Enjoying the Holidays

If we are going to spend the holidays together with friends and family, we should try to enjoy ourselves.  But for some of us, seeing certain friends and family during the holidays brings up strong emotions.  Sometimes we hold anger, hurt or resentment from the past and we relive it each time we are with this particular person.  We want our relationships to be better, but we don’t know how to get there.

I suggest trying the idea of Maybe this holiday season.  The dialogue of Maybe will allow you to drop the story that things will be bad between you and that person this holiday just because it has been that way in the past. Just opening our minds to Maybe allows us to look for some common ground instead of digging our heels into the anger, hurt or resentment from yesterday, last month or last year.  If we want our relationships to improve, then we need to see them in the light of all the possibilities that they hold.  Maybe allows us to engage the chance that these relationships can be different.  It allows us to open our hearts to the people that have been difficult for us in the past and Maybe find a new way to be together.

So try this holiday to think of Maybe when you are with friends and family.  You Maybe surprised!

Just, Maybe

Hope

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some people believe that hoping for certain things to happen in life is an attachment that leads to suffering. They either seek to protect themselves by assuming the worst will come or aim to cultivate neutrality toward the world.

I am of the mind, however, that most of us would find it impossible to get out of bed in the morning without hope. Every business, every investment, every marriage and every other situation we embark on has our hope packed into it. Actually, it is not our hope that causes us emotional pain. Instead it is our inability to be flexible and fluid in the face of change and uncertainty. Maybe is the key to remaining free of our attachments that create suffering while embracing hope for the future at the same time. Life may not go exactly as we planned, but there is always the hope that Maybe our path will still lead us to the life we desire.

Maybe and the Moment

A few months ago, I was working with a client named Lisa.  Lisa hired me to help her figure out whether she wanted to leave her current job and find a new direction for her life.  One day when we were on the telephone, she told me that she was going to Florida to see her mother who had been ill on and off the past few years.  At the moment she was fine and Lisa thought it would be a good idea to spend some time with her mother.   Lisa and I had not yet worked with the idea of Maybe and her story about her mother reminded me about a time when my mother was sick.

When my mother was diagnosed with cancer the thought that she might not recover was unbearable.  I remember every bad scenario going through my mind.  I was exhausted and depressed from all my stress and worry, but I needed to fly down to Florida for my mother’s operation.  Where would I find my courage and fortitude?  There were decisions that needed to me made and I needed a clear mind not filled with worry, but instead with wisdom and good judgment.  I found what I needed with the idea of Maybe.

I realized that I did not know what the future would bring, but Maybe everything would work out or get better.  What this thought did was bring me back home to the present moment.  Yes, my mother might not recover, but Maybe she would recover and that was enough hope for me to find strength. With the idea of Maybe, my story of everything bad that could happen was neutralized with all the other possibilities. My mind had nowhere else to go but to the present.   This way, when I was with my mother, I had no story. I just had hope and enough presence to experience life with her in the moment.  I shared this story with Lisa right before we got off the phone and she left for her trip.

When Lisa landed in Florida she got an emergency call that her mother was in ICU.  Her mother had pneumonia, her lungs were filling with water and she was very weak. Lisa’s mind started to race and she wanted to go into a ball in the corner and cry.  Her mother needed her, but the fear and anxiety that her mother could be dying was overwhelming her.  In that moment, she remembered our conversation a few days earlier about Maybe.  She took a deep breath then and realized that she had no idea what the next moment would bring and Maybe her mother would not die in the ICU that evening and she became very present.  Even though death was a possibility, the fact that other possibilities existed gave her strength in that moment to have hope and most of all presence.  She found the presence to sit with her mother for three days by her side and really be with her without thoughts of the next day or next month.  She thought “I have my mother now and Maybe I will have her tomorrow.”

Lisa’s mother did recover from her pneumonia.  Lisa says it was the idea of Maybe that gave her the strength to persevere for those three days.  Lisa also said that she had no idea how much more time she had with her mother, but Maybe would continue to allow her to calm her mind and enjoy every moment that they would share together.

Why waste another moment in our lives projecting what will be, when the present moment offers us time to feel life and be with the ones we love?

Just, Maybe.