My trip to India is fast approaching and as of the writing of this blog, I still haven’t received our passports with Indian Visas! (Read the prior blog if you’re not up to speed on the visa drama!!) I am now resigned to this odd state of patient resignation, followed by spurts of feverish praying and bargaining with the Source, feeble attempts at mindfulness, visualization, positive thinking, you name it, I’m doing it! I’m hoping that these wildly vacillating moods will pass once my visa arrives, but who can tell these days.
I’m beginning to see these very same ups and downs in my therapy practice as well. I tend to see the intensity of these vacillating moods in my clients increase as the holidays approach. There is a general sense of excitement, a longing to be with family, and an exuberant hopefulness about the JOY the holidays will bring. All of which is followed by an equally powerful sense of trepidation about the facts and realities of many family situations and relationships. We seem to move towards every holiday season imagining or expecting old hurts to be healed, old patterns changed, family dysfunction somehow alleviated, and that we’ll emerge with a newfound sense of connection, love and belonging. The expectations tend to be high and the reality tough to reconcile with, for many.
I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom (yes, you can blame it on the Indian Consulate), but I wonder if we’d all do a little better if we walked into the holidays with different expectations and a different mindset, myself included?
Which brings me back to my impending trip to India. Bombay, now known as Mumbai, is a complex city, full of people, vivid colors, great warmth; a teeming metropolis full of pungent smells, aromas, food and friendly people, lots of people. And then there’s the noise, the smog, the over population, pollution, abject poverty, crazy traffic, insane bureaucracy…. a city full of extremes. As I ponder this trip, my fervent hope is that my children will fall in love with this place that I once called home. A city I love deeply and miss a great deal. My hope is that they are curious and interested in my past, my culture, and the family and friends I grew up with. I have to remind myself though, that I have a teenager and a tween with me and will have to be a little more realistic about my expectations for them. My hopes and expectations are lofty and perhaps it’s time to ponder and temper those hopes, so that we can all enjoy our visit in our own way….without the weight and burdens of My expectations!!
Share with us….use 6 words to describe your best and worst holiday family gatherings…let downs, surprises, gifts and epic fails! Send them to me privately if you’d prefer.