I avoid the holidays like the plague. Been doing so successfully I might add for the past several years. Yes that’s literal. I haven’t ‘done’ Christmas or Thanksgiving with my family for quite some time. It's not that I hate them or Jesus for that matter, I mostly just don't connect with what comes with it all. I do my best to refrain from the obligation, consumerism, ambiguous tradition, heavy foods, heavy drinking and ya, ok... fine, you got me on that last one, my shadow self showing up with two bottles of rose to make it all ok.


Well aware that this may break the hearts of the very few people that think I have my shit together because I’m a ‘Spiritual Healer’, I confess that fall short just like any student of life. I may know better, but I don’t always do better. I slip quite easily into my ego just like a comfy, old worn-out pair of sweats, not particularly a good look, but a look we try pull off when we can’t muster up the inspiration to show up fully.


Time with family can be rough, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.” But let’s be honest, it’s not their fault, it’s that we let their behavior bring out our inner teenager. But why is it so hard? How can they set us off into a time machine erasing all the work we’ve so diligently committed to over the entire span of our adult life with one swift move?


In short, those closest to us reflect back to us our biggest lessons; the most detailed reflection of all of our belief systems, all of our pain points, and somewhere in there our pathways back to wholeness. So innocently they inquire,  “How’s work?” “Good.” We answer. But our pain body strikes more like, “Ya, well, I’ve somehow managed to overcome the life-long obstacle course you created for me with your issues with self-worth. It’s taken a lot of work, I’m still trying to forgive you and it would be great if you could finally become accountable for that.” But instead we compose, “Ya, work is going really well actually, thanks.”


Family is hard because we inadvertently hold them as hostage so that we can remind ourselves that we’ve grown, that we’re different, that we’re lovable for who we are, and that we’ve figured it out. It’s kinda like the less-than-enlightened self saying, “Hey, hey, careful! Don’t get your old ways of being near me, because I’m not standing strongly enough yet to not be knocked over.”


I'm still trying to find the balance of being able to stand in what I've created for myself without needing to judge others for reflecting where I used to be. Subconsciously thinking it grounds me in my growth but more deeply knowing it only tethers me to my pain, I still regress. The last time my mom visited we got in a fight because I was annoyed at her for (what I deemed as) her habit of complaining. Yep, that’s right, I let her pain body activate my pain body, and of course it was her fault! Duh. I had to later laugh (and apologize) for blaming her for my temporary forgetfulness... but in my defense that blame trap is mesmerizing.  


So what do we do? How do we just love?  Here are my go-to’s when my ego has me hog tied:


  • Try seeing the other person as a soul. Can you see that they’re just dressed up in an eccentric costume, committed to the role but really there to tell a part of your story? What’s their role in your story of enlightenment? They have a message from God, what is it?


  • The ever highly spiritual and personal favorite, “It’s none of my business.” It’s none of my business if they’re lying. It’s none of my business that their favorite love language is guilt. It’s none of my business if they have their shit glasses on today, and maybe every day. It’s ok cause it’s just none-of-my-business. You may be amazed at the healing available through this one.


  • Self-Accountability Check. What am I needing them to do differently so that I can feel _____? (Respected, loved, seen, heard are just a few examples.) And how can I unplug from the need and remember that all feelings, emotions and states of being are not only available in this moment but by activating these things on my own I’ll actually feel a hell of a lot better… and not to mention heal the merry-go-round of victimhood, cause we all know we're too old to hop on that again this year. 


  • Alchemy Through The Shadow Self. Too often we stuff our fear and shadow self into the depths of our bellies to avoid feeling old pain. But what happens when you let your shadow-self talk? In truth, it’s only there to help you move into your expansion. Take a moment when the ego wants to have a little rumble, sit quietly and ask, “What are you here to remind me of?” “How can I help you to feel more safe right now?” In this practice we’re learning to nurture ourselves and healing the cycle of ‘us and them.’ Thank the shadow self for coming but let it know that you’ve got a new way of dealing with this now.


  • Forfeit The Pain Game (AKA Compassion). Don’t let their pain activate yours. Surrender the game cause ain’t no one coming out of this one alive and well. All healing truly lies within the present moment. What if you could move mountains of change with a simple, sobering activation of compassion? Let their pain be theirs, and let it lead you into your freedom.


So I guess if I’m being honest it’s more than the sense of obligation and nostalgic heavy food that puts me off, it’s that I slump into a less than flattering look, and I don’t like what I see. I’m mad that my self discipline failed, I’m mad that I can’t practice self-love when I’m faced with what people want me to be for them. I’m mad that they made me believe I was less only because they forgot themselves. I’m mad that I can’t practice compassion like I teach. And albeit an unfair goal, I’m mad that I can’t be like Jesus was said to be. I’m mad that I can’t stand in love fully enough to not need them to be different.


When all this shit comes up, I know I’m really resenting myself. So the next stage in my enlightenment and freedom may not be in forgiving them, but in forgiving myself for not being ‘there’ yet. So the Spiritual Healer goes back to the simplicity of the things she preaches, until she (hopefully) gets it and moves on to the next lesson.  I know this shit because I’m still working through it and I know at my core I will.  I know at my core that’s what we’re here to do.


The holidays may very well hold the deepest spiritual lessons and potential pathways for freedom, right before the New Year and Spring when we become born yet again into a new skin…. or not. ;) Even if we don’t ‘complete’ the lesson, we’re still learning, so let us be easy on ourselves (and particularly our family members). Life is just one big ass infinite journey to love. And what I do know is that there are no small acts of love... so may we go gently dear ones towards our truth and remembrance.