The road of recovery is not the same as the path of despair. Many, perhaps most people fear allowing themselves to feel their darker feelings because they remember times of being overwhelmed crushed by them. Consequently most of us find creative, elaborate, or self-destructive ways to avoid being in touch with our painful memories and feelings.
When you walked the path of despair you did so not knowing why you felt so bad and you felt completely alone. You felt no one understood or could possibly know what you were going through. The roots of your despair were yet unconscious. You feared being swallowed up by the grief and the darkness.
The road to recovery is a different road. On this road you must face your fears and also walk into your darkness. However, this is a path that promises hope, not despair, healing, not death. On this road you intentionally and consciously allow yourself to feel what you feel, to remember and to mourn. But you don’t walk this road alone. You will have helpers who walk beside you, hold your hand, or shine a light on the path. You find new ways of knowing yourself and become intimate with your history and emotional memories. As you venture in with open mind and open heart you discover that Divine Love is there, waiting for your invitation, leading you back to your core and your source.
So do not be afraid. Venture forth, ask for help and guidance, and trust that there is light waiting to be found. The road may be rough and scary at first but you will not regret taking this road less traveled. Live your life!
Love Tips for the Holidays
Do you find yourself emotionally confused this time of year? You want to be closer to people you love, you want to experience peace and joy and yet it seems so stressful and hard. You think about those you miss and grieve for and those who have let you down. You may look forward to family gatherings and yet feel anxiety about them. You want to slow down but there is so much to do.
I want to offer you a couple of ways to shift your perspective and take charge of your holiday experiences.
1. Think like an anthropologist. This is especially helpful if you have to deal with family dysfunction or you end up feeling like a frustrated kid at family gatherings. An anthropologist goes into a group or community and becomes a part of them and at the same time observes, studies, and learns about them. He or she is present and connected but never loses objectivity. For you it may work like this:
a. Watch how people interact. See the familiar roles people take on. Look for the patterns of interaction. How much is absolutely predictable?
b. Observe yourself. How do you feel? What role do you fall into? Can you see your attitude or reactions change?
c. Don’t judge people or the experience you feel. Simply make notes and let it be.
d. If you stay objective you can choose your responses. Don’t put pressure on yourself to perform but realize you are in control of yourself and yourself only.
2. Love relentlessly. You may find yourself reaching out to one you love hoping for a deeper connection and are disappointed by the response. Your natural reaction is to defend yourself by either lashing out or pulling away. Love, however, respond differently. Love steps into the disappointment and honestly engages, sharing its heart’s desire and the impact of the other’s hurtful behavior. Love does not try to control outcomes but is clear about its hopes and expectations. To love relentlessly may sound something like this for you:
a. I really want to feel more connected to you.
b. When you push me away I feel hurt, lonely…
c. This is what I hope for from you….
d. I’ve noticed how hard you are working and I want you to know how much I appreciate you.
e. I was unkind to you yesterday and I am sorry.
f. What can we do to work on this?
3. Be kind to yourself. You will not be perfect and yes you may feel overwhelmed and inadequate. It’s OK. See yourself with compassion and forgive yourself. Take some time to breath, reflect, and feel what you feel. When you start to feel more in control of yourself you can relax a bit more. Take time to allow Divine Love to comfort you and give you inner strength. When you feel better you will be much more able to spread the love, hope, joy, and peace that the holiday season represents.