We’re spending our winter on the road in Florida, the quintessential winter residence for “snowbirds” and full-timer RVers.
Now everyone assumes that because our hometown (Las Vegas) is known for its heat, that winters are pretty warm there also. But they aren’t. They’re cold. With bitter winds. That threaten to blow me away.
So we have grown accustomed to Christmas being cold, something you don’t think much of until you’re wearing tank tops and cut-off shorts as you cook your Christmas Eve dinner and plan for Universal Studios on Christmas Day.
Now I love the sun and the heat (Nevada girl that I was). But Justin, born in and for the cold, snowy winters of Wisconsin, couldn’t stop commenting.
“It’s really hard to get into the holiday spirit when it’s hot enough for the air conditioner.”
So as we fried our potato peels (seriously, yum) we chatted about our differing perspectives, why this situation beyond our control was bothering him and not me.
I’ve spent (ahem, spend) a lot of my time feeling disgruntled, depressed, disappointed or frustrated over situations that are beyond my control.
And there is a time for that. (Denial of our authentic experience isn’t helpful, after all.)
But at some point in our individual (and vital) processes, we all reach the same realization: In my desire to enjoy myself I’m actually keeping myself in unenjoyment.
Because that makes sense.
More and more I’ve resonated with this:
My ability to enjoy any experience begins and ends with how I choose to experience it.
Meaning what I bring to the table – my feelings, my ideas, my expectations, my choices that stem from those things – will create my experience and my enjoyment of that experience.
Cranky son? It’s only my feelings about how he should feel that make me cranky too.
Crappy traffic? It’s my own stress level that’s going to put me over the edge.
Disappointing day? It’s my expectations of what “should” be that are keeping me from seeing the potential of what is.
It’s not about the experience. It’s about what you choose to do with and within it.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”- Maya Angelou
So what do you do to enjoy the less-than-ideal situations that are beyond our control (like a sweaty Christmas)?
- Self-Realization – This is actually the most important step. Like I said above, denial of our authentic experience, our disappointments, our feelings and maybe even our deeper triggers, is not helping anyone. It’s like throwing a blanket over that fire so that you don’t have to deal with it. Smart. Acknowledge where you’re really at and give it some face time.
- Beginner’s Mind – I love this term. The beginner has no preconceived notions of what “should be” and therefore has the ability to create from scratch, rather than wading through layers of expectations before they can get to the good stuff. It’s mostly those preconceived notions – those expectations – that keep us pushing against the immovable. Really productive. Let the expectations of what “should be” go so you can get onto the good stuff.
- Acknowledge the Possibilities – Not the crappy possibilities. Anyone can acknowledge those. Acknowledge what IS and what can be done with what is. In our case, we got to treat it as a novelty. Christmas in Florida! Opening gifts by the pool! Universal Studios! A rosemary plant for a Christmas tree! Getting creative and playful moves you back into that experience you want to have – the enjoyable one.
Yes, sometimes things will go horribly, even hurtfully, wrong. Sometimes the details will still be beyond our control. But our thoughts, our feelings, the experience we really want to create…totally within it.