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June 2016

Staying present to disappointment

Glimmers June 5, 2016

Dear Friends,

I’ve been thinking about “disappointment.”

Do you know disappointment? Do you know the “downer” feeling when things don’t go your way and, as a grown up, you’re supposed to accept, adjust and “move on?” Disappointment feels like a dark cloud between me and the elusive contentment that I prefer….Moving on? How?

I seem to stay in the sad place when my hopes and expectations are not met…. longer than I would like. AND on top of that, I feel guilty for my inability to let go of my disappointment! I think, what do you have to be disappointed about Lisa? Look at people around you who face serious illness, can’t find work, are displaced from their home or country, or at odds with family members. What do you, on this lovely June day, possibly need that you don’t already have? Get over yourself and your “disappointment!”

I wonder, do we talk to others with the same impatience and judgement that we use to talk to ourselves? I doubt it. Can I (can we) treat myself with the gentle affection I offer to a neighbor’s grandchild as she visits on a sunny afternoon? If a loving presence is good for her, wouldn’t it be good for me too?

What’s wrong, Sadie? You seem a little “down” today.
Mrs Irish, my dad said I can’t go with my sister to the movies.
She’s going with her friends from school.
Ahh – you wanted to go?
Yes! I was the one who wanted to see that movie! But now I can’t!
And you’re disappointed….I’m sorry.
I don’t like being disappointed Mrs Irish! I feel it inside, its pushing at me.
I don’t like disappointment either Sadie. Can I stay here with you?
Could you? Could you watch me? Look, I can do a cartwheel!  

Is it really that simple? Can I make a shift in the feeling of disappointment just by being “present” to it? Can I love my little girl self as she adjusts, at her own pace, to unmet expectations? Can I be patient with myself as I manage responsibilities and relationships with the reality of unpredictability all around me?

I say yes. On this new June day, I choose to treat myself with compassion and to honor my feelings, whatever they are. I’ll consider trying a cartwheel later!

Seeking the Light,