Friday lead in to my son’s big birthday weekend. His grandma headed north to join the festivities. Sometimes in the past, this visit filled me with trepidation. Not because of my mother in law, I am fortunate we have an open, honest and close relationship. The trepidation stemmed from how her visits affected my husband and the “trickle down or around effect.”
My husband greatly desires peaceful visits where everyone gets along. Now I don’t know about you, but in my family we love deeply, get along mostly and disagree passionately, at least in the past.
In the past, the stress my hubby put on himself to keep the visits happy & peaceful could be felt by everyone else, especially me. He believed he could control the type and level of emotion or confrontation expressed by the rest of us. Seriously. This often lead to tension and almost every visit dealing with some level of anger or arguing, usually mid-visit only to be resolved by the visit’s end. Great recipe for the exact opposite of desired outcome. And boy did it suck up a lot of energy leaving me (and probably each of us) feeling emotionally tired.
We continue to be a work in progress always striving to find a better way, shed a layer, etc. Lately, our work encompasses two words: “surrender” and “gratitude” . Surrender: Our ability to give up control of how the outcome of our desires occurs while having faith our experiences, desired or not, come to us for our highest and greatest good. Sounds great in theory. The struggle in the beginning relates to shifting our actions, beliefs, trust and letting go to give up the control. Not letting go of the end goal we desire, but letting go of the how, who, the way it looks and timeline in which it plays out. We believe the control keeps us safe to achieve what we want when we want it.
In the case of family events like this weekend, our ability to control ourselves and set the stage we want to experience with our family- completely possible. Yet all the while we learned and must understand we lack the control of: other people at the events; circumstances; other people’s choices, etc. Again we all choose how we react to all of this stimuli and that choice resides within each of us not controlled by someone else.
And so Marc and I discussed our desire for the weekend: joy, patience, peace and fun, just enjoy each other and each moment. We were on the same page going in. Both of us choosing to stay present in the moment rather than get sucked into someone else’s turmoil. And potential turmoil presented itself throughout the weekend.
Friday the first challenge came. Our son, had a tough morning at school. We learned he turned his day around. When we picked him up he was tentative about telling us about his day. He didn’t want to lose out on picking out his birthday present and then going out for dinner. Marc and I discussed the situation and determined together before picking him up: he turned his day around, therefore gift shopping and dinner out was on. We did discuss what happened earlier in the day with him and then we all chose to LET IT GO. No DRAMA. We had a ball at dinner with me flashing back to EXACTLY 6 years ago in the same restaurant (wacky coincidence) having dinner on my due date trying to eat SPICY things to bring on labor. Eli thought this was hilarious. The weekend continued much the same way. We had a wonderful birthday party with Eli’s friends, my in laws, my parents and lots of joyful, fun moments.
Did we have other moments that could’ve gone a different way? YOU BET. There were a few. I experienced some feelings of rejection and disappointment from another situation during our weekend. I didn’t ignore these feelings, yet I chose to literally BREATHE through them. Marc did the same. We stayed with our “happy places”. I saw such a shift in my husband of living the peace and joy he desired for the weekend. I’m thrilled for him and for me which brings me to the other word in our household: Gratitude, feeling appreciation and thanks.
We found so many moments each day this weekend to feel gratitude. And last night after my mother in law left, we reflected about the weekend filled with joy and peace. Marc and I both expressed our gratitude for the weekend, each other, our choices and the wonderful outcome. Our new life choices, as symbolized by the hare/rabbit, recognizes the tides of movement enabling us to give birth to new ways of living and enjoying our lives. And like the bear, we chose to go within, awaken our power, bringing it out into the open and applying it tasting the honey/sweetness of life.
Was it easy? Not yet. It is newer to us and we have to make a more conscious choice. Yet the end result fortified us both to continue and the more we make these choices, the easier it will become and eventually will be automatic. It comes down to choices.
I am so grateful for these new choices. I want to share my gratitude with you through the gratitude dance. Surrender your control and get out there and dance the dance of gratitude. Easy, no, life changing, YES!! http://youtu.be/R9z2ELaBVJY
With so much gratitude,