Happy Turkey Day Dignity Daters! I’m sure most of you are knee deep in stuffing right now, while others might already be in the post-tryptophan coma! Me? I just finished baking up some yams in honor of my mom’s renowned Thanksgiving recipe. I woke up this morning totally missing my mom, who died 14 months ago after a heroic battle with lung cancer. I had a dream last night in which she turned up, “not dead,” and we were driving around Arizona (the place my parents lived for the past 15 years) looking for a place to stay. In the dream I kept suggesting to go to her friends’ homes, but she insisted they had adjusted to her being gone so we should not “freak them out” by turning up. Weird, right? Thing is, I miss my mom. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But the truth is that today while I was baking yams I wished I had spent more time cooking with her, instead of going for the long run, reading in my bedroom, or watching football with the gang.
What, you ask, what the heck does this have to do with dating? Or relationships? Or dignity?
Well, here’s the bridge — today I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend, Jem, but woke up in a funk. I felt sad that I didn’t wake to the aroma of pies baking in the oven, the smells of cinnamon and spice flicking yum throughout the rooms of my house, and that the only noise I heard was the intense quiet that resonates when the kids are at their dad’s house. It felt like a knife had sliced open my gut. Top it off, my British boyfriend doesn’t really “get” this holiday (yet) and had rushed off first thing to wash his car, grab coffee and run errands.(he literally had no idea every shop in Santa Monica and Venice would be closed for the holiday). While I knew we were ultimately heading to my ex-husband’s house to have the traditional Thanksgiving holiday meal with my three daughters and friends, I just couldn’t shake the funk.
In an effort to un-funk myself, I went for a run, did the “stairs” in Mar Vista and listened to some amazing audio from a CD series I listen to regularly entitled, “The Dream Builder,” written my Mary Morrissey. (click on this link to get Mary’s incredible dream builder kit for free — be assured there is no commission for me — I just want to share this incredible resource). In this CD, Mary discusses how for most of us it’s quite easy to be grateful “for” things in our life when life is good. During Thanksgiving, we rush to update our Facebook status declaring gratitude for family, friends, love and life. Easy. Right? Yet, when life turns dark, things sorta suck, and it seems like we are so desperately alone, it becomes difficult to muster up anything that resembles gratitude. Mary presents the concept of having gratitude “in” things (vs. “for” things), which involves the ability to find gratitude in any situation we find ourselves. This, says Mary Morrissey, is the ultimate human freedom — the freedom to choose. The freedom to choose to have gratitude even though life is giving us lemons.
Cut back to Thanksgiving, the dream about mom, and Jem. Well, after running, sweating and thinking, I ultimately remembered whether to “funk,” or “un-funk” was my choice. The challenge became then, how would I un-funk to find gratitude in this odd Thanksgiving, even though I felt sad. I remembered the great times I did have with my mom, setting the Thanksgiving table, baking pies with my kids. and witnessing her grace and incredible culinary aptitude cooking for crowds that would often exceed 30 people. Jem said that in some ways my dream had allowed me to be with my mom, because it felt so damn real. And then, I told Jem that I had figured out that when it comes to holidays, in truth, our cultural differences, need to be addressed. In the future, I need to state my expectations for American holidays up front. He’s never had Thanksgiving before (his ex-wife was British), so I need to understand that someone who didn’t grow up watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, watching football, and cooking all day with his family would have NO idea whatsoever that this is America’s favorite holiday. And, as a huge family person, I explained to him that spending time together before dinner with the kids had been paramount to my having a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Ahhh. Sigh. I took action. I spoke my truth. I listened, asking for help. I moved from funkful victim thinking to self-awareness, curiosity, and then forgiveness of myself, Jem and for my mom who went and “got” cancer.
Hmmm. It was my choice how this holiday would be for me. I chose to unfunk. I chose to be grateful in being alive. In knowing that even when life gives it’s proverbial lemons, it presents an opportunity to create lemonade.
The yams are done. I went and made the kind with marshmallows too, even though I was asked to bring the marshmallow-free variety. My house now smells like Thanksgiving. Jem put on Vivaldi. My daughter just texted me, to tell me it’s black Friday tomorrow. Two of the butterflies, who have been metamorphasizing in my 7 year old daughter’s room, have broken free of their chrysalids today. And my boyfriend is talking to his sister in Australia via Ichat. She is doing paperwork, completely unaware that today is America’s favorite holiday. Ahhh.. the foreigners
I love my life.
I am blessed in the choices I have made.
And I am officially declaring myself “un-funked.”
Gratitude and blessings to all of you!