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21578917_08ca661e47_mSomewhere, someone is having a perfect Christmas, filled with chestnuts roasting and sleigh bells ringing…

Screw ’em.

Most of us are having just the opposite: a nutcrackin’ nightmare of anger, hurt feelings, evil in-laws, and carbs beyond counting. A time when grudges grow and gasses pass. A time of maxed-out credit cards and a ham that the vegetarians are ready to hurl through the frosty window.

Evil little brothers, pregnant tattooed sisters, horny dogs, and cross-dressing dads – they’re all here, ready to spread their Christmas cheer.

So untangle the lights, spill some eggnog, and gather ’round the place where happier families would have a piano.

Let’s sing to the tune of  “O Come All Ye Faithful”…

O come meet the family, bad breeding triumphant;
O come meet the family dysfunctional.
Come and behold them. As they brag and fight and whine.
For it’s a celebration, of Christmas aggravation.
And if you’re no relation, just thank the Lord.

Ok, now I have to admit that I didn’t write this. I WISH I could take credit for it, because it makes a dysfunctional family sound a lot lighter. And it made me smile. How about you?

Will you still be smiling on Christmas Day when you are spending time with your family? I hope you are. But if you aren’t, here is something to consider.

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It’s only one day. Make the best of it. If memories of family holidays past are less than desirable, switch the channel.

That’s right. Choose a new program. Take a new perspective.

You can’t change these people, but you can change how you look at them.

If your mean aunt is lecturing you again about how you chose the wrong career, you might be annoyed and want to tell her what to do with her advice. Or, you might ask yourself, “What’s another way I could look at this?”

You could choose to see her in a more positive light; “She really cares about me and only means well.”

Or use this strategy. Accentuate her rottenness; “She doesn’t have a life poor thing and that is why she has so much energy to spend on criticizing other people.” You might end up feeling something different for that aunt of yours.

And if you do react badly you can still switch your channel. Don’t feel badly about how you may have acted. Tell yourself that you will do better next time and don’t hold on to the feelings. Don’t beat yourself up. Your aunt can do that better right? Ask yourself what you have learned.

Usually when someone is criticizing you, if you feel a reaction there is some learning there for you. If there is no learning, then it will fly right past you.

If this does change things for you, then you will be stronger than the day before. Stronger for the next time.

And if none of this works at least you will have kept yourself busy and before you know, it will be time to go home.

This quote from Joubert Joseph is what inspired this post.

“He who has not the weakness of friendship has not the strength.”

I wish all of you the best Christmas that you can SEE for yourself. And take the best of that into the new year.

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Introduction and revised lyrics to O Come All Ye Faithful was taken from The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songbook, written by John Boswell and Leonore Skenazy.

Photo credits: Kittenagogo’s photostream from Flickr.com

So, oh come all ye faithful and share your comments. Maybe myself or my readers can help you shed some light on a rotten relative!

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This is my foot, happily posing on a dock at Lakeside Campground in Sasquatch Provincial Park, in mid September.

I am one of the last people I know who puts my sandals away in the fall and one of the first to bring them out in the springtime. Going barefoot is my preference.

I enjoy shopping for shoes, but I’ve realized that it is more about dreaming of finding that perfect pair, rather than buying them.

Let me tell you, this is no easy accomplishment. Even more challenging is letting go of that favourite pair of shoes.

You know the ones. You’d hardly recognize them from that early honeymoon period when you shared blisters, walks in the rain and walks across sandy beaches.

Their wear and tear boasts miles travelled together with accumulated sentimental value. They are comfortable. They fit like a glove and in all actuality, they shine more than the newest shoes in your closet. You tend to reach for them before you reach for the newer ones.

Children change and grow out of their shoes quickly but as adults we can wear the same pair of shoes for years. Buying a new pair of shoes has always been a challenge for me.

I often find myself window shopping, dreaming about finding that next pair of perfect shoes and being frustrated by yet another unsuccessful shopping trip. But, I wonder if subconsciously I don’t really want to find that new pair of shoes?

I have friends who wear a variety of styles and colours, both new and old. What I’ve also noticed is that these friends are vibrant and enthusiastic and walk headfirst into change in their lives.

I don’t enjoy change. I like comfort and I like familiar. What is interesting is that I continue to explore and cultivate my own personal growth, forgetting that this inevitably brings change.

Change gives me blisters and so I prefer going barefoot.

To my credit, I enjoy memories and appreciating how far I’ve come.

In the movie The Wizard of Oz, the shoes that Dorothy wore and whose heels she clicked together while saying “There’s no place like home,” were brilliant, red sparkling shoes. They created magic.

So, all I have to do is focus on taking more steps into the future rather than dreaming about it. Maybe then I’ll have some successful shopping trips and be able to add some brilliant new pairs of shoes to my closet. And even better, maybe we can enjoy that honeymoon period without any blisters!

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I dreamt that I died. I felt no pain. There had been no accident.

There were no tears or sadness. No darkness.
No loss.

I couldn’t remember the details of this dream. I just knew that I had died. This feeling haunted me all day.

I couldn’t shake it. It clung to me like a suit of armour.

My thoughts became heavy and dark. I wondered what this all meant. Was I going to die?

In desperation, I took a quiet moment to reflect on the dream. This is the vision that came to me.

My body lay lifeless on the ground. Suddenly it wrinkled like a piece of plastic being exposed to extreme heat. It shrivelled up into itself, folding into my heart.

My heart had not changed. It was stronger than ever, beating with vitality. Fully alive. I could feel the warmth. I could even sense the richness of the brilliant red blood that still fed me.

In slow motion, my heart opened like a beautiful flower opening to the rays of sunshine. I imagined the heavenly scent of fresh spring blossoms. Then, gently, one petal at a time, we expanded into the space around us, rose from the ground and vanished.

I was in awe of this beautiful vision. It was not what I had expected. Could death be so beautiful?

This dream and vision visited me on January 9, 2000. I reflected on them this morning as I was reading through my dream journal. I don’t remember if I ever decided what this dream meant to me back then. What does it mean to me today?

After reading Harmony’s latest post entitled “The Eclipse” at Golden Zen, I see what this dream means to me now.

If we fear our darkest thoughts they will continue to run our lives. But, if we take a moment to stop running and sit with them, we could uncover something special.

Perhaps they are seeds that need a ray of sunshine to grow. And, perhaps they are waiting there in the shadows to empower us beyond our wildest dreams.

What impact do you think you have on others? On your life? On yourself?

Who do you want to be with others, in your life, or with yourself?

Asking yourself these questions is the first step to recognizing your truth.

I have developed eight core value statements through a simple exercise.

This was very rewarding because it helped connect me with what is important to me and what I value about life.

Because values are so close to us, we often take them for granted.

Recognizing your values helps to make decision-making easier. We make decisions based on our values which are like lampposts that light our path along the way. 

Following, are my core value statements and a brief explanation of how to do the exercise. I hope that you become as curious as I was to undercover your answers and find your own core value statements.

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