5 Strategies to Help You Thrive During the Holidays with Family

How to Survive the Holidays

[Tweet ” Ram Dass “If you think you are enlightened; go home for Thanksgiving.” “]

I was sitting on the plane waiting to take off from Atlanta, Georgia recently, after a short visit with family. I realized that all the personal growth work I do flies out the window when I visit with my family. 

Let me be clear.  I love my family and want to see them as often as possible. Yet our families bring up our stuff.  I practice The Work of Byron Katie and work to become more present or conscious in my life.  Yet three days with my family and kaboom – it all goes away.  I lose my sense of being present and noticing my thought patterns. 

When it comes to spending time with my family, I know that I do best when I book my trip by the fish rule.  You only stay with family for as long as fish will keep in the refrigerator before it goes bad, which is three days.

Our families, partners and children are our life teachers. 

If you begin to see them that way, you can see what they reflect back to you are lessons in being present.  Because of our conditioned minds, we become the role we played in the family growing up. Our family, school, religious affiliation, culture and family upbringing are part of the conditioning of our past.  This conditioning is a total of your reactions, emotions and ways you interpreted experiences growing up.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

Most people walk around in their life unconscious of their thoughts because they are unaware of their ego and it’s control over their life.  They believe they are their thoughts.  Eckhart Tolle calls this the egoic mind because there is a sense of self – the “I” in every thought, belief, memory, experience and reaction. 

“The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by their thinking and its repetitive, unconscious content. This circular, repetitive, incessant thinking is conditioned by the past, and it keeps you trapped in the past. It is as though you continue to relive the past over and over again. Do you ever wonder why the same problems challenge you throughout your life? Your unconscious mind is re-creating them, but you don’t even know,”said Eckhart.

If you are not aware of your thoughts, you will consistently recreate life experiences that are based on your thinking.  What you think about is what you attract.  This is the basis of the law of attraction. 

You might ask how do I break this pattern?  You become the observer of your thoughts. 

Sherold, if I am not my thoughts then who am I?  You are the one who notices the thoughts.  You are experiencing your higher Self at the moment you notice your little self (ego).  This is your Soul or the God or divine within you noticing your ego.

As you gather with friends or family this holiday season, practice being in the moment and be grateful that you have them in your life

How you can practice presence during the holidays:

  1. Relax and enjoy your family and friends.  Practice noticing and being curious about your thoughts and behaviors.  Notice when you aren’t being your best self.  Stop, drop and observe.  Drop into your body, and notice how you react, what happens emotionally and physically when you say or do something that is not normally how you would behave. Be curious, breathe and let it go. 
  2. Notice when your family begins to complain and judge others.  The ego is focused on lack and attack. It loves to complain and condemn. Your job is to notice and either change the subject to a more positive conversation or choose not to participate.
  3. If you find yourself stressed out about a family member’s behavior, ask yourself, “Whose business am I in right now?”  Byron Katie says there are three kinds of business:  Your business; my business; and God’s business.  When I am over in your business monitoring a family member’s behavior, I am not present in my own business.  You will suffer (anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or any other negative emotion) when you are in someone else’s business.  Why?  Because you have no control!
  4. Expect old patterns to reappear.  Have compassion for yourself and your family.  Know that all of the judging, comparing, comes from your ego.  You are with your teachers and your teachers will bring out what lies hidden in your subconscious mind.
  5. Make time to exercise. If you get swept away with your thoughts and attach emotionally, then the best thing is to notice what physical symptoms come up for you and go take a walk or exercise to get them out of your body.  Release the build up of energy from your body by moving it.

Have a wonderful holiday with your family.  I am grateful that you allow me in your inbox and that you are on my private email list.  It’s because of you all that I do what I do. 

If you liked this blog, please share it with others.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about what happens for you when you visit family. 

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