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Independant Scrooge: Transforming negative perception on standard tradition

This post was written by Angela
on July 4, 2011 | Comments (3)

I am the 4th of July Scrooge. No secrets, no lies. I admit I am all for honoring historical events and independence, but this holiday has taken a celebratory turn that I simply loathe. I wasn’t always a grump over it, though. While growing up, this was actually a pretty exciting time! Smack in the middle of summer freedom, we’d venture out in the heat for parades, picnics, family gatherings, and (of course) fireworks. The whole family would pile in the van and head out on old country roads to who-knows-where. We’d haul our coolers packed with ice cold soda, spread out our blankets, and play games while we waited impatiently for dusk to come and the show to begin. When that first *POP* finally declared the magical moment our eyes were glued to the sky until the grand finale. From there, fireworks set the sky on fire and the explosions were so dramatic I could feel them shake the ground and reverberate through my heart.

Yep, I had a good time.

Of course, as a kid this night was the only night you could see the fireworks. That’s what made it special. “Where should we go this year? Who do you think will have the best show?” It was always a best guess toss-up, but we would flip a coin and follow our fate. We planned for it, we anticipated it, and we were prepared for it.

I’m going to sound old here with my “back-in-the-day” storytelling, but “now-a-days” it seems like the show will never ever ever ever ever ever ever end and it has me jumping out of my skin. On a walk last week I nearly had a heart attack when a firework unexpectedly went off across the street from me. Shaking from adrenaline I had to wonder, is this the new norm? Maybe it’s just our neighborhood, but recently I’ve been soothed to sleep by the “are those gun shots?!” lullaby that plays out nightly every year the few weeks before and after Independence Day. Hooraaaaay…Humbug.

On a walk again last night there wasn’t a “pop” to be heard (yet). Amid my happy calm I noticed a firefly blinking its way along my path. I smiled, thinking this was my best version of fireworks. I thought back to the first time I had caught a lightening bug. Long after all my cousins had given up and gone off to find alternate entertainment, I finally had one blinking its soft glow in my carefully cupped hands. I scrambled into my grandparent’s house and when I found my mom I exclaimed, “Look what I got!” I slowly opened my hands and almost screamed in disgust at the ugly black beetle that was crawling on my skin. “Ew,” my mom said. “Get that out of here!” I was completely baffled. This wasn’t the magical fairy-bug I had caught! How could it be so beautiful and so ugly all at once? From then on I enjoyed the lightening bugs from afar, appreciating their beauty without encroaching on their less favorable side.

So this year my fireworks are lightening bugs. Instead of throwing away the ugly beetle, I’ll let it hang around so I can enjoy what it still has to offer. I will carve up and devour a watermelon, appreciate time with family from out of town, and honor the enjoyment other’s are experiencing through traditional celebration. When the uglier side creeps up on me and I can’t fall asleep from the noise or smoke is clouding the streets I’ll put on an earplug/headphone combo, kick back with a good book, and enjoy the comfort in my sealed and air-conditioned home.

When the only thoughts and actions you can change are your own, what do you do? Whether 4th of July or other, what do you do when you are introduced to or submersed in a tradition that causes you stress, anxiety, and frustration? How do you transform what could be a toxic situation (to mind, body, or spirit) into something that is tolerable or even uniquely enjoyable for you?

For tips on how to transform your situation (perception, reaction, awareness, energetic approach, and more), check out our books on spiritual empowerment.

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Amethyst
on July 4th, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

I love your insight into a more calm holiday (which is what I always strive for), but honestly, can’t you just be glad that we drive on the right side of the road and don’t have to say silly things like “pram”? :)

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#2 
Written By Angela
on July 5th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

I sure can! And, boy, did I enjoy my watermelon :)

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#3 
Written By Thistle
on July 6th, 2011 @ 11:35 am

Thank you for saying so eloquently what I have been trying to say for years. The fireworks are becoming larger and more dangerous, a far cry from the lovely sparklers and little pops of small firecrackers. We are now facing enormous bombs that make our neighborhood a war zone and completely intolerable for 2 weeks before the 4th.

I am hoping to move our local representative to ban the use of fireworks and enforce the apprehension of those who do not follow the ban. It’s time that we took back the joy of the holiday instead of allowing the thugs to dictate the use of our own homes….where is the freedom that we so treasure this one day of the year in that?

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