Saturday, August 8, 2009
The Family Play
Have you ever been in a situation where you HAD to go to a party or family get-together, because that was what was expected? That is exactly the situation I found myself in today. Many times in the past I've gone and been completely miserable the whole time, but today, I chose to be joyful on purpose! I want to tell you how I did it.
First of all, I had a choice to even go or not. I am now at the place in my life where I can do that. Because my attention is on joy and doing what feels good to me, I am no longer bound by the expectations of family or friends. I am a free bird! After all, why would I choose to go someplace that is very negatively oriented and sends me spiraling into the abyss of guilt and condemnation? So, after weighing the pros and cons, I decided to accept the invitation because I knew my mother-in-law wanted to go and she could not drive herself. (She is 80 and very frail). After making the decision to go, I had to then get to a better feeling place than the one I was in. I already had the whole scenario worked out in my mind. From the beginning of the day to the end, I KNEW it was gonna suck! How the heck was I gonna get through it? I could feel my stomach sinking as the day drew near.
Once again, my wonderful husband came to my aid. He always tells me to think about the event in stages. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. And if I would just treat this day as a stage play and watch all the people play their parts instead of becoming part of the play, it would fly by much faster, and more enjoyably.
So that's what I did. This morning, I got up and noticed how beautiful the day was. Just living in the moment. Then I began thinking about going to the Farmer's Market, which I absolutely love. With each moment of the day, I found a positive aspect to focus on, instead of focusing all my attention on the negative. Before long, Ruth and I were driving through what I call "the velvet hills" on our way to Brentwood. We arrived at our destination and the play began. All the usual characters were present and accounted for. We greeted one another and the most amazing thing happened. Everyone settled into their parts, and I found I was not in the play at all! It was almost as if I was totally invisible! (Except for the children, of course, but we all know children see things grown-ups can't see anyway). I was able to steal away and spend some quiet time alone, while the play continued in earnest. The middle of the event, came and went without me hardly noticing at all, and suddenly, it was the end! Glory hallelujah!
As I related the events of the day to Mark, I felt totally detached from their drama and negativity. I feel exhilarated that I was not caught up in the play, but was able to calmly take notice and be at peace.
This is what I learned from today. Just because it's family, or friends, you don't have to get into the play and be part of the drama. It is possible to calmly sit back and watch and perhaps find that instead of a drama, it's really a comedy. The best choice is to steer clear of those negative situations. Why would anyone want to put themselves in the midst of chaos? But if the choice you make is to be a part of the party, because that feels better than the alternative, try and just be an observer. Be an audience member instead of one of the actors. It's much more fun, and you'll see the day pass very quickly and be "the end" before you realize.