"Awesome! I can go to this Alternative Gift Event and meet lots of non-profits and learn about what they do. Maybe I can make some contacts and do more interviews. I'll donate some money as gifts for a few people to the ones I think they'd find special. I want something to give the non-profits in return though. I want to spread my message too. I'll make some small cards and get them printed at FedEx. I've got time, it doesn't start until seven," I thought to myself.
The rain trickled down, tickling the gutter pipes, sloshing on the sidewalk. A smiling woman walks past with a large poster board and giant folder.
"Wait, did it say UNTIL 7 or at 7?" I check the Facebook post again. "till 7. DAMN! I'm too late." Disappointment floods my mind and heart. "Why didn't I read that right? Why didn't I get here in time?" I start to interrogate myself as my heart begins to beat a little faster.
I traverse the brick walkway down the Charlottesville Downtown Mall to the Paramount Theater. A few people are standing outside. The lights on the awning blare. I go inside. The ladies at the welcome table cheerily greet me, express their apologies that I didn't make it in time to see the booths, but remind me I can still make a donation. I review the list, make my picks, and pay. They give me a holiday card for each non-profit I chose to send to the gift recipient. I walk back to my car. Disappointment still creeps around in my mind, but I find the positive light in the scenario. 1) I was able to finally get my cards printed 2) I still got to purchase my alternate gifts, which was the whole point.
Make it count anyway
Even though the night turned out differently than I had expected, I was still able to find some positive aspects to the situation. Seeing the "glass half full" can be an easy Small Act to practice when things don't go as planned. I think to myself "if I hadn't spent time designing and printing those cards I would have made it." Thankfully, my Good Wolf chimes in to remind me making those cards was something I needed to do and had been putting off, and that I still made donations, which was the more important intention of the evening.
Take it easy
Often times my mind just churns and flies into a tornado of questions, doubts, and what-ifs, or "shoulda, coulda, woulda's" as Pam would say, in circumstances like this. It's an ugly and destructive habit of my mind if left unchecked. I can be really hard on myself sometimes if I don't make the conscious effort to be easy on myself. It's not just others that deserve love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness from me. I deserve and owe that to my self as well. How can I truly give that to others if I'm not giving it to myself first? When I'm feeling down or sad now, I try to remember to be easy on myself. The Small Act of practicing compassion for myself is sometimes all I need to lift my spirits and get me through the rest of the day. Tomorrow is always a new day where I can start fresh, remind myself to take it easy, and embrace what comes my way with love and patience.