Where is the holiday cheer? I was in the store the other day and a woman was buying a stuffed animal for a child. My friend didn’t realize she wasn’t done with the cashier and she asked the cashier a question. When the energy in the entire country changed to GRRRRRRR! My friend quickly became aware that she had upset this woman. My friend turned to her and apologized and stepped back to let the now very angry woman finish her transaction. I have to say the entire interaction between my friend and the cashier took about 15 seconds and it was about 2 seconds before my friend apologized and stepped back. This woman remained angry was cranky at the cashier the cashier was now cranky and the stuff animal was sufficiently fused with anger.
I should have set the tone better and explained that everyone in the store was wearing Santa hats and Christmas music was playing in the background and we were at Disney (the happiest place on earth). My friend and I were having a great time walking through Disney looking at all things Christmas, shopping and trading pins. A smile planted on both our faces and spreading cheer; not to the angry lady, I guess.
Where is the holiday cheer and where is the compassion and understanding for mistakes like my friend’s ? I do not know what was the problem that day for that woman but I know she did not seem to enjoy Christmas shopping – but why? Aren’t the holidays full of love and joy? No they aren’t. There could be many reasons this particular woman was in a bad mood – sick child, no money but the pressure to live up to a child’s expectation forced her to spend anyway, someone was angry with her for stopping at the store and spread the mood – who knows. It could simply be what I think is an epidemic regarding holidays – EXPECTATIONS! We are fed all kinds of crap about holidays and how full of love and joy they are supposed to be that we put an ideal on them. We plan and plan the perfect holiday!
I believe we sabotage ourselves in one of two ways – we plan to have the perfect holiday or we plan to have the worst holiday (the nightmare scene). Either way we are trying to control that which is uncontrollable.
Expectation of this perfect holiday! There are way to many variables in our daily lives – people, places and things effect us daily and we have NO control over them. You can plan yourself into the perfect holiday but if someone wakes up in a bad mood christmas morning or someone doesn’t show up or the stove breaks, what can you do? NOTHING!
If your expectation of the holiday is misery – then you will get misery!
I have plans to spend my first holiday with my partner at her family’s home and spend Christmas with her husband and two adult children. A week ago my ego spent a lot of time swinging between the ideal and the nightmare Christmas. I thought I will be zen and this will be an amazing Christmas and then OMG it is going to be so uncomfortable its going to be the worst Christmas in my life. First, let me point out – I have a practice in my life of trying to live in the moment – today is December 10 and last week was the first week of December and Christmas day is on the 25th – am I living in the moment ? No I am living several weeks ahead of myself.
I can’t determine what Christmas will bring but I know all of the mental gymnastics I have gone through in my head regarding the holidays and Christmas are about FEAR! I am afraid I am not wanted, I am afraid I make others feel bad, I am afraid my presence will upset others, I am afraid everyone else will be so uncomfortable I will feel that and start acting weird, I am afraid my partner will feel sad, I am afraid her family will feel sad… OMG I could go on and on !
STOPPPPPP! That is pretty much what I said to my brain the other night at around 2 am. I first must say – as for it being the worst Christmas ever, not a chance. I have spent Christmas with drunk passed out parents, awake angry parents and with no family at all. One year (I was about 14 yrs) we didn’t have dinner because my mother threw the roast across the living room into the slider, my sister threw all her Christmas presents down the stairs and I left and went back to my foster parents house. That year was a doozy but not my worst.
What I have learned over the years of having traumatic holidays and some amazing holidays ! Is If have let go of expectation and just fill my heart with my own holiday cheer – not past holiday memories good or bad – but just fill my heart with love and cheer and get in the spirit myself – I usually have an amazing time.
I am glad that I know that I don’t know what any day will bring and that I know when I start trying to manage and control an outcome in the future that I am doing it because of fear of the unknown and my ego’s need to protect me from anything painful or even slightly uncomfortable. So this Christmas I am going to show up with love in my heart and acceptance of others and of the day itself. I have no control and while that is very scary I know when I show up to be of service and with love in my heart my holiday will turn out to be an amazing experience. I also know that when I plant expectations on an event I am limiting its endless possibilities by control and fear.
I am going to walk through the fear each day and bring love into it. My friends I hope you can do this to. This holiday season lets truly live in love not in fear. I bet we can open some amazing doors of joy and happiness for ourselves and others.