03 January, 2011

A New Kind of Christmas

There I was, sitting in the family room of my parent’s home on Christmas Eve, surrounded by my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, sister, nieces, and nephews, and I realized that something was drastically different this year. All week long, my mind had only been on squeezing the most out of my time with my family that I could. It hadn’t even dawned on me that I was different – but different I was. In fact, it was the first Christmas in my life for which I no longer cared about receiving a single gift. The meaning of Christmas had somehow changed for me and it wasn’t until that night, while opening my presents and watching the others in my family open theirs, that this realization actually sank in.

I remembered that it was just last year before the Christmas holiday that I was admitting to my partner how self-centered and selfish I had always felt around this time of year. I truly loved to give presents but it was equally important to me to receive them! And, my expectations were always so high, that I had never failed to be disappointed. It was a way of being, that I had, in which I was not proud of myself and desperately wanted to change but didn’t know how.

At this point, I should add that I had embarked on a journey of self-healing over this last year – actually beginning in mid-2009 – but picking up a quicker and more intentional pace beginning in January of 2010. I was traveling the country to study and learn different techniques of healing and was applying them both in practice on others as well as myself. One such technique that I learned and used extensively on myself and others was The LifeLine Technique. The LifeLine Technique focuses on emotions (from our past – emotions that we’ve denied, disconnected from, or repressed) as the root of physical and emotional ailments and discomforts. Using this technique, I was able to locate and interpret several issues such as repressed emotions and self-limiting beliefs that I had held, and release them so that they no longer affected my present or future outlook on life.

It must have been a result of this work that I did which led me to be able to transform in such a way that I didn’t even realize the transformation had occurred. After all, that is the way that transformation works. It’s not like changing a behavior where one has to consciously train himself to act or behave differently than he always has in the past. Instead, transformation changes one from the inside out so that when you act in relation to events, you are no longer reacting from a subconscious pattern of behavior that is meant to protect you. But instead, you are now simply acting out a part of you that you have always had inside of you, but that was suppressed due to reactive patterns that were in place.

As part of this journey of self-discovery and healing, I had also spent quite a bit of time focusing on how my expectations in life always let me down. And while I firmly believe in expecting good things to come my way, I was also wrestling with the idea of letting go of certain expectations that I seemed to continuously have of others. At the end of my internal struggle with this idea, I came to a place where I was able to continue having expectations of others (expectations like having integrity, keeping one’s word, etc.) and also able to let go of the same when I saw that my expectations were not met (or were not going to be met). In other words, I feel like I found a balance of a place where I could have expectations for the things in life that really mattered, not have them for those things that didn’t matter in the larger scope of life, and the ability to let go of expectations that I had when I saw they would not be met.

Learning to let go was probably the biggest challenge for me and yet the most rewarding one. Once I realized that I was always left in upset by not letting go of my unmet expectations, and knowing that I was committed to not living a life of upset, the solution became obvious – give up any unmet expectation(s), thereby allowing me freedom to not live in upset with others.

I suppose it was a combination of all of these things, and putting these learned-lessons into practice that has led me to be even more available to no longer have expectations for those things in life, which in the grand scope of things, really do not matter. Expecting nothing for Christmas was an added bonus for me and evidence of the hard work that I had put into transforming this area of my life.

Being able to enjoy my family-time at Christmas this year was the biggest blessing I could have had. Not only was I able to feel truly appreciative for what I did receive, but I was able to enjoy my family on a whole different level, and allow the true spirit of Christmas to show through me, and to be fully felt by me.
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