Holiday Cheer!

Where is the holiday cheer? I was in the store the other day and a woman was buying a stuffed animal for a child. My friend didn’t realize she wasn’t done with the cashier and she asked the cashier a question.  When the energy in the entire country changed to GRRRRRRR! My friend quickly became aware that she had upset this woman.  My friend turned to her and apologized and stepped back to let the now very angry woman finish her transaction.  I have to say the entire interaction between my friend and the cashier took about 15 seconds and it was about 2 seconds before my friend apologized and stepped back.  This woman remained angry was cranky at the cashier the cashier was now cranky and the stuff animal was sufficiently fused with anger.

I should have set the tone better and explained that everyone in the store was wearing Santa hats and Christmas music was playing in the background and we were at Disney (the happiest place on earth). My friend and I were having a great time walking through Disney looking at all things Christmas, shopping and trading pins.  A smile planted on both our faces and spreading cheer;  not to the angry lady, I guess.

Where is the holiday cheer and where is the compassion and understanding for mistakes like my friend’s ? I do not know what was the problem that day for that woman but I know she did not seem to enjoy Christmas shopping – but why? Aren’t the holidays full of love and joy? No they aren’t. There could be many reasons this particular woman was in a bad mood – sick child, no money but the pressure to live up to a child’s expectation forced her to spend anyway, someone was angry with her for stopping at the store and spread the mood – who knows.  It could simply be what I think is an epidemic regarding holidays – EXPECTATIONS! We are fed all kinds of crap about holidays and how full of love and joy they are supposed to be that we put an ideal on them.  We plan and plan the perfect holiday!

I believe we sabotage ourselves in one of two ways – we plan to have the perfect holiday or we plan to have the worst holiday (the nightmare scene).  Either way we are trying to control that which is uncontrollable.

Expectation of this perfect holiday! There are way to many variables in our daily lives – people, places and things effect us daily and we have NO control over them.  You can plan yourself into the perfect holiday but if someone wakes up in a bad mood christmas morning or someone doesn’t show up or the stove breaks,  what can you do? NOTHING!

If your expectation of the holiday is misery – then you will get misery!

I have plans to spend my first holiday with my partner at her family’s home and spend Christmas with her husband and two adult children.  A week ago my ego spent a lot of time swinging between the ideal and the nightmare Christmas.  I thought I will be zen and this will be an amazing Christmas and then OMG it is going to be so uncomfortable its going to be the worst Christmas in my life.  First, let me point out – I have a practice in my life of trying to live in the moment – today is December 10 and last week was the first week of December and Christmas day is on the 25th – am I living in the moment ? No I am living several weeks ahead of myself.

I can’t determine what Christmas will bring but I know all of the  mental gymnastics I have gone through in my head regarding the holidays and Christmas are about FEAR! I am afraid I am not wanted, I am afraid I make others feel bad, I am afraid my presence will upset others, I am afraid everyone else will be so uncomfortable I will feel that and start acting weird, I am afraid my partner will feel sad, I am afraid her family will feel sad… OMG I could go on and on !

STOPPPPPP! That is pretty much what I said to my brain the other night at around 2 am.  I first must say – as for it being the worst Christmas ever, not a chance.  I have spent Christmas with drunk passed out parents, awake angry parents and with no family at all. One year (I was about 14 yrs) we didn’t have dinner because my mother threw the roast across the living room into the slider, my sister threw all her Christmas presents down the stairs and I left and went back to my foster parents house. That year was a doozy but not my worst.

What I have learned over the years of having traumatic holidays and some amazing holidays ! Is If have let go of expectation and just fill my heart with my own holiday cheer – not past holiday memories good or bad – but just fill my heart with love and cheer and get in the spirit myself – I usually have an amazing time.

I am glad that I know that I don’t know what any day will bring and that I know when I start trying to manage and control an outcome in the future that I am doing it because of fear of the unknown and my ego’s need to protect me from anything painful or even slightly uncomfortable.   So this Christmas I am going to show up with love in my heart and acceptance of others and of the day itself. I have no control and while that is very scary I know when I show up to be of service and with love in my heart my holiday will turn out to be an amazing experience.  I also know that when I plant expectations on an event I am limiting its endless possibilities by control and fear.

I am going to walk through the fear each day and bring love into it.  My friends I hope you can do this to. This holiday season lets truly live in love not in fear.  I bet we can open some amazing doors of joy and happiness for ourselves and others.

Pain 

Sometimes things hurt and you just have to sit through them. Ick what a terrible thought or knowing but seriously it is the only way through.  I listen to woman speak tonight about being the kind of mother my mother was and she spoke about how she hurt her children and herself.  She shared how much pain she had knowing all that she had done and she shared about how she was trying to be a loving mother today.  Yikes it ripped my heart out because my mom is dead and there is no chance for a repaired relationship or a normal loving relationship.  However, while my heart was ripping in half over the sadness of the loss of my mother and the loss of any possibility of a healed relationship – I had Gratitude! Lots of it for a friend who is able to be so honest and share such hard feelings and show me that I can love and understand  my mother and forgive her for the type of mom she was.  Her sharing also helps me to understand that my mom suffered too; that she probably didn’t just run havok through my life guilt and pain free! She suffered too!  I’m so grateful also that my friend shows such strength that walking through this sadness doesn’t seem so impossible because we do it together.  

Walking through my pain and sadness today so I can have understanding and freedom to love with an open heart.  Peace. 

The Terrible Twos

Its so disturbing to realize I could still use a highchair at 49 years old.  I just hate that about myself; but, childhood crap kicks up sometimes and my solution – react childishly; well in my head. I have to exercise the PAUSE to make sure I don’t let it sneak out.

My experience with the highchair today went like this:

I have been encouraging my partner to make choices on her behalf even if she fears it will upset me.  As I have written before, we have to choose ourselves before we can fill up with self-love and be grounded enough to share ourselves in authentically with others.  So today what did my partner do — just that! She chose herself over my feelings.  Dang – walking through that rejection was much more difficult than doling out such advice.  Awesome thing about it was  – I did in fact appreciate what she was doing and was able to compliment her on making that choice as I know it was extremely difficult to do.  Ok – I know you are all reading this saying – “come on, get to the highchair part.”

Well – as much as I was proud – damn my feelings were hurt and I felt rejected.  I am so lucky I have done work in this area because my heart hurt and I wanted to shut her out for good (old behavior) but instead I protected my heart and allowed my self to build a little wall to console myself. However, I wanted to stomp my feet and throw a fit – hence the highchair.  Instead I blocked my heart – I knew I was feeling rejected and making it about me but I also knew this was wonderful growth for my partner and was pleased on that end. My other side was wondering why can’t she process her crap with me????? She doesn’t love me, I am not good enough, I am going to die alone… NOPE probably not!! I stopped my  noggin madness and bought her flowers. I was a little closed mouthed and short worded when she came home but I was able to tell her how happy I was she was taking care of herself but that I was cautious because of feeling rejected and hurt. I love her and I know she loves me and that is all there is.

I know we are ultimately responsible for our own happiness. It doesn’t matter that I want to be the one to take her pain away and make her happy – I can’t and when she chooses to process stuff and choose herself I know that is where she will learned self – love and grow and its not about me.  I had to do the same thing and have to continually do it.  Ugh.. why can’t we just fix our loved ones and have them fix us???

I am so grateful to have a life where self evaluation and growth are big part of it. Even if its scary and sometimes painful.  We are going to get hurt and we are going to be rejected by others but I won’t allow that to shut my heart off permanently and I hope you all don’t either.  Love is an amazing thing and its only possible if we open ourselves up in the most vulnerable way. I know my partner isn’t rejecting me – she is choosing herself and I know it is what we must do to have a self to share. So my friends – go forth and choose you !!! I won’t take it personal – for too long! : )

Today I will walk through the fear (once again) of keeping my heart open and loving even when my childhood fear of rejection, not being good enough and being unlovable are triggered.  Gosh it feels good to be alive and FEEL – yes feel and feel everything.

 

Feelings – quick run and hide! 

During my morning commute to work I was reflecting on my last couple of years and the process that I had gone through to become the “Me” that I am today and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of life. 

 I stepped off the T and I became overwhelmed with grief and sadness. I realized I was grieving the unhappy, lonely and what I would call tortured child I once was!  The amazing thing was I could walk down the street and feel this overwhelming sadness and cry and feel immense gratitude at the same time.  I have never been able to feel anything other than happiness (usually fake) and anger for 48 years.  It is amazing to feel very sad, cry and feel very calm at the same time.

In the past, I have always felt agitated and needed to escape almost immediately if I had any remote feeling or potential feeling that might be related to in any way to sadness. I was pretty sure I would die a horrible death if I felt it and I was pretty sure I would never stop crying if I allowed even one tear out.

Wow, what a difference today.  I came to a cross roads where I once again wanted to die from the internal emptiness and pain and the only two options where deal with the feelings I had buried for so long or kill myself. Forced to walk through the fear of feelings I guess. I felt and I didn’t die!  

Ok that said I missed a lot of work and I barely functioned while I was processing 48 years of feelings but I survived and today I’m no longer afraid to feel or cry.  I of course had help.  A couple of different types of help – a support person to talk to a friend so to speak and the universe. My friend suggested asking for help from a power greater than myself ( my feelings solution hadn’t worked so why not). Ya! not so easy. I thought this religious freak is trying to convert me. Nope, I learned she didn’t care what or who I was asking for help from so I agreed to and I asked a spoon for help. Lol – Spoon today is love the universe whatever but it wasn’t me and it wasn’t another human. It was like an imaginary friend!!!? Crazy 48 years old with an imaginary friend. Well I didn’t care I was in a state of I want to die type despair and now I had a friend that could always be there and didn’t judge me. I cried a lot to this imaginary friend and it was safe. Eventually, I became more comfortable crying in front of other people and allowing them to console me. I processed so much hurt and pain it was like a year of purging. Awesome!! 

I figured it was complete by now – nope – damn onion. 

I am now at a stage where I feel currently happy but I still am mourning the childhood I never had or the one I had. It makes me so sad to think of lil me being physically hurt or insulted by those adults that should have loved me. Funny, I was always able to feel so terrible for how my sisters were treated or how other children were treated but not me. It would have been an acknowledgement of my pain and once again I will say I would have died or been consumed with the pain. 

Yay for today !! I am so grateful that I can accept my sadness and share my abuse without feeling shame. I’m so grateful to those that helped me learn a new way of life that invovles taking emotional risk and allowed me to see that I can feel! 

Today I walk through the fear of feelings by allowing them to rise up in me, I allow myself to cry and I shared my pain with another person and my invisible friend.  Sound crazy ? Maybe, but for me today I’m free and I’m happy! I no longer have the crippling pain from the sadness that robbed me from the first 48 years of my life.  

If you are hurting alone please seek help there is freedom out there! Share your pain! You don’t have to walk through it alone.