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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Letter from the Publisher, November/December 2022

Oct 30, 2022 12:32PM ● By Jessica Coffey
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ~ Dr. Seuss

Dear readers, it has been an amazing run – 20 years of Natural Awakenings in Richmond. I’ve
been with the magazine for the past nine-and-a-half, and they have been beautiful,
transformative years. Thank you for your support and love of this incredible publication. I have
witnessed the holistic community in this city grow and evolve as the lessons I have learned from
the wisdom conveyed on these pages and from the amazing practitioners in our community have
changed me for the better. However, it is time for this chapter to end for me. Professionally, my
energy is being called elsewhere. Please remain on the lookout for local holistic businesses and
practitioners and continue supporting the wonderful work they are doing to create healthy living
on a healthy planet. I hope our paths will cross again soon, perhaps at a farmers market, the
VegFest, the Folk Festival, down by the James, at a class or workshop at a yoga studio or The
Innerwork Center, at a vegan-friendly restaurant or at a holistic practitioner’s office... There are
so many ways to learn, grow and heal in our wonderful city. And that will not change. I will miss
this way of connecting with all of you, but I know that as this door closes others will open and I
am excited by that prospect.

As always, I like to share some inspiration in my letter, and I love what Marlaina Donato has to
say in her article, Season of Light: Celebrating the Soul of Winter. I have started a self-study in
plant medicine and find myself connecting more and more with the natural world. I think this
speaks to that and I hope it speaks to you as well:

Inevitably, the wheel of the year turns with nuances of the seasons hardly noticed in
the blur of our busy days. “Next year,” we say, when we realize that we’ve run out of
time to try that holiday recipe, connect with friends or revel in a winter sunset.
Collecting small joys takes us out of survival mode and into wide-awake living. Pausing
to sip from winter’s steaming cup of comfort can be the perfect way to begin a new
chapter that prompts us to come back to the center.

In the ancient world, fire festivals marked holy days celebrating the sun’s promise of
return and supplied felicity in a time of hardship. Today, something inside our ancestral
memories makes us crave celebration as we wrap the year’s end in shiny ribbon,
ethereal lights and scented candles. Singing, chanting or caroling this time of
year—“old-fashioned” pastimes—were ancient elements of winter’s revels that invited
benevolent energy and chased away bad luck. While most of us no longer grace our
neighbors with song, raising our voices to any capacity can be an offering, an invitation
to hope and beauty. Singing multicultural songs with the kids, writing a spontaneous
prayer or sharing seasonal or funny stories naturally boosts the immune system and
helps to fight off the winter blues.

Winter has its own jewel-toned beauty that rivals summer’s most dazzling hour if we
pay attention: ruby fruits baked with brown sugar, rosy desert mornings and snowy
sapphire twilights. Pointing out December constellations over a beach or lacing up our
boots for a brisk walk helps us to unplug from the world’s problems. Sprinkling heart-
healthy spices in our morning coffee opens a gloomy day on a lovely note.

Winter can feel long, so go ahead and treat your senses; buy a few yards of red
velvet to sleep on or pick up that novel you’ve been planning to read. Live and give a
little more deeply. Feed the birds and feed your soul.

Here’s to keeping on feeding our souls! Be well.

Happy Holidays, Happy 2023 and Happy Reading,