01/22/2015 05:18 pm ET Updated Mar 24, 2015

Exit Expectations

About four weeks ago, I freed myself from the bondage of a few of my own thoughts. I've learned a thing or three through the years in this education called life. One important lesson is to challenge recurring thoughts because those thoughts can - and do - become beliefs and practices. I am often guided directly to a decision but that still small voice within has too often been ignored. I've chosen to restore its' validity. This inner voice, the Jiminy Cricket soul guide, has never steered me in the wrong direction. I've made some unpopular decisions of late. That feels uncomfortable for a time. I closed out the year realizing that to live comfortably and well in my own skin, going forward I had better getting used to the idea that I'm happier when I listen to my inner guide.

It can be easy to justify or to engage in those head discussions or person to person discussions wherein I can justify petty little things knowing what the root of my dissention or dissatisfaction is. More often than not - truly about 99% of the time - it is generated from that feeling of wanting to be understood. People do not have to understand me: that is not a requirement for happiness. I must understand what makes me tick, and then, be willing to follow my heart. No justifications are necessary when one is simply being true to themselves.

The holidays were tough in many ways and then - liberating. I got through the old traditions by creating new ones. I lived up to no-ones' expectations, and in the end, felt less stressed. I got through some tough days with a lot of prayer and meditation, and equal doses of laughter and crying - sometimes simultaneously. I accepted my dear friend's invitation to spend the first 9 days of 2015 in a warm climate where I absorbed sunshine and floated on salt water. Reports from "back home" of 9 degree days didn't make me feel at all guilty, or sad, or panicked. I took each day as a gift.

I returned to find that great reality: don't worry so much when leaving for a vacation. It will be here when you get back. The difference, I realized, is that I hadn't vacationed in so long that I forgot what a real vacation entails. It does not entail expectations of others. It is not an itinerary or a series of obligations. I was hard-pressed to come up with an agenda, and I had to assure my friend that her attempts to make sure that I had a "good time" were unnecessary. She is spending the entire month away, and while other friends' lives prevented them from joining us for those 9 days, it turned out to be exactly as it was supposed to: simple. When I left, her husband, children and extended family were arriving in two days. It felt great to have all that time to talk, be quiet, agree, discuss and basically, be ourselves.

I knew coming home meant coming back to some difficult situations that I never really "left", I just placed those concerns and people into the hands of a power that is much greater than me, and then I left. When I returned I encountered me again: I'll take those problems and those pains and those difficulties back now, thanks for handling it while I was away. How funny is that? For those among us that have found that there is a power greater than the "great I am", the comedy is in the observations of ourselves. Acting as though we're practicing for an upcoming great event, we may go through life sometimes forgetting it's not a trial. We can be our own worst judge, our own unbalanced jury, and to boot, we impose sentences upon ourselves. The more familiar ones begin with "I have to" or "they won't understand, I can't" or "I don't feel well, but that's just too bad". Here's an oldie but goodie to answer those thoughts: what a bunch of malarkey.

So 20 days into the new year, and just 11 of those days back in the good old freezing gray January days that I thought I'd become accustomed to, and I find that it truly is easier to be exactly who I am. While this may sound obvious or entirely too simple, for someone such as myself, it's a keen reminder to be true to myself. In truth, I never did like red carpet events. I'm more at home behind the scenes: makeup, rewrites, edits. Walking the carpet in the lights is not for me. I get recharged and rekindled by going within, not seeking it from outside of myself. I like the freedom that comes from knowing I cannot be what all want, do what all need, or think like others do because it's "right". I'm on Trish track, and it's actually a lot easier than I had made it out to be. It's not selfish. It's nurturing. It's not rationalizing; it's actualizing.