What a great Thanksgiving! A few years ago, I HATED the holidays! I had a lot of emotional crap in my psyche that was unresolved, and that kept me from feeling integrated enough to get with this season of what seems like flying by the seat of my pants. Now I finally feel integrated, and I'm thrilled!
What do I mean exactly?
'Twas a time that I didn't see how the aspects of my life worked together. I tried to interpret what folks were feeling and thinking, to anticipate conflicts, to view my own life from the outside looking in, to interpret others' lives from the outside looking in, and so on. With all that mentalizing, I wasn't operating from my own core. Now I'm operating from my core, and I'm aware of certain things:
1) Even though it's sometimes inconvenient, family and traditions are very important to me.
2) There are no aspects of life that are perfect, so if that's what I'm waiting for, get over it.
3) Always know who I'm dealing with so I can stay present and self-supporting-- in spite of.
4) Take some space for myself before I need it-- even if it's just spending a little extra time in the bathroom.
5) I need comfortable clothes.
6) I can't change anybody, so breathe and let people have their own experience.
7) Writing a list and operating from it keeps me functioning and vibrating at a much higher level.
8) I have learned a lot from my mother, and despite any "issues," when I respect her wisdom and importance to our family, I am blissfully aware of being connected to something larger than myself.
9) I have to set the internal and external boundaries that maintain my mental and physical health.
So this is the first holiday in a long while (possibly ever) that all the stars seem aligned. I have surrendered to the notion that all the decisions I've made along the way make perfect sense from the vantage point from which I was operating:
1) When I was wild and crazy in my 20s, I was spending money AND saving money, stretching myself beyond the boundaries of my family and upbringing, and carving out an identity that was all my own. It got pretty ugly at times, but God did I learn a lot!
2) When I became a parent in my 30s, I had enough skills and resources to make dramatic changes in my lifestyle that made for a healthier experience for my daughter and me. I was stressed a LOT, but I'd gained enough courage in my 20s to cut my losses when I needed to and keep moving until I found myself in better places. I used a lot of money and appeared to be a mite unstable, but I had to find my place in the world because it wasn't finding me! I also learned to be self-conscious and conflicted-- because I had taken on the identity of "mother" which meant I was "supposed" to be a particular way.
3) In my forties, I carved out a niche that was so grounded in independence, spiritual practice, and personal study that I seemed to be unearthing all the dross and silt and was loosening stones and rocks that had obscured the deeper truths of my existence. There was a lot of uncertainty, but I learned to live with the "not knowing" long enough to evolve beyond the stuck places. I found myself sort of transformed-- sort of like rebirthing. I lived in the ethers, it seemed-- meditating and chanting and burning frankincense and myrrh, seeking a lasting peace in something more than the world offered externally.
4) And my 50s have granted me the opportunity to integrate all that I've learned on the paths I've travelled. I've finally lived long enough to distinguish between the voices that bring healing or dis-ease. That is a gift! Because people can and do act from agendas that can poison our peace--taking a tender moment and pulverizing it, or introducing their fears into our intentions until we forget where we were headed. So now I know how to keep my own intentions in the center of my life.
So I think I hated the holidays because when I was not strongly grounded and confident about my path, I could lose myself and question my choices, my safety, my sanity when bombarded with the energy of the folks around me! I didn't know how to bring the pieces of myself into the chaotic frenzy of family and expectations and overstimulation.
But today I am absolutely basking in happiness because I recognize the healing of many hurt places within me! I've learned how to ground myself in the things that bring more light into my life-- the thoughts, the people, the rituals. Because this is the life I've been given, that I've chosen, and for which only I am accountable.
I am having my holiday! And I invite you to do the same-- in whatever ways speak to the core of who you are! Make your own list of 1-9, so you can enjoy them on the terms that resonate with you.
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Angela Belcher Epps
- Thanks for checking in. We all know life can be EXTREMELY complicated. I blog about recognizing and removing the barriers that sabotage our living well. - Nobody had perfect parents, so we all have issues.- We struggle to keep up with work, personal goals, staying healthy, and all kinds of relationships.- Our minds are busy, and they seem to often work against us.- At the end of many days, we're disappointed about what didn't get done, how we failed, what we should have done.So I blog about increasing personal awareness and finding balance so we can cut ourselves some slack. Let's stay grounded as we move forward in manageable steps. Perspective is everything, and I try to see around the corners so we can leverage what we've already got into more of what we want.Follow me and give me feedback. You inspire me, and I'll try to inspire you.