The Christmas List 🎄

Laurence Duarte
7 min readDec 2, 2021

Dear Ones,

Do you feel it? Winter is just around the corner and, with it, the excitement of the holiday season.

On my side, the first of December is the official start of my favorite Christmas playlist — that will stop the 25th at 12 p.m., as everyone in the house will be so done with it — with Mariah Carey’s classic “All I Want for Christmas is You” and the quirky “Chipmunk Song” that I adore.

It is the time of the year where we receive lists from our kids, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren about what they want under their Christmas tree. You know, the mega long list because “Hey! Santa Claus can bring everything…” And us, playing the big guy in red’s lutins. Even if it will cost you the “look” and call out from your kids when they finally realize that, well, there are no flying reindeer…

And for those without a list to fulfill, you may experience this “scratching the head” $10 limit “secret Santa” gift for your awkward or difficult colleague 😉 .

December, if we wish, can be a synonym of love and light. It brings this renewed feeling of wonder, gratitude and hope; the Christmas songs, outdoor decorations, mulled wine, and childhood memories all conspire to uplift our mood and trust the magic of life.

And it is much needed. The energy is still wild out there. Learning how to navigate this new uncertainty we are all in starts with the effort to extricate ourselves from our fears and difficulties — the new and the old ones — and celebrate, cultivate and share a sense of wonder, care and gratitude despite everything.

Let’s Transform and Transfigure

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” — Woodrow Wilson

If this pandemic teaches us something, it is moving into fear, recognizing and changing the perspective of it. Everyone has fears — it is a natural part of being human. Fear can protect us from harm by sending a rush of adrenaline to help us physically deal with potential danger. But there are times when fear may keep us from participating fully in life. Fear can be a bully inside our own heads, a voice that wants us to give up. Especially when there are forces at work exploiting people’s fears, difficulties and sense of exclusion; forces of money and manipulation setting people against each other.

But, we can avoid giving away our power to fear by listening to our own voice of knowing. If we can see it for what it is and realize that fear is a state of mind, we can choose to face our fears, change our minds, and create the life we want to live.

Living from Choice

“Set me on fire if I land on anything but the truth.” — Rumi

And it is what is happening. By knowing our edges, fears and pains as tutors, we empower ourselves. By listening to the voice that continues to let us know what we want, no matter how many times, we override its messages.

This life, this fickle thing, is not to be wasted. It is not to be drained of magic and love. It is not to be felt as pointless and empty, not to be held onto with gripping nail and fist, not be confused for pain and suffering alone, but for a joyful melding of outer substance with inner substance, a locating of the most tender and live spot in us, and plugging into that pulse, as the writer Sarah Blondin reminds us.

We are slowly learning to yield, not fight. If there is a recurrent word in anyone’s mind at the moment, it is alignment between our internal and external landscape. We are pushing ourselves to focus our attention on value, what and who can stand the test of time regarding our choices. It is challenging. Any choice is a win and a loss, a risk of disappointment. Surprises are commonplace. Curveballs, too.

As human beings, as consumers, as workers, we are overcoming blocks to act powerfully. No more feeling powerless but more it’s my business because we’re all human beings! No more fearing disapproval but more we deserve better! No more fear of retaliation, but more gives me the right to decide what needs to be done.

We are taking back our power to buy — or not — into trends, to let — or not — other people make decisions for us. We are rediscovering our confidence to listen to our own voice and let it guide us as we make our own decisions in life and remember the necessity for balance.

The view here is optimistic, forward-thinking. What — or who — are we growing into? What’s being shaken up? The good news is the next step may very well break us out of our comfort zone. Determination, while not losing sight of the bigger picture, will get us through.

Here is My Invitation for You: Reflect and Decide

“Happiness is not fulfilling every pleasure or getting every outcome you desire. Happiness is being able to enjoy life with a peaceful mind that is not constantly craving for more. It is the inner peace that comes with embracing change.” — Yung Pueblo

How it works.

We take powerful action in the world

⇢ Our actions, and the world’s reactions to what we do, stir feelings inside us

⇢ We set aside time for healing, including processing and releasing our painful feelings, getting support, and getting rest

⇢ We reflect, learn, and strategize

⇢ We take renewed powerful action in the world.

Our minds are powerful tools to be used by our higher selves; like computers, storing and using data to make certain connections between thought and response. We have the ability to observe these and choose differently. No matter where the fear came from, we can create new connections by choosing new thoughts. When our souls and minds are in alignment, we create a new experience of reality. This journey requires many small steps, as well as patience and courage through the process. Remember, it is not the absence of fear but the courage to take action anyway that determines success. When we learn to face our fears, we learn to observe our thoughts and feelings but not be ruled by them. Instead, we choose how to shape the lives we want.

And Then Make a Light Work

“A hand moves, and the fire’s whirling takes different shapes,

Triangles, squares: all things change when we do.

The first word, “Ah,” blossomed into all others.

Each of them is true.” — Kukai

When we take charge of our life, we take back the power to create, the power to cooperate, the power to liberate. We each contribute to the growth of common understandings. We grow and change from the things we learn from those around us, and we are simultaneously all teachers. We have the power to cooperate. Instead of getting infected by the modern disease of seeking power over other people, we can develop our power with each other, working together to pursue common goals and make beautiful things happen. We want to create processes in which everyone’s contribution is valued and what we build benefits everyone. We have the power to defend ourselves and those we love.

As leaders, let’s consider ways to strengthen, expand, and humanize our leadership, deepening our connections to people as we go.

There are actions we can take on, like noticing when certain people are not being heard or are being misunderstood, and pointing that out; taking actions that require courage, such as intervening when someone is mistreated or endangered; working to gain knowledge or skill in a specific area so that others might benefit from those abilities and, of course, teaching it.

Our Own List, Refilling the Human Well

“Without vision, even the most focused passion is a battery without a device.” — Ken Auletta

A vibrant, challenging life is the context in which we flourish. To move along better, we need our eyes fixed on where we want to go next. To navigate the uncertainty of life, let’s recognize our north star from our deepest values and desires and make our list.

What are our true needs, the essential elements that we all need to build into our lives to keep ourselves emotionally and physically healthy? And how do we learn to identify things we think we need but that actually we’d be better off without?

When we make a list of what we want — and why — we start taking action to improve our lives and pay attention to our emotional being. When we create a list of what we want, our aspirations take on new substance. What was once a mere wish becomes real and achievable when put into words. As we pour the contents of our heart and soul into our list, our well-defined ambitions become a part of us. Our list can help us channel our intellectual and emotional power into our efforts to realize them.

Finally, if writing our list is about wanting into the future, practicing gratitude for our present helps us to live happier in the now. There is always an immediate gift in recognizing all the amazing things we already have. When we are vibrating on the frequency of gratitude, we not only cultivate greater feelings of joy but we actually attract more things for which to be grateful.

I will leave you with this invitation. I don’t know what will be under your Christmas tree — even if I wish you the best -, but together, let’s commit to expressing and sharing gratitude more often, to collectively shifting our energy, to manifesting more things for which to be grateful into our lives, and helping each other to shine our lights a little bit brighter.

And if you have no clue for your list, let’s listen to Mariah’s “All I want for Christmaaaas….iiiissss…you.” It’s so satisfying!

Wishing you the most joyous holiday season.

With Love + Light,


From The Eagle Newsletter N°11 — December 2021, you can subscribe here.



Laurence Duarte

Head of Strategy with innovation on the brain and a focus on creating safe and thriving business environments.