Redemption Feels So Sweet

Last week, I got to spend a week with many of my husband’s relatives.  It had been four years since we spent concentrated time with more that a few relatives at once.  I am awed by the difference in how I showed up.

Four years ago, Vj. My parents and I went to India to have a wedding reception there after our wedding in Los Angeles.

While we were in India, it became known that we would have to return to the U.S. early to attend our immigration interview.  This meant that our luxurious, pre-paid honeymoon in Bali would have to be cut short, since that was where we were headed after India.

I reacted childishly.  Out of fear of losing our “perfect” honeymoon, our hard earned money, and our “freedom” I insisted that we leave India early, so that we could still have the originally intended number of days in Bali.

I overlooked several important facts. First, that we spent most of our short visit to India on a road trip with my parents, who live in the U.S not his parents who live in India. Second, that we would still be going on our honeymoon, we simply would miss one of our stops in Bali.  Third, that I was now part of a greater whole—my marriage and an extended family—which I need to respect and tend as well.

I cried and carried on for a day and pressured my husband to pay an exorbitant amount of money to change our tickets to Bali.*  What was worse, I paid a higher cost to our psyches by disrupting the harmony of the family and leaving abruptly.

Reflecting on last week, I feel I redeemed myself.  I went to our niece’s (Vj’s side) wedding in Toronto.  I went with a spirit of “go with the flow” and was able to maintain it throughout.  I went along with everyone else’s timeline, I offered to help whenever I could, and I simply showed up for the family.  As the time together passed, I realized that I felt like part of his family.

They had accepted me for years but I did not feel like it because I acted from a position of taker.  I worried about myself and managing my fears.  On this recent trip, I set an intention to be a giver, and I was able to make a difference for a few of our relatives.

I did not realize most of this until I came home and recounted the story to a friend.  He said, “You are glowing! You made some sort of quantum leap back there.”

Things that I did to make it easier for me to show up are these:

  • I spoke with Vj about some of the potential pitfalls before we went and discussed positive responses that upheld our integrity.
  • I took naps and bowed out of a couple of events—one included a late-night gift wrapping party that could have used my help, but would have left me useless and crabby the next morning.
  • The one time I did get crabby, I breathed, I walked away from the group, I told Vj not to worry and asked him to be neutral, I reviewed what made me crabby and realized that I was jumping to false conclusions.  Total time was 10 minutes.
  • Instead of worrying about “protecting” my privacy, I embraced the constant festive atmosphere, which included virtually no privacy all week.

I was so glad that my friend pointed out that I had changed. I used the tools that I teach everyday and not only did I play nicely, but I had fun, and I contributed.

Your Assignment:

Is there a place where you feel like an outsider?  Are you worried about what you are or are not getting?  Do you feel the squeeze like someone is taking some of your liberties?  This week, can you show up differently in that area?  Instead of worry can you practice helpfulness?

*This made no sense, since one of my fears was the money we were already going to “lose.”

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