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This Thanksgiving, Uncle Harry is None of Your Business

Many lucky souls don’t immediately think of family Thanksgiving with dread. It’s supposed to be a time to gather and graze with gratitude, in loving community. But…. all family herds are “perfectly imperfect” in ways that can sometimes send us running to hide in the pantry.

Example: Uncle Harry loudly spewed out an offensive joke after one too many Old Fashioneds last Thanksgiving – now, you physically tense up when you know you’ll be in the same room as him for 3 hours.

You, Uncle Harry, and eight other family members whom you genuinely love will be at the table. Two things are certain – you cannot predict what will happen, and it is not your job to wrangle unruly relatives. Time to let judgment and pointless desire to control go. But how?

Take care of yourself – don’t worry about fixing or saving others. What space, physical and mental, do you need to be present at this dinner?

Practicing with a herd of horses can support you to find a peaceful, if not perfect, solution. Here are some steps you might take when entering the space (Aunt Joan’s house, the horse corral, you get the picture)

One: Breathe deeply and be present. Are you even here in the room, or are you imagining running away down the road?

Two: Notice your body’s messages. Where are you physically standing or sitting in relation to others in the family herd? What distance do you need to feel safe and strong in your own essence?

Three: Engage. When you are actively listening and responding to those around you, you slow into your body and create a heart-centered connection free of worrying about what the person 3 chairs down is going on about.

Four: Feast, rest, digest, love, repeat.

Oh, and while you were busy catching up with your lovely family? Uncle Harry fell asleep watching football in the next room.

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