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Do you ever leave the holiday season feeling empty and disappointed?  Maybe your best intended plans went sour, or your hopeful expectations were met with failure. Possibly, you vowed not to do Christmas again…. Managing disappointment can be very challenging during the holidays, especially at Christmas.  My guess is that many of us can easily recall memories of disappointment during this time of year.  Perhaps we remember a disappointed look or hurt feelings during a gift-giving event, or family gatherings were less than what we hoped for.  Maybe we felt unable to give the kind of experience we desired, or maybe we felt left out. 

We process disappointment in different ways too.  Some of us feel pain, and internalize it feeling sad, while others feel that discussion helps us process the experience.  Still others may be able to quickly “get over it” by taking a deep breath and letting it all go.  My husband and I learned more about disappointment and how differently we process it during our recent vacation…      

We are airborne on a 757 plane, headed for Kona, Hawaii, and I can hardly believe it.  I have waited for this vacation for months, in fact, I’ve stored up my rest and relaxation for this very purpose – to be in a place and space where I can exhale, release and relax.   If you really know me, you are probably thinking, it’s about time she took a vacation, and if you haven’t already said it, you wish you would have said, “leave your work at home Patricia, and use this time to just relaaaaaaaaaaxxxx”.  

What’s also true, is that unlike my husband who takes constant breaks throughout the year, by going on hunting and fishing trips, I save up all my breaks for a big relaxing vacation (I’m re-thinking this one ).  We love to stay at our favorite place in Kona.  It has a wrap around lanai directly over the crashing ocean waves, and we experience this turquoise, blue and white, powerful, purifying Musical 24 hours of the day.  For me, being in a place like this is sacred.  It is one of the most wonderful, spiritual, and creative experiences of all, and the longer I am here, the more intense it becomes.  

Communing with water gives me a deep and profound connection with nature, beauty, God, power, serenity, creativity and with myself.  As I humbly sit before the ocean, I am aware that my world is minuscule compared to the enormous world around me, and I love being a part of something so vast and amazing.
There are so many things to look forward to in Kona.  Snorkeling is something we love very much.  Viewing sea life under water is like visiting another country, observing different customs and life styles, while trying to memorialize it all with my under water camera.  
We cherish the volcano, waterfalls, flowers, dolphins, turtles, and tide pools, not to mention the constant warmth and dependable blue sky, and we anticipate experiencing them with wild abandon.   

For me however, what I look forward to the most is time to reconnect with me.  I am intimately aware of how important and beneficial it is to do this, and I look forward to it with excitement.  Visualizing my sacred morning ritual of coffee and journaling in the presence of the ocean has been a cherished memory the past few months.   After more than a five-hour cramped and uncomfortable flight, we arrived, safely at our room in Kona. We lugged in over 60 pounds of swollen luggage, (which I solemnly vow to diminish on our next trip, and I keep telling my husband to remind me of this…), turned on the lights, and explored the condo.   

We looked at the bedroom, bath, kitchen, and lanai, and felt our excitement fill the air.  We were finally here, and were elated.  As I stood in the kitchen, a furry creature scurried past me into the bathroom where it squeezed it’s body including a very long tail, through an opening under the vanity.  At first, in my tired state I thought, oh, they must have forgotten to let their cat out.  Then, when reality set in, I screamed “Oh my gosh Honey, there’s a rat in the condo”, and I could not climb on the counter fast enough.  I refused to come down until every nook and cranny was thoroughly checked.  My husband then stuffed towels in the opening to make sure the creature didn’t come back in.  By then it was about 12:30 am, and the property management office was closed. After leaving a message, we went out for a walk, and then much later, I fearfully lay down to sleep.   

Our vacation excitement had turned to disappointment, first when they didn’t believe us about the animal, then when they could not find another, satisfactory room.  The conversations continued for three days while we stayed in temporary lodging and waited for them to bait and remove the poor furry creature.  I kept thinking of the poor thing, trapped, frightened, and possibly facing death, and I felt terrible.  We later learned that when they removed the towel, and set the traps the poor creature had chewed a large hole in it desperately trying to get out. We never did hear what happened to the creature because the property manager was a member of PETA and didn’t want to know the details when the animal was removed. 

We didn’t dare unpack, not knowing our fate, and instead, lived out of suitcases.  It was the busy holiday season, and the complex had lists of people waiting for room cancellations.  The way things were going, we feared not even getting a room…  We were depressed, edgy with one another, and we dragged our disappointment around like a ball and chain.  We had saved our money, and made sacrifices to come to Kona, to celebrate our anniversary, and now this…   

We solved this problem by moving to another resort after frustration with the property management staff.  We eventually found a perfect and wonderful room, and were finally able to achieve the rest, relaxation, and joy we desired. We have had an incredible time playing and having fun together, snorkeling, exploring, celebrating, eating, and indulging ourselves and we are deeply grateful for this vacation.   

Managing our disappointment in this experience was rich in learning for us too.  We learned that with this situation, I was able to let it go of the disappointment fairly quickly, while my husband’s process was more involved.  It was important for him to think about, analyse, and discuss what occured.  There are great advantages to both processes and we used our differences to support one another. We also know that every situation may illicit a different process for us.  What is important is providing support, understanding, and respect for each other in our differences.  We learned that disappointment gives us the opportunity to go inward, explore our experience, create ways to support ourselves and further our journey of self-discovery. To learn more about yourself and disappointment, consider these questions:   

1.        What does disappointment mean to me?
2.        How do I experience disappointment?  What is my process?
3.        What are ways that I can support myself through disappointment?   
My sincere wish for you this holiday season is that you experience peace, joy, love and the special reason for the season.  If you do however, experience disappointment, my wish is that you are able to learn and grow closer to compassionately caring for yourself through it.
Peace, Blessings, Joy and Love to You,

Your comments & feedback are always welcome and encouraged.  For an appointment call 206-459-2898 or e-mail me at: Home page http://www.integritylifecoach.comCopyright© 2007 Patricia Eslava Vessey…All Rights Reserved