Change, Daily Life, Gratitude, Honesty, Inspiration, Relationships, Self, Spirit, The Past

Tradition and Letting Go

We are winding up the holiday season and I have been thinking on tradition lately.  What works, what doesn’t, why it so important to us, and how to let go of it.  So lately, I keep bumping up against tradition, my friends share their traditions, my family talks about ours, it seems to be very prevalent right now. And so many things have changed that I don’t even know which traditions are left. Is that good or bad?

Let’s just talk Christmas for a minute.  Traditionally my family celebrates on Christmas eve.  My family gathers, we eat and exchange gifts.  I do love that tradition (so I guess I have one), but the feel of that has changed over the years.  My family is small, we have no children, the excitement level is way calmer.  But we love each other and we want that sharing to happen.  However, all the traditional food we used to make for the dinner, gone.  This year we had Mexican food, it was wonderful.  Easy, everyone loves it and its healthy.  Is it a new tradition? Maybe….. I know we had fun, I know we laughed, I know we shared gifts and love with each other.  I know it felt good to all of us to share balance

the evening.  I think that was enough. We are evolved into a new way of coming together.  All we really want is to be together.

Everything changes with time, and traditions can either be a beautiful coming together or a expectation that no longer serves our well being.  When tradition changes to expectation or obligation, we need to make an adjustment.  As beautiful as some of traditions are sometimes holding them up is forced and feels sad to me. My holiday season is totally different than 20 years ago.  And I had expectations on how I wanted that to play out in my life. My family was supposed to be bigger, I was supposed to have grandchildren, I was supposed to have a partner, we are all supposed to share large Christmas Eve’s and Christmas day dinner. Traditional dishes, Grandma’s stuffing, my other Grandmas duck. The smells filling the house.  Much singing, cooking, laughter, all of that was supposed to happen every year.  It would be tradition.

Fast  forward to my life now.  Every year my sister and I go to this little lighted parade.  This year for some reason she did not go.  I went with other friends, had fun, enjoyed myself. At first I said to myself  “but we always go”, then I realized things change.  I can change with it and have fun, or I can be miserable.  Maybe we will get back to it and this will be the year we didn’t go. Or maybe that is just over and I can make it into something new that fits my life now. On my sisters birthday this year we baked cookies for Christmas.  That could be a nice new tradition, or maybe it was simply the perfect day, a one time thing.  I can be okay with that.  Traditions are built around time and circumstance.  Last  year a friend of mine and I spent part of New Years day walking out at the lake.  This year we plan to do the same.  Is this becoming tradition?  Maybe.  If we are still doing it in 5 years, then yes, this is our tradition. But if in 5 years one of us has moved,  circumstances have changed, whatever, that does not take away from this time. We should both be celebrating the New Year in the new way, while still remembering and honoring our times together.

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.― Gustav Mahler

So tradition is a lovely way of remembering the past, the places and people that brought us to today. And I love those feelings. The remembering keeps me connected to not only myself, but where I came from.  Honoring traditions is one way of doing that.   I want that for myself, my son, my family, my friends, my world.   But I want more.  I want to love today, just as it is.  I do not want to sit in tattered memories and worn traditions that only make me feel sad and lacking.  I want to remember my past and carry it into my future.  I want to celebrate today and make new traditions (or not) that fuel the life I live today.  I cannot live my life around outdated traditions that just don’t fit. And I don’t want that for those I love.  This is my life, not the remnants of anyone else’s.  I get to choose what I bring in.  I get to make my own traditions, and I get to let them go when the right time comes
“The human soul can always use a new tradition. Sometimes we require them.”
Yesterday, (Christmas day,) I sat on a rock for an hour listening to a guy play his guitar and sing out to the water. I was all alone, it was totally random, I can never repeat that moment, and I was absolutely at peace.  I felt connected to Spirit, to all those who have passed.  I felt such love for my people and my world. I was whole, perfect and complete in that moment.  I could have been elsewhere, (upholding tradition)  I was invited places, but followed my desires and found a perfect moment.  My wish is that others had that moment in their own ways.
So don’t do anything that feels forced.  Don’t say :well I have to, we have always done it this way”. No you don’t have to.  You get to choose what works for you now, without guilt. If someone says “well we have always done it this way,it is tradition” ask yourself this:
Does it feel good?
Does it feel right?
Do I want this?
Does this have meaning for me?
If you are not answering yes, then maybe it is time to rethink the act.
This is your life, live it.  Take the traditions that work for you and celebrate the hell out of them. Honor old traditions as it feels right for you, and make new traditions. But be ready to shift when life calls you elsewhere.  Life is going to change, be ready. Embrace it. don’t sit sad and alone because things are different.  Get out there and live.  We are the past, the present and the future in one breath.  We are one with the whole, and that includes time. But here in our humanness we have today.  And it is ours, so make it your own, dance your dance, sing your song and live with joy.  May all the traditions you choose to keep bring you joy, peace and a sense of rightness within your world.
Namaste
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