Dec 2, 2021
This episode was recorded right before US Thanksgiving day, the
day that marks the beginning of what could be described as the most
challenging time of the year for many. Do you feel it, too?
Then I have 3 things for you...(plus so much more inside the actual
While expressing a depth
of gratitude for so much goodness, the reality is a bit more
complicated. Yes, there is the other side of this narrative - the
genocide of the Indigenous people, now honored as the National Day
Yes, there is the
dichotomy between gratitude for all the goods, and literal
stampeeds of folx fighting for deals on the black Friday,
accumulating more material stuff...
And then, wedged
somewhere between the political disputes, gender & race
discrimination, and other madness, there is the experience of
Slovenia-born as I am, I
have been living in New York for the past 17 years.
Only one of those years,
I got to ring in the New Year with my parents. Yes, growing up, we
did not celebrate Christmas in our home; instead, the presents
appeared under a tree just as the New Year’s fireworks lit up the
And even though I have
had the privilege to be welcomed with open arms and open hearts to
many families over these years - from that of my basketball coach
my first year, to my teammates, and ultimately my now-husband's, I
would be lying if I claimed that I don’t carry guilt (for
abandoning my family, my home, and my culture), and feel immense
For years, I tried to
suppress these feelings. I would distract myself with other
activities. And it actually worked.
Then, my second baby was
born right around Thanksgiving, so I decided her and I would not
travel to spend Christmas with the in-laws two states away. We
It wasn’t until the day
my husband and our toddler returned, that I broke down. I felt
resentful. And abandoned. Although it was clearly my idea for them
to go in the first place.
Last year, millions
around the world got to share this experience of longing,
homesickness, even resentment and abandonment. It was not
Here is what I would
love to offer if you are trying to navigate the new dynamics and
are unsure of how to feel about it all:
Give yourself permission to
feel it all!
It does not make you
weak, it makes you human.
Then, take it a step
You have the power to
alchemize the heaviness into emotions that actually do support you.
Start by asking yourself “How do I want to feel? How can I give
this to myself?” and go from there.
Start new traditions.
Take the time to jog
your memory of some things you kept wanting to do but you never got
to. Maybe it wasn’t the time. Maybe nobody else was on board.
Now is the chance to
huddle up with whomever else is in your life and space, and come up
with some meaningful, fun, and nourishing ideas and plans. In my
family, for example, my husband spends Thanksgiving at work, and I
choose not to drive for hours to a family festivities two states
away. So, the girls and I try some new dishes, set up our own fancy
dinner, and then play games, and write notes. Speaking of
Yes, journaling is
great. And so is taking the time to write an actual letter to those
you wish would be near, to those dear to your heart, and to anyone
you would normally get to hug (and maybe not even say anything just
because proximity to them alone makes expressing our gratitude,
love - even anger or disappointment - unnecessary).
Whether you not actually
mail the letter out, just the process of pouring your thoughts on a
paper, is soothing. And freeing. And energizing. (I once wrote a
12-page letter to my dad. Two years later, the envelope still has
not arrived. But our relationship has certainly changed. For the
Last but not least, I
sometimes need to remind myself of this one truth: “We only get to
live once. So, why the hell not…[fill in the blank]?”