Shout Out to You!

As usual, I’m going to offer the advice I wish I had taken, assuming that you’ll be quicker, smarter or just kinder to yourself than I have been.

My next art show is coming up. It’s actually tomorrow. I haven’t told anyone, and now I”m telling you. It can be awkward or embarrassing to draw attention to yourself, and maybe that’s why I just didn’t mention it. It’s in Seattle, anyway, so for most of you that’s a troubling road at any time, and particularly at 6pm on a weekday. See how I’m deciding for you, that you wouldn’t want to do something? I am way out of my hula hoop.

If this hula hoop is new to you, let me explain. This concept from Al-anon, is that we all have our own hula hoop, or a circle around our own body, that defines our personal space. The rule is that everything inside the hula hoop is your business, and everything outside is not your business. Everything.

That means that I don’t get to tell you how to feel or act or even give advice when it seems so clear that you need my help.

This boundary can be even trickier around these weeks of the winter holidays.
We can easily decide that everyone should come to Aunt Marge’s for the feast day,
just like we always do,
and have lots of opinions
about those who do
or don’t comply.

I just heard some beautiful, supportive ideas from Glennon Doyle, on her podcast We Can Do Hard things. I wish I’d heard it before Thanksgiving.

She gives three guidelines for holidays:

1 – It’s you’re f-ing holiday. Do what truly makes you happy.

2 – Eat, drink, and breathe as you should (not what anyone else advises for you, nor what you advise for others.).

3 – Be un-surprised. You know yourself, you know your family, you know the cultural pressures around spending and unrealistic images of “the most wonderful time of the year”. Prepare yourself to meet your peeps as they are, and be as real as you can about who you are.

Yes, uncle Z says inflammatory things, and cousin Bo Bo enjoys their whiskey, and Dingo keeps disappearing. We know it’s coming, so let’s take some time to prepare ourselves to accept them as they are, and give them the chance to do the same.

Maybe you prefer to be alone, or with a select few folks, or amid a huge crowd. Take time to get clear about how you want to spend your time away from your usual commitments.

Another favorite idea
I learned in Al-Anon is Anticipointment: anticipating disappointment.

It’s part of the equation:
expectations +
the experience of previous disappointments =

We’re almost delighted to be slighted or slandered because we knew it would happen!

If you really just like to be right, study this anticipointment and you’ll always be satisfied.

If you’d like to try something different, which you know leads to suffering, look at your expectations. Could you go in without an agenda?

A sweet gesture of self care would be to listen to the episode called Happyish Holidays – 3 Holiday Hacks. Here’s the link

You could also remember to shout out about your own life, letting folks know when you’re doing something vulnerable or brave.

Maybe you want to cruise down to Fremont Abbey tomorrow evening and check out my latest process-centered art piece. It’s about family, friends and finding the courage to take the next step. The final additions were inspired by my Thanksgiving holiday with my extended family.