I am going to get real; you are not receiving a staged photograph of a perfectly healthy, low-calorie, low-taste “perfect Thanksgiving” meal from my family. Of course, producing an anti-inflammatory foods filled menu would be “on-brand,” but it ain’t real.
There are enough health and wellness blogs and experts pressuring us with an #Instaworthy photograph of a paleo or vegan Thanksgiving meal all perfectly placed on fine china. This does not happen with our family, how about you?
I want to discuss the state of your mind, spirit, and relationships as we start the holiday season. Is it possible to survive without all of the drama, trauma, and craziness?
IS YOUR FAMILY PERFECT?
I am the only vegetarian in our family. My brothers, whom I adore, are traumatized from the one time I tried to have them drink kale juice, or was it moringa? All extended family and friends are welcome, but one request is always made- my spiritual cocktail of neurology, integrative medicine, mindfulness, and meditation are NOT desired at the family dinner table.
After traveling to 7 cities in November for speaking, consulting, and spreading my message, I had to let go of control of our Thanksgiving meal to both of them. I was informed that no one else wanted to eat my Tofurkey, and they are contemplating a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos coated turkey. My parents are trying to figure out where to find lamb biryani to satiate my father and my dog Rahja (yes he is fed Indian food on special occasions).
We are not a perfect family with a social media picture ready meal, how about you?
It turns out the more filtered, polished, and perfect we try to present ourselves; the more challenges may be hiding behind the curtains.
How can we embrace the imperfections and survive Thanksgiving dinner with minimal conflict, Grace, and guilt-free eating?
RECOGNIZE CONFLICT POINTS
PREPARE YOUR MIND LIKE A 5 COURSE MEAL
We can spend an enormous amount of time preparing turkey, ham, Tofurkey and all the side dishes. We take into account dietary preferences and the number of people eating the meal. Take a moment to use similar strategies on conflicts that you know may come up during Thanksgiving meal and time with family.
BE AWARE OF YOUR TRIGGERS
If we are aware of our triggers, we then can be more mindful when triggered. Being mindful and present to triggers gives us the opportunity to graciously divert the conversation. If we are not mentally prepared for conversation points that trigger our emotions, then we are more likely to fall into the trap of finding ourselves in an uncomfortable conversation or argument.
I won’t put Tofurkey on my brother’s plates, and at the same time, I will not eat the neon orange turkey. The similar tactic is helpful with challenging topics of conversations. Know what to avoid on each other’s emotional plates. If you don’t to discuss your marital, job or financial status- be mindful of not bringing up the topic up yourself.
COPING WITH INSULTS, HURT, AND DRAMA
What do you say when that one relative loudly insults your feelings, beliefs, or loved ones?
Take a moment to breathe, count backward from 10, and refocus your sights on something different in the room, and think of someone or something you love.
If you need to walk away from the room to reconnect with the energy of love, please do so.
CHOOSE NOT TO ENGAGE
Then ask yourself, it is really necessary for you to say something at this moment? Most conflicts can be avoided if you allow the individual full of hot air to run out of steam. They gather steam and toxic energy if we feed into the conversation. They are speaking from a place of the lower ego or lower self. You don’t have to lower yourself to join them in their toxic beliefs. When someone has a toxic or dark spirit or energy around a certain topic, there are no words that will convince them to see the opposite point of view.
Try practicing connecting to the feeling of love before you are sitting in front of your entire family. Then at that moment of discomfort hear your wiser self asking, “how would love answer this question?”
DON’T BELIEVE THE SOCIAL HYPE
As the role of social media continues to expand in our society, the psychology research continues to show that social media causes people to feel disconnected in their own relationships, have lower self-esteem, and increased anxiety and depression.
Why? It is easy to compare your complex life to a one filtered image captured in a moment of time of someone else’s complex life.
When we compare ourselves to others on an artificial medium, we are comparing our lives to an incomplete truth. Most of us post pictures of our personal or professional lives that are filtered, hair and clothing appropriately in place, etc. Life is complex, and we can not filter out or photoshop challenges, negative emotions, and disappointments the way that is done on social media.
FIND PERFECTION IN THE IMPERFECTIONS
There is a sigh of relief that I can come out publicly and admit that our family has our nuances, unique food tastes and conflicts. This is the perfect moment. We choose to accept what truly is present rather than being attached to what we want a relationship to be. When we are disappointed in a relationship, it is likely because of attachment to expectations. What about this Thanksgiving if we just accept our bodies, families, and friends as they are?
From my imperfect family to yours, we truly wish you a laughter-filled Thanksgiving holiday,