Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Dear Friends

Last weekend was one of those picture perfect days at the San Diego Zoo. While breathing in all the goodness around me, I overheard a woman getting all huffy because she wasn't seeing enough animals. She was going to "write a letter." Not being able to help myself, I told her the best time for seeing animals was either early in the morning or after 3 p.m. She was still going to write a letter to "the management" because it just wasn't "right."

Before getting on my own huffy high horse about how absurd it was for anyone to think the actions of wild animals could (or should!) be controlled, I tried to put myself in this woman's shoes. I wondered if perhaps she had traveled a long distance and/or paid more than she could afford? Maybe she had been looking forward to visiting our world-famous zoo since she was 3 years old? Maybe she had just come from having a root canal? I wasn't sure, but I truly did my best to understand how anyone could be so agitated while surrounded by such beauty. It got me to thinking about how practiced (or unpracticed) we are in dealing with our own disappointments.

Most of us have a "toolbox" that we open when we need to deal with disappointment, and those coping tools are all over the map. But in the end, I believe, experiencing disappointment is part of the human experience. Not everyone who buys a MEGA Millions ticket wins, not every ballerina makes the Joffrey Ballet, and cancer happens even to those who eat 100% organic. That's just the way it is.

But back to the woman at the zoo. I thought of her yesterday when dealing with my grown daughter. My disappointment over an issue sent me into an emotional fetal position. Like the woman at the zoo, my expectations had been deeply dashed, and had there been a "management" to write to, I would have! What I took from that zoo encounter was that despite this woman's feelings of outrage that the animals were taking a siesta, she was surrounded by good things. She just needed to see them! Although she couldn't control the animals' actions, she could control what she focused on. As I began shifting my thoughts this morning from what wasn't "right" about the situation with my daughter to all the good I could see around me, from my refrigerator stocked with healthful food to my neighbor's smile across the fence, I began to feel my stress dissolve. I know this probably sounds Pollyanna-ish, but it works.

With the holidays approaching, some of us will find ourselves in those "I'm going to write a letter!" moments. Let's remember to be gentle on ourselves in those moments, maybe see the absurdity of the situation, let the moment pass, decide to do something differently, or perhaps communicate our feelings in a way they can truly be heard, focus on the good around us, and then move on. As trite as it may sound, you can't control Aunt Bev being her usual three hours late, but you can control how you let it affect you.

I'm grateful for it all today—having two daughters to love, learning from the disappointments, and being here for another holiday season. I'm going to do my best to relax, breathe in all the goodness around me, and let the wild animals be wild.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

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Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

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