What a difference a month can make!

When I wrote my last column, the world was still a relatively familiar place, the same old rollercoaster of ups and downs and the likelihood that it would continue much the same. But then came Trump and our sense of complacency has been booted out the window. For many, it’s been a deeply distressing experience, made worse because so many unknowns surround this intensely polarising figure.We’re hearing that Americans are looking to the green fields and softer energies of New Zealand to relocate in some numbers.

One thing that stands out starkly in his victory is that it wasn’t because Americans like him, anything but! Daniel Sowelu sums the mood up succinctly in his column this month as “one huge vomit”. So many people seem to have been so angry and dispirited that their rage has spilled out and elected the person who promised them change, whatever the cost.

While we may look on and shake our heads in amazement, we need to heed those calls for help from so many families and small businesspeople who see their dreams being crushed. As our own political leaders are starting to realise, the same dark mood prevails in many of our own regional areas where people are demanding to be heard. It’s a time for reaching out to include those voices that we rarely hear as the only way, as I see it, to heal the divide that’s opening up in our country too.We’ve had the examples of Brexit, now Trump - indeed, “the times they are a’ changing”.

This month, as ever, we offer our own healing balm with the stories we have for you.

In “Empowering your Soul”, life coach Ischa Ropert makes the very pertinent point that having success in life is very different to being a success in life. The former is all about striving for material riches while the latter speaks to our spiritual wellbeing. And as Christmas approaches with all its extra pressures as we try to meet the expectations of others – and ourselves! – it’s never more obvious.

So as Jen Kaz suggests in her offering this month, “The Meaning of Christmas”, look past the crass commercialism and see the festival for what it is- “a beautiful and sacred symbol of love and unity”. We don’t have to be Christians to share the values of love, inclusiveness, tolerance and compassion which are, after all, universal.

As the holiday season beckons, many of us will head to the beach or the bush. Maybe try your hand at some of the primitive technologies suggested in our interesting feature “Back to Nature”, submitted by Daniel Sainty who runs his own “rewilding” practice.There seems to be such simple pleasure in reconnecting to nature without all the trappings of modern technology- and not a WiFi point within cooee!

I’m looking forward to a simple Christmas this year at home with my family, eating beautiful fresh food, drinking far too much wine and sharing our stories of the year that’s been. Perfect!

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, have a wonderful festive season.

Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans has a background in teaching, journalism and publishing. She is the editor of NOVA Holistic Journal.