Others dread the annual family gatherings expecting arguments, personal grilling, family disputes, generational disapprovals, and chaos accompanying enforced meetings of relatives. My family holidays were like this as a child. If this is your expectation, one way to relieve the tension in advance of the holiday get-together, is to envision a day of delight and happiness, sharing memories and creating good times.
Our brain often cannot tell the difference between a vivid dream or vision and reality. Top athletes image their performance before they actually physically run onto the field, court, or track. When they picture themselves playing ball or racing, they feel their muscles straining, see the other players, smell the field, feel the tension and excitement of the game, and know they can win.
As you plan to attend a family event, imagine yourself meeting every family member individually, smell the meal cooking, hear everyone talking, and the feel the tension in your body as you walk through the door. Envision being relaxed, confident, and welcomed with open arms and joy. Release any tension or conflict you may anticipate with a particular person, and forgive them for any hurt they may have caused you, and ask for forgiveness for any hurt you may have caused them. Feel any stress, strain, pain, loss, neglect, or misunderstanding simply wash away and let go. Do this for everyone who may attend the gathering. Just for this single day, let bygones rest in the past. Visualize Thanksgiving Day as a peaceful, happy, fun family day.
You may have to repeat this process multiple times if you encounter resistance to forgiving someone. Old hurts or abuse, particularly from childhood create deep wounds. If your resistance is high, ask the little child who was hurt to come forward so you can hold him/her. Visualize the child and talk to him/her, ask them to tell you about the problem, and assure them you will protect them from hurt and harm in the future. When your younger self feels safe and secure, your resistance will melt and forgiveness is possible.
With forgiveness, tension, stress and resistance to Holiday Events will melt away. You will be able to be present in a loving and caring way being grateful own unique way. Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for family and friends who love and support us despite our issues and shortcomings—we all have them. Many are alone on holidays around the world because of illness, poverty, prison, distance, or estrangement. Those of us with related family or heart families to share food, friendship, and companionship are blessed. Our lives are abundant. Appreciate the connection and enjoy the celebrations.
Remember gratitude and happiness is one way to trigger the positive genes in your body leading to health, wealth and love.