Season’s Expectations

My maternal grandmother passed away a couple of months ago. She was ill physically, mentally and spiritually. I was not upset when she made her transition. In fact, I was happy that she was able to find the peace she never had while on earth.

Throughout my life my grandmother equated money with love. She would be sure to send the most cash for gifts. I was only eight or nine years old when she gave me $500 for my birthday.

As I grew older my grandmother’s financial means dwindled. The last years of her life she relied on her miniscule social security each month. Every holiday and birthday she would say, “I am sending a check, I wish it were more.”

My general reply was, “We do not expect anything, it is not necessary, but thank you.”

At the time, I honestly meant what I was saying. Until a few days ago, I did not realize that despite my words, I was expecting a check in the mail.

While thinking about the holidays, I realized that I would not be receiving a holiday card with a check in it from my grandmother this year. It was not the money I was thinking about; it was the fact that for as long as I could remember my grandmother would send a gift. It became an expectation, a part of my life. With her passing, this act passed away as well.

I found the lack of my grandmother’s monetary gesture saddening. Until that moment I had not truly missed her from my life. I have heard people say that the holidays are hard after the passing of a loved one. I think it has to do with our expectations and traditions at this time of year.

Every year I order my father fruit cake from Swiss Colony, my mother puts up the tree, and I put a wrapping bow on my dog’s head. One day, these simple acts will pass away. I do not think it occurs to us that traditions and expectations change as our lives change. That is one reason the holidays can be challenging.

In honor of the expectation I once associated with my grandmother, I will create a new tradition. The opportunity has not presented itself yet, but I will be on the look out. It will be about creating a new expectation for someone. An act that someone will look forward to year after year, even if they do not recognize it until I have made my transition as well.

Married, But Spiritually Single

When I was younger, I assumed that I would meet someone with similar spiritual interests. In my mind’s eye we would attend conferences together, read the same books and grow spiritually as a couple. Thirteen years ago I married my husband; our spiritual paths appear to compliment each other, but rarely do they coincide.

My husband is actually educated in a number of religious beliefs and practices. We share an attraction to Buddhism, although I have yet to see him meditate. Over the years we have shared in a couple of events, such as our children’s baptism and hearing His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak. Overall my spiritual endeavors have been in solitude.

I certainly appreciate my husband’s support of my spiritual path. I am fortunate that he understands my spiritual needs and quests. As long as our needs are being met, he is at ease.

Still there are times, particularly when I travel, that I wish he were there. Of course, I notice the other couples in attendance and I think it would be nice to share the experience with my husband. I know that we are together for a reason and I accept that our spiritual paths are very different. Without this acceptance I would not have experienced the other opportunities that have come my way.

At a recent training conference, I met another woman in a similar situation. We instantly formed a bond and spent the week together. If my husband or her husband had been in attendance, that opportunity would not have presented itself in the same manner. I am grateful to have had the experience of making a new friend.

With my husband’s support and understanding I have been able to meditate in the Great Pyramid, visit New Grange, travel to Iceland and each year I enjoy a yoga retreat in Mexico. Along the way I have gathered invaluable experiences and made unforgettable connections. I have been able to add to my holistic practice and I am going to embark on a year long transformational experience with the Tarsia Center starting next month.

These experiences have led me to believe that spiritual preferences and endeavors do not have to be experienced by both sides of a couple. At times those paths may cross, but as long as there is support within the relationship things will work out. I cherish the time I spend working on my spiritual growth apart from my husband. I also look forward to the times and adventures I share with him when we are together. Being spiritually single as helped me grow on my spiritual path and I am thankful for the experience.

 

Fear: Building My Career

When it came to aptitude tests, I was always well rounded. My scores never provided definitive answers to a college major or career. Basically I would be good at anything I tried. That would have been excellent, but I am 35 and still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Generally, I have excelled at my work endeavors, but I have yet to find one I truly loved. The closest I came was working in a full service Marriott; at the time it was great and I enjoyed the work tremendously. Now I have two young children and working in an industry which never closes is far less appealing. Regardless of my job placement, I have always felt that I was in the right place at the right time.

Earlier this year I decided to create my dream job. I created a mission statement and vision statement, I even created a space for my new career. All I needed was a dream and I would be ready to embark on my new adventure.

In the twenty plus years since those aptitude tests I was no closer to a dream job. I could tell you what I didn’t want, and I knew I wanted to make own schedule while helping others on their spiritual paths. I was also fearful to lose any income while embarking on my new endeavor. 

Feeling a bit lost, I turned to speaker and author Jon Acuff for guidance on building the career I wanted. Through personal experiences and humor, Acuff helped me to understand myself better. For the first time in my life I had some sense of direction. Right now I am in the phase of not quitting my day job, so I can build my dream job. I  have found this step to be very important because it practically illuminates the fear I have about creating my own career. 

Today I feel as though I received an unlabeled box from Ikea. I have all the pieces and tools, but the instructions are vague and I don’t know what the final product will be. I can’t tell where my heart lies; am I to build a chair or shelving unit? The one underlying theme throughout all my career research goes back to the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it they will come.”

I need to stop worrying about the outcome and start building my dream to see where it takes me. I know that if my spirit, mind, and body are in the right place then my dream will unfold. I also know that in time my dream will change and that will be okay too. Today is the day I punch fear in face and get on with my life.