This time of year can provoke a lot of egoic drama. Expectations tend to run rampant along with the idea “if you loved me, you would…” These expectations are not innocent and can lead to many hurt feelings and misunderstandings. We somehow expect loved ones to read our minds, to like what we like, to enjoy what we enjoy. If someone does not like to go along with the group, they might be labeled rude or even a troublemaker rather than authentic and taking care of themselves.
How about if this holiday season we commit to taking a deep breath before we blast someone for their unkindness or for hurting our feelings. Perhaps try to step into the other’s shoes, see from their perspective. Perhaps implant the word innocent in our hearts. Before we re-act, which is literally acting again from the way the past is begging us to speak from, perhaps just say the word innocent. We could say internally, I am innocent and so is this person. Maybe we could slow down enough, be curious enough to see how this is really true.
Christmas had been a heavily charged time for me. I had learned to use presents as a substitute for Presence because it was the one time of the year I FELT loved. My mom went all out and made it so festive, taking after her mom who won awards for her beautifully decorated home, strewn with gorgeous decorations my grandmother had made. I delighted in carrying on this tradition. I used to buy a spectacular ornament each year, searching almost obsessively for the most unique one. How hurtful it used to seem to me when others in my current family did not join me in this passion. I would seriously moan and groan, convinced no one cared about me because I did not get enough presents or no one wanted to help me decorate. What sweet relief to drop most of that last year. No surprise when someone willing joined me for the first time decorating the tree. I had freed all the prisoners from my expectations, manipulations, and cajoling. Now this year how sweet to place each memory lovingly on the tree with no expectation of how it should be. How succulent to be grateful when a helping hand placed two or three ornaments and stayed nearby for most of the time.How liberating to hear the person explain, without being asked, how this is not something that is very enjoyable for them. How grand to hear this without feeling fire and brimstone spewing within. How luscious for harmony rather than conflict to sweetly scent the air.
It can feel like mission impossible to see how we are drawing these dramas to ourselves. Then once we see it, even more, challenging to not begin self-flagellation. How about instead this year we stick with one word, innocent.