What Are Your Traditions?

What sort of traditions do you have? While we experience our personal, family or cultural traditions throughout the year, it seems the winter holiday season often hold the most cherished or memorable.

Do you attempt to re-create those traditions year-after-year? If so, how do you feel when something (or someone!) doesn’t live up to your expectations?

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. The massive decorating that happens at our home in December has fallen on the rest of my family. And, I must say, they have outdone themselves this year! One morning a week or so ago I came in from a trip just a few hours before dawn to find Christmas had literally exploded inside and outside the house in my three-day absence. It was beautiful…but something wasn’t right.

You see “areas” have been designated over the past three years that we’ve been living in this house. The snowmen, Santa Clauses, elves, angels and bears all have their particular “home.” A few pieces were not where I expected them to be. OMG! CHANGE!!!

I chided myself for being gone and not showing up to be part of the decision-making process. I quickly released that thought and decided pondering my angst could wait until I’d had some much-needed sleep. But when I awoke surrounded by all the beauty I completely forgot about my guilt-induced criticisms from a few hours before.

The danger of having traditions is that we can use them as a way of ignoring the fact that nothing stays the same. Paradoxically, 01 Ornamentchange is the only constant in the universe. We long for stability, a sure foundation and base of operations from which we can venture out into the ever-changing world. Putting too much faith in constancy can result in a rather jarring realization when change occurs despite our best intentions to maintain some condition as static.

Traditions – be they holiday decorations or just reading the paper together over coffee on Sunday morning – are essential to our relationships. But, like our relationships, over time those traditions will change. Sometimes we make a conscious decision to alter our behaviors and other times we find our traditions expanding, morphing into something greater or different, or dissolving all together.

The delight of these changes can be exquisite. Fighting change, on the other hand, can cause us to lose sight of the very reasons we hold our traditions so dear to our heart. As you move through the winter holidays consider enjoying and savoring all your traditions, both large and small. Revel in the joyous memories some of those acts will cause to bubble up. And, if a long-held tradition does not live up to your expectations, would you be willing to enjoy the moment anyway, treasuring these new memories in the making?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

How Difficult Is This Anyway?

Do you notice how some people can make the simplest things into a hot mess? You’re thinking of someone aren’t you? Perhaps it’s the woman in line in front of you at the store who looks shocked when the clerk asks for her credit card. This simple request is then followed by a few minutes of searching through a bag the size of Rhode Island that hasn’t been cleaned out since the Carter administration. Or, maybe you’re thinking of the time it takes your spouse or partner to decide where to go to dinner…or to even decide whether or not s/he even wants to go out to eat. Maddening, isn’t it?

My friend, Linda, and I were watching a scene like this one day during the boarding of an unrealistic-expectationsaircraft. We just stood there shaking our heads at the amount of time it took this man to find his seat, stow his bag, fold his coat and peruse the surrounding passengers. Linda is a former surgical nurse. She looked at me and said, “You know, it’s not brain surgery. I’ve seen brain surgery and this ain’t it.”

It might be ego-stroking to stick our noses up in the air at what we deem to be the ridiculous actions of others. We’re so much more together then they are. And, infinitely more superior than those minions less fortunate than us, aren’t we? Poor lambs.

I find that I can think those thoughts just long enough to fall flat on my pious face. Can you relate? When we find ourselves on the other side of the fence how do we react?

One way is to stay in our high-bustled judgment by finding someone else to blame. After all, we couldn’t have tripped up without someone having stuck his foot out in front of us, right? Riiiiiiight…..

The other way might be to admit we aren’t always as together as we might like to admit, that we don’t always plan ahead and that, as much as we wish it was true, we make mistakes. Hopefully these ego-bruising moments can also be a tool to have more compassion for others.

We will have the types of experiences that I described above. People, sometimes those closest to us, are going to irritate the heck out of us. Whether we chose to react out of frustration or act out of love is entirely up to us. The right choice should be clear, considering the very different outcomes we know will result from those two options. I mean, how difficult is this anyway? After all, it’s not brain surgery. Linda’s seen that and this ain’t it.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry