Survival Guide

November 24, 2010

Survival Guide

Survival Guide

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of Happy Destiny”…

thanks |θa ng ks| |θøŋks| plural noun
• an expression of gratitude: festivals were held to give thanks for the harvest |
• a feeling of gratitude: they expressed their thanks and wished her well.
|θa ng k|verb [trans.]
• to express gratitude by saying “Thank you”: Robert gave thanks for the meal and left.

giving |giv’·ing| adjective
• to turn over control to someone without cost or exchange; to make a gift of
• to relay | pass along
• to have the tendency to give: Mary was a loving and giving person.

I’ve heard it said that recovery is a three-part process: Thanksgiving*, Christmas and New Year’s.

In order to navigate these minefields I need a “Survival Guide to the Holidays.” My Survival Guide starts with lists. Not the lists of Resentments I have carefully squirrelled away, nor the lists of Grievances I want resolved (or aired!), nor the list of “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” against which I plan to take up arms.

I was reminded by a friend today that holiday sanity starts with observing the name: “thanks-giving.” If I can make a list of Things to Give Thanks For (“gratitudes”), even grudgingly, I feel resentments (real or imagined) start to melt away.

When I list Things I Freely Forgive (whether I mean it or not isn’t critical) I feel my grievances lifting, and I remember the feeling of serenity.

When I list Things I Can Do to Be of Service (including acts that will not be found out), it’s in this giving that I experience the frightened, self-centered person inside of me diminish — as they say, “self-seeking will slip away.”

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! If things get rough, try Robert’s technique above (the final example for the word “thanks”).

Happy trails!

* PS Thanksgiving trivia – although primarily a North American holiday, there are countless other harvest festivals. Here are just a few of them…  Lughnasadh – Ireland [Celtic]; Dozynki (Poland); Guldize (Cornwall UK); Emtedank (Germany); Dongmaeng (Korea); Crop Over (Barbados); Pongal (India); Solung (Himalayas); Ikore (Nigeria); Khuado Pawi (Burma); Mehregan (Iran); Eid Al-Adha (Muslim); Niiname-sai (Japan).



October 4, 2010


Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

Monday mornings are… well, they’re Monday mornings, aren’t they? I could list for hours the components that make up the “up to my ass in alligators” feelings I heap on myself on most Monday mornings.

Luckily for me, I’m blessed to have a wonderful barrier placed between my blessed Sundays and my often overwhelmed or fearful Mondays: a special and intimate scheduled phone meeting that starts every Monday. It’s a rampart, a shield against the “How can I possibly get all this done?” thinking that can pervert and paralyze my best intentions.

In this morning’s conversation a fellow traveler reminded me that it’s not my job to get it all done, or even figure out how. I was blessed to be reminded of the wonderful lines from Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return to Love. I call it the “Who are you not to be?” quote… *

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’

“Actually, who are you not to be?

“You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.

“We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Happy trails!

* This quote has been widely misattributed to Nelson Mandela, who was quoted as saying he wished he had said it. Instead, I offer this Mandela quote which I think is also to the point: “In my country we go to prison first and then become President.”