No Expectations, No Goals, And No Agendas For The Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time, but also a tricky time. We get together with our families that know us so well and we have a tendency to push each other’s buttons unintentionally. Well, let’s be honest. We do it intentionally sometimes too. We’ve mastered blaming everyone else for our behaviors. “If she didn’t do this and he didn’t do that, the holidays would be great!” Meditation is helping me to stop playing this game. Instead of responding to everything from the basis of my past experiences, I’m able to experience the present moment with my family. Everyone has a clean slate in the present moment with the ability to choose how they want to live it.

The other lesson meditation has provided me is that my happiness comes from inside of me. When feeling warmth and love inside of me, those are the things I notice in other people. It’s not that I want to spend my life alone. That’s a piece I didn’t understand with meditation for a long time. Instead, meditation allows me to see the world with pure sight. When I’m with others who are sharing love, the loving feelings inside of me become stronger. When I’m around people who are full of negativity, it doesn’t phase me. I just move away from it.

In the past, when I was around someone who was full of negativity, I would try to get them to change. I thought I could convince them that the world was better than what they saw. Now that I’ve observed how much my sight is impacted by what’s buries inside of me, I realize that I can only scratch the surface of someones current perspective. Sure, I can make temporary changes in a group dynamic, but that’s only a short-term fix. Instead, the biggest contribution I can make is to stay warm and positive despite anyone elses personal challenges. That’s a contribution in itself. This is new ground for me, but it seems to make sense and feel right.

So in the end, Thanksgiving was a lot of fun and I enjoyed being with my family. I look forward to learning and growing from the experience so I can enjoy Christmas even more. Meditation is helping me enjoy and appreciate all of the good parts of the holidays and to stay equanimous with the more challenging parts. That’s pretty good motivation. Time to go meditate.

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This entry was posted in Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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