Shining a Light into the Darkness

I’ll admit it. I’ve been counting down the days until this year’s Winter Solstice.

As the sun sets around 4:20 each afternoon, and darkness envelops the windows of NICABM, I find myself longing for more hours of daylight.Night Sky Stars With Milky Way On Mountain Background

Is it any wonder, then, that images of light and dark play such a prominent role in so many winter holiday celebrations?

The celebration of Hanukkah commemorates the miraculous supply of oil that kept lights burning for eight days following the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem. The Christian tradition celebrates light coming into the world in the form of a child.

Yet the genesis of each of these celebrations took place against the backdrop of unspeakable darkness.

Hanukkah celebrates the restoration of religious liberty after King Antiochus Epiphanes outlawed Jewish religious practice and desecrated the temple in Jerusalem.

Wise men followed a star to find a prophetic child after his parents fled to Egypt during King Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents.

Series of portraits of children syrian refugeesWhether or not you subscribe to either of these traditions, it’s hard to escape the reality that this year’s celebrations will also occur against the backdrop of nearly unspeakable darkness in this world.

My heart grows heavy as news continues to roll in about shattered truces and trapped refugees in the City of Aleppo.

What can be done?

Earlier this year, the NICABM team met with Cheryl Anderson from Save the Children to hear about their work in caring for refugees. Save the Children has staff on the ground in Syria, and around the world, providing food, shelter, and health services to overwhelming refugee populations.

As painful as it was to hear some of the stories, I still recall what Cheryl said:

I don’t have the answers, but I always have hope.

She told us a story about an old man who walked along a beach littered with starfish that had washed ashore. Because the sun was up and the tide was going out, the old man picked up starfish, one by one, and gently tossed them back into the sea.

Seeing this, a young man questioned why the old man bothered trying to save the starfish when there were so many, and he couldn’t possibly save them all. What difference could his efforts possibly make?

As the old man tossed another starfish into the ocean, he said, “It made a difference to that one.”
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by suffering in the world, but there is always hope. @ruthbuczynski Click To Tweet

It can be easy to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of suffering in the world. But as Cheryl said, there is always hope.

Supporting the work of charitable organizations, including Save the Children, has always been a priority of NICABM. We value the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of refugees, or to build classrooms in places like Kenya, and in Pakistan, where educational opportunities are so limited.

I’ll have more to say about this soon. But in the meantime, I want to wish you the very best during this season of celebration, and in the year to come.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Where in the world would you like to see a brighter light shining? To call attention to the need, and invite others to join in making a difference?

Please leave a comment below.


Please Leave A Comment



  1. Holly Eckert says:

    My name is Holly Eckert, and I’m a woman living in Seattle and turning 50ty tomorrow. I greatly appreciated Ruth’s article, and being an intelligent, activist, artist living in Seattle, I deeply agree with her perspective that it is in the “intentional”, “actively cultivated” experience of hope that most all humans can find health and wellness. Being a choreographer and dancer who pushed too hard and didn’t have good healthcare, I did find myself facing the chronic illness of epilepsy in my mid-thirties. It was dark and I so needed the light of hope. I didn’t find this in popular culture or conventional, western medicine. However, over time, in strange place I did find it, and when I began to find this hope, I began to recover. I now live peacefully with my epilepsy. It “walks” with me, I don’t “fight” it as many doctors suggested I do. That shift in my relationship to my illness was one of the most healing experiences inside of it. I wrote a very good book about my experience which was published in 2013. It’s titled, “SEIZED – Searching for Health In the United States”. You can find it listed on under my name and its title. I’m as good a writer as I am a dancer, also something I didn’t know until I “walked” with epilepsy. I urge you all who read this to continue to cultivate “light” in lives of darkness, always to remember that you can’t have light until there is darkness. As Plato taught us so long ago, we don’t know we’re in the cave until we come out of it. Be well and check out my story through my book.

  2. Suffering is ubiquitous, this will be relieved only through a change in the minds and hearts of mankind. First, one must have compassion for oneself, for if you cannot have for yourself, you cannot have it for others. Then, one must examine pragmatically what can be done that will be most effective in the short run, then what are the long term options for making a lasting difference. This is one of the rules of complexity. Complexity is effective only if it is creating simplicity.

    The many worldwide issues that perpetuate suffering will endure until mankind takes a very pragmatic look at the importance and need to alleviate the insanity that persists between cultures, nations, and individuals. I happen to believe that it is UP TO US AS INDIVIDUALS TO DO THIS. We cannot continue to wait for universal agreement on a solution as that will never happen….

  3. Susan says:

    I’d like to see more light shining in the lives of family caregivers who care for elderly and chronically ill loved ones without much, if any, help or support, much less respite. These courageous individuals are the backbone of our long-term care system. They give of themselves many times to the detriment of their own health, social relationships, work life, and quality of life. They receive little to no training to perform many of the same duties nurses do. They are many times overlooked by doctors who lack compassion and understanding about the pivotal role they play in the health and wellbeing of those for which they care. Caregiving doesn’t take a holiday! There are an estimated 44 million of them who cared yesterday and today and will do so again tomorrow. Feel free to post a message of support on FaceBook at Caregiver Connections. Thank you!

  4. D'Arcy says:

    Tap into the light for myself first!! As a healer for troubled kids..need to fill up my lamp with oil!!! Wrote a child prayer for Christmas…sent to MP Charlie Angus for all the suicides of children not just adolescents in their communities!! Indigineous communities need hope…they are struggling..suicide rates up for teens across Canada…we have a crisis here! Xmas reflection is we need to bear witness to people’s struggling…to listen not judge…people are isolated and disconnected with human connection to feelings…by product of fb!!! Does save the Children work in Canada? I want to get my poem out…where do I send it? Is there one voice for kids rights? So many charities overwhelming trying to find connections myself? We all work in isolation and burning out…no one seems to care about the level of distress our kids are in!!

  5. Lenie Grant says:

    We stay in Rustenburg, North West Province, South Africa. Our Church is called, The Rock. We work hand in hand with Child Welfare and are currently building a house of safety for abused or neglected children, mainly because of drug or alcohol addiction
    We are struggling because of lack of funding. We finished building, but now we must furnish the flats and find reputable house parents for these children.

    Lenie Grant
    Shalom! Shalom!!!

  6. Hilary says:

    Ruth . Yes hope is our only hope.
    Time changes things.
    Solutions are for ever evolving.
    Yet everything is still within the self.
    Once you give good and shelter, this buys time for the individual
    To exist physically, but the real healing is within our soul which is projected through the individuals understanding, needs and fears… for me it’s about trying to find the balance, as each soul responsible for it’s own chooses and decisions in how to think feel and act in each moment…
    I have found some times the more you give the more they want,
    Without taking responsibility for themself.
    So where does it begin and end…
    Do unto others as you would do unto yourself.
    It’s in need of new strategies.
    Thank you for your great work Ruth.

  7. lovely way to put back hope into the equation

  8. Canada accepted more than 35,000 Syrian refugees this yearend inspire of the worst ever fire that evacuated more than 90,000 people from the town ship of Fort McMurray Alberta ( without a single death).there appears to be a ray of hope after a year!
    Merry christmas ,Happy Hanukkah and Happy holidays with hope of Joy in the new year

  9. Janelle says:

    You know Ruth, what a loaded question you ask? I always appreciate your thoughtfulness and in this season where people are so pre-occupied. Our world is so much closer than it was ten years ago, and I believe there is no better time to care for oneself than now. We can become overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness, but I challenge people to be more proactive; turn off the phone and tv, do something creative and fun for a couple days! The world will still be there tomorrow.

  10. Cynthia says:

    There are many places both in the US
    and worldwide but the suffering in Syria
    leaves me heart broken. I understand intellectually
    why no one is able/willing to try to stop the destruction
    going on there but the other part of me feels
    like we have abandoned so many in need.
    Syria is in the news but countries in Africa
    are experiencing the same killing of innocents
    and nothing is being done to stop this
    carnage and suffering.

  11. Jane Godfrey says:

    Thank you Ruth for your generous spirit.

  12. Claudia says:

    Is it posible to adopt a child?

  13. Sharon says:

    Be the change :)

  14. smfields says:

    Let’s have a little bright light shining in the moment and stop insisting that life be always seen through a recitation of dour events. This was a prime example……Does this imply that you are a more compassionate and righteous person? Lighten up !

  15. Eileen Edmonds says:

    Dear Ruth,
    Many thanks to you for your continuous efforts to bring light into our lives and the lives of those we work with, live with and love.
    May peace and hope walk with you and those you love at this special time of year and in the year ahead
    Take care

  16. nona lanter says:

    I have to say that following the anger displayed by those who voted for trump
    was very frightening and discouraging,(“Jail her,jail her!”). I could not wrap my
    mind around this bing the U.S. what a large population of uneducated, angry,
    and terribly misinformed group…..I will continue to work in my community
    and do all I can. I am still recovering from the shock of it all…….Myself and
    all my friends can not even watch the news….the pictures in our living rooms
    are beyond even what can be expected for anyone to handle emotionally.
    year after year of war and homeless people in our country have no shelter and
    my friend who is a special ed teacher buys supplies for her class room out of
    her pocket…….

  17. Myriam coppens says:

    At the end of this year I wish to thank you for your tireless
    job of instructing, supporting, instructing us about all that is
    good in our lives, without minimizing the terrible tragedies
    surrounding us!
    I appreciate all you do!
    You make a big difference!
    Thank you,

  18. T.J. Rutherford says:

    Thank you for your good words! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  19. Ellen says:

    I have felt this darkness strongly since last June. The amount of anger and hatred all around the globe is overwhelming. I know I benefit from touching base deeply with my spiritual resources and address my psychologiical house cleaning challenges. Beyond that I am deeply moved and fascinated with Tom Friedman’s newest book, _Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations_ (2016), a well-researched book in which he outlines the the many and fast-moving changes in technology, globalization, and climate change that are putting a great deal of pressure on the ability of us humans to adapt at a rate faster now than humans have had to do in the past. I enjoy absorbing Friedman’s global view, because in the long run this may lead to solutions different than we now conceive. The problems are so huge, I am saddened and overwhelmed by how enormous they are. Bigger and bigger problems maybe need new, fresh innovative structures to address Maslow’s hierarchical needs for humankind.

  20. Thank you Ruth, this is a lovely article and a reminder that there is so much calling our attention and our need to act. Believe it or not, because I’m a Canadian neighbour to the north, in my recent meditations I have been praying to have hope for the U.S. people – all my many friends and those I don’t know – praying that the next 4 years are not as horrible as they potentially may be. I keep sending light and love and trust all will be well in the end.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much for realizing that we are not all angry and hate filled people and are dismayed to consider what may be coming in the next four years.

  21. Larry ludwig says:

    I’d be very interested in hearing people’s feelings about what I feel is the disgusting election of Donald Trump. For myself it calls me to take some political action to oppose what I consider dangerous and unethical moves, eg the end of obamacare, nomination of such people as Jeff Sessions, etc. at the same time it calls me to continue to be the best husband, father, father in law and grandfather I can be and the best therapist, family member and friend I can be and try to show more loving kindness. This way I can shine some light in what feels like powerful impending political darkness. It also helps for me to meditate more. Larry Ludwig, PhD

  22. Maureen Edgar says:

    I am reflecting on the posts that have been prompted by Ruth’s reflections. Thanks to you Ruth, you have brought light to something very important. Though the world seems to be barely holding on to reason or compassion, I have hope because so many of you are lending light to the world through your acts of caring and thoughtful reflection. There are so many people who care and whose highest intentions are to bring justice, safety and healing to this world. May we all find starfish to remind us of our power in the world and may we all have saviours who will toss us back into a nourishing place when we feel parched. Blessings.

  23. Frances Nelson says:

    Thank you. Happy Holy Days to you and yours.

  24. Barrie MacFarlane says:

    Thank you for this hopeful message !

  25. christine Pahl, LPC says:

    Thank you for this. Systems in general that traumatize people, including some of our dysfunctional mental health systems, can make a person feel defeated. I love the starfish story. I know we can’t save the world but it is sometimes easy to forget that and become overwhelmed with the magnitude of the tasks and barriers we face daily in our work with other suffering humans. “There is always hope”. . . I love it. Thank you.

  26. Suzanne Rosebrugh says:

    Hello Ruth

    I would like to see the light of each of us shine a little brighter as we embrace the reality of what does seem a darker more divisive energy in the world. I challenge myself to focus on the good news in the world, things like Save the Children, the United Way and small acts of kindness as examples. I choose to find gratitude every day even when I feel overwhelmed by the pain of my clients, the world, myself. I read a wonderful quote a while ago (and unfortunately cannot remember the author) which i use as a reminder and way to ground myself. “Optimism is a conscious act of moral courage.”
    Wishing the best of all Holiday traditions and a wish for all of us to choose peace.

  27. Debra Williams says:

    I have almost ten years as a teacher is six of California’ State Prisons. I have worked in the mental health lock-up wards, on the death row, level four maximum security prisons (where stabbing happen weekly) and in the medical facility where old dying inmates bodies are carried out of the institution: sometimes six deaths a week. Prisons are dark, ugly corrupt places. The men and women working there have jobs that require them to lock others in cages. What do you think that does to a man after thirty years? I too have suffered from PTSD from witnessing violence and also nights of cognitive dissonance from making a living off of the terrible suffering of others. Inmates are sick, workers are sick and those administrators that make and administer policy are often full blow psychopaths and ego driven narcisists. Together the prison system is a hot pot filled with a deadly soup. We serve this poison up and call it justice and public safety. Meanwhile, it is simply a new version of slavery. It is time to begin to dismantle the prison system. It is time to begin to built a society and world that stops the origin of trauma that has caused all of this. It is time we start at the grassroots to love,care and raise our children in loving supportive and caring homes. It is time we put people before our lust for material possessions. It is time to dismantle the system that has created and perpetuates this sort of injustice. While I might be a shining light in a very dark place. I am getting tired and have lost hope.

    • Helen Marcus says:

      Dear Debra, I write to you from half a world away in England. Thank you for being the hope so many times, to the hopeless. Please follow the advice modupe has given and get to the ocean, the world can’t afford to lose you.

    • Stacy Youst says:

      Thank you Debra, for speaking out about the prison-industrial complex we read about, from your personal experience, which must take some courage. I’m learning about the ‘foster-care to prison pipeline’, and there are a lot of people working to bring more awareness and real changes through public opinion, activism, and legal reforms. You have a real story to be told. Thanks, Stacy

    • modupe akin deko says:

      Your first task now dear sister is how to get this starfish, you, to the ocean. You are running close to empty. You have to replenish!!

  28. Andrej says:

    An old man was walking in an unfamiliar hood. Accosted by youth. One of the youth persuaded his companions to let the old man pass safely. The old man rewarded the young savior with hope.

  29. Srishti nigam says:

    I feel grief stricken and so very helpless as the violence
    grows and so grows the misery. Unfortunately they are scarred
    for life. I fear they will face many serious mental and physical
    illnesses later in life.
    We will need more mental health workers in future

  30. Margaret McLaren says:

    Your words are so true. In Jewish teaching – saving the life of one is as if you are saving the whole world. The times are dark indeed. May we each seek to be a source of light, and keep it glowing. Millions of candles will light up the darkness.

  31. Ingrid D. Thrall says:

    I get overwhelmed as well by all the suffering in our world. I try to remain grounded, I think globally and act less calmly. I keep doing my work helping one person at a time. Thank you for the work you do for Save the Children. You are so right. There’s always hope.

    • Ingrid D. Thrall says:

      Ops. Think globally and act locally. I should proof read more crefully before submitting.

  32. kathy Leveque says:

    Bless you for helping the children. The refugees from all over Syria deserve a second chance at having a life if they were even able to escape the horror of the war.

    I am so glad that I live in Canada where we welcome refugees after an extensive vetting process We do not discriminate our country is great because of its diversity and al the different people that make us one.

  33. I enjoyed reading this article. It’s insightful, inspirational and timely. Thank you for sharing. May the light of this season bring hope and peace to all.

  34. Christiana says:

    A timely email message for sure. My heart has been aching for the children of Aleppo. I’m glad to know about the foundation so I can contribute in some way. Thank you. The starfish story is wonderful. Blessings to you and have a happy holiday.

  35. Thank you, Ruth, for putting words to my recent thoughts about the ongoing tragedies in the world. Your work is inspirational! From now on, instead of wishing I had so much more money to donate to each chosen cause, I will reframe my dollars as “starfish”! I am a clinician, a mindfulness and meditation practitioner and I enjoy every one of your classes.

  36. Elizabeth Lackus says:

    Ruth, your question “where in the world would you like to see a brighter light shining” immediately gave me an image of tons of people each with a literal shiny light beaming out from their chests. This light has to be each our own energy, spirit, soul, whatever name can be applied. The change for all of us is like the concept of one person, one vote. It has to start with us, individually. One thing that social media does, besides allows for a whole lot of opinion but still with a relative state of anonymity, is it encourages us to become joiners of groups. While groups are good in some instances (ie. power in numbers,) it can also disallow thinking for one’s self and can allow for blind allegiances in the worse possible sense. The closed minded, hateful and malignant intent of posts I have read on Facebook this election season has at times, through fear and disgust, temporarily dimmed my own bright light. As pendulums swing, I can only hope for better evolvement of wisdom and intent of everyone, everywhere. But I do take solace in knowing that from my little corner of the world, it starts with ME.

  37. David Arnold says:

    The source of the lovely story about the man and the starfish is Loren Eiseley in his book, “The Star Thrower”. I highly recommend his writings.

    While we all have limits which must t be recognized, and we can’t solve all the problems of the world, it helps to attempt to be a little bit kinder whenever possible. So many suffer in so many ways. Giving assistance to others is also a gift to ourselves. Very best wishes to all for the Holidays and New Year!

    • Nancy, NICABM Staff says:

      Thank you for the attribution, David, and for your kind comment.

      • David Arnold says:

        And, thank you, Nancy, for your kind comment and for all that you are doing to assist so many others.

  38. Sue McMurray says:

    As an educational consultant, my deepest wish for light comes in the form of helping people see the tremendous importance of uncovering and understanding the patterns formed in the time of conception thru childhood…to the point where the individual goes out on his/her own. Particularly in addiction, these unconscious mindsets need to be painfully uncovered so new ways of being can emerge.

    • Holly Eckert says:

      Being a middle-aged woman who came from an abusive, dysfunctional, poor family, I went on into my adult life thinking I could disengaged fully from that experience, carrying no residue of it inside me. I believed I could just “leave it behind” and take a different path of my own. Despite my talents and intelligence, I faced the impacts of those experiences on my health and wellness as I became older and older, surprised at how deeply that experience had impacted me. People do need more understanding of this phenomena in human life, and those who face it, need more help finding “light”. I wrote a book about my experience titled “SEIZED – Searching for Health In the United States”. You can find it on Be well, there are always ways even inside sickness.

  39. Thank you Ruth, I think we often need to be reminded because generally perhaps we tend to take so much for granted and complain about so much! If only we all picked up star fish and tossed them back into the sea, but sadly, we don’t – instead – there is too much judgement, criticism, complaining, fear, prejudice…’stuff’ gets in the way. May 2017 bring with it more peace, acceptance, love and understanding and people committed to throwing starfish back into the sea.

  40. Doreen Hills says:

    Our children in this country suffering from abuse, neglect, and poverty…yes that’s is where I would like that light shine bright and to all the providers that continually find hope in healing…

    • cherrie coulon says:

      and ampify that light to include our world.

  41. The Radiance Sutras translated by Lorin Roche have provided grounding, peace and hope for me in this difficult time.

  42. antonia monson says:

    That is a beautiful story, thank you Ruth.

  43. janet hills says:

    I think the children of Aleppo have to be my priority this year ……but thank you for the story of the old man and the starfish….its simplicity and obviousness brought tears to my eyes, and rescued me from the despair and hopelessness I can feel at times.
    My small actions can make a difference to one person in one moment…that’s worth remembering. Thank you, Ruth.

  44. Joanne Roebuck says:

    Every day I cast the same request into the universal spirit, that all living creatures may be given each day what they need to cope with whatever they have to face, that they may experience as much peace and joy in their lives as possible. It’s my small way of sending a little positivity into the ether. A tiny drop in a huge ocean of pain, but the effects of which I hope will ripple out and become a wave of love to those who need it.

  45. Lydia Maria says:

    Africa is full of places waiting for hope.
    Al the best and season greatings


  46. Sandra says:

    Dear Ruth,

    Thank you so much for sharing these wise reflections. Indeed, the current world has many dark corners, and it also has many light spaces with radiant lives doing little big efforts for humanity and the planet, (like Cheryl) which are not broadcasted by the media.
    May it shine within each of us, in every corner of the world, may it shine as faith, as hope, and all the positive brought by our basic goodness.
    The best Holiday Greetings,

  47. rita says:

    Thank you for this reflection yes we must believe in hope

  48. Thank you. As an advocate, pastoral couunselor, and ongoing student of behavioral medicine, hope is what drives me every day. I appreciate all that I receive from you and the resources you provide. It is inspiring to see your heart. Our work through Heart for the World Church International, Hope Centers, and Compassionate CARE is from a small community believing great things- all based in one word -Hope…Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). Yes, there is always Hope.

  49. Aline Habesch says:

    Thank you, Ruth, for reaching out & shining your light. I am sure that for those trapped in Aleppo, hope is what helps them believe that a miracle will occur. I speak from experience as I too lived in a war in the Middle East. Even though we managed to flee 40 yrs ago, the memories are still vivid; as if it all happened yesterday. I must admit, that I have found healing & solace in the last few years of having listened to you & your learned guests. It is only then that I realized that the terrible memories had not been extinguished & just conveniently ‘tucked away’. I believe that if ‘everyone returned stranded starfish from their beaches, there would be more starfish in the water than on the beach.’ It is heartening to read all these uplifting comments by people who have big hearts. Thank you. Season’s greetings Ruth and best wishes for a happy and successful New Year.

  50. Ten years ago I started a charity called Hearts for Lushoto Society. I just returned from a visit to the municipality of Lushoto in Tanzania. I am happy to say that we have made a positive difference in significantly reducing the rate of HIV infection in Lushoto by providing AIDS prevention education to all secondary students in 84 schools. I wish we could expand our program to other areas. h

    We also provide small mico grants and medical insurance.

    I saw two areas of great need during my visit. The materntiy ward at the hospital was full of women who had delivered babies and those waiting to deliver. There was only one birthing bed. They desperately need a new maternity ward.

    In one of the secondary schools we visited the bathroom facilities consisted of Asian style toilets with no running water or toilet paper. About 700 students attend this school

  51. John Farmer says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts of celebration for this season which fosters hope and peace. I especially appreciate your inclusiveness of different religious traditions. Having been a college Chaplain/teacher and now, in retirement, serving as a volunteer supporting the military Chaplain of a local unit where the active duty Chaplain cannot often be present, I understand the need to recognize the spectrum of religious traditions. My focus is to listen and care rather than to judge the presence or absence of faith. I am grateful to have learned so much from your work.

    The charitable consciousness of the NICABM is certainly to be admired as well as to be a participant in shining light into dark places in the world.

    May you enjoy a wonderful holiday season and be blessed with a rewarding New Year.

  52. Christine Osiw says:

    Thank you for this reminder to spread light and hope inmidst of all the ongoing darkness, to one person and then another. We cannot save the world but keep the torch of love shining.

  53. D'Arcy says:

    Amazing Article…I am a child’s rights advices,.,I wrote a pen from a child’s perspective …All children gave the right to live in safety…all over the world…physical emotional psychological and sexual. Kids particularly girls one in Thre. Thats1/ 3 Divide that intoworkd population iand get that magical number…yes unreal how many girl live in fear and terror every day..same symptoms of PTSD just different flashbacks as vets…affects functioning!
    On another note, I believe the world has collective ptsd…cycle of intergeneratioll violence in the home and acted out in the world is a result of rage..which us fear based… fear of what exactly?
    What I hope is you can email me so I can send you this poem I wrote. I hope you can tweet it out this Christmas…my duster lasses over and we worked tirelessly together to improve safety and listen to troubled kids. United Nations needs to hear thus…I understand threat to human life supersedes in priority a global response. However collectively over time, sexual abuse sets away at the fabric of a vibrant person to a frozen person living in fear. This affects all relationships on the continuum of life…exponentially damaging everyone…thanks..Muriel D’Arcy Read.( Whole person wellness consultant)

  54. veronica eugenia says:

    Thank you, Ruth. Thank you all the beautiful souls who have left a comment. May we all rise together.

  55. Dr. Verla Waker says:

    Thanks, Ruth!
    You choose to be present and to help re-kindle Lady Liberty’s flickering light.
    Fiat lux!

  56. My own sense is that it is an opportunity when there is so much darkness to rediscover what we value and where we put our energy
    Do we value one another, nature, generosity? Then shine a light on these and give up the habits of sleepwalking like compulsive buying and focusing on appearances.
    The light of hope and renewal is in the foundation of our hearts and our hearts as the seat of actions.

  57. Deborah May says:

    Thank you Ruth…it is a good reminder to hold onto hope in the midst of such darkness. Someone in an earlier post mentioned Standing Rock, I think that this victory brings hope because we have started to realize we can stand together against social injustice and win. We no longer have leaders to look for salvation from…we must look to what each of us can do with the light that is in us…it is time for the people to stand together again to bring about hope.

  58. jay says:

    Yes, it is overwhelming the amount of suffering that “intelligent humans” can bring to mother earth and all it’s inhabitants. Watch here:

    And the best gift we can give to all the victims is MEDITATION. I am particular to the MAHA MANTRA,
    but there are Buddhist, Christian and Sufi mantras as well. After chanting long enough, we come to
    the conclusion that we are a spark of the Supreme, THE ETERNAL WISDOM.

  59. Karen Cobb says:

    Thank you,Ruth. It is not possible to share this message of hope too often!
    We all need it, especially as we seek to be present to those who are suffering…

  60. Deb Messer says:

    I feel terribly sad about what is happening in Aleppo and also helpless to do anything about it. I am troubled that our country seems to be doing nothing to prevent this genocide. I know it is complicated and political and there are undoubtedly many things I do not know and don’t understand, but these are vulnerable and precious human beings who are being destroyed while we sit and watch it on the nightly news. And then we go on our way . .. feeling saddened perhaps, but not really doing anything much about it. We have empathy . . . but not compassion . .. if compassion means taking action to reduce suffering. How do we make a difference? I think we are going to look back on this with shame.

  61. Bea Schild says:

    I would like to help all the people who have to suffer from atrocities (like abuses), natural catastrophies and war and from restrictions to their lives (restrictions on water, on land, on farming their produce with their own seeds etc.). And I would like to help educate all those, who have difficult access as well (poor, challenged, difficult circumstances, all genders etc.). I would like to grant a life in dignity to the ill, disabled and elder as well as to the young and middle-aged. I would like the earth to be as just place for all live, including animals and plants. I would like to protect the water and the rainforest. I would like to support sustainable projects. I would like to help couples love eachother and families establish fair communication processes with all members participating. I want to contribute my responsible share, where I can and how I can.

  62. nancy says:

    My darkness is this new administration and the doom of climate change…..we are now heading down a road of no return and frankly, I am not present to hope. Glad you folks are. The Koch brothers now @ the helm, brace yourselves…..

    • chris says:

      I feel the same way nancy. All best <3

  63. Victor parra says:

    I cannot say that I read every comment. I do think it is kind of weird that there is nothing about Trump. Sorry, am I being political? Is that somehow taboo?

  64. It is saddening as we see the events around the world.

    Through it all my eyes are on the One who gives us hope in the darkest of situations. Its this hope that I carry into the clinic with me each time i have a session.

    In my little corner, i make every effort to make a difference in the lives of hurting wounded people. In a variety of ways i try to introduce Him, whenever He offers an opportunity!

  65. Anne Hochberg says:

    It occurred to me this morning, as I read a post about Standing Rock, that the victory there came on the heels of Trump’s election and the feelings that has stirred up in so many people. Even though many despair at the corporate entrenchment that appears to be developing, in the midst of all of it is this push back against the corporate oil interests, to say nothing of the unity amongst so many peoples that came about because of the efforts. There is hope.

  66. Barbara Regenspan says:

    Thanks so much for making this connection between the personal healing to which you are dedicated and the unspeakable pain of the world at this moment, Ruth. I have been begging the other sites I check regularly for spiritual and psychological inspiration to do the same. I love the phrase of (unfortunately deceased) Bill Readings “our unknowable obligations to others.” Thanks for this. Sincerely, Barbara

  67. SueMarie says:

    Bless your heart Ruth! A heart filled with love & care for others! :)

    There is an organization that I have given to, it’s called ironically…HAND OF HOPE! It is a Christian org, that recuses woman & children from Sex Trafficking and the horrors that go along with it.

    I love it when people come together in the spirit of…Each One Help One! We can all Make A Kind Difference in the world somewhere, somehow!

  68. Claudia says:

    When you walk to the edge of all the LIGHT you have know, and take a step into the DARKNESS of the unknown, you have to believe that 1 of 2 things will happen. Either you will step onto something sturdy to walk upon, or you will be taught how to fly. Author unknown

  69. I can become easily overwhelmed by the breadth of atrocities all over the world and throughout history.
    My grandparents were murdered in the holocaust despite being secular and assimilated and prominent citizens of Prague.

    So beside donating money to various causes, I attend to these ‘little holocausts’ on the home front in USA, helping adult survivors of childhood trauma heal, session after session, for many long years. As Ferenczi, a contemporary of Freud who was spurned for trying to move analysis into a mothering mode of kindness, patience and nurturance vs. patriarchal coldness and detachment practiced by many traditional analysts, I greet each individual patient with a warm hello and smile and am as engaged and fascinated with each individual 15 years into seeing them as I was the first day. I help them marinate in an attuned and compassionate relationship that deeply respects them as people, not cases.

    This is my tiny contribution to this enormous global wound; mothering the inner children of my suffering adults. Watching them slowly, achingly grow and heal is a great gift to me in return!

  70. Patricia Montgomery says:

    Join the Womens March on Washington! coming up soon, 20 January 2017.
    Contribute to Planned Parenthood…..your time or money.
    Support International Rescue Service and other agencies who help in finding refuge for those in war torn lands.
    Get out and take action!!!

  71. Karen Skillman says:

    Starting right here in America and continuing around the world. Let us celebrate the family, Father, Mother, and children. Let us model our family after the Holy One. Most importantly, including God in its every detail, every moment.

  72. Kathy says:

    Standing Rock and all Indigenous People, that they have their Sovereign Rights honored and that we as a Nation stop all the corruption in our government. To call attention to WE THE PEOPLE have RIGHTS and will be heard across our US. Thank You for asking.

  73. Joseph says:

    Dr. King also said on April 3, 1968……..”We’ve got some difficult days ahead”……such a poignant comment for these times……..NAMASTE and Happy Holidays !

  74. Suzy says:

    She courageously stepped out of the darkness and in to the light

    • Karen Skillman says:

      I recently “walked beside someone” who went from wanting and praying for death to wanting to live. His circumstances didn’t change much. But his mind and his heart did. May we all extend to those in darkness God’s promise of hope and love for all.

  75. I Am the Founder and Director of an Non-profit Organization Called Sendas. I have been working to help abused women and children get therapy after sexual and domestic abuse.

    El Salvador has the highest rates of social violence, domestic violence, adolescent pregnancies, and there are few places where women and children who suffer can find a place to heal.

    So please consider your donations for El Salvador.

  76. Susan Boritz says:

    Four years ago my life was repurposed when Sandy Hook Elementary School was attacked by a force of unspeakable darkness just a few hundred yards from my office. A community of therapists helped me through and kept me going. My life has been repurposed again in the aftermath of November 8th when every value I hold dear has been undermined or explicitly attacked. I appreciate the opportunity to connect again with a community of therapists. Thank you for a ray of light. I am re dedicating myself to living my values. However, I want to work in common purpose with others to strengthen the beam of light.

    • The dear little faces of those children still haunts me. We will never forget them and the brave staff!

  77. Iya Efunsade Rowlette says:


    I would like to see a brighter light shining on the hearts of all the people in the world. A light that shines so bright it doesn’t allow anyone to see our perceived “wrongs”. A brighter light that only reflects the good in all of us. When we are in one accord may the brighter light of our hearts bring fourth the love that is there to be shared from one person to the next person; healing, restoring, forgiving and just love.

    Be the love you want to see in the world

  78. Nelly Ndirangu says:

    Thank you Ruth, I have always said and believed in leaving a mark in this world. This is through touching a heart of one suffering child from a most at risk family in the community. Kudos Sister Ruth, we are walking same journey. Kindly visit our website http// to view some of our community support activities. We are looking forward to partner with like minded organizations, individuals and professionals to relieve human suffering, different ways. Thank your
    Regards, Nelly

  79. Khrysty Urban, retired, Canada says:

    I was in court today and was very moved by the female judge. Every person who was on trial was suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, a recent loss of a friend or a family member or abuse.
    This judge spoke directly to the person, acknowledging their suffering, and somehow thru her words and body language, communicated a sense of respect for the person and hope for their future. I left feeling compassion for all beings…

  80. thank you for your message, Judith. I wish you and your family the same..

    I believe that along with holding hope, we as clinicians will be called upon to become more publiciy active as part of the response to the darkness that is around us. We must organize ourselves to provide support and protection by making our voices heard for anyone especially children that will be classified and treated as “other”.

  81. I would like to see the poverty in Brazil eradicated

    • I spent much time there as a child with my maternal family of swiss extraction living in relative wealth in Porto Alegre and Rio. I hated the fact that they had maids and cooks and they lived so comfortably and would speak up against it at 8 years old. They would explain it as providing good jobs for ‘those people’ and were very kind to their hired help but still…the injustice of it!

      Bless Brazil, a beautiful country

  82. Varghese John says:

    Dear Ruth Buczynski,

    Thanks you for the `hope’.It is `the’ magic word.I guess we not only have hope but also actively train ourselves to face the coming realities of this world,which seems to be at odds with itself.Each one of us will have to stand-up to be counted for the cause of humanity, human dignity and human values in an all encompassing manner.

    Peace and goodwill be to you and all of us.


  83. Doris M, Mason,LCSW, Salt Lake City, Utah says:

    Ruth, thank you for reminding us of history and also sharing the the starfish story. May each of us live as the old man lived.

    May joy be experienced within you each day! … I do not want to limit this wish to only the holidays!

  84. Hart says:

    Save the Children was shining a light on the horrors of sexual assault around the globe 30 years ago at this time. I received a teddy bear wearing a “Save the Children” button as a holiday gift purchased from their charity. It reminds me of the strength and resilience in fighting to keep hope alive each time a new season of darkness descends.

    As painful as it is to hear about the dark horrors humans can create in the world; it is powerful to hear stories that prove the strength of the human spirit to find its inner light in the face of them. That is where hope lives and thrives, in facing down the horrors.

    Thank you Ruth, for reawakening this memory.

  85. Hi ruth. I would like to see the light shining more at home in America. As Obama said to his daughters after the Democrats lost the election, to treat everyone with kindness and respect and understanding. To know that there may always be bigotry in other people but to watch out for it in ourselves. That would be my greatest Christmas hope.

    Thank you for all you do all around the world all year long.

  86. Sallie Gilman says:

    I would like to see the light shine brighter in our own country as we mend political fences, treat each other with respect, compassion, kindness and forgiveness. I believe there is always hope, but the unknown is always unnerving and worrisome. And our world is full of sorrow and suffering. The only thing that I know for certain is that if one person tries to act with compassion and kindness our future will be one of hope. Maybe that should be our mantra for 2017, Compassion and Kindness begins with each of us.
    Thank you for this reminder, Ruth.

  87. Maji Peterx says:

    I will like to see light shine to over 2million displaced people in the north eastern part of Nigeria occasioned by Boko Haram insurgency.

  88. Kathie says:

    Thank you for these words of hope Ruth. They are light.
    May each of us shine he light we have, remembering
    That this light gives hope to those around us who are

  89. Thank you, Ruth, for all the good you are and all the good you are doing on this planet as you shine your light on some of the dark corners where it is most needed. I would love to see a brighter light shining on the struggles of the Standing Rock Water Protectors. This is one of the turning points.

  90. Maji Peterx says:

    Dear Ruth Buczynski,

    I have tried severally to reach out to you and have even sent emails but never got a reply.

    Maji Peterx

    • modupe akin deko says:

      Maji, I’m in Nigeria too. Send me an email. I’m trying to build a coalition here. My email ad is

  91. Dee Brown, psychotherapist, Manchester UK says:

    Thank you Ruth. I will remember that though I don’t have the answers, I have hope.

  92. Jean says:

    I know that many persons are opposed to spiritual light being shun around the world, however it is important to make a thorough search of one’s own heart to examine the holy books. There are several that are considered sacred by the various traditions of Christianity as well as other groups who give adoration and praise to their Gods. However, my suggestion is that all these various groups show genuine love for people. That action would help people to be more humane to others who do not share their beliefs and practices.

  93. Abbegail Eason says:

    Thank you for the reminder Ruth. I work on shining my light and energy out into the world, and I do believe it makes a difference. There is always hope.

  94. Lorraine says:

    Thank you Ruth. I needed this reminder. I myself and feeling hopeless and I know that so many of my clients are filled with fear and lack hope. Yes, the reason for the season is light. That is the one hope we can all have that light is within us all. I will use the Solstice as a reminder that things are changing and with that change comes more light, love and hope. Blessing to you for all that you do.

  95. After what happened last night in Berlin, just one bad new of the infinite series, it’s so hard to hope… Thanks, Ruth, for your message, it makes me feel as a part of community, little bit of light

  96. Judy hanazawa says:

    The plight of the Syrians is a terrible and inhumane situation. Relief and safety must be immediately provided for these people.

  97. Nycey says:

    Thank you for your sensitivity to mention the Christ child bringing light to the world at this time of year. Appreciated

  98. Paul says:

    This is a good time to drive out the darkness in one’s own heart.

  99. Sonia Simone says:

    Ruth — thanks so much for this message. This is such a difficult time in the world. I think many of us feel stuck and terribly worried.

    Trish — I did some Googling around — Save the Children is a secular organization and appears to have an excellent reputation overall.

    (There’s a similarly named org called Feed the Children that is a Christian organization — unfortunately, it also has very poor ratings for the percentage of donations that are used for their programs.)

  100. Trish Sarr says:

    Is Save the Children affiliated with any particular religion?

    • Nancy, NICABM Staff says:

      Hi Trish,

      Rather than reply to your question directly, we reached out to Cheryl for her response. This is her reply:

      Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm.

      We are a global child-focused, independent and secular, development organization. We have no membership or affiliation to any political party or religion.

      As you may know, we are currently responding with aid in areas where families are being taken and are ready to support thousands more, with food, medical care and protection once they’re finally evacuated from Aleppo. Here’s the link to more information.

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