As the holiday season brings much joy to many, it also has the ripeness to unearth the shadows of our past.
How can it be that pain emerges, emotional waves ripple, and emotional charges get sparked when we come into contact with many of our loved ones? I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that our most beloved friends, partners, and family members trigger us the most. In some perfection of Divine engineering, the people in our lives are meant to help us heal, if we will allow them to.
This year, I made the scary, but right-for-me decision to have a staycation. Each year we leave DC to travel and see loved ones and this year, we’ll stay put...by ourselves.
The decision is entirely Intuition-led. Soul-inspired. Heart-whispered. And felt terrifying AND relieving to make.
For weeks leading up to December when I tuned into Spirit I kept hearing the same thing: it’s time to hibernate….it’s time to cocoon. While I blocked off my schedule from work in support of traveling to see loved ones, I recognized that in fact, Spirit had inspired me to block off my schedule for an entirely different purpose.
The decision required a lot of courage, self-trust, and self-love for me. I needed to acknowledge that what I needed in support of my personal healing was opposite of what my loved ones wanted. I needed to have the courage to stand by these needs in this pivotal moment in life even if others don’t understand. I needed to truly let go of guilt and obligation in service of genuine desire. I needed to trust that the Intuitive messages I was receive were trustworthy and truthful. I needed to love the little one inside of me that is both fearful and grateful. And most of all, I needed to acknowledge that this hibernation space can actually bring me closer over time to the people I love.
Like nature, mirroring her inward turn, Spirit asked me also to go within. As usual, when I questioned whether staying in DC was the right decision Spirit brought me tons of confirmation. The first of which was the brillant Lindsay Mack’s monthly medicine episode for December all about...the cocoon. When I saw the title and listened, I found myself smiling back at what felt like a giant wink and gentle affirmation from Spirit. Cocoon. Yes, cocoon dear one.
Then my partner and I tried to organize a trip out of town and no matter what we did, none of our travel plans could come together.
Finally, I had a dream, where my subconscious made it extremely clear that I needed to spend time in silence with...myself.
I’ve been turning inward during the winter solstice time for years now. However, this time my inward turn will be very different. Rather than a single solstice ceremony and my morning meditations as my inward time, I’d create an atmosphere of inward time around an entire two week period. Rather than creating sacred space amidst gatherings of loved ones, I will take the time off I had set aside for everyone else and devote it entirely to...myself.
Our culture says this is selfish. Our society preaches of obligation. And here’s what I have to say….
Obligation breeds resentment. Resentment births anger. Unacknowledged anger can foster toxicity in even the most loving relationships.
Over-giving, not acknowledging our needs, and putting everyone over our own wellbeing leaves us empty, exhausted, and guess what...also...births resentment.
These resentment cycles that we preach have to stop. Because they are creating unsupportive, unhealthy, and most of all...inauthentic relationships with the people we care about the most.
Consider, how can fully supportive love be born out of obligation? Guilt? Resentment? And what would shift, if I could love and be loved without obligation, guilt, and resentment?
Stopping this pressurized cycle is not easy. I’m a recovering people pleaser and over giver. I finally got the courage to tune in and acknowledge that this year I need some serious me time to heal and restore after a million baby steps over several years that I’ve taken away from obligation and into honesty. Out of over-giving and into intentional choice.
Creating authentic relationships takes time, dedication, patience, and giving ourselves permission to let it be messy. Because wow can it be messy.
This holiday season rather than glossing over the challenge that this season can bring like many people in my industry do, I want to invite you into small, micro changes to empower you to shift out of obligation and into more honest choice. Here’s how.
This holiday season, just notice:
When, how, and with whom guilt shows up. I invite you to explore this without judgement of yourself or others. Just be curious as much as you can.
When you make a choice and feel constriction inside, ask yourself, what is this really about? Am I making this choice out of genuine desire or perceived obligation?
When you recognize you are making a choice out of obligation, consider...how can you clean it up? In other words, do you need to in fact make an entirely different choice to be more in alignment with your truth? Or is there a story you need to release in service of making the same choice without the sticky energy of obligation?
Be patient with yourself and those around you. This human existence is hard. For everyone. We all carry suffering, we all carry unseen pain, difficult experiences, and many of us…trauma.
People we have created “obligation” energy with uniquely house our deepest wounds. This means, they hold the keys to our healing. And getting under the hood of the guilt, obligation, and perceived pressure that guides our choices with them can start to show us the keys to our freedom and a truly loving relationship together.
You may get triggered. You may still make choices out of obligation. You may still feel guilty a lot. It’s ALL ok. Because the difference is, this time, you’re paying attention.
This time, you’re getting curious. This time, you’re giving space for clarity to start peering through. And when attention, curiosity, and clarity start to shine into a relationship, over time we can co-create deeper, more genuinely loving, and authentic connections that mutually support each other far more than the societally taught obligation and guilt drenched fabric of relating.
This holiday season imagine with me, what a world would look like soaked in mutually supportive, loving, intentional choice, honest, relationships…