By Bart Vance, Eastern Canada
This is primarily a Christmas Ceremony, though you can alter it for other times of the year or for something other than Christmas. It may hold a good context at other times of the year, but you really need to have the spirit like the kind that comes at this holiday time. You will need enough tangerines, mandarins or clementines for all who are in attendance. These fruits – which were always available during the winter months for those of us in the northern regions – signaled that the holidays were upon us.
Pass out one to each in the circle, and tell them just to hold it until the ceremony starts. Then have them look at it. While they are looking at it, speak to the men, “For those with such a past, remember back to a time when you were a child and these were only available at Christmas. They were such a treat. The sight of your mother putting them out was like a guarantee that there would be Christmas … and soon! For those without such a past, recall any treat you had at the time of the holidays. Feel that joy you felt then. All the wonder, the tree in the living room, the presents sitting under it, the snow on the ground, the great smells coming out of mom’s kitchen, most of us got at least one of these in our Christmas stocking.”
Now have the men start to peel it.
“As you peel this, think of all the things you are grateful for. Think of all the things in your life that make you feel good, which make you smile when you think of them. With some of the things that go on in this world, you actually have so much, now that you stop to truly count your blessings. Simple things like a home, family, friends, a job, your health and the other things that are filling your mind right now.”
By now the men have peeled off the skin.
“I want each of you in turn to pull a piece loose, say one thing you are grateful for and eat it. While you are savoring that piece, think about that one thing that you are truly grateful for and savor it. Now eat the rest of the tangerine/mandarin/clementine, one section of it at a time. Each section you eat represents a different blessing that you are grateful for; say it before eating each piece. Slowly savor each piece and each thing you are blessed about. Realize the people and things in your life that are wonderful.”
When the men are finished say “Remember, you ARE blessed. Each of the names you said here would have said yours if asked this same question. You are special, and so are the people around you for having you in their lives. Remember that. Now take your blessings home with you, keep them at the top of your mind, and bless those around you.”