The Holiday Haze
This Thanksgiving, I spent my holiday in Dallas with my brother-in-law’s family. They have been very warm and welcoming to me, which I truly appreciate. And there are challenges spending a holiday with a family that’s not mine. Being the personal growth enthusiast and spiritually oriented person that I am, I tend to want to reflect over Thanksgiving dinner on my own gratitude, and to hear from everyone at the table what they are thankful for. At my brother-in-law’s parents’ table, I don’t feel empowered to create that experience. In fact, I’ve been warned that requesting such a ritual would not go over well with this family.
In the holiday haze, it’s easy to get lost in what other people want. And it’s not very satisfying or nourishing. After the experience I had at Thanksgiving, I became more aware of social dynamics and what kinds of interactions and communications at a gathering feel nourishing to me.
Last week, I attended the birthday party of my long-time friend Bruce. After some time had passed with small groups in isolated conversations about topics like the movie A Star is Born, the birthday boy announced that he wanted everyone to come together. We gladly obliged and many of us, with the group intact, shared meaningful stories about Bruce and appreciated him for his strengths. I noticed myself feeling much more present and enjoying being part of the circle much more than when the group was fragmented. I ended up staying at the event for hours.
I organized two events myself this season, one on the first night of Hanukkah and one on the last night. At both, the conversation remained a group conversation, and I had no doubt but that I belonged, that everyone there belonged, and that the sense of cohesion was a draw for all of us to want to be together and see each other again.
Bucking the System
So often, I doubt myself and my intuition, think maybe the other person or people won’t want what I want, don’t even ask for the thing that feels right to me. Or I think I have to follow the original plan, even if I change my mind and don’t like it anymore. I’m watching myself carefully this season, listening to my gut and asserting my desires more. Today, that was as simple as suggesting that I meet a friend at a café instead of at her house (the original plan) because, well, just because it’s what I wanted.
What does it look like for you to create your holiday experience the way you want it? With whom and where do you want to spend your time? What conversations do you want to have? What would make you feel truly satisfied? I invite you not to compromise, even if you think other people won’t like your ideas. You might be pleasantly surprised.