Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino
tis the season. i do love this giving time of the year. and all of them, actually. yet sometimes it can feel more like a holiday for me on a regular day than on the holidays. you come home one tuesday in august to find a surprise little gift in your mailbox that makes your day. you call a friend you’ve been out of touch with out of the blue and at the exact right moment when she needs to hear your voice most. you have a surprisingly open and serene grown-up meal with your siblings plus that brings you even closer than you could have ever thought possible. and it’s all like magic.
and then it’s december. and the enthusiasm and excitement of christmas and parties and the new year ahead fills the air. expectations are at their highest and at no other time of the year are there as many low, unhappy people. so what gives? the late, great british novelist, charlotte bronte, wrote, “life is so constructed that the event does not, cannot and will not match the expectation.” a little bleak but two hundred years later doesn’t it still hold up? is that why our unfulfilled (or fulfilled) expectations and disappointments of the holidays leave us diving into the second half of the pecan pie or a vat of eggnog or each other like at no other time of the year? so now what? do we either strive to have expectations that are sadly, sadly low or expect to have no expectations? (wait! isn’t that an expectation?)
i don’t know the answer, but this year i’m trying out some new expectations. so i’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of expectations i want to try to have and expectations to not have for the holidays. see if they work for you. i’m afraid none of these are for santa to deliver. but for us.
- don’t expect the people i know and love to be mind readers. no matter how well i think they should know me. it’s a gift to have a voice that can say both “will you help me set the table?” and “i love you so much.”
- don’t expect a lion to be a bunny rabbit. your relative (you know the one) who roared the loudest last year (and every other year you’ve been alive) will likely not turn cute and sit silently in his cage this year. a lion roars.
- don’t expect to have no expectations. few spiritual masters have ever lived who have transcended human wants. don’t try this at home, boys and girls on the holidays.
- don’t expect yourself to do the holidays perfectly. don’t expect anyone else to make them perfect for you.
- do expect to experience some joy every day. joy is your job.
- do expect to take at the very least, decent care of yourself whatever that looks like to you.
- do expect to be kind and grateful for what is given. even if you can’t wait to return it.
- do expect a miracle! there! i said it!
they happen every day. babies are born, lives are saved, flowers blooms, and we can be present to the moment. we can be in acceptance of what is. we can let it be. we can be at peace. and from there, we can have a new perspective. the true miracle. surprises and simple magic beyond our wildest imagination can then reveal themselves. rapture! we discover we have plenty to give and to receive just as we are. that is the great expectation.
peace and blessings