, in every situation and circumstance there is always an and. Whether it’s a personal challenge or a universal one, there is always an and.  Too often we forget that and become overwhelmed by the micro awareness instead of the macro.

This is a time to be joyful and grateful. The choices about who we want to be and how we want to act are crystal clear. There is no middle ground. You are either principled or not, truthful or not, loving and compassionate or not. This is not a time when we can be half-hearted about anything, and that is a great thing. It’s bumping all of us up a notch.

During the Holidays, we can spend an hour or two doing nothing except being together. We make time to take in the scents and sounds of the day, the laughter, the conversations, the music and the sharing. Every color seems more vivid, every expression a bit more poignant and every minute together more precious. And, in a country that abhors and avoids feelings like a plague, we allow ourselves to feel the full gambit of them on the holidays. We give into the moment and the feelings on Holidays.

So, here is a feeling from Together AZ for you. Each month, Barbara and each of the columnists sit down, we breath and we take a moment to feel what you might most want or need to hear from us. And then, we let it flow with a sense of joy and gratitude, hoping it touches each of you in some way that is meaningful. We invite you to let us know how we are doing and to let us know what you want to hear more about. We are incredibly grateful that you have given us a way to fulfill our purpose and share the thoughts of our hearts and soul. And so from all of us, to all of you, we wish you profound, connected moments with every and your heart desires.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2016. All rights reserved.  No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author.  Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.