The Rolling Stones were right, “We don't always get what we want, but when we try sometimes, we just might get what we need. ” Case in point my Toastmasters’ recent White Elephant party gift exchange. The intent was to bring a “surprise" gift for exchange that could be:
c. hilarious or
d. all of the above
I have to admit that as I stood there waiting for everyone to pick their number, I was eyeballing the gifts and getting very anxious about whether I would that I would pick the right gift for myself. Incidentally, for this party I had brought my digital camera to take pictures and discovered that my batteries had gone dead so I was unable to take pictures!
My number was “2" which meant that I could decide to either take either the first gift chosen or keep the one that I chose but then be at the mercy of the 29 other numbers throughout the evening if someone wanted to grab my gift.
I chose the beautiful, yet small, Victoria Secret's package. As I greedily unwrapped the present and everyone waited for a pair of sexy thong undies to fall out, lo and behold, I uncovered two batteries?!!? I'm sure the intention of the person who gave this gift was for everyone watching to laugh at all the possible ways that these batteries could be used (especially because they'd been wrapped in a Victoria Secret's box!).
But what I very quickly realized was that these two batteries fit perfectly into my camera and VOILA, I was able to take photos of the rest of the gift openings and not worry about someone wanting to trade their gift for mine.
Maybe I didn't get what I wanted, but I certainly got what I needed.
Sometimes I don't always recognize what I need as obviously as the batteries. Sometimes, I need laughter and the light-hearted side of life. Take the next example.
My husband and I as well as our good friend Vickie visited Cozumel, Mexico to witness for ourselves the devastation resulting from the two hurricanes (Emily and Wilma) this past Fall. I'm happy to report that although there was much evidence of buildings being demolished and flooded that our Cozumelian neighbors are amazingly resilient and hard at rebuilding their homes. The coral reefs had sustained some damage, however during our scuba diving trips, we did see many beautiful fish (including two huge Eagle Rays) rebuilding their homes underneath as well.
During this trip we rented mopeds to take a tour of the island and see for ourselves what had become of the beloved Fiesta Americana Hotel that we usually stay in (should be ready to go in the Spring with 300 people working on it daily) as well as the roads, etc. One of our favorite bars on the south end of the island, Bob's Marley Bar, was completely devastated, however the reggae bar across the road was up and running. We took cover from the ensuing rain while drinking our sodas and looked out at the beautiful ever changing shades of blue on the ocean and in the sky.
A couple of minutes into the downpour, three good-sized sows came trotting out from under the restaurant as if on cue. Being pretty much of a city girl, I had never seen a pig that close up (much less three of them!). I didn't realize that when pigs walk, they look like they're walking in high heels. They also had coiled up tails wagging away as they investigated various water puddles on the side of the streets. It was a surreal moment to witness these pigs as they danced about which ended up suspending my disappointment that it was raining.
Once again, I got what I needed.
It's always good for us to reflect on how our needs are being met especially when the storm of “haves" and “wants" is blowing around us during this time of year. The Sunday before we left Cozumel, we sat at an outdoor coffee cafe (yes, they have two now!) on the square watching all the gathering families celebrating a Christmas Special. All the young children were dressed in their Sunday best, and many combinations of family groupings were evident from the smallest baby freshly swathed and cradled in the arms of their moms to a grandmother waddling behind her brood with a joyous smile on her face. What I stood out for me more than anything else was the overall peace that seemed to permeate this large crowd of families.
I packed the lightest I've ever packed for a trip for this trip to Cozumel and yet I noticed that inside my heart I felt the most full that I've ever felt. I have my health, I have a wonderful husband, I have wonderful friends and family and in my career as a professional Life Coach, I am getting to help other people help themselves which is what I believe is my purpose in life.
What I want for you is to have this same feeling of contentment too. Some of the ways that I've recognized that contented feeling is to switch my focus from what I don't have to what I do have. I'm not suggesting being a Polly Anna by any means!! Think of it as giving life a chance to surprise you. Be willing to open your mind and your heart to another perspective.
For example, when my husband, Vickie and I were returning to our hotel from our moped excursion, we hit a rain storm which was following the same stretch of highway into the jungle as we were. Flying down a highway in the middle of a jungle on a moped in a driving rainstorm with no poncho on and “island vacation clothes" is not my first preference of travel! It was freaking cold!! The further along our treacherous journey we got, the more resentful I felt towards everything. The idea did enter my head that we were all alone on the highway and since no one else could hear us, why didn't I just scream out loud at the top of my lungs? (which I did). This exercise did make me feel better and it also made me resume breathing (turns out holding your breath in the rain does not prevent you from getting wet!). What I found out later was that at the same time I was yelling, David was also yelling, “THIS SUCKS".
Two things hit me about this scenario as I replayed it in my head:
1) how hilarious we must have looked to any islander happening by to have seen a very wet middle aged woman whizzing by on her moped screaming at the top of her longs, to be followed by another very wet middle aged woman with her shoulders crunched down around her face to be followed by a man also screaming at the top of his lungs! and
2) what a perfect mate my husband is for me that this yelling would have also occurred to him to be a good and useful way to release his distress.
So see how many ways you can discover things in your life today that you can be grateful and allow room for the belief that even though sometimes we don't always get what we want, we always get what we need!
Bio: Coach Lynn Kindler – http://www.sacredpathcoaching.com , offers Professional Life Coaching for individuals and groups wanting to actively engage in conscious choices for their lives and work. She is a graduate of Coach University, an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and has obtained certification from SUN (Success Unlimited Network). Lynn’s forte is helping clients discover their life purpose so that they can live their lives “on purpose. “ She also coaches high profile people who want to define a successful life in their own terms. Coach Lynn leads self-care retreats in the state of Texas that combine Spiritual growth along with Career and Personal Success.