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Not everyone celebrates the Easter-time holidays. Regardless of our religion (or, in some cases, none), we tend to get bombarded this time of the year. Whether it’s the Passover celebrating freedom, the resurrection of Jesus, or the Easter bunny emerging from the frost to hide colored eggs, it’s all a time of renewal. Whether it’s a religious event or a fun celebration, we can be grateful for the gifts offered during these holidays.

Passover ended when the Hebrews were freed from slavery in Egypt. Pharoah, not wanting to release the slaves, demanded that all firstborn males be killed. God had instructed the Israelites to smear lamb’s blood on the door so that the angel of death would pass over and spare the firstborn’s lives. The Israelite’s firstborn sons were spared, and Pharoah’s son died. What he wished on others was inflicted on himself. This was the final blow to a series of consequences that finally broke the will of Pharoah and allowed the enslaved people to flee. This biblical story is also a metaphor for attaining freedom from bondage.

Once the slaves were freed, they resisted living in a godly manner. Consequently, these people remained lost in the desert for forty years instead of finding the Utopia that was so close at hand. My life was lost in no man’s land for many years until I turned my life over to a higher power, was freed from the slavery of addiction, and found peace and joy.

Christians celebrate Easter and the Sunday before, Palm Sunday, when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, during Passover week, before his crucifixion. Jesus knew he would be crucified and offered unleavened bread and wine to his disciples during Passover “in remembrance” of him. Easter celebrates his resurrection from death.

This holiday also reminds us that we are forgiven and to forgive. Without forgiveness, authentic joy is not possible.

This holy week is also a time for children to celebrate a day of make-believe. I remember my best childhood Easter when I was four years old, attending a community center easter egg hunt. Whoever found the golden egg won a prize. I didn’t find the golden egg, but I remember the exhilaration I felt running around, a spring breeze blowing through my hair while collecting pastel-colored eggs, and placing them in my wicker, straw-filled basket. When I got home, my grandmother hid the eggs for me again.

When I was too old for Easter baskets, I wanted to attend church on Easter Sunday. I had a spiritual longing and would go with friends whenever possible. Then, over time, my quest took me around the world. Eventually, I learned that what I searched for was inside me – an internal Christ who is always there to guide, love, and comfort me.

These holidays are celebrated during spring – Mother earth melts away the past and bursts with renewal. We can count on this year after year. Beginning each day by giving back in the same way, we could also let go of the past and spring forth with renewal. This year could be the year you melt away the ice and allow the real you to emerge from the cold, solid ground of your past. And regardless of your beliefs, be assured that you are one of many lovely flowers here to bloom and share your beautiful self with those around you. So let your heart open to this special time of year and let your garden grow.

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Dr. Donna Marks has been a licensed psychotherapist and addictions counselor in Palm Beach, Florida, for over thirty years. In 1989, Dr. Marks developed a chemical dependency training program at Palm Beach Community College, which has grown into a four-year degree and received the Florida Governor’s Council Award. She is also a certified gestalt therapist, psychoanalyst, hypnotist, and sex therapist. She’s facilitated A Course in Miracles for over 30 years. In addition, she shares her methods with hundreds of thousands of listeners on podcasts, radio, and tv shows. Learn more about Dr. Marks, her books: Exit the MazeOne Addiction, One Cause, One SolutionLearn, Grow, ForgiveA Path to Spiritual Success, and The Healing MomentSeven Paths to Turn Messes Into Miracles, her services, and free offers.

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