Why is it that the Thanksgiving Holiday season brings so much pain – especially when it is supposed to be a time for being thankful for what we have? It appears that the energies surrounding this year have intensified even more the challenges that many people are experiencing (especially the Canadian Thanksgiving which is celebrated over 6 weeks prior to the US – hopefully by the end of Nov the outside energies may be less intense). Regardless of the time of year that your culture celebrates ‘Thanksgiving’ the fear during this season is still a theme that requires thought. After all, what is it about these Holidays that creates such anxiety and fear?
Family gatherings are often permeated with difficulties from unhappy memories to outright conflicts. We have expectations that lead to unmet and unhappy outcomes. We expect our Thanksgiving gatherings to be filled with Love, Acceptance, and Happiness despite the fact that our only memories of this occasion are memories of an earlier time – when we were younger and innocent and when we tended to ignore the adults and stressful encounters of our Holiday get-togethers. We were blissfully ignorant. Yet we all play into the victim consciousness and ‘me’ mentality that leaves Thanksgiving and other family Holidays often permeated with strife.
Therein lies the problem. We expect Love, Acceptance, and Happiness but our expectations are unreasonable as these expectations create unnecessary stress as we try to create the ‘perfect’ gathering. We also tend to focus on ‘me’ and how everything we have no control over will impact us personally. In fact we often believe that everything that happens is personal! We stress ourselves as we try to create perfection and when our sought-after perfection doesn’t occur – which is always the case with our ego (our ego always finds fault) – we take it personally. We become stuck in victim consciousness and it impacts how we interpret the success of our Holidays. We almost always expect the worst – yet hope (which seems to also come from fear or misguided presumptions) for the best. We maintain the same family dynamics year after year – dynamics that stem from fear and so we try to control the outcomes. We also continue to see our ‘happiness’ as something that comes from outside ourselves so we try to control the outside factors of our get-togethers.
The thing is we mostly grow through our relationships. So if we are experiencing challenges during a time when we are to BE Grateful the question we need to ask ourselves is: what is my responsibility? What, in my striving for Happiness, is MY responsibility? And the answer is only given in how we respond to each situation. We have no control over what ‘happens’ in our life. We can’t change the past, alter how our relatives relate to one another, predict whether or not the dinner/gathering/gift is ‘perfect’ and whether or not we gain their approval, or whether or not we are being judged. The only thing we are ‘in charge of’ is how we respond to each situation! We have no control over what happens; we are only in charge of our response to the happenings.
Our fears push us to Grow Up. Any emotion that is less than Happy and Loving represents a fear. Sure, it is likely well hidden within our unconscious and we like to stuff our feelings away when they make us uncomfortable, but we have an opportunity to BE more aware and conscious of our feelings and actions. We can only do this, be more aware, if we are in the Present Moment and conscious of how we are BEing in the World. We can BE in charge of how we want to show up in the world. We can and to do that we can choose to go within and choose to BE Happy, Loving and Accepting of all that happens with an Open Heart.
We often believe that we are a product of what is occurring around us; that the emotions and happiness of everyone around us determines how we respond to each given situation. However, if we respond to our situations based on how other people react this only reinforces in us the victim mentality that permeates our society. We don’t have to be victims in as much as we can make a conscious choice to ‘show up’ in our lives. We can choose to BE happy regardless of what is happening around us; that’s us showing up! We have a choice! In fact that is one of the only ways we can truly BE happy. We can choose to be happy – just as we can choose to Love – as that is the only way to BE Love. We can choose to Accept everything about our lives – as that is the only way to have Acceptance. And our choices can only occur while we are conscious in the moment and therefore conscious of our emotions. And being conscious of our emotions we can be conscious of what we choose to experience within our lives.
Let’s understand how Victim Consciousness has saturated our reactions, our emotions, and our actions; and that only we ourselves have the ability to change our perceptions, beliefs, habits, and stories. We can’t do this change if we believe we are a victim so we have to let go of the pain – the fear – of being the victim. And although it sounds simple – and it is – it isn’t easy. However that is the way to Grow Up! It is through our choices that we can intend to BE Love, Happy, and Accepted for who we Truly are! So as we begin this Holiday Season – how do you want to ‘show up’? Unconscious and feeling miserable because Holidays make you feel like you are out of control? Or do you want to be in Charge of how you experience your Holidays? Let go of the need to try and make things perfect. Open up to the unlimited possibilities that exist all around us. Know that you can choose how you feel and when it feels like you have no choice, really examine how you are BEing in your current moment, your ‘right now’. Are you conscious and in the present moment? Are you choosing how you want to BE? Make conscious choices to BE Happy, Loving, and Accepting of yourself … and others! This Holiday Season BE who you want to BE. As Gandhi says BE the Change you wish to see in the World. Happy Thanksgiving!