The holiday season is upon us. This is a time for celebrating love, family and togetherness. For some that is. For many it is a time of expectations, loneliness and despair. Either way it is a time of high emotion.
Knowing this can be an opportunity to create new traditions and rituals and make future seasons that bring one peace and joy. True joy. As a young single mother and foster child holidays were always a disappointment. I started off hopeful but was always met with the same pain. As a child it was hell watching the other kids in the neighborhood receive gifts and have loving family to celebrate. The home I lived in was very heavy and not at all happy. And as a single mother I always felt so sad that I did not have extended family for my son(s).
I finally looked around and saw that there were some amazing people around me with the same pain and experiences. So we all got together and I cooked. It was the first joyous season I had ever experienced. My son and I were celebrating the season with loving, kind people. My heart overflows when I think of those days. I learned so much about life from those years.
After I met my husband and we grew our family we created crazy holidays for our children. Truth be told it was as much for our inner children as our actual children. But it was wonderful to see them open up their gifts and enjoy a holiday celebration with our large family. There was an abundance of amazing people who became our extended family.
Looking back I see that the contrast of my childhood and what I, we created is what makes the celebrations even more joyous. The holidays became at some point in the last few years a chore. We really , especially me, got in our heads and tried to make it all “perfect and fair”. It ended up being a week of preparing food and shopping on top of the gift shopping. And I spent little time enjoying the people I love so much. Do not get me wrong.. I love all of that. I love to cook and feed people. In fact, it is one my greatest joys in life. If it did not need nights and weekends I would open up a restaurant.
In essence, I lost track of the actual celebration. The being with those I love new and old. Just enjoying the time to savor the moments with those gifts.
Earlier this year I began simplifying things so I could enjoy time with loved ones. And this holiday will be no exception. I will cook crazy meals and work hard. But the focus will be on the true blessings in life. The people I call family. The family of my children and the loved ones who so richly bless our lives.
One thing I talk a lot with clients about is really looking at the relationships with family. Just an honest inventory. A gift I received from being a foster child is that family is a word one earns with me. It is not a given.
I would encourage you to contemplate this… “whom would I like to spend my holidays with?” Meaning those who are here in the living world. And
“if they were not my family would I spend time with them?”. “What are the holidays really about for me?” Really sit with this and see what shows up for you. See if you can implement new traditions that bring you peace and joy.
Holidays can be even more difficult when we have lost our loved ones. It creates a heaviness we can sometimes feel powerless over. The one thing I know from being a Medium is that your loved one does not want you to stop living. It is a source of pain for them to see you suffer so. This is not a cliche’ it is the truth. I hear it over and over. Your peace brings them peace.
So how do you feel your grief without drowning in it? You acknowledge it.
You be with those who can hear it and hold space for you. Yes there are lots of us out there. You realize that grief is the letting go of the love in the physical state and learning to hold it in your heart. Forty five years later I still grieve the loss of my mother. And when I finally admitted that I was able to be with that. It brought a strange peace. I am not sure if it is our society or human nature but the thought that we will “get over” our grief is so crazy and harmful. We pressure ourselves and assume that others are tired of hearing it. And maybe some of them are. But your need to talk about it means you must find people and places where that need is supported.
If you are grieving a recent loss or unable to get past a loss from a while ago it is time to find ways to honor them and go on living as well. I know it sounds like a tall order. It is not. Think of it this way: what would you want your loved ones to do if you were passed? Use this line of thinking to create new traditions and rituals, if you will, that honor the memory of them. Set a place at the table. Talk about the good times. Sit quietly and connect with them. But live in the way you would want for them if it was you on the other side. You will begin to have a peace and find a new life. A new way of living. Most of all obsess on the gifts their life brought you.
As far as the holidays and the expectations take time to sit and be with yourself. Ask yourself who really matters in your life. Spend time with them. As yourself who brings light to your life. Spend time with them. Be in a space of creating new traditions. Do what brings you joy. And talk about how you feel. Keep talking until you are heard. YOU MATTER!
The holiday season is upon us. And we can choose to find ways to make it our own. Honoring you honors your loved ones. And there is no right or wrong way to celebrate. A celebration is only a celebration if it has meaning for you.
Take the life you have today and make it your own. You can do this. Sending out huge ways of much love and gratitude for you. Please share your new traditions with me so I can share them in an upcoming blog for others.