A key factor in many challenges that arise during the holidays is balancing the struggle between the ego’s desire to get what we want and the best interests of the family as a whole. This conflict between the desire of the individual and the needs of the whole has surely been an issue in our country as of late, and the holidays will bring that home to us in new ways as we are faced with hard decisions about how to celebrate with family and friends. As COvid19 cases continue to soar in number, the heart’s desire of gathering extended family and friends can have serious consequences and may prove not to be in the best interest of the family, the community, or humanity. While traditions may support such gatherings, we need to look at whether those traditions may be like cutting the ends off the ham, no longer appropriate to the present time. And when old traditions no longer work, it is time to start new ones. Sharing the love doesn’t necessarily mean sharing the same space.
One way of sharing love with family members and friends who live elsewhere is to have extended conversations about gratitude. On Thanksgiving we often share our appreciation for our current blessings, and perhaps we could expand that conversation to include what we are so grateful to have experienced in our lives. Sort of a reverse bucket list, each taking turns to describe an experience that brought us amazing joy, or an accomplishment that made us proud, or an event that we are so glad to have been able to participate in. These might include a special relationship, the manifestation of a professional or personal goal, some small moment that had exceptional meaning, an opportunity to be of service, a valuable lesson, a spiritual awakening…. Make your list ahead of time and choose to share what seems most relevant in the moment. Improve your listening skills and give the gift of your full attention to those you love while expanding your intimate knowledge of each other. It could become a new holiday tradition.