I heard a great story from one of my clients yesterday. As with most of the thoughts that I share it gave me a little smack upside the head, sparked off a couple of synaptic firings which resulted in me thinking “Shit, have we as a species ever lost the plot of living Happy lives!”
Once Upon A Time in a Magical Kingdom far, far away there lived a young Princess. One day, as the seasons were changing and the magnificent fall foliage lay defeated and battered on the ground, surrendering to The Mighty Winter, the princess left the magical kingdom and entered into the Enchanted Forest.
Okay, okay… that’s not quite how the story goes, but I thought I’d try my hand at writing a Fairy Tale. #epicfail
Last weekend my client accompanied her boyfriend of a year into the woods with a few of his close friends to find themselves Christmas trees. It’s been a tradition of he and his friends for a number of years. They venture into the woods, find some “magnificent” Christmas trees and chop them down – pretty typically Nova Scotian stuff with the accompanying manly rituals like pouring whiskey on the freshly cut stump, and probably a few others that have developed over time.
It was a chilly day and after some trudging through the woods and a few felled trees, my client hastily spotted the one she wanted, or at least the nicest one that would expedite the return to some automotive warmth. The tree was cut, whiskey poured, body warmth restored and they returned to her house to erect and light those trees. She set about decorating inside, the boyfriend strung the lights on the tree outdoors. She’d periodically look outside and think, “that’s not the way I usually string the lights” and maybe even plot how she might make a few discrete changes to those lights later.
Well, later that night, with the outdoor tree lit in its “unaltered state”, she sat, looking at the tree in her living room – a little asymmetrical and a few bald spots here and there – not quite what she was used to. Maybe she should’ve braved the cold for a bit longer and found a “better” tree. But then she had The Moment.
That’s right… The Moment. The same moment that I hope we are all able to experience this Christmas.
She sat there and smiled – maybe even cried – happily. The tree and the lights may not have been Her Usual and may have even appeared a little imperfect. But everything surrounding that tree and those lights, the experience and the feelings that she had, were absolute perfection. She was able to realize that all those other years when the lights were “perfect” and the tree symmetrical there had still been something missing.
(And at this point some of you may be thinking that this is a fairy tale of the Prince who swoops in to rescue the Princess, save the day and make everything wonderful. If that’s what you’re reading feel free to head back to Googling “how to have the perfect Christmas”)
Yeah, in this case there may be some romance – but don’t get caught up in that – save that for Disney. This is a story that exemplifies Christmas Spirit – the kind that you can’t buy in a store or online.
Christmas is about feelings and experiences! (That’s right … I’m talking about feelings!!!! WTF?!?!?)
We have in our minds the way things “should be”, and as we get older these become more ingrained and less open to change. Couple this with being flooded with images of “perfection” and how things should or could look – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Cabin Life Quarterly, Holiday Home and Garden and DIY videos on YouTube of how to create these “perfect moments”. We often seem to spend so much time stressing about an end result which looks “perfect” that we lose focus of the enjoyment of the feelings and experiences that actually get us to that end result.
Don’t lose the opportunity to feel a perfect moment for the sake of taking a perfect picture.
Call it “mindfulness”. Call it “being in the moment”. Call it what you want, or you can save yourself some time in trying to label it.
This year I encourage you to enjoy Christmas by appreciating all of those “perfect imperfections!!!” Sit back and smile. Rather than running out to change the lights back to the way you usually have them, appreciate how they got there.
Make YOUR tradition perfectly imperfect!