As I think about my relationships with myself and those around me, I realize these relationships are influenced by many things. But one of the biggest influencers of these relationships is my own expectations as well as the expectations of others. Expectations are our beliefs about what might happen in the future. We use expectations because they help make our lives more predictable. We learn from our past experiences and then create expectations to help us predict how things will turn out. We expect things such as the sun setting every evening or our parents visiting every Thanksgiving. Expectations are present in every aspect of our lives, but the challenge comes when we try to fit our lives into our current expectations when perhaps there’s another way – a better way. This is especially true in regard to things that are out of our control.
With the vernal equinox right around the corner, many of us are anxious for the warmer days of spring. This is particularly true for those of us who just experienced the big winter snowstorm in the Northeast. We are ready to trade in the icy snow for some fresh green grass.
What is it about spring that makes many of us yearn for this season to begin? Spring ushers in a time of new beginnings, fertile soil, and tremendous growth. It is a time of great excitement and possibility. As the daylight returns, so does our hope for new beginnings in our lives.
Last week, my family and I headed up to the mountains of Vermont for some time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here in New England, my children have an entire week off from school every February over Presidents’ Day, and my family looks forward to this break every year. After loading up our van, we drove three hours north with great anticipation. We settled into our room and immediately loved the remote location where we could see the majestic mountains and towering pine trees from our windows. We spent most of the week relaxing by the fireplace, playing games, and watching movies, but we didn’t spend the whole time indoors. With the unseasonably warm weather, we also played snow football, sledded down rolling hills, and hiked along wooded trails with many breathtaking views including the stunning Quechee Gorge. We had a wonderful time hanging out together, just the four of us.
This past Monday night, I led a soul circle on the power of love. A soul circle is where women of all ages gather together for a time of connection, inspiration, and healing. Through meditation, movement, group activities, and small group discussions, soul circling provides a safe place where women can unconditionally support one another. Since this is the month of February, I chose to focus on love and the impact it has in our lives. When we think of love, it comes in many forms: romantic love, family love, friendship love, pet love, universal love and everything in between. But the most important love of all is self-love, which forms the foundation for all other types of love. If we cannot truly love ourselves, how can we truly love others? We need to believe in our own worth and value, learning to listen and trust our inner voices. We must love ourselves for who we truly are – perfect, whole and complete. There is nothing we need to fix, change, convert, or heal. All we have to do is be. Through accepting, allowing, and loving ourselves, we come to know we are worthy and enough just as we are. And once we believe in that, we can openly share our love with others, no longer needing to find love outside of ourselves.
Last week, I finally began writing the first draft of my next book. I had been thinking a great deal about this writing project for the past few months, and I had several ideas percolating in my head. But during this time, I was never able to actually start the book. It seemed whenever I would sit down at the computer, something else would always need my attention. I would check my emails, write my blogs, make flyers, read the news, feed the dog – there were definitely plenty of distractions. As this kept happening, I was frustrated with myself and my inability to write. But as I examined my feelings a bit more closely, I realized that there was a reason I was procrastinating. I was nervous about my future as a writer. I wondered if perhaps the inspiration for this book wouldn’t come as easily as it did for The Refuge. In that novel, the story flowed through me quite easily. Maybe that wouldn’t again. And what if when I finished this book, it wasn’t as good as the last one? Would that mean I wasn’t meant to be a writer? These fears were holding me back. It was time for me to face them and move forward – no more procrastinating.