Having a Joyful Holiday Season
By Lisa de Lusignan
Dec 19, 2009 - 9:46:45 AM
As I was writing the title of this
article I was thinking, well of course we will have a Joyful Season,
isn’t that what all the songs are about? I happen to love Christmas
music, I think my love for Christmas music is always because I want
to feel that Joy, Peace and Magic that the songs are all about.
What is it that sometimes prevents
us from feeling these things during the holiday season and all year
The holidays are a time to connect
with family and friends. It is a time of giving, celebration, sharing
food, forgiveness, and joy. That's quite a bit of pressure falling on
one day or even one month. No wonder we get stressed and start to dread
the very thing that we love. Children, however, seem to
be able to feel the joy and magic. What are the things that children
do that we sometimes forget or let go of?
So I thought I would break down a
few things that children do that is different from adults.
Children live entirely
in the moment. If they are playing on the playground, thats all they
are doing, and until they are called to leave they are completely absorbed
in the task of playing.
They have a clear goal,
to have fun with their friends, and if they are not they move on to
another fun task that will bring them back to their goal.
They don’t “think”
about what brings them happiness, they are lead to it intuitively.
They forgive easily. Have
you seen children fight? They get mad, say things they don’t mean,
and the next day they are out playing with that child again.
Children laugh 300 times
a day, adults laugh 15 times a day.
How can we know learn from children
and bring more joy and peace to ourselves now and the rest of the year?
Pay attention to the moments
that bring you joy and relish in those experiences.
Choose a goal each day,
what is it that you would like to experience today? Bliss? Peace? Joy?
Once you have a clear goal in sight you have the power to make decisions
in your day that will bring you closer to that experience.
Use your intuition, make
decisions about how you spend your time based on what you love, what
will bring you a feeling of accomplishment? What makes you feel powerful
Make authentic connections
at this time of year. Is there someone in your life that you have neglected
in your family or friendships. Is there someone who you are holding
a grudge against? Can you take a step to make amends?
Laugh and have some fun!
This time of year is for having fun with family and friends, make that
a priority over other less important demands.
Lastly how do we learn to let go
as children do? It is a practice of commitment to connection with others
above all. If your goal is to let go and connect, decide to put aside
differences and judgments and find the magic and joy of the Season and
all year through, however you choose to celebrate.
I was in a grocery store the other
day and a li'l fella, maybe 5 or 6, cheerily bouncing around the produce
section, touching bags of potatoes and whatnot. He was singing,
talking to himself, happy as a kid can be while on the shopping errand
The next thing I know, I hear
sharp whacking and mom has him by the arm, hitting him hard and repeatedly,
and scolding him angrily and loudly.
She called him names, told him
to focus and tie his shoelace, threatened him. She then pushed
her cart away and he bent to tie his shoe. In a minute, he stalked off
after her, his face a contorted mask of anger, shame, and hate.
I said, "You OK?" and
he does not turn or respond as he stormed past me, shoelace flapping.
There was no way to gently approach
the woman, no way to intervene.
I am so sad, knowing this child
just had a terrible experience, feeling helpless.
What could I have done?
It is very difficult to see how people
treat their children, especially if it is very different from our beliefs
about parenting. It is hard to see a child being mistreated. In
that moment there is so little time to do anything which certainly
does leave us all feeling helpless. If the mother was that angry
with her child, she likely would not have heard you anyway and the anger
could have been redirected at you.
If we, for a minute think about what
could have been happening for her in that moment. She was overwhelmed
and out of control, and if that is how she handled the child she does
not know any other way.
What is it that we need when we
are out of control and overwhelmed? We need some understanding,
compassion, some reassurance that we are not alone in our pain.
With this in mind, what you could
do is give her the very thing she is lacking, that is patience, understanding
and compassion. As difficult as that is in the moment, if you could
say something like, “ grocery shopping can be difficult with children”
or “ I remember my children acting up in grocery stores, its so hard
to be patient”. Anything that would give her a message
that she most likely never received in her life.
Although this may not seem as satisfying
as giving her a little “taste of her own medicine”, compassion and
patience is most likely not part of her daily life. Some kind
words can have a very powerful impact on an overwhelmed mom.
How do I live life or even enjoy one
minute with the tragic loss of my only teenage son? it is so overwhelming.
Losing a child is the hardest loss any
parent can experience. It is every parents nightmare, I am so terribly
sorry for your loss.
I suggest first, that you seek some professional
help of some kind, I don’t believe any parent is capable of going
through something so difficult alone. I think no matter how a
child dies the parents naturally can feel responsible or guilty in some
way, that is something a professional counselor can help you work through.
Find a support group of parents who have also lost children, it can
be very helpful to connect with others, and to know that you are not
alone in this.
That being said, you still have to find
a way to face everyday without your child and that is something that
only you know how to do.
Taking one day at a time, sometimes an
hour at a time is essential to getting through this kind of loss. Letting
yourself feel all your feelings and trusting that these are a normal
and healthy way to grieve and heal.
Often a parent who loses an only child
has to redefine who they are, if they identified themselves with being
a parent only, a new identity may have to be created. You may have to
explore other areas of your life that can bring you a new sense of meaning.
Some parents use the tragedy to help other parents in the similar situation,
healing and transforming their lives to help others.
Connect with people that understand you
and can support you through this process, and know that it is a process
that will transform and you will heal.
I hope that you can find a way to honor
your child in this season and remember what you loved about him and
what love he shared with the world, and that he was loved. Be gentle
on yourself knowing that as a parent we are always doing the best we
can do with the skills and knowledge that we have in the moment.
Blessing to you in this season and the
year to come.
Be the change
you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi
Lisa de Lusignan MA, RPC
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