Saturday, December 09, 2017

Letting go of expectations

Letting go of expectations has been an ongoing lesson in my life. When I graduated college with a BS in Electrician Engineering, I expected I'd get a good job, get married, have two kids, retire, travel, and fit in a social life and crafts. As the saying goes, "God had other plans." Much better ones.

Everything was working perfectly according to plan with two exceptions: I didn't love my work and I didn't love my life. In fact it wasn't until several years after college that I realized that what was missing in my life was me. I was so focused on "how things should look" that I had never stopped to ask myself, "Do I like what I'm creating?" "An I enjoying the path I'm on?" When I did, the answers were painful series of "no's."

Within years of admitting that truth to myself, and completely letting go of my expectations about how life should look, I quit engineering, admitted my marriage was exactly what I thought it "should" be, but not even close to what I felt drawn to, and discovered that I was called to do angel readings. 

I went into my life changes kicking and screaming. I experienced loss, loneliness, and lack all at once. I grieved and sobbed at night. I felt like a horrible person for "quitting" until I finally had to admit that the creator of universes actually had a better plan for everyone involved than I had conceived. My ex-husband, who is a very good man, remarried a woman just like I thought I was and has been happy ever since. My job was delegated to six other people who then had an opportunity to move up in the company. I ended up in a life I love.

As I wrote last week, my first few Christmases on my own looked nothing like I thought they "should." Instead, guided by angels, they were filled with wonderful surprises. 

Here are a few tips to enjoy the holidays if you are feeling lack, loss, or loneliness:

1. If you are lonely seek out ways to give
Nothing cures loneliness quicker than connection. One of the kindest ways to connect with others is to serve. Volunteer to wrap presents, deliver Christmas angel gifts, hold preemies at a local hospital, read stories, build houses, serve soup, walk rescue dogs... The list of needs out there is endless. Google "holiday volunteer opportunities" with your city's name and you'll find many.

If public volunteering isn't your thing do something quietly kind for others. Slip notes under the doorways of total strangers with inspirational quotes. Give out candy canes. Smile. Hold a door. Help someone in need.

In giving we forget ourselves and find the connection we seek. 

2. If you are experiencing a loss, reconnect with the joy of the relationship

When you're grieving, you can't get around the tears, nor should you. It is best to allow the emotions to come and go in their natural cycles. However, when not engulfed by grief, you can start to develop a relationship with your loved one in heaven so you can continue to connect, albeit in a very different way than you did when they were on earth.

Step one is to create ways to remember the good times. Find every happy photo you can and make an album or a collage that brings back good feelings. Instead of focusing on what you don't have, or won't have, do your best to focus on the beautiful times you did have.

Next make a resolve to grow spiritually and learn to connect with your dear one in heaven. There are many CDs, classes, etc. out there that can help you. I have one with a few meditations to help you connect called "Life After Death" that people report worked well for them. 

If you can focus on finding the connection with your loved one again, then slowly loss turns into an expanded relationship.

3. If you're experiencing lack, dig for the abundance within

Maybe you can't afford gifts this year. In that case, its time to get creative as people have done for centuries and find ways to share your gifts, heart, talents, etc. Maybe you can give the gift of cooking a meal for someone, walking their dog, or creating something inexpensive.

I once gave friends a certificate for a nice home cooked meal every month. It didn't cost me much. It gave me joy to create, and they ate well! Another year I took cheap styrafoam balls, glued them together, rolled them in glue and Christmas sparkle snow from the dollar store and decorated them as snowmen. I included a handwritten poem and my friends loved them.

A letter expressing your love and appreciation for a friend is a beautiful gift. A collection of notes from mutual friends is even more beautiful. You can help someone decorate for Christmas. If you have a voice you can sing them a personalized carol. You can always find inexpensive gifts from your reservoir of talent and care. Rarely does a receiver expect you to give as much as you do.

Gifts from the heart are remembered long after the stuff comes and goes.

I hope this helps you have a happy holiday no matter what is going on in your life and heart. It is after all, always about the love we bring to it.