A true tale of love, contrast, and personal victory.
Creating Fantasyland: Every detail had been set in motion for the trip to end all trips. A driver would pick up us from my home and take us to Orlando, FL, in total comfort and style. We would then arrive at the perfect hotel with the perfect room, with the perfect view. I got reservations at THE ultimate dining establishment, Cinderella Castle—which hardly ever happens, unless you book six months in advance. AND my mom would have “carte blanche” to be able to go wherever she wanted to go, to dine wherever she chose to dine, and to buy whatever she wanted. For a woman who has been obsessed with Walt Disney World since it came into being, this was truly THE ultimate Disney fantasy come to life.
Because I knew this may very well be her last trip to Disney (or possibly anywhere else), I decided to put every ounce of love, focus, intent, and money I could invest to give my mom nothing but THE. BEST. EVER. (No pressure, right?) I even was sure to do the work on a mental/emotional level, spending time visualizing the fun and laughter we would have together, feeling the hugs we would exchange, hearing her sing her favorite Disney songs, and even (in my mind) writing my next article or blog about coming away with a bigger, better, happier, healthier mother-daughter relationship than ever before.
I did absolutely EVERYTHING I could think of to ensure a good time for all.
Plus, I was still riding the wave of the powerful, positive intent and freakin’ magical manifestations that resulted from just hosting another successful Sedona, AZ, retreat (and in turn, treating MYSELF as a VIP participant in the process). So, with all of this in place, I knew that enjoying the journey with my mom was virtually a slam dunk.
A Disturbance in the Force: Intel from My Inner Compass
A couple of days before departure—even after feeling SO on fire about every other aspect of my life—I embodied this strange feeling of discord in my solar plexus. Though it was not enough to stop me in my tracks, it was still pronounced enough to get my attention. When I scanned my thought landscape, I knew this “disturbance in the force” that was showing up via my “inner compass” was about this upcoming trip, which was understandable, since our last trip to Disney was connected to a major meltdown for both of us. My logic and reason told me this was simply the fear of past pain making its presence known, but, because of my strong desire to see this trip through and the momentum that felt like it was solidly in motion, I consciously chose to proceed even with the understanding that I was moving forward with resistance present. With all the work I had done mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to prepare for this trip, I felt that the good mojo would still surely prevail.
All is Well in the Kingdom
It is departure day, and I’m feeling great! I’m suited up in my finest “mouse gear,” singing happy songs, and all packed and ready to go. My brother brings my mom to our pad, and, even though she’s feeling a bit nervous and odd, I offer up her favorite treat (chocolate), a barrage of happy thoughts and conversation, and we are then whisked away by the most beautiful, happy, positive, shiny, sparkling Lyft (car service) driver ever! We thoroughly enjoy our interaction with Gabriella, stop for coffee and lunch along the way, and arrive refreshed and ready to check in to our fairytale room at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, my mom’s personal favorite.
We head up to our room and from the front door can see THE ultimate view through our floor-to-ceiling windows; beautiful Bay Lake, the Polynesian, and Grand Floridian Resort, Space Mountain and…
Cinderella Castle! In the world of Disney you just can’t get any better than this. Jackpot, baby!
It takes a little longer than expected to sort out her “Charter Member” annual pass renewal, but, with pass in hand, we head to the Magic Kingdom, “the happiest place on earth,” to enjoy a lovely dinner at a sidewalk café on Main Street, stroll the shops, and start our trip out on a high note.
The next day, we’re off to explore the Magic Kingdom in fuller detail (and during daylight hours), and even though we had a few rough spots and some frustrations with each other, once we made it to her preferred table by the window inside Cinderella Castle, we savored a sensational gourmet meal, were doted on by our awesome server, had great visits and photo ops with four iconic Disney princesses, and then got to watch the Firework show FROM OUR TABLE. Mom was overjoyed and my heart was soaring above the clouds! My formula had worked, and all was well in the kingdom!
Enter: The Dragon
After our magical dining experience, we started to make our way through the crowd to get back to our hotel. We were still going on and on about our phenomenal dinner and overall lots of good vibes were flowing, but shortly thereafter, the energy started to shift.
As I felt my body and mind begin to react to her change in attitude and demeanor, I reached for every tool I could find to maintain my alignment and joy. Though it took an incredible amount of effort and energy, we made it back to the room without killing each other, and I was able to keep my cool and sleep for three to four hours. I awoke the next morning about two and a half hours before she would even think of stirring, sat on our beautiful balcony, did my “Present Focus Flip” exercise, and made a detailed appreciation/gratitude list. After all the good we had already experienced, I knew it WAS possible for more good to happen, and was bound and determined to have a good day today, regardless of what she decided to experience.
Things started out on a calm, positive note, and we were off to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which appealed to our shared love of nature and animals. The moment we passed through the gates, however, “the dragon” began to stir and the drama began. I again summoned all my strength to keep it together and reminded myself to not take things personally, as she was dealing with oodles of physical and emotional challenges. However, after a constant barrage of nastiness and refusing to let me have more than a few seconds to enjoy the spectacular new “Pandora” section of the park (based on the movie Avatar), or let the magic of watching my beloved birds and meerkats soothe my spirit for our mutual benefit, “the dragon” exploded; both of our voices raised in anger to a fever pitch, and the happy girl who pre-paved and preplanned to provide the ultimate environment of joy for all parties was now weeping uncontrollably in the back of a Disney bus, for all to see.
Because we discovered that what we both required for restful sleep seemed to be diametrically opposed, I asked my husband, who would be joining us that night, to book a separate room for us. Mom wasn’t thrilled about the idea of being in a room by herself, but I desperately needed sleep, believed it would be better for both of us, and knew that we would be nearby if she truly needed help. Knowing that I would have some time to step away, recharge, and refresh my spirit gave me relief, so, once my mom and I returned to her room from Animal Kingdom, I was able to take a shower, breathe, and bring myself back to a place of calm. And from that stance, the dragon seemed to chill as well.
My honey (AKA the calvary) arrived and brought all manner of joy, humor, and lightness with him. The three of us had dinner together, watched the fireworks from her balcony, and assured her that if she truly needed anything, we were right around the corner.
We left, checked into our room, and as I allowed myself ample “ER” time (Express and Release), I came to the conscious realization that even though I had just walked through hell and experienced the exact opposite of everything I had dreamed, envisioned, and intended, I knew there HAD to be a powerful gift in this experience for both of us. With the domino effect of all the good that had been flowing into my life, the good I had been feeling on such a consistent basis, and all the love and utter determination I had for this to be a positive experience for my mom and me, it made NO sense that things would go off the rails in such a dramatic way without there being a REALLY good reason. This thought immediately quieted my spirit, and moments later I was fast asleep.
The Dragon Brings a Gift
The next day started calm, light, and clear. We decided to have a nice lunch and stroll around the new Disney Springs shopping complex before heading out of town, and, all in all, it was a pleasant time. However, when we got in the car to head home, the dragon reappeared. The words and behaviors coming from my mom were SO extreme: being angry and defensive one minute, singing the next, cursing us and life in general the next, then back to singing. In short, as our British brothers and sisters would say, there was truly “nothing for it.”
As I sat quietly in the car trying to soothe myself, I started to remember the title of a book that Joeel and Natalie Rivera (my soul family, creative partners, and publishers of this magazine) had recommended that could give some insight into how to have a better experience with my mom. After reading only the first few pages of Stop Walking on Eggshells, I felt an increasing surge of both deep compassion for my mom and a wonderful sense of lightness in my body and heart. After 40 pages and some quiet time at home to truly take it all in, I began to feel as if a giant burden that had been lodged in my spirit for years (that I could not quite put my finger on before) had finally broken loose. So rather than having a night of emotional upheaval, beating up on myself and feeling like I had failed my mom and myself, I slipped into one of the most peaceful night’s sleep I have had in a VERY long time feeling happy, liberated, peaceful, and truly—in every way—good.
Though I thought it to be an unwelcome guest, the dragon only came because I had INVITED it, and boy, did it bring one HELL of a blessing in disguise that created a ripple effect of transformation and healing for my mom, myself, and our family that can only be described as EPIC.
The Bottom Line—A Dragon in Fantasyland: An EPIC Blessing in Disguise
How many times have your felt like you were doing everything right, feeling SO very good, investing time, love, and focus in creating something beautiful, and could practically see, smell, taste and touch it because it felt SO real—like a DONE deal…
…and then, somehow, for reasons you can’t possibly explain, things seemed to go horribly wrong?
We’ve all been there, and when it happens on a subject that REALLY matters or happens multiple times, it’s easy to see why many think the Law of Attraction is B.S. and there can’t possibly be a God/Universe/Source of Good—for when I was in the middle of the worst part of this exchange, (and other experiences like this) boy was it easy to feel that way. BUT, the MOMENT I had the presence of mind to acknowledge that there was indeed a gift waiting for me—that perhaps rather than being fatally flawed and doing something wrong, I actually DID do everything RIGHT and was STILL on my path—was the moment I set the wheels in motion to be in a place to receive an EPIC blessing and witness an answered prayer that has literally been a LIFETIME in the making.
The book I discovered was about coping with a loved one with a condition known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but not being a fan of feeding negative ideas and expectations about someone I care about, I honestly had not wanted to read it. Yet, a painful pattern played out with my mom and I again—despite EVERY effort to create and facilitate a positive experience—felt COMPELLED to read this book, and so I went with it.
Having this knowledge has changed EVERYTHING for me—it’s as if my very DNA started rearranging with the first words I read. Having an understanding and immense admiration for what my mom has had to overcome in her life and compassion for what she is currently working through (in addition to facing her mortality and other physical issues that would be scary to even the happiest person in the world), while understanding that her reactions or judgment of me have NOTHING to do with me, and knowing that there are things I CAN do to be helpful AND maintain my joy, may be the breakthrough of the freakin’ century for me as a human being.
Now back to YOU.
Regardless of the specific details of how MY personal experience played out, here is the TRUE moral of the story:
* Remember that no matter what it looks like, the dragon (aka “contrast,” upheaval and unrest) IS your greatest friend and ally.
* The dragon only comes when it is summoned and invited.
* The dragon exists for the purpose of evoking higher levels of self-actualization, awakening the hero within, and aligning you with the big, bold, badass, beautiful version of your life and self that YOU have been asking for.
* The bigger the dragon, the bigger the gift.
Embrace and engage the dragon. Listen to what it has to share. Let it help you find the incredible gift that YOU have asked it to bring to you because you HAVE been doing it RIGHT all along, and the dragon would not waste its time on someone who is not ready or worthy.
Here’s to being awake and powerful while enjoying your journey through Fantasyland; to celebrating the victory of YOU being more fully, boldly YOU; to inspiring all the other would-be heroes every time you allow yourself to rise and evolve; and to TRULY. LIVING. LIFE. ON. FIRE.
Terez “Firewoman” Hartmann,“Your catalyst for all things Fab-YOU-lous,” is the author of Allowing Your Success!, a proud contributing author of Transform Your Life! book one and two, a professional Keynote Speaker/Workshop Facilitator, Singer-Songwriter/Recording Artist, “Allowing Adventures!” & “Savor Vacation” Facilitator, and true Renaissance Woman, and Visionary. She keeps her fire lit by embracing and promoting a lifestyle of “Allowing,” and by using creative expression to elevate and ignite the human spirit, a passion that she shares with her husband, soul-mate and creative partner of over 15 years, John Victor Hartmann. Together they share “Allowing TRUE LOVE” workshops and experiences designed to help others attract, allow, and maintain extraordinary relationships, and create custom jingles and voice-overs in their studio, THE Creativity Express. Visit: http://www.TerezFirewoman.com