Have a Cheerful Thanksgiving, Or Smile ‘Til It Hurts

The sweetness of a day off from work to get ready for the family’s arrival… especially when it involves a visit to my healer. Using kinesiology (muscle testing), Sue found a concept that resonated with me. Even though I had shared with her a number of issues I had been having that were anything but sunshine-y, she gave me the word “cheerful.”

Sometimes the words and phrases that Sue finds give me make so much sense that I can settle right into a narrative of what they mean to me. Today I lay on the table and actually squirmed at the whole idea of cheerfulness. It became clear that I have been wearing a false mask set in a tight grin. I have been offering people a light and breezy version of Marisa at the expense of my truest sense of self. Faced with the relentless pessimism that I so often see in the world and the complaints that seem to have become conversational currency, it’s clear I have tried to make a conscious decision to stay as relentlessly positive as possible. Having assigned myself the position of healer and strong one, I have given myself a limited range of acceptable emotions that are all supposed to fall under the category of “optimistic.” Only today did I truly realize that this phony sense of joy doesn’t serve anyone, especially me.

Funny how cheerfulness and the way that I have been forcing this emotion (is cheerfulness an emotion really?) seems to apply to the Thanksgiving dinner we are hosting for eleven tomorrow. “Hi, welcome to our home, please check your psychological baggage and axes that you might have wished to grind at the door and paste on this generic happy face, because we are all going to have a lovely holiday – or else!” No, wait, that’s not right…

Actually, I am blessed with a pretty wonderful family, and am not really worried about anyone unleashing any unsavory skeletons from their closets over the yam souffle. Regardless of how well adjusted people are, however, there is a need to perform well in front of the ten others sitting around the table. What place does the real self have in a group that is only assembled like this a few times a year? The goal is to drink much, eat well, and remember 2008 only because it was the first Thanksgiving at our new house, not because someone got sick of the charade of good humor and decided to launch a plate at the wall.

I came across Dancing Mermaid‘s blog for the first time the other day and have fallen in love with her “Affirmation Cards.” One in particular seems to perfectly describe the way we all might look at family holiday gatherings. Not through a lens of false cheer, but with a recognition that everyone gathered around the turkey is a person who needs to live from their own sense of truth. The text on the card swirls around a coin that says “PEACE”: “let go more often, let people be where they are, forgive the past, love and honor myself first.” What place do emotional masks have when we are concentrating on being true to ourselves and respecting the paths of those who sit beside us?

So I wish you a blessed harvest tomorrow full of laughter and love and hope that you find authentic bliss in your feast.

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