The months of November and December are hard for so many people, myself included, as I miss the family members who are absent, the traditions, the family stories, and the lost opportunity to make new ones with those in heaven.
Sometimes we can take a look back and we wished that people (family members) would have gotten along much better, connected more deeply, and understood as well as accepted one another for their uniqueness not be critical or judgmental. The list of discontents varies from family to family and year to year, some holding year long grudges, but the theme is the same: it didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped, planned, wished or dreamed, or someone said something they didn’t like or acted in a manner that made them mad.
This past month I’ve been thinking about letting go of my expectations so that I can just be in the space of an open and accepting heart for whatever happens. I anticipate that it may be a little hard to pull off, I know I’m not alone as especially Christmas can be “super charged” but also at Thanksgiving, just wanting those to remain to just get along….
For many people the holidays are a time of a heightened need for “things” to be a particular way (the perfect turkey, cookies perfect, tree the perfect one, the perfect decorations, the perfect lights and finding the perfect gift et al), for heightened anxiety, for heightened expectations as well. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with wanting a lovely holiday, but is a picture perfect one all that real? Having high expectations can hold us hostage in its grip, then we are crest fallen when it doesn’t actually turn out the way we had hoped, wished or dreamed or someone makes an unkind comment.
What we sometimes want to have so badly blinds us to what is actually in front of us, which could be something even more wonderful than we had hoped but in a different way then we had planned. If we can distance ourselves from hanging on to “that perfect holiday”, it will make it far easier to connect to things as they are.
It is only in approaching a “thing” such as a particular holiday meal, a person or an individual human being, a family member, a sibling, or other — with love and attention, not judgment or holding an old grudge that we can fully appreciate “it” (person,event, place or thing) for all its faults and strengths,its funky uniqueness and heal the pain or the wound we may be holding for the expectations we carry, and move in to the acceptance of what is.
Paying attention with love and kindness opens us to the wholeness around us. From there it is a short leap to gratitude. That which we see deeply enough can virtually always be counted as a blessing.
Having lost my son in the summer of 2015, unexpectedly, makes all the memories of years past so much more precious, mean so much more, the time we had, bringing to light that we never know who we will lose in what year… so hug your loved ones close, tell them you love them….
May we all focus on the kindness and generosity that is shared between us all and give thanks for the day we have been given, whether or not it is the one we had imagined, hoped for or expected. Be in gratitude for family, friends, a job, having food on the table, a plate of home made cookies to gift to someone, and a hug for someone who may be alone or feeling down for the holidays for any reason!
Blessings to all of you.
Jessica and the Earth Song Ranch Gang!