It is about this time almost every year that I suddenly think to myself "oh, crap!! Thanksgiving is in two weeks!! Who am I going to be with and where will I be with them??" You would think that, by now, I would know that Thanksgiving is always the 4th Thursday of the month of November...yet it always sneaks up on me.
This is my version of holiday stress and anxiety. Trying to figure out where I will go and what I will do. I can get myself in a funk in a couple of different ways. The first funk is "I don't have a significant other/partner in my life, so there's no one who just KNOWS that we are going to do holidays together no matter what. (sad face, sad face, poor, poor me...)
The second funk is this - "My family is all spread out (for years each of us in a different state) and my parents are divorced. Should I go to Mom's? Should I go to Dad's? Where will my sister and brother be? I can't stand flying during the holidays because it's such a nightmare, blah, blah, blah..."
On top of that I'm a terrible planner, so by the time I remember that it's holiday time and plans are needed, it feels completely overwhelming to try to make the plans necessary to get out of town. And since I'm the one without kids, remember, I'm usually the one doing the traveling. (I am super grateful that my sister, Suzanne, and her family came to me last Thanksgiving!!)
This is my particular version of holiday stress and anxiety. I know you have yours too - what is it? Maybe you wonder how I could even complain, given that I obviously have people I COULD be with if I chose to - when you may feel alone at the holidays, without options of people to be with, with whom you share love.
Maybe - and I confess that this has been true for me at times - the plans to actually be with family are laden with stress and anxiety. There you will run into the sibling who vehemently holds the exact opposite political or religious viewpoint from you. Or the relative that loses his temper at the drop of a hat. Or the parent that is a control freak and can't just have a relaxing time visiting. Or the alcoholic. Or...And...you know what tension awaits you in your particular family.
You may have had the experience of being away from family for some time, during which you have entered into a process of awakening and healing, of growing up and discovering who you are in this world of ours, that might look much different from who your family thought you were or wanted you to be.
You may feel a strong connection with your family, but when you return, with eyes more open, and some different perspectives and experiences, maybe even different beliefs, it feels a little strange. Who are these people? Who am I when I'm with them? Where did my grown up self go?
It is not unusual to walk into the home of your parents and automatically return to the same dynamic you had with them when you were 12! This is a huge reason why anxiety starts rising up at this time of year.
The people we want the most to feel connected to, we wind up feeling the most alone with.
Or we are alone, wanting to be with people we feel connected to.
Or we just plain want people to feel connected to, but instead, feel alone!
This against the fairy tale of a picture we have made up in our minds - or that others have made up for us - of what SHOULD be happening at the Holidays.
Are your holiday tensions, stresses, and anxieties starting to pop up too? It might be the perfect time to take a look at the source of these.
I invite you to consider The Heart of the Matter as a mini healing program to support and guide you through what bubbles up inside you during the months of November and December.
The Heart of the Matter is a 5 session package that could be the open door you need to walk through this 2017 holiday season. If your tensions are high, or you are experiencing a reaction to this time of year, I can help you take a closer look at what is behind the dread, the anxiety, the guilt, the same old family pattern. And once you can see it more clearly, I can help you shift it, and maybe even get a good start on letting it go!
When that shift happens, you will actually find yourself responding differently to that challenging family member. You will find a more centered place within, a place of empowerment, even in triggering circumstances. You will be able to create your own experience at the holidays, even if you are not yet established in community.
Please contact me with any questions you have about The Heart of the Matter, or any other offering that might be calling to you.
For myself, I've had to work through feelings of grief and resentment related to my parents' divorce. I had to let go of resentment that my parents started a trend of moving away from extended family. I had to let go of a sense of responsibility for the feelings or actions of others, and really ask myself what decision is in alignment with what will bring the most Life to me - and, by association, others - at any given time (i.e. Holiday).
I will probably not be with my family for Thanksgiving this year. And it will probably be 2 weeks before Christmas, the holiday of my spiritual tradition, before I know what I will be doing then. What I do know is that I am available to walk with you during this time, if needed. Please reach out so that I can do just that!