So many of us have experienced a shift in our lives before. We've discovered meditation or an alternative healing modality that works the wonders conventional therapy never could—we feel like completely different people than we were in high school or college—who our parents remember us being.
Maybe we've learned the creed we (our thoughts and beliefs) create our reality, generating awareness of responsibility for our lives. We no longer want to play the victim to our circumstances or passed down parental programming. Maybe we just got sick of listening to the same old sad story playing on repeat in our minds and decided to write a new one. (All of which have happened in my life.) Yet, in my experience, even pushing 30, my parents still treat me like that angsty teenager they once endured.
When your family asks, "What are you doing with your life?"
Ram Das says, "if you think you are enlightened—go and spend a week with your family." I don't claim enlightenment, but I have been doing the work to become the best, most effective version of myself—a strong believer and participant in the self-realization movement. I just got back from Tony Robbins, have NLP training, two schools of meditation, make my living as a coach in personal evolution, and boy oh boy has it been an interesting week in Northern California for me.
My dad (a successful entrepreneur who never graduated from college—I got a business degree magna cum laude) screamed about what I'm doing with my life, fought with my mom on Christmas, had my first alcohol in over a year because I socialized with high school friends and, "that's what you do here." I don't like to drink! From everyone I've talked to, it sounds like these are more common occurrences than not.
We look around today and see vegan alternatives in every restaurant, endless how-to articles offering improvement of ourselves and our lives, and yoga classes on every block. Yogis were once regarded as impoverished gypsies; now they have six-figure clothing sponsorships, summer vacation houses, and millions of collective followers on Instagram. The shift is happening; anyone with a hint of awareness can feel it. A massive awakening is undeniably occurring on this planet—regardless of our current political situation.
How can you reconcile your past with who you have become or want to become?
Yet, when we return to where we come from, Smalltown, USA, more often than not, our past is too fervently thrust in our face to endure! It seems we almost forget all the years that have passed since we lived there and things we have learned in order to grow into the people we are now. I am so over those old versions of myself showing up! As we enter 2017, we have an opportunity to leave behind the stories and patterns of our often misguided youth, step fully into the embodiment of ourselves in full expression, our highest potential, BE people we can be PROUD to be. Here are five ways to honor the transformation and all the work you've done while staying grounded, and sane, in the midst of the chaotic shadows that re-emerge to test your resolve and patience especially around this time.
Before anything, BREATHE!! It changes the game. Your heart rate slows, blood becomes more oxygenated making your brain more highly functioning, and you can follow these steps far more effortlessly:
1. Remember who you are.
Not who you were or have been, who you are NOW. What have you learned? What's changed? How would you respond to a friend/teacher NOW? Would you yell, get exasperated, throw your hands in the air? Probably not. So when things come up with family (as they almost inevitably will) act from everything you have learned—with compassion, understanding, patience—SHOW them you've changed. Your reactions to them are some of the most powerful ways to do so.
2. Speaking of teachers… Your family members ARE your teachers!
Parents are the first you ever had. Even if the lessons are what not to do, learn them. If you can't fully accept these things yet, just observe them. "Wow, this is X behavior/way of speaking/perspective I saw growing up I want no part of. How can I compassionately choose differently?" Whether it's gossiping, drinking, or passive aggression, use the tools you've gained on your journey to recognize how to rise above. This is an opportunity to practice. Everything in life is. We exist on this earth school to learn the lessons that teach us to become our best. If you fail, don't punish yourself; just make amends, and figure out how to be better next time.
3. Spend time with your inner teen.
Or whichever version of you took on the burden of pain. Whatever age experienced trauma and wounding, who you may be ashamed of, or haven't paid much attention to. Talk to that part of yourself in meditation, or journaling, help them heal from your new place of awareness. It's OK to cry, to scream; just let them be heard by you so no one else has to deal with them.
4. Reach out.
I didn't do this until after I'd gone—BIG MISTAKE! Call your friends! Often they are experiencing the same thing, or they have in the past, and they will support you in the process you are undertaking, and they know who you are.
5. Do you.
This is perhaps most important. What are your routines? If they fall away to help mom in the kitchen or dad in the garage you are doing a double disservice. First to yourself, by not being prioritized and getting out of the swing. Second to everyone around you because it's that much harder to maintain the present, evolved self. I meditate, write stream of consciousness, and read at least a few pages of something educational; the days I didn’t—my inner teen ran the show. Yikes.
We're all in this together; these moments are some of the most pivotal in the shift; you've got this.