Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dealing with Difficult Relationships during the Holidays The holiday season is upon us once again and it offers the possibility of healing some old wounds. Sometimes when certain people or relatives show up, there is a sense of heaviness or dread that goes back years to previous pain suffered with those individuals, but we can change this. Let’s bring this into perspective. Do you remember when you were in kindergarten? You sat in a little chair behind a tiny desk. Well, guess what, you now possess a beautiful adult body that no longer fits in that teeny desk or scenario. In the same way, trying to operate from old outmoded thought patterns that continually bring pain no longer fits. And, holding on to relationships and memories that need to go, no longer serves your highest good. Reverting back and allowing the expectations and demands of family members to be a source of unhappiness and stress, when what you really want is to be authentically yourself and at peace is not acceptable. The conflict may appear to be a choice between being who you are and not having peace with your relatives, or having peace at the price of being inauthentic. Yet, being peaceful and authentic can define your relationship with your family. First, though, you may have to assess your relationship with yourself. In order to change the nature of any relationship, you'll have to adjust your thinking about it and consider that you are the source of your anguish, rather than the individual you've labeled as the troublemaker, and/or annoying and despicable. The rule is that people treat you the way you have trained them to treat you. Over the years, all of these folks have been treating you exactly as you have trained them with your reactions and behaviors. This can miraculously change when you choose to be at peace with everyone in your life—most particularly, your relatives. If the focus of your internal dialogue about your relationships is it on what they're doing wrong, then that's precisely how your relationship with them will be experienced. If your mind chatter centers on what's annoying about them that will be your focus. But if you're thinking, I am authentic and peaceful with this relative, then that's what you will experience—even if that person continues to be exactly the way he or she has always been. In other words, make your decision and stand by it. The key to having peace is forgiveness. Your relatives are simply doing what they have been taught to do over a lifetime, and the lifetimes of their predecessors. Step away from judgment and expectation and shower them instead with understanding and forgiveness. Rather than keeping yourself in a state of stress, decide to be grateful for their presence in your life and the opportunity for you to grow. There is a bonus likelihood that you will see dramatic changes in your relatives as you instruct them with your own persona how you intend to be treated. But if they don't choose to change, and they continue their non-peaceful ways, release your need to transform them. It is perfect in the Universe, as you are her are offering them the same. As you transform and live in peace, you increase the odds of helping others do the same. It is all a matter of choice.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Art of Giving and Receiving There is a wonderful legend about a wanderer in the desert who happens on a spring of clear, fresh water. He excitedly fills his jug with water and dashes off to share his precious treasure with the king. The wanderer crosses a great distance over many days to eventually arrive at the palace and offer his gift to the king. As the king tastes the water, he smiles and profusely thanks the wanderer for his wonderful gift. The members of the court rush forward to have a taste, expecting to savor cool, clean water. Instead, they are repulsed with hot, stale water and they spit it out. A member of the court inquired of the king, “How could you give thanks for this spoiled water?" The king smiled and divulged that it was not the water he tasted, but the spirit in which it was given. Receiving a gift is an art unto itself. Remembering that it is not the gift but the spirit of the giver that is most important can make us all better givers and receivers. President Calvin Coolidge spoke of giving when he said, “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” Writer, Margaret Lee Bundeck, declared that “Giving is a necessity sometimes more urgent, indeed, than having.” Activist, Stephen S. Wise, stated his views on giving thusly: “An unshared life is not living. He who shares does not lessen, but greatens his life.” I hope that these words of wisdom help to brighten your holidays and encourage each of you to develop your own Art of Giving and Receiving that you may experience the great joy of both!!