Let’s face it, the holidays can be really intense. December is filled with lots of opportunities to be triggered: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ōmisoka, Christmas, Winter Solstice, and New Year’s Eve. Something about the combination of family, obligations, politics, secrets, loyalties, gift buying expense and stress, alcohol, and unresolved tension creates a toxic cocktail for drama. And most of the time we are dealing with folks who don’t know how to relate skillfully or consciously.

I have a small square card placed on my desk. On it are these words, written in frank, block letters “Opt out of consensus reality”. This simple instruction has become my north star, a compass setting inside the maelstrom of narratives that exist in our collective mind. These stories can feel deeply personal, such as “I’m not enough”, “I’ll go broke”, or “I should have done that differently”. Or civilizational, such as “homework makes better students”, “drink more water”, “we need a growth economy” or “humanity is bad”.