Unraveling Traditions

by | Dec 14, 2016 | Quantum Possibilities with Cheryl Mitchell | 0 comments

Being With the Old and Creating New

fotolia © dglimages

fotolia © dglimages

The holiday season is rife with traditions. We tell stories and share long-held beliefs and customs as we prepare for our holiday gatherings; these time-honored ways of being that have become memorized over the years. Perhaps you have a favorite tradition, something you loved as a child that still brings you joy today? Those traditions are positive and uplifting. While many traditions bind us closer to family and friends, have you ever considered the traditions you may be participating in that could actually be damaging to you and your relationships?

There’s a common tradition of gathering with the in-laws for the big holiday feast. Along with Aunt Dollie’s homemade pies comes her attitude of superiority that irritates you immensely. Every year, you bite your lip and decide that it’s only once a year so you can grin and bear it. Now it’s a tradition to just put up with her even as you vow to do your best to not make waves. After all, how many more holidays could Aunt Dollie possibly have left? This is a tradition that is not a positive and uplifting one. 

But what do you suppose would happen if you decided not to accept that old tradition any more? Have you considered that you could change your experience of the annual family holiday gathering? Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘Sure, I could tell her off the way I’ve imagined for the past decade, but that would start world war three and my mom will never speak to me again if I do that. And Dad won’t be so thrilled with me, either.’  Or maybe you’re thinking you could just skip this year’s gathering and use going to your new boyfriend’s house for dinner as an excuse. But then you won’t get to see your new baby niece, or your four-year-old adorable cousins.

Now before you decide to hide behind a fib and miss out on seeing the cute younger generation, would you be willing to consider that you could actually find a way to no longer be negatively affected by Aunt Dollie and her attitude?  What if you could energetically effect a change between yourself and your Aunt Dollie? And what if it were no more difficult than using your imagination?

Does that idea bring up a lot of resistance for you? Do you hear an inner critical voice scoffing and reminding you that Aunt Dollie will never change and you just have to live with it? At the same time, are you interested to see if you could find a way to enjoy Aunt Dollie’s company?

fotolia © sean824

© sean824

Interested?  Why not start right now by taking three deep breaths? Breathe in fully and exhale completely each time and focus inward. Now imagine the upcoming holiday gathering. See Aunt Dollie acting the way she always does, yet this time imagine yourself responding differently. Imagine how you would respond if you knew for certain that your Aunt acts the way she does because deep down inside, she’s actually afraid that people think she is inferior, and her behavior is an attempt to keep that fear at bay. It doesn’t really matter if it is true or not, just notice how your response shifts when you see your Aunt in a more compassionate light.  Notice what changes in the scene when you allow your Aunt’s behavior to be about her and her own beliefs about herself, and not based on a perceived deficit in you.

What shifts when you consider that in her own way, she’s doing the best she can do?  What if you remember that she really does want what’s best for you even if she doesn’t express it lovingly? Replay the scene over in your mind several times, looking at it compassionately with different possible explanations of why she acts that way. Perhaps as you do this exercise in compassion, you’ll remember a family story that may help you to understand her better. Notice as you look at the scene differently now, your image of your aunt and her responses begins to change and shift. And then notice what shifts are being created in you at the same time.

This is an easy way to begin to unravel holiday traditions that are not serving your greatest good, and even if just in a small way, begin to shift your actual experience into a more pleasant one.

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Cheryl Mitchell
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