Happy safe sane healthy holidays!
I hesitate to write, not wanting to extend the voluminous time we spend in front of our computers, but I truly miss connecting with you, so here I am…
I am feeling immense gratitude that throughout these times, I have been able to maintain my practice, see my clients, (albeit via Zoom at times), and try to help as much as I can, find hope and purpose in the midst of hardship, conflict, despair, grief, and loss.
Tonight I sat with a couple and saw the exhaustion and COVID fatigue in their eyes, as they expressed, ‘we never thought it will last that long’.
Way back in March, I wrote a blog about Connection in Time of Isolation . Back then we had no idea how long this situation would last, and how devastating the pandemic would get.
During these times we have also experienced a country divided and torn, trying to cope with loss, protests, economic hardship, loneliness, separateness, and divisiveness.
For years as a marriage, family, and relationship therapist, I have been trying to help couples understand that ‘for you to be right, I do not need to be wrong’ (and vice versa).
This year, I have witnessed as the divide grew, and the inability to see each others perspectives, have grown to a proportion I have not experienced in previous years.
As a couples therapist, I help clients access their vulnerabilities, fears, and needs that exist underneath the fights, the anger, the conflict, the protests, and the attempts to be seen and heard. I always say that the three most important words in a relationship are not ‘I love you‘, but, ‘I get you!’ and I hear you!
It seems to me that as issues of race, gender, politics, masks and so much more have shown us the differences in our perspectives, accusations of right and wrong and left and right have become significantly more intense and entrenched.
In times like these, I find solace in stepping back to see Rumi’s grander perspective.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talkRumi
Every year I write my Holiday Blog. Last year I wrote Surviving Holiday Stress about how to cope and manage the stress of all the family expectations, gift shopping and giving, hosting, and entertaining. I wrote about how to ‘find time for oneself’ in the stress of family gatherings. How naive was that?
In her Thanksgiving blog post, Lissa Rankin, MD. , quotes Meghan Markle’s invitation in her New York Times article (“The Losses We Share”), to ask each other the question, “Are you okay?” And the real medicine comes in caring about the answer, especially if the answer is, “No, I need help.”
So this Thanksgiving, as we plan for a holiday unlike any before — many of us separated from our loved ones, alone, sick, scared, divided and perhaps struggling to find something, anything, to be grateful for — let us commit to asking others, “Are you OK?” As much as we may disagree, as physically distanced as we may be, the truth is that we are more connected than ever because of all we have individually and collectively endured this year. We are adjusting to a new normal where faces are concealed by masks, but it’s forcing us to look into one another’s eyes — sometimes filled with warmth, other times with tears. For the first time, in a long time, as human beings, we are really seeing one another. Are we OK?
But the Holidays are here, and with them, hopefully some JOY.
Around the world this time of year, people celebrate different traditions. Winter Holidays traditions include colorful lights, sitting around the fire, singing hymns and carols, decorations, music, special foods and feasts. Here in the US, our celebrations include giving gifts, parties, and family get-togethers which can be wonderful and yet also stressful at times.
Few months present the multicultural celebrations that December does! Whether you celebrate Christmas, St Nicholas Day, Kwanzaa, Yule, Hanukkah, Solstice, Diwali, St. Lucia, Eid al-Fitr, Boxing Day, Saturnalia, Three Kings Day… or any other traditional holiday, chances are that it is celebrated with LIGHTS, music, food and family.
This year, for many, holidays will be celebrated differently. Some of us may choose to skip celebration altogether with issues of distance, stress, grief, economic hardship, or simply not feeling the spirit of it.
Finding time to read, meditate, practice yoga, take walks in the snow or rain, create projects, watch movies, organize photos, do puzzles…what ever you do…this holiday is probably going to be different then any other time.
In short, many of us will be on our own this holiday. Please know you are not alone. Reach out to friends and family, even if they are far away. Have a cup of tea or a glass of wine while connecting long distance on the phone, or on Zoom, Skype or FaceTime… (yes that familiar new verb in our language…).
Finding meaning in the midst of all of this is important, but not always easy. Developing some new coping skills to fortify our inner strength, connect with our own vulnerability, and be there for that young and scared part of us, can serve us greatly at this time.
Sending all of you my best for these times, for a happy holidays, and celebration of the season.
Love and gratitude for all that you share and give and hold space for.
Yours with hugs and more Love,