Hopefully you are in a place where an abundance of joy and love are thriving. Maybe you are visiting your new grandchild for the first time. Maybe you are sleeping in or making an early morning trip to buy bagels for everyone, before a day of cooking commences. Maybe you are hosting and cooking a turkey for the first time ever.
I am having dinner at a restaurant with three siblings who have shown me nothing for as long as I can remember. But the part that really hurts is that during my last very rough year and a half, not a word. Not one single communication. Not a single mention of empathy or kindness. Not one offer of help. Zero compassion. Zero anything.
I don’t expect anything from them and I never will. So for me to write about me being thankful for them, is like person lying about being married. It’s untruthful and I don’t care to live like that. I am am thankless for them.
(sounds harsh to even me, but it’s true)
Obviously, I have a different definition of what “family” means than they do. I carry my idea of family to my family, my husband and my three children and our pets. I even extend that level of caring to my friends and co-workers, even most strangers; ( believe it or not ) that is without breaking normal boundaries.
I’m going to this dinner solely for my 84 year old mother. She asked us to join them and I first said,” No thank you.” She said ,”Well they’re coming over here anyway, whether you come or not.” (we are temporarily living in my mother’s house until we buy our own) I said, “Okay we’ll go.”
What I learn from this is that I am not alone. Many people have families full of dysfunction. This holiday, there will be families who dis-own their own children and grand children solely because of sexual preference. There will be racists remarks made to bi-racial couples who are nothing but deeply in love. Political differences will spark arguments. And I know this is morbid, but there will be Thanksgiving killings today. Some families should just stay away from each other no matter what man-made holiday tells them they need to be together.
So to those of you out there who will suffer through this holiday, acknowledge you don’t have to be thankful for the toxic people in your life, even if you are breaking bread with them or if you are related by blood. Remember you are not alone. Family wounds run deep and never truly go away, this I know. At the table, I will say a silent prayer of support for you and your struggle.
Take this day and be thankful that you can create your own life to be the way you want it to be. Be thankful that holidays only occupy a small segment in the timeline of your life. Be thankful for the lessons learned of how not to be. Be thankful for the people, or person, in your life who is kind. Be thankful for your dog or cat, or whatever little soul you consider part of your family. Be thankful that you have the power to spread kindness to others. Be thankful to know compassion. Be thankful you can express gratitude. Be thankful just to be.
Cheers to you!
Tip: Concentrate on these tips to get through the day.
Inspiration: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
One-day one-thing: Keep your sense of humor today, as this too shall pass. :)
Less is more. More what? Mo’ better?
Seriously though; Less is easier, more peaceful, more relaxing, more real and it provides more freedom, more or less.
When I look at our storage unit or the garage I can hardly breathe. Instantaneously stress builds inside my body, this also happens when I only just think about it. Imagine having all that stress and stuff in your home. God, it’s no wonder I couldn’t think straight. Always thinking about the mess, the stuff I needed to sort, or the stuff I would store safely to sort later.
Always later, but always in my mind somewhere. “I’ll do a box a day.” or maybe this weekend “I’ll work on the basement.” Blah, blah, blah. It never got done, and obviously I am still working on it. I imagine there are deep seeded reasons for accumulating. I can tell you I have a million reasons I could rattle off, but those aren’t true reasons, those are my “rationalizations.”
The bright side; just realizing that you are rationalizing your situation is huge. No matter what the problem, we are experts at convincing ourselves why it is, and why it can’t be changed. Certified experts.
Where we fall down is when it comes to telling that expert ,”Hey expert, you don’t know sh*t.” Take any issue right now, and ask yourself, am I clinging to this because it makes me feel better, or and I clinging to this because it’s easier than letting it go?
We all know there are things we can’t change, and things we can change. That’s just life. What you ALWAYS can change is the way you choose to think, or how you choose to react to your individual predicament. In other words, make your mind work for you instead of against you.
I will be testing my theory this Thanksgiving. I know I am not alone. Many people have family issues that tend to erupt during holidays. It’s going to be a challenge. But this time around I feel like I can handle it. I almost feel invincible. Like the old saying:” I’m rubber, you’re glue. Everything you say bounces off me and sticks on you.” ( such a mature saying, but I love it )
It will only be a few awkward hours of my life. Bring it on. Cheers.
Tip: You don’t have to own other people words.
Inspiration: ” People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do. ” ~Lewis Cass
One-day one-thing: Take winter clothes box to donation center.
I woke early, did yoga, froze at the dog park and then made my way to the office. The picture below is what I did when I first got to the office today. I am sending it to my son in Boston, who won’t be home on Turkey day. I
hope think it will make him laugh happy.
Then I ate lunch. Well not really, because I graze. I eat a little for a while then stop. Today it was the veggie burrito bowl, without the slimy vegetables. A meatless dip of sorts; black beans, guacamole, rice, lettuce, a little white cheese, hot salsa and chips. Yum.
It’s good (most of the time) to be your own boss. I get my work done when I know it has to be completed. Sometimes I work really long hours, other times I have the luxury to do as I please. Today is one of those days.
Earlier while at the dog park this chilly morning I had the pleasure of speaking to a woman whose husband is an investment banker. She explained to me how tough the economy has been on his investment firm and how that they personally have had to cut back on their vacations. She let me know they lived in the most expensive neighborhood in my town. It was nice to hear this point of view.
I toyed with the idea of telling her that actually we lost our home and were living in my mother’s house, but I think that may have made her feel like a total jerk. So I just listened. She went on to tell me that she hoped that her children would learn something from their hardship. Their “hardship” being that they weren’t going on as many vacation this year as in past years. Her kids are 8, 10, and 13.
On Wednesday morning at the dog park, I spoke to a young man who just left the Marines. For some reason, I was very nosy. I kept asking him questions. I wanted to know what it was like, what he did there, how it effected him, and how he was adjusting back in the states. I apologized and told him, “I’m so sorry. I don’t mean to interrogate you, like this is any of my business.” He responded, ” No, really it’s okay, talking to people like this really helps.”
He was a sharp shooter. He told me that every single day he would see suicide bombings, mostly children blowing themselves up, because, he said, “they believe in Allah.” He told me that news never reaches the states, and there’s so much more. He also told me about getting shot from friendly fire. It was a bullet from a .50 Browning machine gun. He went on to explain all about the BrowningMG and its bullet size. Then promptly he dropped the topic of his injury.
So I met two new friends. I was open to both of them. Their stories enriched my life in some manner. I can feel judgement is trying to find it’s way into my head, but I am not going to let it in. I am not going to try to figure out anything I heard, anymore than my either of my dogs would try to figure it out.
I played at the park with people who were there. And those moments are gone. Only now exists.
And right now, I am thankful, very very thankful.
Tip: Listen and learn, try to leave judgement out of the equation.
Inspiration: “The biggest mental roadblocks that you will ever have to overcome are those represented by your self-limiting beliefs.”~ Brian Tracy
One-day one-thing: Sort your linens, some towels are ready to become rags.
Well, a few weeks ago, we placed a bid on a house. And that stopped me dead in my tracks on my journey to living better with less. I thought I better not get rid of anything until we find out if we got the house. Well we didn’t get the house. I wont go into how perfect is was for us, because then I start to cry. I am not depressed, I swear. But I get really sad when I think about that house, because I knew we should have offered more. I didn’t follow my instinct.
Trust your gut feelings always; no exceptions
So like a wounded wild animal I am ready to lash out at all this crap in my life. Look at the mess inside this garage. It’s embarrassing. I didn’t even take photo of all my lawn furniture that’s in the driveway and patio. Winter’s coming. Snow flakes fell today. I am going to be ruthless. I swear. Watch out sh*t, you are going to hit the fan.
Bird feed, I am giving you all to the birds on the same day, today. Eat like kings little birdies. A bunch of old liquor, I think I will dump it down the drain. Garden hand tools: keep the best sell the rest. I have to sort my framed photos one more time and move the “keepers” inside, because they will just get ruined in this damp garage.
I am never going to get over losing the house.
It’s funny what a “house” does to you. It changes everything. I am not sure that is a good thing. Because I stopped. I stopped doing what I really wanted to do. I stop dreaming of new places. I put my goals on hold. I think I even stopped breathing. I was holding my breath waiting to hear. I fell back into old habits of placing importance on “things.”
I am so torn between what I know, what I’ve learned and an unknown future. I really thought we were close to a solution which in turn would become our decision. Now we’ve returned to the unknown.
To top off my disaster-week, I had to tell my husband I agreed to go out to Thanksgiving dinner with my mother and my three brothers who don’t even acknowledge our family exists. Why would I would I agree to such a dumb-ass thing? Well because until we find/buy a house, we are living in my 84 year old mother’s house. (I like to think of it as my Dad’s house, but he’s no longer living. ) She asked and she let me know that the “boys” were coming over here for cocktails before dinner regardless of whether we joined them or not. How lovely. So I said yes.
Post Script: I will make sure Thanksgiving a nice day for my husband and my children and our dogs. That will be easy. I like the idea of no dishes, and no cooking, so this will be okay. And two or three hours of dysfunctional-family-torture won’t kill us. We will be counting our blessings, that’s for sure! Because no matter what,through thick and thin, I have my Husband, my children and our animals. That’s all I need.
Tip: Never search for “tummy” or “gut” on Google.
Inspiration: “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” ~ Oscar Wilde
One-day one-thing: Make plans for Thanksgiving weekend, it’s a fun weekend don’t let it slip away.