In most cases, holidays = tradition. I will even go so far as to suggest that holiday tradition is pretty much a set of pre-packaged beliefs about how you are supposed to celebrate and not so much about why or what you are celebrating. We get so caught up in the “how” we forget about the why.
Let’s use the Thanksgiving turkey as an example. For many people, Thanksgiving equals turkey. All around us we see images that represent Thanksgiving and there are Turkey’s in them. This afternoon I was hanging out with my 3 ½ year old niece and the topic of turkeys came up .It was suggested that she could chose to be vegetarian and not eat Turkey. My niece was very matter of fact when she said “We got to eat the Turkeys!” There was no question about it. It was Thanksgiving, what else would you do? Having a Turkey dinner is how you celebrate. My question is this: “How does eating Turkey represent being thankful for all the abundance in my life and all the help I have received along the way?”
Now what happens if you do not like Turkey? In most cases you have to suck it up and go along with it. It is what’s being served and what everyone is expecting. Perhaps you choke some down, or move it around on the plate, or loudly complain about it, or maybe you do not say anything and just become resigned to the idea that you will not get what you like for dinner and that is just the way it is. You have bought into the story that in order to celebrate Thanksgiving, you need to eat turkey.
I think that you can apply this thinking to many other situations in life. You grow up being bombarded by messages about how things are supposed to be. At a very early age you buy into these stories and begin to believe that it is just the way it is. So you hunker down and ignore the part of yourself that is not happy, that is uncomfortable and struggling through. You tune out your inner guidance system and take the hard road. You choke down the things that you do not want. You do not even give yourself the opportunity to imagine what would work for you. Maybe you do not even imagine that there are an other possibilities. That is the trap of the pre-packaged life! You believe that t is OK for parts of your life to feel bad and you are not open to the possibilities that are right in front of you.
So, how do you go about creating a holiday, or a life, that taps into the “Why” of what you are celebrating and feels meaningful? You take a step back from the pre-packaged ideas and ask yourself “What do I want to create here?” In the case of Thanksgiving, you might ask yourself “How can I express my gratitude and share the abundance with the people around me?” Then give yourself the space to create your own celebration. Pay attention to what your inner guidance system is telling you. Do what feels good. Maybe this does look like a big turkey dinner, or perhaps it is serving meals to the homeless. Do this with your life too. Decide what it is you want to create for yourself, and then explore all the different ways to go about it. I promise it will be worth it.