There are times when one can take a walk in the fields after parking the car on the side of the highway… revel in the bone-warming sunshine , listen to the birds and bees…and then, the road calls us back to the car. Smiling and satisfied, we start the car and are back on the road stretching till the horizon.
And that, my dear readers, is just how I feel today. Satisfied that I have chosen to sit in the chair, glad that I have had a great fortnight of family, work and fun and smiling at the thought of what lies ahead.
So what’s been happening since my last post? Plenty of good times, plenty of piquant observations, and plenty of rewards after some tough soul searching. At the superficial level, it was all about happy times. At a deeper level, it was all about dealing with my expectations.
My daughter came home for a quiet holiday. She cuddled the dogs, ate every gourd vegetable with relish, read books and books, and hovered around me at the market—determined to prevent any appearance of the maternal wallet. Every meal was celebrated, every walk was a long trek and every day slipped past smoothly.
I should have been satisfied and happy, but how could my mind allow that?!! Those tiresome, same old complaints would be sent up to the surface—she is not having a heart-to-heart chat with me, she is reading too many books..is this her addiction?! , doesn’t she want to spend time with me?! etc etc. Earlier vacations had been soured by these expectations which left me bitter, contrite and angry.
This time, however, I was prepared. As soon as those thoughts bubbled up, here is how I put my action plan to work.
- Catching my mind when it began dishing out these thoughts, and figuring out that it’s the mind playing tricks, not the real situation playing out at home.
- Pausing and observing the muttering mind was enough to realize that the thoughts were actually fantastic expectations which no one could fulfill, not even me.
- Replacing that thought stream with a little reality check.
- She is not having a heart-to-heart chat with me—she talks to me regularly every week of the year and shares her ups and downs.
- She is reading too many books..is this her addiction?– what a lovely addiction..its better than my Spider Solitaire!! And we all have the liberty to choose our “addictions”
- Indulging in some gloriously addictive gratitude
- The girls make it a point to spend time at home regularly, and would rather be here with the dogs and me instead of partying/holidaying with friends!
- I know that they are always there for me…to listen and support my plans, to push me up when something goes wrong…( I will need to stop here, or this will become a river, nay an ocean of the goodness my daughters have brought into life).
- Ensuring that I have my schedule to follow, and my daily list of to-do jobs to complete… instead of putting everything on hold, and pegging my satisfaction and happiness on the activities of the holidaying child.
- Repeating Steps 1-5 whenever and wherever the mind started muttering. My mind doesn’t give up easily..it tries new ways to get those expectations back in the spotlight, but I was determined to keep all lights blazing and bright.
And that was it!! I enjoyed the company of my child, cooked karela and other favorites and watched her wolf it all down, learnt about alien authors and books and marveled at their expertise in giving a new slant to old emotions and situations. I smiled, grinned and laughed through our chats and our car rides and everything else in between.
I couldn’t have asked for anything more and I couldn’t find anything amiss either.