As I write this, I’m in Spain visiting a family that I first met when I was an exchange student in high school. It’s been an emotional trip already and I’ve only been here for four days. I’ve had to resurrect long forgotten Spanish. I’ve been taught lessons in patience. I’ve also been given so many gifts of time and attention that I’m feeling overwhelmed. I feel like I can never repay so much kindness. As my daughter so helpfully reminded me yesterday, maybe I can just receive for once instead of being the one to do the giving.
This is a hard concept for me. As a mom, I’ve been used to giving and giving of my time, talents and money to my kids. Of course, I received hugs & kisses in return. However, to just have someone give to me because I showed back up after 27 years, feels a bit wrong to me. I feel like I haven’t earned it.
So, what am I practicing this week? Acceptance. I’m getting a good lesson in accepting what is given to me.
I’m also letting all of the emotions come. This is a practice of acceptance as well. This visit to the past is bringing up so many unexpected emotions. I haven’t seen these people except in photos for so many years.
One of the many emotions that I felt was anxiety because I wasn’t sure what to expect. This is kind of funny to me because I remember the first time I came over here and I wasn’t scared or worried at all. It was all just an adventure to me. It didn’t matter that I barely spoke any Spanish that first visit. I was young and eager to visit another part of the world. Now, on my fourth trip to see this family, I felt more anxiety than ever. Of course it’s all working out just fine. But, that anxiety has been here with me.
I’ve also felt so much joy and excitement. I got to introduce my son to my Spanish family. I’ve also gotten to see him adapt to being in a foreign country for the first time. His Spanish is way better than mine but it’s being tested like never before. When the entire family got together and the speed of the Spanish tripled (at least) I felt bad for basically throwing him in to the deep end of the pool. It was time to sink or swim with his Spanish. He did fine and they all loved him, but there was the anxiety that I felt for him at that point as well.
So what has this trip to the past taught me so far? So many things. It’s okay to receive. It’s okay to be with all of the feelings as they come up. It’s okay to be nervous or anxious. Most of all, I’m coming back to it’s okay to be me. That’s who I was 27 years ago. I didn’t do anything special. I was just me. This trip, I’ve caught myself wanting to be more than who I am in order to be worthy of their time and attention. When that’s happened I’ve gone back to the knowledge that I am who I am and that’s all I can be in this moment in time. And yes, this trip has brought me right back to that lesson of acceptance that I keep having to relearn over and over again.
That’s all I have right now. A continuing lesson in acceptance. I’ve got another week to practice it in Spain and I’m so excited to see what happens next.
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