Rediscover Calm

Written by Barb Greenberg, excerpt from Rediscovering the Holidays.

When divorce takes up so much time and energy, the demands of a holiday season can be overwhelming. Rushing from one thing to the next can become a competition.”Oh, you think you’re busy?! Well let me tell you about my day!” It can also become a socially acceptable addiction, because by staying busy you can avoid emotional pain, at least for a short time. We believe if we don’t keep moving, things will fall apart, but things are more likely to fall apart if we don’t stop. Plus, what is wrong with a little falling apart. “Holding it together” is often overrated. And what falls apart eventually comes back together in a healthier, more brilliant form.

Prioritize and reflect on what you truly value. Hopefully your health is on the top of the list. You don’t have to go to open houses or bake cookies unless, of course, that brings you joy. Your laundry doesn’t have to be folded just right, or depending on your tolerance level, even be folded at all. You do not have to complete every errand on your list immediately. I remember getting into my car, driving four blocks, turning around and going back home. It was just too much. I had to stop.

When you stop, your life can catch up with you. In the long run you are able to get more done and stay healthier_at the same time. Your stress level drops. You make better decisions, because you can process information more effectively. And you can hear your intuition more clearly when it whispers to you. Your spirit will rejoice that you have honored, respected and cherished yourself. Print out the Rediscover Calm Questions for Reflection.

Rediscover Traditions

Written by Barb Greenberg, excerpt from Rediscovering the Holidays

Once you have more clarity about the meaning of a holiday, it becomes easier to decide which traditions you want to continue and what new traditions you’d like to create.

traditions2New traditions can be as symbolic as lighting special candles, as meaningful as volunteering to serve those less fortunate, or as light-hearted as putting plastic bowls on your children’s head and letting them march are the house (we’ve done that!)

I have a friend who so enjoys the freedom to create new ways to celebrate that her tradition is now to try a different tradition each year.

You may be furious right now. “What do you mean, NEW traditions? Everything in my life is changing, and you want me to change this too? I don’t think so!!”

You may feel like a failure. “It’s my responsibility to keep things from falling apart, and not maintaining holiday traditions would be one more thing I’m failing at.”

Then there is the trap we all fall into: “I have to do things a certain way, because that is the way they’ve always been done.”

traditions3I, too, felt furious trapped, and like a failure until one day I sensed my Grandmother and Great Grandmother smiling down on me, and I understood that by blending what had meaning from my past with what has meaning for my future, I would create something beautiful for myself and my children.

This can be quite a challenge if you are sharing custody of children and can not always be with them on the exact date of a holiday. Please remember, any day can become sacred and blessed if you allow it to be.

Celebrate with your children a week or two prior to the exact holiday date, while the anticipation is still high. Choose a special day to bake cookies together or go to a holiday show. The possibilities of activities you can do together are endless, and the memories you crea?te will be priceless.

Then develop a tradition for yourself on the actual holiday: Be with friends or family. Do something comforting and healing that will ease your stress and bring you peace.

Print out the Rediscover Traditions – Questions for Reflection.

Rediscover Family

Written by Barb Greenberg, excerpt from Rediscovering the Holidays

When relatives invite you to celebrate a holiday with them, by all means go if it feels safe. Let yourself be supported, hugged, clucked over and waited on, while your children play with cousins, snuggle with grandparents,or pester a favorite aunt.

In some situations it doesn’t feel safe to celebrate with family. If this is the case for you, respect yourself and your intuition and politely decline any invitation you may receive. You can say something as simple as, “Thank you for your kind invitation, but I don’t feel ready.”

If your family persists, as families sometimes do, simply repeat the same sentence. You don’t have to justify yourself or make excuses.

You may plan to go to a friend’s house, or find a good book or movie, or simply sit on the sofa and eat ice cream or your favorite snack.

If you enjoy having company for the holidays, invite people over. If this sounds good but also sounds like too much work, or you are worried it will be too expensive, make the celebration a potluck and take the pressure off yourself.

family2People may ask, “What I can bring?” And with a heartfelt thanks, you can choose whether to request an appetizer, a salad, a bottle of wine, or their notorious homemade chocolate chip cookies! And don’t worry if your home doesn’t look perfect. One thing divorce teaches us, is that perfect is over-rated.

Print out the Rediscover Family – Questions for Reflection.

Rediscover Your Self

Written by Barb Greenberg, excerpt from Rediscovering the Holidays

Do you judge yourself by what you accomplish, by your job, your possessions, or your marital status? That doesn’t work very well, does it?

Do you buy a great pair of shoes, because they make you feel fabulous? (I’m all for that!). But do you wonder what happens when you eventually have to take them off?

Self-esteem is not what you do or what you wear. Self-esteem starts with SELF. Your value, your feelings of self-worth and fabulousness, are inside jobs.  You need to look inside yourself to find these things. Even dissolving the feelings of loneliness is an inside job. You already know this, but aren’t you sometimes just so frigging tired of personal growth!

So, once again, keep it simple. Journal, walk, work with a therapist, talk with trusted friends, be in nature, be still, meditate, find healing places. Most of all, be compassionate with yourself.

Rediscovering Meaning, Traditions, Family, Gratitude and Calm is not just for the holidays, but for every day you choose to enrich your life.

Divorce has thrust you onto a road that will lead you back to yourself. Let everything you rediscover guide and support you on the journey into your heart where healing is waiting. Print out the Rediscover Self Questions for Reflection.