Friday, December 26, 2008

The valley’s holiday message

The Christmas and New Year's holidays have everyone in a frenzy. The mid-week scheduling is neither work-, travel- or family-friendly. Add that to the nation's economic woes, and it's a recipe for stress and strife.

But wait.

People in the Sun Valley area during the holidays have the great good fortune to be located in a great drift of antidotes to stress—if only they slow down long enough to see and experience them.

The antidotes are easy to find. One has only to look to the mountains all around and a little beyond the glitter.

The valley is full of the bearers of the message that stress doesn't have to be our constant companion—even in America. Teachers, trainers and instructors of every kind are working here every day to inspire people to reach for more satisfying mental, physical and spiritual lives. Some have titles and offices and offer classes. A lot of them are just ordinary people with ordinary jobs living life in the way their hearts lead them.

They tell us and show us that life is about seeking balance and personal peace.

Their message, the valley's message, stands in stark contrast to the American experience of the last 30 years in which how much money one had was the measure and the worth of both individuals and institutions. The message, even in the midst of all the trappings money can buy, is that money isn't everything.

It's a good year for that message. And there is no better place than the Sun Valley area to seek balance and to renew inspiration. There's no better place to experience a deeper and more meaningful life.

The valley invites us to stop, take a deep breath, stretch a little, listen and look around to appreciate the life around us.

In even small moments here and there, it's possible to realize that there is enough time and enough money, even in the midst of never enough. It's possible to realize that the friends and family who can drive us crazy are also our greatest treasures.

It's possible to shed the stress and aggravations of a year when the world became unnerved and watched billions of dollars vanish as if they'd never existed. It's possible to learn to face an uncertain future with a measure of calm.

How? By walking or skiing or simply standing in this special place. By stopping to notice nature's diamonds sparkling with each step we take. By noticing the fragance of wood smoke intermingled with the scent of snow in the air. By listening to silence or seeing the Milky Way as if for the first time.

So, relax. Reconnect. Listen to the valley's message. It's the heart of the holiday season in Sun Valley.

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.