So, Thanksgiving. I can tell because when I went to do my shopping, the store was positively throbbing with people and angst. Oh, and there were a lot of frozen turkeys.
As we launch the whole holiday season, I cannot help but think of those for whom this is a difficult time. Persons who have suffered loss or separation, or who experience poverty or strife, may find the season can bring additional pain.
I lived for a number of years emotionally struggling to get through the holidays. It was a very, very depressing season for me during those years. It was also a very lonely time.
Simply being an onlooker as all about you is the happy hustle and bustle, family gatherings and traditions, that are lost from your own experience can heighten sad and separate feelings. There’s no explaining it if you haven’t experienced it.
Well-meaning folks tried to draw me into their own family traditions, but that just somehow amplified my feelings of loss and separation. When I finally settled on following my own path, it worked a lot better for me.
The advice to start your own new traditions is fine – when you’re ready. The six weeks or so of the holidays do not have to be defined by what everyone else is doing or has always done, or what’s big in the stores or media. It is unfortunate that so much of the beautiful meaning in our holidays is sucked up by a focus on obligated consumption.
I ultimately found my own holiday path, and I’m finally in a good place with the season.
I am writing this because I know there are others out there who suffer with the holidays for various reasons, and I am sad for that. I know how rough that can be.
It is part of the human experience to know sadness. We try hard to push sad feelings away, but sometimes, we just have to fully put our arms around the sadness and be with it before we can heal. And, eventually, we can see the path taking shape before us again.
There can be peace and happiness on the path. I know, and it is what I wish for you if you are one of those struggling right now.
Please consider yourself gently hugged.