Just a couple of Thanksgivings ago, I had hit rock bottom and happiness was scarce to say the least. My husband of over a decade had just recently walked out on me and my daughter, and we had to leave our home and move into an apartment, which meant giving away our beloved pets. I was running out of money because I only had my little facial business to rely on for income and it wasn’t even a year old—and worst of all, the people that we had always celebrated every holiday with (my in-laws) for as long as my daughter could remember were no longer speaking to us. Because of the impending divorce, they had suddenly and completely cut us out of their lives.
I had been walking around in a daze, trying to maintain sanity for myself and a sense of continuity and security for my daughter all while working my way through a very nasty, very bitter legal battle. Although Thanksgiving had always been my favorite holiday, when I woke up that day I had tears in my eyes and a heavy load in my heart. “My first Thanksgiving alone.” My thirteen year old, however, had been shining like the sun, and was excitedly getting ready to set up Christmas decorations. We blasted holiday music, and trying to get into a festive spirit, I decided it would help me relax if I had some Bailey’s in my coffee while I prepared the side dishes that I would be taking to my old neighbor’s Thanksgiving dinner.
While scavenging through our little storage space for the Christmas stuff, my daughter discovered a box labeled “Marisa’s Early Work”. In it was a collection of drawings, writings and other things she had made in her life so far, dating as far back as her toddler years. Excitedly, we ripped the box open and started looking through the pile, giggling over the productions of her childhood mind, trying to relive those times full of happiness.
That’s when we encountered pictures she drew of my ex. His family. All of them with their oversized hands linked together in happy balloons with crazy huge smiles on their disproportionate faces. We found an essay she wrote about her favorite person in the world: her Daddy…the guy who went on tour one day in July and never came home. The guy who never talked to her anymore, except for an occasional Facebook message.
She wanted to throw these all away. Toss them in the trash. Burn them. But something inside me wouldn’t allow it. I told her that she might, one day, want to see them again. That maybe their relationship would be repaired and she would be sad to have lost these memories. So we solemnly returned the items to the box, taped it up, and tucked it away, back in the storage space. Then, maybe too brightly, I proclaimed “let’s get back to our HOLIDAY!” and turned the music back up so she could start decorating and I could continue cooking.
The recipe called for some white wine. So I opened a bottle. Mmmmmm…it smelled so good. I should have a glass of this while I’m cooking. That will cheer me up. I swallowed my tears with a gulp of wine. Chopped some onions. Swallowed my shame. Set the wild rice to boil. Swallowed my sorrow. (That one took multiple gulps.) Oh. My glass was empty. No problem. I have a whole bottle, and more things to cook.
Lost in the battles in my mind, I finished a delicious sweet potato casserole and wild rice stuffing (and the entire bottle of wine.) The sun had set and it was time to go to my friend’s house, but everything around me was swirling. Suddenly I started to realize how drunk I was, and with a dim awareness that I was in trouble, I texted my friend. I don’t even know what I said, but somehow she knew to come over, even though she was hosting a pretty big party any minute. Totally wasted, I convinced her that it was the best idea for her to take my food offerings and my daughter to her house to sleep over so everyone could enjoy Thanksgiving. Deep down I knew the dam I built was about to burst and I didn’t want my daughter to see it. Not on that day. Reluctantly, they both left, and I spiraled deep down into one of the scariest pits I had ever known.
When the sun came up the next morning (I hadn’t slept a wink), it dawned on me that all of this suffering was my own making. Yes, there were sad things that happened to me, and by my value set, they were things that I would never do to another person, but my reaction to it all was what caused my suffering. Not the events themselves.
I was looking to others as the Source of my experiences. Happiness, love, connection…all of these things I was relying on others to provide for me. When they didn’t show up the way I wanted them to, the way I thought I needed them to, I was hurt. How could you??? I would never!!
Slowly, I started to realize the mistake of this perception. No one else is my Source! I AM THE SOURCE! Of everything! When I hone in on the details of what I am really desiring, I can find that I am really after – a feeling. I want to feel something. Just as all the spokes in a wheel will take me to the center, there are many ways to get to a feeling. It doesn’t ever come from one person, place or thing! When I nail down the feeling I am wishing to experience, then I can brainstorm ways to provide it for myself.
Going to my in-laws for the holidays gave me a feeling of connection. How else could I feel connection? Was going to their house the only way? Hell, no! I could call friends and loved ones. I could write a letter. I could volunteer at a soup kitchen. I could join a meet-up group and do something I enjoy with others that enjoy it as well. Heck, I could just go to the grocery store and smile at every person I see, and give the checkout clerk a compliment.
Going to their house made me feel loved. How else could I feel love? What could I do for myself in this moment to experience love? I could write myself a love letter. I could move my body to beautiful music. I could cook my favorite meal. Or I could just look in the mirror and gaze into my own eyes and really see. Accept. Allow. Sometimes for me, allowing is the grandest way to feel love. I can just sit and be. I don’t have to smile. I don’t have to do anything. I can just be with whatever comes up. I can feel sadness, pain, or fear, and just let it come up. Let myself feel. That’s what love does and when I allow it all, I feel love.
As this idea took root in my heart, out rocketed the knowing that I can do this with any emotion at any time! I truly am my own source of everything. I can provide myself with any feeling experience I want by not relying on anyone else to do something but instead thinking outside of that box. I can feel joy, romance, peace, security – anything at all! To do so, I simply make a list of all the ways that I can get that feeling, and then pick whatever one sounds best at the moment.
The funny thing is, the more that I am providing myself with ways to feel my desired emotions, the more experiences are magically popping up in my life that result in these feelings! It’s like a snowball. When I focus on loving myself, I see more love everywhere. I feel it pouring into me from everyone and everything around me. When I focus on joy, more things happen that cause me to feel joyful. When I focus on gratitude, more things happen that make me grateful. Whatever I want, I am the source! Me! When I know this, it becomes my new reality and my old reality drops away.
Because I became the source of love for myself, I have attracted the greatest love I’ve ever experienced into my life. This last Thanksgiving was spent with my sweet soulmate and together we celebrated in my little apartment crammed full of fabulous friends. I have reaped this incredible harvest because of the tiniest seeds that I planted over 2 years ago. While these bigger things took a little time to materialize in my world, the immediate feeling experiences are always accessible! Always!
This time of year can get a little hairy for us all. We can get wrapped up in what we are missing. We label it as lack and it can scare us. It used to scare me, but not anymore. Now I get excited! Feeling that lack is just a call to step up and be my own source, and claim what is already mine. It is the sweet voice of my precious soul, guiding me to my next best thing. I no longer wait for anyone to give me anything. I give it to myself. And you can do the same! Darling, you really do know how! You truly are your own source of happiness. Just nail down what you wish, make your map, and take those little baby steps. Let those beautiful seeds you plant flourish into a rich life beyond your wildest imagination! Happy holidays!
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