Not My Monkeys

Back in Chicago I have an amazing group of friends. Many of us met once a month at the Wellness Professionals Group. This group was truly powerful. It was supportive, understanding, mentoring, objective, positive, and healing. When I attended the group, I was my ideal best self. It was easy because all of the others there also strove to be their best. We accepted each other fully even if we did not agree with all of our choices. We were compassionate and caring for the ups and downs in our personal and professional lives. We spoke thoughtfully and without malice. We gave and received openly. We saw the highest good for each one of us. We celebrated wins. We comforted losses. Everyone left the meeting feeling full, hopeful, supported, and powerful.

I no longer have that group.

No As I strive to create a new community in a new country I learned I first have to filter out many difficult people. Some are constantly negative. Some are unaccepting of others. Some are disrespectful. Some are berating. Some are attacking. Some speak before thinking. Some make very bad choices which are hard to watch.

It is very difficult to be my ideal best self around people who do not see life as I do. For me this difficulty is compounded by my being in a very unstable, ungrounded time in my life which has made it more challenging to stand in my truth and way of being.

So how does one act, speak and be their ideal self when they are not surrounded by likeminded people?

Slow Down: I know much of my advice starts here, but I also think it needs to. When we take the time every day to go to the State of Gray through meditation, yoga, or any other means, it centers us and slows us down. In doing so, we are much more in control. We move out of being reactionary, can choose our words carefully, and can view situations more objectively.

Uncover the True Trigger: When surrounded by those very different from whom we strive to be, we can often be triggered. But usually the trigger is not what we think it is. Move past the surface trigger (negativity, hatred, poor actions) and look at what the trigger means to you. We all have lessons to learn in this life. What bigger theme does this trigger represent in your life? Often times it may be a challenge you have had since childhood. Look to the larger meaning of the trigger and this difficult situation can actually be an amazing gift of growth.

Not My Monkeys, Not My Circus: We can’t always choose who is around us. But we can choose how we react to them. Physically or mentally remove yourself from situations which are not serving you. Remember you have no responsibility for others’ choices. Your only responsibility is for your choices and how you experience life. Focus on your needs and stay out of others’ drama.

As we approach the holidays can you identify groups of family or friends who you may have outgrown or who trigger you in some way? How do you plan to manage challenging individuals? How will you stay centered in your truth no matter who is around?

Three Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Holidays are the best time of the year filled with parties, celebrations, gifts, food, family, and friends.

Or are they?

happy_holidays_wallpaper_by_darktrick17-d5mvmf2For some, holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Our schedule is filled with events and gatherings leaving us no free time. We rush around buying gifts, decorations, and food. We are constantly cleaning the house to have it ready for our guests. Some gatherings are not only filled with the stress of preparations and deadlines, but old family wounds and insecurities. At the end of the holiday season, we feel drained, tired, exhausted, and depleted.

Here are a few ways to make your holiday season work for you.

Choose Wisely – When there are a plethora of parties to choose from, we can become overwhelmed and feel obligated to attend them all. This season, take the time to look at all the gatherings you are invited to and answer these questions:

  • Will it be fun?
  • Are there people I want to be around?
  • Do I feel obligated to go?
  • When I went last year, how did I feel afterward?

After reviewing each event, choose only those that will enliven your soul. Release the guilt of saying no to a friend or obligation, and instead rejoice in saying “yes” to you and what you need.

Experience Not Things – Remember being a child and playing with the box the toy came in as much as the toy itself? Instead of feeling like you need to go broke buying gifts or rushing around town to purchase the perfect gift, instead find ways to actually experience the holidays with those you love. Think of all the time you spend at the stores and consider how you could use that time to be with others. Ten years from now, people may not remember the fancy soaps you purchased them, but they will probably remember the special day you spent together.

Drop Perfectionism – The house does not need to be perfectly clean. The food does not need to be chef quality. Your decorations do not need to be made by Martha Stewart. Stop judging yourself and tying your self-worth to how well you execute the holidays. Those people who truly love us, love us just as we are. There is no need to be a Stepford Wife. Instead do as much as you are willing and spend the rest of the time enjoying your holiday.

Put yourself and your needs first this holiday season. Release the stress the holidays trigger and make a commitment to truly experience your holidays this year.