The holidays can be a double edged sword. For those fencing with grief such as myself and my family, for those without means, for those who struggle with family dynamics that leave them gut wrenched as they knock on the door, for vegetarians, vegans, the LGBTQI community, multiracial families, multi religious families and so on.
The complicated, and often turbulent tides of the holiday season are riddled with the expectations and projections that create a firestorm in our inner and outer experiences.
So we eat more ginger cookies, we drink more gin.
Some of us struggle with the anxiety to arrive, and arrive late.
Some step out of the room for a quiet moment to catch their breath.
Some immerse themselves in the details.
Some command attention with their cynicism and sarcasm.
And many quietly slip to the bar to fill another drink.
I’m reminded of a Ram Dass quote, “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family.”
For the sake of my belief system, which is always evolving, and which, at this time doesn’t support the enlightenment pursuit, but more the embodiment, enrrealment (as my dear friend Jeff Brown refers to it) awareness or radically authentic one.
If you think you have your shit together try spending even a few hours with your family.
Not that I’m villanizing any one of them. As we are all perfectly imperfect.
And I think the key to harmony, if there’s even such a thing, is to accept that.
Except that Johnny doesn’t know how to fit in so he uses cynicism, or that Julie is working on confidence so she’s quiet, Krishna has a strange look on his face cause he doesn’t have the slightest clue why all these white people are so static, Nadir and Stephanie show up late riddled with anxiety trying to accommodate three families in one day, Chris is acting strangely because it’s the first time everyone’s meeting his partner Abdul (and yes they wore matching socks, cause they’re gay), Franca is becoming Franco, and that Barbara brought her own dinner because she’s vegan.
None of this has anything to do with you. And where the problem lies, is in our expectation and our projection of those expectations on others.
Many of us are battling things we don’t speak about, or balancing things invisible to the eye.
With the holidays comes traditions with traditions expectations, and with expectations, disappointment all around.
And breathe again.
One more breathe.
And in your core of core’s ask yourself, what is it that you really want?
To be seen, to be heard, to be validated, that you, as part of this, are part of it.
And there, up until this point, have been so many unconscious projections, based on perceptions that were formed without clarity.
And now we can be clear.
We’re all bringing our perfectly imperfect selves to one table, each wearing a mask for protection, when all we really want is to be seen.
What will it take for you to remove your mask.
To unveil your radically authentic self.
For our family. It took a tragedy. The loss of a life. The process of grief. To tare down the walls, and break us all open to who we truly are.
And so with vulnerability, and the courage to take off our masks, and sit around the table as ourselves.
Beautiful, courageous, messy, sarcastic, funny, bright, sassy, radiantly stunning, perfectly imperfect, radically authentic human beings showed up.
And surprisingly, considering the circumstances, it was lovely.
Photo by Osman Rama