Holiday Or Any Day—You Get To Have Your Say

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We're never at the mercy of outside circumstances unless we allow ourselves to be. We have choices!

Have you ever dreaded a particular event—a birthday, Christmas, summer vacation? Please bring up those memories, and find here a new way of looking at them. Let's practice being present with a few scenarios.

Pretend that this morning as you were deciding whether you wanted eggs, toast, or oatmeal for breakfast, you were also running through your mind all the unanswered emails and phone calls looming up ahead, as well as the various projects you've begun or intend to begin. If you've spontaneously said "Okay" to your friend's impromptu invitation to drive to Leavenworth this afternoon, you're definitely behind on your To Do list.

But what if humor columnist Erma Bombeck's message from her book If I Had My Life To Live Over, written when she learned she had cancer, popped into your head. Erma wrote of having friends to dinner even if the carpet was stained, not worrying about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace, and not saying “Later…” when her children kissed her impetuously.

I remember a weekend when  I held onto the picture of me as though I were in my lucid last moments before dying. I knew then that the day's half hour at Dan Klennert's Sculpture Park outside Mt. Rainier would nurture me way more than six completed emails if I weighed the two before I left this world. I was equally sure on my balance scale that when I'm 89 or 98, thinking back over my life, the hours on Mt. Rainier‘s trails, daydreaming by melodious streams, and communing with three deer would win over returning phone calls.  Maybe happy memories aren't the best indicator of a fulfilled life. Maybe they are.

Here's an example from my life several years ago. There's no maybe that that morning's cup of tea and baked oatmeal with banana and yogurt on my sun-drenched deck would win, hands down, over catching up at my desk. It's true I'm a self-proclaimed hedonist and would call myself a Pleasure Coach instead of Communication Coach if I dared. But even though I was giving a one-hour presentation at Bank of America on Goal Setting that week, I'm sure that "pleasure" and "fulfillment" would be incorporated along with the more down-to-business aspects of the topic.

Another call for living in the moment was a column I read by Eileen McNamara in the Boston Globe. Eileen had forgotten to pick up her school age kids and wondered if she and her readers could identify with the man who'd forgotten to drop off his 5-month old daughter at day care. She had died in the car while he was at work. I could identify. My mind multi-tasks all the time.

The tragic outcome of a person so caught up in thoughts and plans that he wasn't conscious of the now—that horror which will be with him forever— makes me want to stop, look and listen, to be reverent and present in every here and now moment. If I remember the image of that most terrible result of not being present, I hope I can replace my multitasking with eyes and ears and mind and heart attuned to this task, this pleasure, this moment. (I'm amused by the irony of almost missing my transfer stop as I was writing this on the bus.)

So what awareness can you bring to the Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering, or to that particular birthday, or the week or summer with no time off?  I recently googled "Quotes on Choice."  I will share some that I hope will ease your resistance, and remind you gently that you have the ultimate choice in how you observe and interact with every situation.

That doesn't mean you'll be a hero when you follow Roy Bennett's quote.

"Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses in your life; you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choices you've made, and you start making new choices to change your life."

A choice I made recently was after a friend told me that consciously choosing his behaviors (instead of acting on shoulds or old habits) was giving him much more peace. And Bill Watterson said "Letting your mind play is the best way to solve problems."  (For instance, I will feel better about my choice to invest in bitcoin if I decide AFTER I sit in silence than if I just go ahead.)

Kami Garcia reminds us that "We don't get to choose what is true. We only get to choose what we do about it." I've been choosing for years not to be bothered by the boxes I have stored instead of sorted. Then I read Sean Covey's "We are free to choose our paths, but we can't choose the consequences that come with them."

Please ask yourself right now if you are peaceful and contented about the consequences that accompany your decisions.  If you are not, I request that you take all the time you need to consciously choose what will give you peace and fulfillment.

Moreah Vestan is a Life Coach, author, and a Communication Trainer. She is offering a 30-minute coaching session free to the first 10 people who call her at 206-300-1657.  If you like her listening and reflecting and questions, check her out at www.communicationcoaching.net. She has been teaching Compassionate Communication for 13 years.  When you start a month's coaching before Dec. 31, you will receive 25% off the $200.

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