WHEN THERE’S A VACANT CHAIR AT THE TABLE

Dec 1, 2014 by

WHEN THERE’S A VACANT CHAIR AT THE TABLE
THANKSGIVING-2014

THANKSGIVING-2014

It’s Monday after Thanksgiving.  We’ve survived the first wave of the holiday season and lived to tell about it.  This year, Dennis and I went to Austin and enjoyed a late lunch with Doug and Mary Ann and their extended family.  The table was crowded and everyone contributed in food and conversation.  Isn’t it wonderful when the special day goes well?  I can’t say that’s always the case.  Sometimes, holidays don’t go as expected.  Sometimes, the holidays just plain suck.  Now, I’m coming out of my carb overdose and remembering what a former pastor said about the holidays.  He said holidays are like a microscope when all emotions are magnified.  If you’re happy, the holidays are happiest to the nth degree.  On the other hand, if you are sad, the holidays are, without a doubt, some of the most miserable times in you life.  Relationships are ratcheted up and sometimes put to the test.  And what about those dysfunctional relationships?  (I keep saying show me a ffff-ffff-ffff-functional family.  I’m sure it’s right up there with Bigfoot.)  Back to the holidays and family relationships.  Just in my little circle of friends, I know of one divorce, one death, one diagnosis of cancer, a chemical dependency, and children who are estranged from parents.  Talk about a tuff way to get through the holidays…….So how do we gerd our loins and survive this upcoming season?   Can we really be shining and bright?  The quick answer is be thankful.  You know that thing we just celebrated at that last holiday?  I really am grateful….right here……right now.  And about that big holiday coming up……the granddaddy of them all?  Well, I’m trying not to have expectations and I’m trying to filter through things I can change and things I can not (aka people).  Of all the “how to get through the holidays” primers I’ve read, the Mayo Clinic has the most down to earth strategy.  FYI—Here are few things that I’ve found work me:

IT'S CLOUDY, GLOOMY, AND COLD OUT THERE

IT’S CLOUDY, GLOOMY, AND COLD OUT THERE

GET OUT—Even if it’s just to walk around the block.  I’m so glad I have Mitch who makes me get out and walk every day.  Even if it’s just to the corner.

TURN ON THE LIGHTS—If it’s a sunless, grey day —  turn on the lights.  I can get in a blue funk really quickly if it’s gloomy and dark.  I know, it’s not saving the earth, but it’s saving my sanity. (How do those people in Seattle survive?  Even Dave Grohl talked about the depressing Seattle music on Letterman.)

TAKE YOUR VITAMINS—I can tell the difference when I skip a few days, much less a week.  Physically and mentally.

GET VITAMIN D—Naturally!  Go sit in a sunny spot.  I like to sit on the southern side of the house where the north wind is blocked.  It’s a natural tonic.  (Again, how do those people in Seattle do it?)

BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT THE MUSIC YOU LISTEN TO-ESPECIALLY CHRISTMAS SONGS:  Some of them can be a real downer.  I remember when I was going through my divorce and it was Christmas time.  One night, I had played Gordon Lightfoot’s Song For A Winter’s Night over and over—-crying more and more.  The phone rang and it was my sister-in-law (at the time) asking how I was and what I was doing.  I told her I was listening to Gordon Lightfoot”s Song For A Winter’s Night and crying.  She evidently turned from the phone and told my brother.  I heard him yell in the background, “Tell her to stop listening to that song!”.  FYI, Sarah McLachlan does a great rendition of that song.  Anyway, just be aware, music can take you to a sad place.  On the other hand, music can be a super pick up (Like the Barenaked Ladies God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen).  I even have a feel good play list that is a sure fire pick-me-up and gets me dancing around in minutes.*

AND BY ALL MEANS, IF YOU THINK YOUR MOOD OR DISPOSITION IS ALARMING, DO NOT HESITATE TO GET HELP.  THE NUMBER BELOW IS NOT ONLY FOR SUICIDE, BUT IT’S A GREAT LINK IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS HELP WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED ISSUES.
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*Here’s my feel good play list:

Love-Matt White

Happy (of course!)-Pharrell Williams

Supernova-Ray Lamontagne

Locked Out Of Heaven-Bruno Mars

Walk of Life-Dire Straits

 

 

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