Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Holidays Are About Family And Memories: Yours?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

The holidays are here and that is significant for your life.  Holiday memories are some of the most basic and powerful.  Holidays are about FAMILY- the starting point and most important influencers of who you are as a person.

Family experiences, and their consequent memories, are extremely impactful on your emotional life.  They dramatically affect how you experience the holidays year after year.  Also, holiday emotions are the “tip of the  iceberg” for related emotions affecting your life even when you do not know it.  Emotions are the primary energy of interpersonal relationships.

Ask yourself, what is your gut feeling about the holidays?  Are they feeling of joy and excitement, or are they feelings of melancholy and depression?   If you are a person who looks forward to and welcomes the holidays, you probably had a happy childhood within your family.  There probably was a lot of love, caring, fun, and thoughtful gifts present in your household.  You  probably are continuing valued family traditions.

You may, however, be one of those persons who did not have a positive experience growing up, but have decided to make deliberate conscious choices to do things very differently in your family.  You want to erase those painful memories with new and positive experiences and have them  become encoded in your brain.

If you are a person who dislikes the holidays, feels blue, and wants them to quickly be over, then search for your negative childhood experiences.  Now may be the time to feel, grieve, and heal such pain.  The holidays can be the occasion to break through your unconscious defense mechanisms and change the way you experience the holidays

The holidays are an opportunity.  They can be the occasion for enhanced love and sharing within yourself and with loved ones.  They can be the stimulus for getting in touch with buried emotional pain that needs to emerge into wholeness and happiness.  Do a gut check.  What are your earliest holiday memories?  Self awareness and sharing these feelings can add a whole new dimension to this year’s holiday for you and those with whom you most intimately share your life.

Create some new and special memories this year – HAPPY HOLIDAY!! (Whatever your particular holiday is)

A Look at How You Experience the Holidays: Make Good Choices

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Holidays are a time of high emotion.  They are primarily about family and loved ones, who most of the time are the same people.  The holidays, and concomitant beliefs and emotions, lead to certain choices as to how they will be
celebrated.  Perhaps, however, you are one of those who blocks out and shuts down during these traditional times.  Surely there are reasons for that choice. If so, I hope that you will one day soon re-examine the holiday in such a way as to be able to enjoy the meaning and mirth that is possible by participating in these special days.

Many couples and family members spend much time discussing the holidays as to how they should be spent..  They oftentimes have struggles as to what is the “right” thing to do as they try to unite their past beliefs and customs with their emerging ideas and life styles.  Various pressures and expectations from significant others often cause consternation and conflict as holiday issues
appear which need resolution.

The following questions may serve as reasonable vehicles for self awareness and communication, as individuals and couples clarify and define their  WHO,  WHY, WHAT, and HOW holiday concerns: WHO  are the people close to you?  List and number them in order of closeness.  This should include family, relatives, friends, and acquaintances.  Who are the people who put pressure on you?  Who are the people with whom you most want to share this time? WHY are the people in the order you have them?  Is it because they are all that close to you or you “should” have them there? WHAT do these people expect from you during the holidays?  What do you expect from them?  What kind of changes might be in order this year?
Possible areas of discussion are meal arrangements, travel plans, lengths of stay, gifts, etc… HOW do you want to celebrate the holidays this year based on the above determinations?Are changes in traditional styles and expectations called
for?

Holidays are special.  They are meant to lift our spirits, warm our hearts, and be shared with the special people we love.  Hopefully this information will be helpful to you in making appropriate choices for you and the people that mean the most to you.  May your choices bring forth the best holiday ever!

 

What Does Thanksgiving Mean To You This Year? “Family” Is?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

We celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving this week. Thanks  giving.    Giving thanks.  Are you thankful?  Are you giving thanks to anyone?  I invite you to use this blog as an opportunity to reflect on what this holiday means to you.

Thanksgiving is different than other holidays.  It is not about gift giving, Easter eggs, patriotism, or religious practices.  It is about uniting, coming together.

Thanksgiving is about family.  No other holiday brings family together in quite the same way. Airlines and highways are crowded as family members assemble.  It is not just about that tasty turkey!

Walk down memory lane for a moment.  What was Thanksgiving like in your family when you were growing up? What was your family like?  Extended family?  What kind of family do you have now?  What people are considered “family” for you? How will you celebrate, or just get through, Thanksgiving this year?

As we grow older family members go off in various directions, physically and emotionally, for different reasons. Some remain close, others have little connection.  There are reasons.

Dysfunctional families, divorces, and deaths have left people bereft of available family members.  You may be glad some are gone,others are mourned.  John Bradshaw, a noted family psychologist, has written about “family of origin” and “family of
choice”.  For those who do not have a healthy connection with their biological and marital related family, they cancreate/choose a different kind of “family”. These family members may come from church, synagogue, recovery community/group, neighborhood, or “Cheers” tavern.

Thanksgiving can be a very lonely day for some if there is no “family” present for connection.  If you are in a position to invite such a person into your gathering, please do so.  Or, perhaps, go to a place that is serving turkey to the homeless or other less fortunate people.

Hopefully this Thanksgiving will be special as you are able to participate in a loving and welcoming “family” of one sort or another – and that you are giving thanks for that.  If not this year, perhaps you can create a better “family” to share in next year.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

P.S. I give thanks to you for reading my articles and giving me the positive feedback you so generously share.

 

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

Fourth of July: “Let Freedom Ring”; Build the Dream”!

Friday, July 1st, 2011

     The song “America” written by Samuel Francis Smith begins with these words:

“My country ‘tis of thee.  Sweet land of liberty.                                                                                                                                     Of thee I sing.                                                                                                                                                                                            Land where my fathers died.  Land of the pilgrims pride.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

From every mountainside.  Let freedom ring.

     Martin Luther King in his “I have a dream” speech spoke these words:

“From every mountainside, let freedom ring. …When we allow freedom to ring … we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”

     Martin Luther King was a visionary, not without foibles, but a visionary appropriate to the times of America in 1963. His life was galvanizing to many, divisive to those who held on to their prejudices. Laws of equality emerged anew from his inspirational message.

     John F. Kennedy was a visionary with statements such as this: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”.  Space exploration and the Peace Corps were fruits of such a call to action. Over time many young people have responded to serve our country in the military.

     Woodrow Wilson challenged Americans to a broader world perspective with these words: “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”.

     Who are the visionaries and inviters among us?  Who are the dividers, the close minded, among us? Who are the people than can rise up beyond selfish and partisan perspectives that can be visionary leaders of the common denominator of shared human kind?  Who can see beyond the religious divisions of Christian, Muslim, and Jew; or the cultural and racial divides of blacks, whites and reds; or the political chasm between liberals and conservatives?  Who can present and debate ideas without ridiculing, demonizing, and mocking those with different viewpoints. Who can rise above the petty and mundane, the short term gain, to inspire today’s “dream” – to let “freedom ring”  and be heard by those who want to create a better world.

     May this Fourth of July be a reminder of the gift of freedom that we have and the challenges still before us as we continue to dream of a better world.  The song  IMAGINE contains these words:                               

    “You may say I’m a dreamer.   But I’m not the only one.                                                                                                                   I hope you join us.    And the world will be as one.”