How many times this holiday season have you heard, “…and let’s try to keep this holiday feeling of good tidings and joy all year long?” Or something like that. The holiday season is supposed to be a time of good friends, good cheer, making snowmen and snow angels (man, I miss those) and being nice to everyone. We’re caught up in the moment of joy and goodwill towards man…and it’s a fantastic feeling, isn’t it?
And while decorating trees, lighting candles and getting socks as presents is sort-of fun (it’s a Chanukah thing), it’s also the time of year to reflect on what happened this past year (like THAT’S all sunshine and roses. Yikes!), as well as setting goals and intentions for the next one. We all have the best of intentions and plan our strategy for what we want to happen. But we find as the new year progresses, that fantastic feeling goes by the wayside because, as John Lennon brilliantly stated, “Life happens when you’re planning other things.”
Many times, things don’t turn out as we intended. Curveballs abound in our work life and our home life. Like….ooohhhh, hmmmm…a plague? A bizarre political mess? We’re thrown majorly off-guard! Disappointments, judgments and “worst case scenarios” fill our heads. We’re stressed to the max because we worry that our vision isn’t coming in exactly as we saw it. Our hopes and dreams seem to be dashed once again. (Dramatic, aren’t I?)
Here’s the thing-the reason we feel this way is because of ‘Replays and Imaginings.’ It’s pretty simple. We experience an event. It’s either good or bad. Then, when something similar “MIGHT” happen, we picture what happened before and are SURE it will happen again! We replay the past and imagine what will happen because of it. We’re so consumed with what might happen, we miss what’s right in front of us. We forget to be present. We forget that joyful feeling of being in the moment! Of concentrating on what’s happening in the here and now-that’s what being mindful is. It also helps us realize that goals and intentions can morph for our greatest good. This is easier than you think. It just takes a little patience.
A few years ago, I got myself into a situation where I needed help from my lawyer. Why? Because I was dealing with a person who was not thinking normally and who I found out was hiding an addiction problem. I got myself in trouble because I was SO SURE this person was lying about what they were planning, I acted too quickly on something that blew up in my face because it turned out to be true. Who knew? This person had lied about virtually everything else, why should I have believed THIS? Had I been in the moment, had patience and waited until the time frame passed, I could have avoided a lot of drama. Luckily, my wonderful lawyer talked everyone through the options and it turned out fine. Whew!! He then said to me something that opened my eyes to how I was living, “If you live with one foot in the past and one foot in the future, the only thing you can do is pee on the present!” (He’s from the South-where sayings are abundant, clever and very visual!)
After laughing hysterically, I realized what an epiphany that was for me. That’s exactly what I had been doing! I made up my mind right then and there to work on being more present, patient and mindful with whatever I’m doing. I’m finding it hugely helpful and all those little curveballs and changes I would normally stress over are actually fun. They make life an adventure and being in an adventure is like being a kid! Kids love adventure. They’re always in the moment, enjoying whatever life throws at them.
So let’s all make 2021 the year of “The Kid.” Stay adventurous, stay positive, stay in the moment and those replays and imaginings will become playfulness and anticipation of life as an exciting journey, even as we navigate a new existence. Who knows? It could be BETTER! Really, it could!
Happy New Year, everyone!!