Construction time again! This is the season where we open up our homes to our friends, make new ones, share warm memories and build upon the foundation of our rituals and traditions. It’s the season of using my hands, creating structures, dusting off old things and making them new again. And you know where I’m going with this metaphor, right? But it’s so true! Looking to mediation can be as exciting as a new construction project, or a refurbishment project, making old things work better than before.

It can be a challenging time for us as well. There you are, sitting comfortably, sipping on a hot cider when from out of nowhere your sister says that one thing to set you off, or your best friend makes a mean joke about your casserole and a wonderful gathering turns into an interminable nightmare. It can leave you hating every holiday party you feel you have to suffer through for some obligatory reason. What if there was a way to deal with those feelings instead of stuffing (mmm…stuffing) them down again, like last year?

Mediation is not the quick fix we might like after a blowup sends shards of buried emotions to pop holes in our relationships. It’s more like an opening to a conversation. It can be hard to start those conversations, and it takes a commitment to building the trust we have with ourselves, to wade in without knowing the outcome.

What is Aunt Sally going to say this time? Why does Bob always have to bring up politics? This season can support our practice of acceptance and forgiveness. Seek to see those potential outbreaks of crazy as opportunities to develop the characteristics you value most. Be the change, right? I think that’s how it goes.

I am already beginning to plan and plot, making lists and testing recipes. Sharing in the challenges of this life, the sweetness and sorrow—that’s the way through for me.

May your holiday season be full of joy.