How was your holiday? Good, I hope. It was for us, various family gatherings throughout the whole season made for a special time. It was wonderful to see how some of the family we don’t get to see have changed and the adventures they have chosen. We got to see everyone who was coming in from out of state thanks to the easy weather we had. I even was able to do five Santa gigs this season! That is a very happy time for me as well as the children.
There are some families who go into the holidays with such trepidation that it causes much stress. The medical profession has documented that this is one of the most stressful times of the year. You would think that it is supposed to be a time of Love and Light, a celebration of a Jesus’ birth. How could it be so full of stress?
Money is often a factor because we feel we need to show how much we love our family with gifts. After all it was the three wise men who brought gifts to the baby in the manger. They are the ones who set the precedent for gift giving.
But probably the biggest source of stress is the family. Family dynamics can be all over the map with the different members who come together for the holidays. The immediate family can have its issues but then you bring in the in-laws, aunts and uncles, cousins, the occasional friend and lets throw in the dog for good measure.
Of course there is going to be tension. Of course there will be issues and we dare not talk about them because that will just make things worse. That will just stir the pot in front of grandma and it is better to let sleeping dogs lie. Let’s just forget about it!
Which brings us to the point of all this. Just forgetting about these issues will not solve the problem; it will not bring peace into the family much less your own life. So what can one do when there is all this stress and tension? (Let me be clear here that I am not assuming that YOUR family is the subject of this article.) I am using this as an example to illustrate the importance of dealing with these issues.
How can we deal with these issues without creating a great upset at the holiday dinner table? Allowing. Allowing is very powerful if the attitude behind it is correct. What is the correct attitude? Forgiveness. Forgiveness is the key to bring peace into any situation.
Forgiveness will allow you to have peace in your heart and that will give you the power to allow others to be how they feel they need to be.
You see, forgiveness is really a gift to yourself more than how the other person feels or reacts. We have all been in situations where we feel that the injustice that has been done to us or our loved ones is so bad, so unspeakable that there is no way that we are going to forgive the other person.
Do you realize that sometimes the other person has no idea that there is anything wrong? Do you realize that the other person is walking a different path than you are? Do you realize that by holding onto this heavy energy you are holding yourself back?
Ah, but what about the other person who did whatever they did to garner such hatred? How can they get away with it? Where is the justice in the world? Why do I have to be the one to back down?
You are not backing down when you forgive anyone. You are only letting go of the attachment to that negative energy. The person will still have to account for whatever it is that they did. The important part is that you are no longer a part of the equation and therefore are free to continue on with your life.
That is the most important part. How many of you know someone who has been holding onto a grudge with such self-righteous indignation that it has all but consumed them? All you hear from them is how, because of this or that event, their life has been ruined.
Who really ruined their life? Who put a gun to their head and said you must only think of this event and remain here for the rest of your life? What a prison sentence! Is it really worth it? I would think not.
There is a Zen story about an older monk and his young student walking along a path. Soon they came upon a river where a young woman was standing. She asked for help across the river. The young man just kept walking and crossed the river. Without saying a word the older monk picked her up and carried her across the river and set her down on the other side. When the monk and the student arrived at the monastery the younger said, “Why did you pick up the woman? You know we are not allowed to touch women.” The older monk replied, “I set her down at the riverbank, why are you still carrying her?”
What this illustrates is that we can live our lives carrying all of the injustices of the world upon our shoulders or we can unburden ourselves and move on to make this a better world for ourselves and those around us. Which do you choose? What would make your life more fulfilled?
Here is an important note to think about. Have you done this for yourself? Sometimes we haul around a lot of garbage from our own past that we need to let go of. Stuff that we feel every right to haul. If that is your choice, if that makes you feel better then, by all means, go right ahead. Again, this is your choice.
It is our choice to go how we want but why not go the way that will bring more Love and peace into our hearts. When we do this, we bring more Love to whatever our choices and we can’t help but make the world a better place. Whether it is around the family dinner table or out in the public forum. Whenever we can make a choice to move forward in Love we will help improve everyone’s lives.
It has been tested that our biology improves if a person commits an act of kindness to another. Both of these people feel better and their immune system actually improves. This is real science. The really neat thing about this action is what happens to those who witness this act. Their immune systems also improves. Wouldn’t this world be a better place if we did more of this kind of sharing instead of sharing more and more negativity? But Don, you say, this is the real world, you need to look at all the terrible things that are going on and do something! You need to… What, what do I need to do? Do I need to amplify the negativity? How will I improve the world by my sharing the negativity that is around us? “I will never forgive them for what they do!” Does this sound similar to another line that was said so long ago? Only it was said more like this, “Forgive them, father, for they no not what they do.”
Which is the better way? Which will hold the only possibility for a positive change? We are in a new year that holds many opportunities for a change. Gandhi said, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. “ He also said, “Let me be the change I want to see in the world.” It takes each of us to do what we can to make this a better place.
It is your choice. You can hold on to that hot brick of judgment waiting to throw it at the “deserving person” or choose to take the lesson and move on to better things. Each of us has this choice. Each of us has the responsibility to our selves and others to choose wisely.
Let’s make this the best year ever and bring as much Love into our lives as we can and embrace everything the Father brings to us.
Every day is a day closer to sailing season!
Peace, Love and Coconuts,
s/v Margaret Elizabeth