Res­cue reme­dies for the next fam­ily event

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LIVING - Donna Debs

Now that the first ma­jor hol­i­day is over and you mis­tak­enly be­lieved you could do it alone — I thought this a good time to con­sider some help­ful ways to man­age your dis­or­derly clan through the rest of this merry sea­son.

First of all, the found­ing mothers of fes­tiv­i­ties were wise enough to bunch these events to­gether so you don’t have to drib and drab with fam­ily mem­bers who per­haps voted for the wrong po­lit­i­cal party. Why carry painful, awk­ward dis­cus­sions of Women’s March vs. Build­ing a Wall straight through Jan­uary? Why not see fam­ily more than ever right now so you can raise money among sym­pa­thiz­ers and have the odd duck­lings shipped off to the quirky state of Florida. It’s a place that “has all kinds,” as my aunt used to say. Be­sides, they could send you or­anges.

If you get past the pol­i­tics, you can have other up­beat con­ver­sa­tions with this sin­gu­lar group that shares your DNA. Take ad­van­tage of it. Topics such as which an­ces­tor you look like now that you’ve got­ten older or fat­ter or your hair went grey, or where you got your pen­chant for break­ing out the gin and ton­ics be­fore the guests ar­rive in­stead of wait­ing un­til happy hour has of­fi­cially be­gun. Make mine a dou­ble.

The world of med­i­ta­tion, mean­while, has given us an­other great idea: the abil­ity to visu­al­ize joy and suc­cess, mean­ing mak­ing things up so we can tol­er­ate the truth. One method for this is called “lov­ing-kind­ness,” a beau­ti­ful med­i­ta­tion prac­tice that lets you send love to the whole ugly world, even those who never strip the bed when they stay over. This way you can en­joy ev­ery spe­cial moment with your brood un­til you get the guts to spend a hol­i­day in Florida. Ex­cept if your mis­fits have al­ready moved there. Ei­ther that or you could break a leg.

No mat­ter what, lov­ing-kind­ness comes to the res­cue by en­cour­ag­ing us to med­i­tate on phrases like “may you have peace, may you have suc­cess, may you have health,” then con­sciously spread those open­hearted mis­sives to every­one you will be lucky enough to see if you don’t kill them first.

An­other cop­ing skill to use this cheery sea­son is writ­ing. Writ­ing gives you the power to take some­thing an­noy­ing out of your head and put it down on paper, so it’s both in your head and on the paper, a dou­ble tor­ment. Yet when you see things in black-and-white, it’s harder to deny you’re ob­ses­sively call­ing your in-laws losers and loafers. Be­sides, now you’re re­minded to add the words liars and thieves so you’re not so re­dun­dant.

The pay-off is once you have

the nasty words in front of you, you can do a bet­ter job of turn­ing them

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