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 The Holiday Season: A Time to Go the Extra Mile 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Over Matter by . View all columns in series
It's amazing how time flies.

Just a year ago our world was bracing itself for a Y2K disaster. Recently we went through a long period awaiting the outcome of a complicated presidential election. Many are currently facing an unwelcome challenge - what is often assumed to be the most difficult time of the year.

Yes the holiday season is upon us again. For some this time of the year is not about gifts and family get-togethers. Rather it's about loss and loneliness and despair - the loved-ones we miss, the relationships that remain severed and our perceived personal failures that mounted during the preceding months.

I used to believe only accountants were busy at year's end. Tallying the bottom line and determining profits or losses isn't just the work of those who are affectionately called "bean counters." All of us seem to take an accounting of our lives at the end of any given cycle.

Frankly I tend to worry more about others during the final months of each year. People who seem to be holding on by a thread are sometimes inclined to let go amidst a personal balance sheet of "life" that appears in the red. When self-esteem dwindles and self-worth fades into oblivion, strength to move onward rapidly dissipates. After reading about these souls on the one page of the newspaper everyone follows, we're deeply saddened...yet not surprised.

For such outcomes are not unexpected. The writing on the wall was there for all to see. Sometimes we simply choose not to look.

Getting into the holiday spirit is difficult when the prospect of impending loss or suffering lurks in the darkness. Perhaps that underlying threat is what really dampens our spirits and causes our joyful noise to become somewhat muffled.

So now that we've explored an underlying reason for not wanting to get out of bed this morning, let's do something about it.

You might be saying to yourself Bittman is on a crusade to solve the world's problems again. Actually you're right, and I'm asking for your help.

Let's work together to make a real difference this year.

Find a friend, a loved-one, a co-worker, a neighbor or even a stranger on the edge. The person or people you choose need more than the Christmas gifts under the tree. They need you!

Yes you! - perhaps the only person who can see their beauty and recognize the Light that shines within them. This isn't about presents or monetary outlay. It's rather about a smile, a positive gesture, the touch of your hand extending a life-saving connection, a vital tug in a direction that shifts their balance toward choosing life rather than giving up.

This gesture doesn’t require a great deal of time either. You can always fit it in. Even the busiest schedule has an opening for such a cause. Consider it a priority.

What I'm really asking you to do is reaffirm another's value as a human being. Take them aside or call them - illuminate that poignant beacon of self-worth, and show you care enough to tell them they matter.

Where does one begin?

The answer is simple. Just imagine who might turn up on the obituary page tomorrow. Who have you been worried about even from afar? Who has suffered a personal loss that's potentially devastating? Who's been given a diagnosis, or worse yet, a less-than-favorable prognosis?

These precious souls walk among us every day. Do not allow yourself to glance past them or through them. Connect and reach out to them for you have the Healing Force within you than can make a difference.

The late spiritual visionary, Og Mandino, summed it up best:
"The mediocre never goes another mile, for why should he cheat himself, he thinks. But you are not mediocre. To go another mile is a privilege you must appropriate by your own initiative. You cannot, you must not avoid it. Neglect it, do only as little as the others, and the responsibility for your failure is yours alone."

This is our season for extending ourselves. For we are not mediocre.

This is our chance to truly discover the joy of making a positive difference in another person's life. I'm asking you join with me, go that extra mile and discover the inner peace and joy that is ours when we extend ourselves to help others.

And when you do, the Light will shine, the angels will dance and your soul will resonate with far more than just a joyful noise. For this is our greatest purpose in life - we are not here just by chance. We are here for each other - Mind Over Matter!

© 2000 Barry Bittman, MD all rights reserved

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 About The Author
Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a......moreBarry Bittman MD
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