I was in Vancouver on a research trip for what was to become my business, Lola & Gigi, and things were not going well. I don’t remember the exact issues, but I remember my reaction. I was frustrated. And when I get frustrated, I get pushy. And what I mean by pushy is that I try to force my way through the situation by doing more & working harder. It was making me mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted.
And then I saw it. Through the window of the restaurant where we were eating, was this crazy tricked out VW Beetle (the old-school kind). It was completely covered in stuff but what hit me like a bolt from the blue was the writing on the side. It said “Let go. Let flow.”
It felt as if the universe was sending me a message. Let go, let flow? It was a completely foreign concept to me!
I was used to working hard and making things happen. In my old life as a corporate events manager, I had to be able to push through any obstacle to get a satisfactory outcome. But in my new life as a budding entrepreneur, I found that this old strategy no longer served me. I was actually incredibly stressed out by my “make it work at all costs” attitude and had to find a new way to be. Don’t get me wrong, starting my own business was a lot of hard work but I also had to learn to let go of what I couldn’t control. I began to interpret those times of stuck-ness as a chance to stop and check in with myself first to see what felt right, instead of going into automatic overdrive.
Fast forward several years, and here I am, navigating life as a mom and a blogger (amongst other things!). I recently found my old pushy attitude rearing its ugly head again when I was planning my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. We were going to be away in Mexico on the actual day, so I knew that I wanted to plan a party for her back home as well as a small celebration on our trip. For logistical reasons, I decided to have two parties in Toronto – one for Chiara’s friends and one for our big Italian families.
And that’s where the craziness began.
Every good party planner knows that they have to start with a theme, so for Mexico it was Hello Kitty. Have I mentioned that Chiara loves Hello Kitty? I decided not to leave anything to chance, so I brought the party supplies with me. Amongst my stash was a “bouquet” of 5 Mylar balloons (complete with a giant Hello Kitty). There should have been no problem getting a few balloons filled with helium at the huge complex where we were staying, right? Wrong. After badgering numerous concierges, a trip to the mall with the local Walmart, and much Googling, I was still coming up with nothing.
Unacceptable! I couldn’t let it go.
So I found a way to buy a small tank of helium and fill the balloons myself. That’s right. I bought a tank of helium to fill five balloons. My husband thought I was nuts. My daughter was thrilled with the balloons and they made her really happy. Vindication! Sort of. Was all the stress and agita worth it? Would she have been just as happy with her tiara, birthday candle and other assorted Hello Kitty paraphernalia? Maybe. Probably.
Just a few short days after returning from Mexico (and the flight from hell), it was time for round number 2. Planning had already begun in earnest when I found out that 3 of the 5 families we had invited couldn’t make it (for very good reasons). Part of me wanted to keep pushing ahead with my original plans and part of me felt a bit deflated. I was also extremely tired and stressed out from the trip and what had been, quite possibly, the worst winter of my life (for various reasons). Not to mention that the house was completely over-taken by overflowing suitcases and Chiara refused to wear the dress that I had picked out for her. But I just had to keep going, much to my husband’s dismay. There were new balloons to fill and sugar-free, nutrient-dense cupcakes to bake!
And that’s when it hit me. Let go, let flow.
I couldn’t control who was going to come to the party. And I couldn’t possibly implement all the plans that I had without having a complete nervous breakdown. So I had to edit. What was really important? Could we live without having toddler-friendly cupcakes on a Ferris wheel as well as a rainbow ruffle cake? Did I need to deck out the house in banners and confetti-filled balloons? Did it matter that Chiara’s dress wouldn’t match the colour scheme? No. The answer was no. What I needed, and wanted, was to make my daughter happy and to make our guests feel welcomed and appreciated. And to not drive my husband completely crazy. So I ditched the cupcakes, outsourced most of the food and let my daughter wear whatever the heck she wanted.
I gave up on the Ferris wheel, but I didn’t give up on the fun.
And I gained much more than I gave up. I had the time and the energy to appreciate our friends and to have some fun myself. Everyone was happy in the end, and I learned, or rather, remembered an important lesson. Let go, let flow. Now for round #3 …
Do you have times when you push too hard? Can you benefit from a little “let go, let flow” in your life? I’d love to hear about it!