Holiday Survival Guide!
Updated: November 22, 2017
Holiday Survival Guide
So last week I wrote about the holiday stuff coming too early but now it’s time for Thanksgiving in the USA and the SuperBowl of shopping called Black Friday ( not sure if this is everywhere?) and well we are indeed getting all ready for Christmas, Hanukkah, and all the other holidays I don’t know the names of ( nor is it important to the blog- just wanted to be inclusive)
OK! So tis the season to be grateful! Yes we should be grateful all year long but now particularly we need to be grateful since so many of us are going to be facing an avalanche of social things and likely at least one visit to the family table where you might have zip nada in common with most of ‘em.
If you’re fortunate and have no drama during the holidays that is one big fat thing to be grateful for.
That would mean that you assigned a meaning to the holidays and to the interactions that focused your mind and heart on good things, open and honest communication, delicious food, plenty, compassion, kindness and the spirit of giving, and understanding.
Somehow I see the holidays a bit like Let’s Make a Deal, where just behind the door that you choose is a true reflection of the experience that is meant for you depending on your life experience, expectations and mindset..
It could mean that it may always have been this way- glorious connected and happy- so you picked door #1 and found that Leave it to Beaver and the Brady Bunch was a true reflection of your family. Or, you picked door #2 – and your prize is knowing that you worked hard to keep a mindset that projected a positive heart- opening concept on this time of year. Or, you choose door #3 when the stress and trauma of a fragmented family with so many assigned meanings and judgments causes you to have anxiety days even before you leave the house. Oh and you ate the whole pie you baked in the closet when no one was looking so you had to go replace it with store bought.
Now, likely we are a little bit of everything behind those doors. It really doesn’t matter where we come from, happy and together or fragmented and wounded, it’s how we choose to view the world and the meaning we assign the experience of it now, not, in some cases like before.
Human beings are storytellers and meaning makers.
I loved the holidays when I was little but then later on it unravelled when my family lost everything and alcoholism took away the joy although we sure tried hard to manufacture it. Joy was elusive, gratitude replaced with bitterness and we lost perspective swimming in the fear that took up residence and never left until my mom got brain cancer and Dad got dementia and has a series of strokes. After they died I was in my early thirties, sober and scared and alone as I was estranged from my relatives etc. I could not wait until the holidays were over. I hated everything about them- in my mind it was fake happiness, consumerism and getting together forcibly to overeat and pretend to be thrilled.
A couple years later I started volunteering at a soup kitchen, then at sober dinners to feed the homeless that began before the holidays, and then on Christmas day and I was soaked in joy and gratitude, humility and the true spirit of giving, and all the good came back. When I met my husband he brought the child like quality back too and now I am kookoo for cocoa puffs nutty about putting up a tree way too early and refusing to take it down until mid January.
I assigned a new meaning to this time of year. I learned to look at people without judgment, seeing them all as if for the first time. That alone is a miraculous decision.
So if you are feeling anxious about this time of year, and especially connecting with people you feel unsafe with, or uncomfortable with, how about deciding to see them 100% judgment free, allowing them to be them. Live and let live and go with curiosity. Make new meaning this season. Let people surprise you, let go your expectations and set your boundaries ahead of time but maybe not so rigidly.
Be easy on yourself and others.
Ask yourself “ How important is this?” “ Do I really need to be right?” “ What am I making this mean?”
Let go the need to get it 100% right.
Give peace a chance.
Give gratitude a shot.
You will thrive in it… not just survive it.