Putting up the Christmas tree for me this year was hard... very, very hard. Now anyone who knows me knows that Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It makes me feel all warm and snuggly inside. It's probably because as a kid it was the best time of year for me. See I was one of those kids that was ALWAYS in trouble. One time, my dad even told me I was grounded for life because he was tired of grounding me. But for some reason Christmas softened even him - one of the toughest nuts to crack that I've encountered in this lifetime. Christmas in the Deller house was magical. There were 7 of us kids so you can only imagine the energy of excited anticipation that swirled in the air between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each making our ridiculously long lists for Santa, leaving cookies and cocoa out for him and desperately trying to stay awake to catch a glimpse of the big man in the red suit that we were sure was coming with tons of toys.
And then of course, the grand finale...Christmas morning when Joe, the oldest, would go down and get the green light from my parents that we could come down, wherein we would bound down the stairs like a herd of elephants at like 4 in the morning to be greeted by a lit up Christmas tree with piles and piles of gifts under it. It truly was for me 'the most wonderful time of the year.' Christmas also majorly reminds me of my mom, Mary (now on the other side) who to me was just a jolly soul and therefore, the epitome of Christmas joy. So when JD (my son) was born 18 plus years ago, we kept the tradition alive; make your list, leave cookies and cocoa for Santa, go to sleep and awake to a beautiful, lit up tree with a huge pile of gifts under it. Naturally, as he got older, Santa phased out but the lit tree, pile of gifts tradition continued right on up until last year.
This year was very different.
Without getting into particulars, as I prefer to focus ahead and not behind, as I said in a previous post, I kinda got slammed a bit this past year. Between an unexpected financial issue a few months back that I've just recently recovered from, some health related issues that slowed me down and an unforeseen ending to a romantic relationship that for all intents, should have lasted (if not for a lifetime) a hell of a lot longer than it did, I wasn't really all gung ho to deck the halls. Therefore, I left the tree undecorated for weeks just sitting there bare and overlooked. Probably some reflection of what I felt from my prior year's experiences. Now don't get me wrong... I'm not the kind of girl that feels sorry for myself or wound licks, nope not at all. Matter of fact I always bounce back ridiculously quick because I'm a doer so I go into action mode and don't stop until things are right and getting back on my feet is never an issue. However, the emotional part is very different. See I got so focused on rebuilding and recovering, that I didn't stop for even one moment to feel anything about the stuff that has happened. Thinking about everything, coupled with the fact that in order to make sure that finances are solid, I decided there would be nothing under the tree this year (btw, telling JD that really sucked), it hit me all at once and the tree suddenly became sort of my outlet/scapegoat for my suppressed sadness.
One night, about a week later, I was hanging with friends in "the vortex" (aka my living room.) They saw my bare naked tree and questioned why it was so close to Christmas and the decorations were sitting along side the tree in boxes. "What's the point?" I said. She's not here and to make matters worse, I have nothing and I mean NOTHING to put under it. They sat there for a minute, I think in shock because until then I hadn't expressed how sad I was about it all. After a minute, they just got up and started to decorate the tree. I sat there. Then I heard my mother's voice as clear as anyone standing right next to me. It actually made me jump at first... "Maria," (Mom always called me by my middle name) "It was never about the stuff. The gifts weren't what made it so special for us. It was the happiness, the connection, the laughter, the love. And it's definitely never about what you don't have. Look at all you do have." (Ummm... Let's start with the gift of my gift to be able to so easily still communicate with mom.) At that precise moment, as my friends finished the now beautifully decorated and lit tree, JD came bursting through the front door laughing and acting a fool with about 5 of his friends who as usual, said a quick hello and scurried into his room. He stopped, looked at the tree and said, "Yea... that makes me happy." And continued to his room. After my friends left that night I sat staring at the tree for quite some time mixed feelings of both happy and sad. I thought about the past year and realized I've been on a desperate mission to fix it all, to make it right and prove somehow that I'm not a failure. Suddenly big, big HUGE light bulb moment... actually more like total recall. This isn't how I roll, I haven't been living life at all as I normally do...
X YOUR EXPECTATIONS...EXPERIENCE THE JOURNEY & DON'T SWEAT THE "DESTINATION!"
What if I were to tell you there was really no such thing as a destination anyway. Instead, that everything we consider a "destination" is really just a layover spot to the next "destination" or layover spot. Think about it. Does anything ever stay exactly the same? No. For example, you land one job (lets call this a layover spot), you are just there until you land another, get laid off, get pregnant, promoted or retire (this new status becomes your new layover spot) and you are there until you decide what you will do next (which, you guessed it,becomes your new layover spot.) So truth be told, it's really never about a "destination" because again those don't really exist. With that belief, it has to be all about the journey because that's what we are participating in the majority of the time so it makes no sense to focus on the layover spot. This is something I usually live by and trust me, it works and makes life fun and exciting and magical. I somehow forgot it for a second. I stopped living in the now. I stopped enjoying the journey. I created all these expectations of how and when and got so focused on getting out of what didn't feel good for me in the last year that I haven't been enjoying my journey. In that instant I re-racked my focus.
DON'T EXPECT! Realize that everything is just another experience on your journey and if you don't put expectations on the actual experiences you'll have and see them as just that, experiences, then they can turn out to be quite magical. But the second you put expectations on them as I did on Christmas, (as well as the experiences I'd been through in the last year for that matter) when things don't happen the way you expect, you feel let down. When you expect nothing and just allow the experience, whatever that will look like, the littlest things can become magical. Like my not expecting anything for Christmas, so when my son returned from the supermarket with a bottle of French Vanilla International Delight coffee creamer simply because he knows it's one of my favorite things to have in my Christmas morning coffee, it meant so much to me. And when I received a DVD from someone very special just because she knew how much that particular movie made me laugh, I was elated and could see the magic in how gifts of love supersede price tag any day.
If for any reason you get sidetracked in your journey and you don't reach your "destination" on time or as planned or things don't meet your expectations, you may find yourself deferring to the same fear tactics that religions have used for centuries. That is, you may think you are being punished, or ask what you have done wrong. Hear me loud and clear... NO YOU AREN'T (being punished) and you've done NOTHING wrong. Understand, the HP is pure love energy, so punishment is bullshit. Further, time is irrelevant to our Speople (THEY constantly remind me that we have eternity) so they see everything simply as a choice to experience something with no rush attached. Now, if you've asked for their guidance toward something specific, THEY may gently try to guide you to it, but ultimately we have free will and THEY don't judge or comply to the pressure of a clock so if you want to take a 3 year diversion on your journey to experience something else, THEY will quietly respect and support your wishes. A friend once told me she is "afraid of the unknown," and therefore always wants to know what to expect on her journey. Truth be told, expectation is simply a form of control. If I know what to expect then I am not surprised or snuffed by something unpleasant, but newsflash , you will also not be surprised by something pleasant or magical. Magic happens in the place of little or no expectation.
So..take your journey PEEPS with no expectations... LIVE hard, LAUGH harder and LOVE the hardest and please, savor every single second of every single experience. Don't stress layover spots, you will get to them when you are supposed to and then you'll very quickly be on to the next one, so make the journey the part that counts!
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