Dear Ones –

It's the holidays.

It's most wonderful time of the year!

Or, depending on your personal family history, perhaps it's the most painful, stressful, traumatic, and emotionally draining time of the year! (What a nice Christmas carol that would make.)

We're all adults here, so let's lay out some basics truths:

Not every family is happy, healthy, or sane.

Not every family is even SAFE.

And even in very loving families, not every individual in that family is happy, healthy, sane, or safe.

You may have done enormous personal work on yourself during the course of your life. You may have evolved into a graceful, peaceful, compassionate, well-adjusted, loving human being….and yet you still may find —when you go home for the holidays, or when your relatives come to visit you — that suddenly it is totally impossible even for YOU to remain happy, healthy, or sane.


Good times.


I want to ask you all to go super easy on yourselves this year.

LOTS of patience and self-compassion, OK?

Try to let go of expectations of how things should be — or how things should've been when you were growing up — and live open-heartedly within the reality of life as it actually is.

If you have a wonderful and healthy family, just relax and enjoy every minute of them.

If you have a wonderful but bananas family, try not to let them make you overly bananas, too.

If your family is far from wonderful and totally insane, try to sit back and watch it all unfold from a slight psychological distance. Observe their madness, observe your own reactions to their madness, and just breathe through it. (I have a psychologist friend who advises her patients from really dysfunctional families to "watch your family as if you're an anthropologist. Pretend you're a stranger who's been hired to study this odd tribe of war-like people…but do not get involved in their battles.")

Don't forget to breathe.

Don't forget not to talk about politics.

Don't forget that — no matter how pretty everyone looks in their holiday photos — no family is perfect…so it's not just you who might be feeling a little extra crazy.

If you find that you are reverting back to a less-than-highly-evolved version of yourself, or getting caught up old family dramas all over again, or totally losing your shit…don't worry about it: IT HAPPENS.

And if you don't even spend holidays with your family at all because you've made a decision that you will not expose yourself to such deep toxicity anymore, GOOD FOR YOU. Again, we are all adults here, so let's tell the truth: Sometimes that's what has to happen. There is no shame in it. That's just you taking care of yourself, however you need to take care of yourself — and that's nobody's business but your own.

Most of all, hold onto your compassion through everything. Keep your sense of humor if you can. And remember that — however you choose deal with them — those crazy, beautiful, maddening, dangerous, outrageous people are some of the most powerful spiritual teachers of your life.

Here's a little video of me talking about this very subject:



Remember This When Your Family Pushes Your Buttons This Holiday
They may get under our skin, but best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert says there are some things that only family can teach us. "I had a great teacher in India who said to me, 'If you think you're spiritual and evolved and enlightened, go h…

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall