"The time will come/ when, with elation,/ you will greet yourself arriving/ at your own front door, in your own mirror,/ and each will smile at the other's welcome , and say, sit here. Eat./ You will love again the stranger who was your self./ Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart/ to itself, to the stranger who has loved you/ all your life, whom you ignored/ for another, who knows you by heart. /Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,/ the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life." LOVE AFTER LOVE by Derek Walcott.

This exquisite poem is all about having the courage to live your authentic life, abandoning the images, roles, and all the ways in which you alter or distort your real self, at work, in relationships, in the world generally. Instead the poem celebrates and honours self-acceptance, self-understanding, self-love, and a reconnection with one's essence and soul. Especially at the moment, when so many people are feeling threatened by the economic challenges and the impact on their jobs and lifestyles, it's helpful to be reminded of what is essentially important, and of everything that is here for us to treasure and be grateful for.

There's something sacred in pausing to recognize and celebrate our connection or re-connection with our true nature, as we see in the references to spiritual ritual, the allusions to bread and wine: "Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart/to itself, to the stranger who has loved you/all your life."

And Walcott reveals the deep happiness to be gained by taking the time to stop the treadmill, to pause our to-do lists, slow down on the business of our lives, and simply take delight in the beauty of the present moment: "Sit. Feast on your life." The holidays offer us many kinds of feasts to enjoy, and the opportunity to treasure our true nature, our essence, and our many blessings are among the most precious.
©Dr. Nicola Bunting, 2009

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Author's Bio: 

Dr. Nicola Bunting is a top international personal and professional coach, with the Master Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF), one of only 1% of coaches in the world to reach this level of certification. Working with successful professionals in Europe and the USA, either as a personal or executive coach, Dr. Bunting specialises in helping ambitious individuals dramatically accelerate their success and fulfillment. With individual, group, and corporate coaching programmes on offer, Dr. Bunting's coaching company, La Vita Nuova (the New Life!), can design a coaching plan to help you achieve beyond your expectations.