Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Holiday greetings

Tomorrow is the biggest travel day annually in the United States, as families gather from all points to celebrate Thanksgiving.

While to many the holidays are a joyous time of reconnecting, there's often an undercurrent of "not this again." Uncle Joe will spill something, the younger cousins will tear around the house, someone will get mad about the sleeping arrangements, some of the teasing will go a little too deep. Instead of being able to enjoy the day, old hurts may come up as though they were yesterday.

So I'd like to add something to your holiday preparation this year, beyond packing or travel or to-do lists or cooking. Greet each person you'll be seeing mentally before you see them, as though you were meeting them for the first time.

After all, if it's been a while since you've seen each other, that person will have grown and so have you. And even if it's someone you see every week, since the last holiday they will have made progress and may have some newly acquired wisdom to share.

Make this holiday a joyous celebration of the now. What's happening with them now? What do they do for fun, what have they accomplished recently, what are their current goals, what can you appreciate about them now?

I find this helps keep the past at bay. By refusing to let the past determine how I interact with people today, I express more lively interest and can appreciate them more. I put on a smile of approval rather than a scowl of "there they go again." I wait, anticipating the growing feeling of love that can come from family gatherings.

My mental greeting might go like this:

Hello, dear one! It's been a while since we've seen each other, so I look forward to finding out what's up with you today. I know you've grown, as have I. I know we'll spend many warm, loving hours comparing notes, learning from each other, and just being together. You are, as you have always been, not just my biological relative or in-law, but also a child of the Divine, wholly perfect and coming into your own daily. As a member of both your human and divine family, I want to know you better and appreciate you fully. Here's a hug from the bottom of my heart.

To all my online family, have a happy holiday and safe travels.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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