"If you think you are enlightened go spend a week with your family!" Ram Dass
Have you ever spent time working on your self esteem and confidence only to go visit the family and watch yourself fall into the same old patterns of reaction?
Do you ever feel like your family are the people who you love the most and who push your buttons the most?
I love that you can't fake it around those who were beside you as you learnt to walk, those who taught you your earliest lessons and those who are the co-stars in the movie of your childhood!
Often our reactions to our family are reflective of how at peace we are with our past and our emotional selves. Yep that damn mirror again!
It's that time of year when we often come together as a family. So it's a great time to use our family dynamics as a playground of growth and presence.
I invite you to use any of your family gatherings this end of year as a mindfulness meditation.
Being a little gypsy at heart I spent many years wandering the globe, sitting at the feet of masters and delving into my inner world in search of truth and freedom. It would always fascinate me that I would return home to my family in Melbourne and much of what I had learnt would go straight out the window and I would quickly fall back into my old patterns.
The wise sage I had discovered within appeared to be gagged and tied to a chair by an emotionally retarded child within me who wanted things her way! Hello adult tantrum!
Where I'm at around my family is the yard stick to show me how much of my change and growth is just a fancy theory in my head and how much is a deep transformation that I embody fully or an illuminating realisation that has set me free.
Our emotional wounds and pain body are a powerful force and they require a strong presence and a deep acceptance for us to have any chance of freedom.
Good for you if you can meditate like a zen monk on a mountain top with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair! That's great!
Can you be mindful when your sibling is criticising you or your mum is nagging you or your dad is ignoring you or your aunt is talking your ear off or your mother in law is telling you how to cut the xmas pudding?
Can you own every ripple of emotion and reaction that moves through you? Or will you blame your family for 'MAKING' you feel sad, mad or bad!
Mastering family dynamics is about finally growing up.
It's about taking responsibility for how we feel. It's about being fully present with the person in front of us and being fully present with the emotions stirring within us.
It's about seeing through the drama to the love at the core.
It's about making peace with your past and letting go of old hurts and resentments. It's about forgiveness.
It's about keeping it real, putting your hand on your heart and having the courage to say how you feel. It's about honesty and authenticity.
It's about learning to not take EVERYTHING so personally. It's about having a sense of humour and seeing the playful side of life.
It's about giving yourself room for error and not expecting yourself to be perfect.
It's about loving you just as you are despite what others think of you.
So as you sit down at the Christmas table this year and you look into the eyes of your family... give them and yourself the greatest gift of all.... your full presence.
Accept them just as they are with all of their faults and annoying bits.
Breathe deeply into any of your triggered emotions, your reactions, your frustrations and insecurities.
Breathe in what is. Be at peace with whatever unfolds.
Love your family for the gorgeous mirror they present and the opportunity for growth they offer. They are the practice ground for true transformation!
And if all else fails... pop on a santa hat, go look in the mirror and make some faces at yourself until you see the playful game of it all!
If you feel you're getting stuck in old patterns, sign up for my month intensive to let go of the past and be free in 2015! I'm restructuring my coaching program next year and the price is going from $595 to $999. So book in before Jan 1st.
I'd love to hear your tips for dealing with family in the comments below. What works for you?
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