I survived Christmas, yeah! Seriously though, it’s been a hectic but pleasant holiday. The kids are thrilled with their toys. My son’s favorite being his new Thomas the Train set. I made the mistake of letting him open that one first and then he refused to stop playing with it to open anything else. The fun with that continued this morning as he refused to leave home because his Train could not go with him to daycare. Thank goodness he is not as stubborn as his sister. When she was 2 there was no way on Earth I would be able to pry her little chubby hands off that toy or get her out the door–I ought to know as it happened many, many times. Now that’s she’s 9 1/2 (she always adds in that 1/2 year) I can reason with her, which sometimes devolves into bribery. But hey, whatever works, right?
Speaking of my daughter…I thought she would like the genuine Navajo dream catcher that I bought her the best but instead she loves her new Mood Lamp that my boyfriend gave her. Unlike the 60’s era lamps there is no oil. Instead the lamp is filled with little balls called Orbeez–white, purple and pink. They arrive as dehydrated beads that you grow using water. Once they soak up all the water, you put them in the lamp and turn on the battery-powered light. It repeatedly cycles through the colors from pink to green. I have to admit I think it’s pretty neat myself.
My son went with his Dad to their family get together in the afternoon so I took Meghan to a movie. We saw the “Life of Pi” in IMax 3D. I wasn’t really enthused to see it but afterwards was very glad I did. Visually the film is stunning. The story is, however, emotionally exhausting. It is based on a book published in 2001 by a Canadian*, Yann Martel. I’ve never read the book but the narrator, Pi, has an interesting tone. He manages to be both whimsically funny and profound at the same time. It begins as a very charming tale but as it progresses it becomes a tale of brutal survival. By the end of the movie we felt wrung out and tired but also much the wiser. Without giving anything away, here is my favorite quote from the movie. Pi says:
I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.
Buddha would have been proud of Pi’s perception. And Pi’s sadness was not because of the act of letting go, which he had come to terms with, but with the failure to have a little resolution, an acknowledgement of that ending. I talked about this with my daughter because she didn’t take the positive message from it that I did–those losses made her sad and she missed the larger message. Of course the concepts of Liberation and Non-Attachment are more than many adults can grasp so I knew it would confound my 9-year-old (however smart she appears to be). The act of letting go is something, I think, that comes to us over time. Only through the experience of having beginnings can we have those endings and thus the opportunities for goodbyes. We don’t always get the chance to say good-bye and sometimes we miss those chances and that can cause us regrets. But if we have regrets about those missed farewells, we can’t have regrets about having begun in the first place. That is what I wanted to emphasize to Meghan. Even though we are finite beings and all things come to an end, we also get to experience a beginning and then the journey until it ends. There should be joy in all of those phases and there should be very little room for regret. That’s as good as it gets and it’s not all that bad. After all, what are our options? To sit alone never having attempted anything? Never to have tried to love or be loved? Never taken a risk of any kind? No, that’s no way to live.
By nature I think she is the kind of person that does not like to take risks–something she definitely got from her father. But she always worries about outcomes–something she got from both of us, I am afraid. I, on the other hand, have stuck my neck out many, many times in life–taking calculated risks is part of who I am. In my career it has paid off. But in romance, I have failed time and time again. Yet, I refuse to just give up. I am going to keep on until I get it right.** To me “getting it right” means that I find someone worthy to give my all to and that someone thinks I, too, am worthy of that same effort. I am in a relationship now that, so far, fits the bill and I intend to see where it takes me even though I am scared of getting my heart-broken again.
This is what I have been trying to instill in her for many years–to face her fears and not let them stop her from trying something new or beginning again after a failure. But as much as I tell her about enjoying the journey, I have not been showing her lately. I’ve been stressed out, short-tempered, pre-occupied and over-tired mainly due to my own internal and unrealistic expectations. I expect perfection from myself and since that’s impossible, I always feel like a failure. It’s an old, old habit that I have had to fight my way out of periodically. It’s a fear that never dies but can go dormant for long periods of time. This old friend, this fear, has awakened from it’s slumber again and I will, yet again, face it down.
As we approach the new year, I will do my best to ignore my critics–they can’t possibly judge me as harshly as I judge myself. I will do my best to see the triumph in my journey as a whole. I will do my best to live in the moment and not worry about what might happen handling challenges with the aplomb of which I know I am capable. I will do my best to give without reservation to my children. I will do my best to be worthy of the love given to me by the man in my life. I will always at the very least try and if I fail, be less self-judgmental for it. And in so doing I will get up, dust myself off and begin, again.
I hope your Christmas was as peaceful and blessed with love as mine and that this bounty continues for you into the New Year. Namasté
**I like Trisha Yearwood’s version but I couldn’t find a video of it. I could only find links to audio samples. Here’s one to a partial sample on Amazon.com–this is the version I prefer. The link in the post above is to Tammy Wynette, who is no slouch of a singer either. 😉