The holidays are a perfect time to think about how drama works in my life.  Anytime is actually perfect, but especially the holidays.

I hear people say “The Holidays are stressful.” “My family drives me nuts.” “I feel obligated to do so many things.”

We have work parties, friend parties, family parties and other obligations to give and give of ourselves. It can be exhausting.

It doesn’t have to be though.

We choose to participate. If we don’t like seeing our family over the holidays or being overbooked, why do we do it? Why do we say yes? Obligation?

Why are we so focused on gifts and buying and doing around the holidays? Can’t we spread it out a little over the year? If the holidays are about the spirit of being thankful and for giving and maybe forgiving, can’t we be thankful and give to ourselves and forgive ourselves a little for being human and not being able to go the extra mile every single time?

There is not enough time in the world to participate in all the drama we could. There is enough time to say no. To take care of yourself first. During a plane crash, no one says run around and put everyone else’s oxygen mask on first, they say – stay calm, put yours on and then help others.

We choose to have time for drama and stating the negative about what’s happening in our lives. We give little or no time on getting clear on what we want to do and what we don’t want to do.

What if we could do what we want to do, without obligation?

Drama is a choice.

If your Mother drives you crazy but deep down you really do enjoy spending time with her. Stop complaining, accept her for who she is, learn to set boundaries and keep them. And maybe, just maybe it will feel less stressful. If your Father, brother, sister, friends, coworkers are making you feel pressured, we can choose something different.

But she’s MY MOTHER!/Sister/Colleague/Best Friend – you might say. She’s also a grown woman. Sometimes we forget that.

One of the reasons we choose to stay in the drama is – it’s easier. It’s easier to grumble along being a little unhappy, or really unhappy, because it’s hard to have the conversation that you’re not happy and that you’d like things to change. We don’t give ourselves credit for wanting it enough to change it. We’re scared of what might change, who might get angry and most of all how we might have to change.

I used think and this is embarrassing to admit – that if someone I cared about asked me to do something, I had to do it.  I really believed that.  I had to learn how to say no and not feel guilty. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary for me.

Eleven months ago – I decided making a New Year’s Resolution was not enough and that I needed to create a New Year’s Revolution. It’s been a good, but scary ride.  Change and choices are not always easy. I’m not always where I want to be. I don’t always know what to do, but I’ll keep trying to figure it out.  Sometimes the hard part is knowing what to do when you’re on the other side of whatever was causing you drama, the exciting part is knowing you can do it.

What drama are you letting go this holiday season?

Fear forever or never

I cannot live in fear forever. It never wins. no fear, know fear, NO FEAR.

Someone once told me that I shouldn’t check-in anywhere on Facebook because people would know I’m not home and then go break into my house. Yeah – they could drive by and see I’m not home and break in – should I never leave my house? All of us have our own fears for our own reasons.

I’m going to challenge myself to ask the questions about fear.

Am I in imminent danger?

Is it a real rational fear? Or am I making it up? (Spiders are going to kill me? – Really? We don’t have poisonous spiders where I live.)

Is it a what if? Where I think of all the bad things that could happen, what if this, what if that? If it is – what’s the worst thing that could happen? Would I die?

If I’m afraid, I can be afraid without being terrorized. Okay, I’m scared, what do I do now?

I started writing this prior to hurricane Sandy hitting New York but realized the timing of this  question in fear was right on. I experienced the power of hurricane Hugo in South Carolina in 1989 and I can say that, that was REAL fear. It brings you to a place where you have nothing left except for fear and the reality of that kind of fear is surrender. There is nothing you can do.

I look back on that time in my life and it taught me a valuable lesson, when fears are real you don’t stress about them, you don’t think about them, you are with them in the moment and you have no choice but to not be overwhelmed. You have to keep living. 

We create a lot of our own fears, which doesn’t mean they don’t feel real, but when we’ve made something up in our heads, we dwell, we stress, we develop anxiety. Those fears aren’t truly real, but made up and in that moment.

I have compassion for what scares me, but I’m not going to let it drive me. I’m scared, now what? Live! GO!