• Ann Kaplan

Don't Just Survive the Holidays!


The holidays are a microcosm of our year-long struggles

Merry Everything Everyone! I hope you are enjoying this time of year, no matter what traditions you observe. December is a bittersweet, heartstrings kind of time regardless of religion or culture, IMO. Must be something about the solstice or seasonal affective disorder, or something...and some of that bittersweetness comes from the chaos of the holidays. It could be stressful, exhausting, anxiety-provoking, all those fun things that come up and we wonder why we chose to put ourselves in this position in the first place! Something that has helped me immensely in the last year, and that I believe is illustrated beautifully by the holiday season, is the idea that half of life is pretty crappy. What?!?! Just hang on a minute and I'll explain myself... There's a pretty cool coach out there named Brooke Castillo who talks about the duality of the human experience. If we really believe things like: you can't appreciate satiety without experiencing hunger, or that we need sadness to be able to recognize happiness, or just the simple yin-and-yang idea...if we really believe that's the way of the world, then that means half of life is kind of unpleasant. We spend half of our time in pain, discomfort, worry, anxiety, regret, sadness, anger, yadda yadda yadda. This concept has helped me in bunch of different ways, and one cool thing about it is that when my kids experience the bummer parts of life, it doesn't mean we're 'doing it wrong' - they are supposed to feel bummed for part of their lives; it's just the way the world works. I don't have to try to avoid that stuff for them or protect them, and I don't have to feel like I'm messed up if I'm not happy and zen all day long. Life doesn't work that way, and to expect otherwise is to attempt to defy nature. And it's even cooler than that, for me. Because I believe that we really can't experience, recognize or appreciate the incredible capacity for life to be mind-blowingly awesome unless we are willing to spend some of our time in the depths of despair (thank you, Anne of Green Gables) and feeling intensely negative emotions. I now look at my crappy feelings as the things that make my wonderful feelings possible. I wouldn't give them up, because denying or avoiding the negative stuff also cuts us off from the good stuff, and I refuse to give that up! What the hell does this have to do with the holidays? Because it's all right there in one insane, chaotic messy drama fest. Why do we put ourselves in that position? Maybe it's because want the ecstatic highs so we're willing to put up with the totally craptastical lows. And if the holidays are all craptastical for you and no ecstasy? Tune in to the group this week and let's talk about how to deal with holiday madness and make it a little more do-able! You might also like the recording of the 'Handling the Holidays' event.

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© 2018 by Ann Kaplan