• Arlene Zachmann

Great Expectations

Great Expectations is one of my all time favorite books. The title of this great classic by Charles Dickens caused me to think of the upcoming holidays. So much of our dissatisfaction and disappointments are a result of our unrealistic expectations of what we imagine our lives to be. In actuality, perhaps we are expecting too much from our families, friends and co-workers – and especially from ourselves.

During the holiday season, we are inundated with numerous ads and commercials enticing us to spend our hard-earned money and add to our credit card debt. As the holidays approach, we become overwhelmed with our lengthy to-do lists as we seek perfection: the perfect gift, the perfect meal, the perfect home. Anxiety sets in. How do we transform this destructive emotion into realistic optimism?

The first step in accomplishing our goal of a (reasonably!) stress-free holiday season is to make a conscious effort to control our negative thoughts and focus on our hopes instead of our fears. Reasoned choice is in our control. We can not always control our circumstances, but we can choose how we react to them.

What is really important? We can choose to do nothing by simply living fully in the moment. Always we begin again: constantly evolving, questioning, seeking wisdom and discovering our true self. Life is not static. Neither are we.

Today, not tomorrow, is the day we can begin our journey evolving towards the person we desire to become by practicing mindfulness and loving kindness.

May your holiday season be filled with wonder, joy and peace.


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