Lately I’ve had a gigantic chocolate chip on my shoulder. All the sweetness has been sucked out of me and is sitting there taunting me as I scowl at it smuggly. I opened my eyes one morning and my world was dark. I don’t even know how I wandered into such a mentally draining place but I am standing knee deep and unsuccessfully trying to trudge my way out. I always say the way we act comes down to a choice. Am I seriously choosing to be this monster of negativity who has tainted my vision to see nothing but doom and gloom? I am so frustrated with everyone including myself. If I could crawl out of my skin and into a happier place, I would jump at the chance but the challenge is finding that happy place standing exactly where I am in this moment inside of myself. I have so much to be grateful for but my mind is defeated. Ebb and flow. The constant change that is continuously spinning all around us. Now to steady myself and find my balance. The mind can be a very dark place when we allow it to wander to a place we know we don’t belong. Time to turn these boots around and march back to a place that feels lighter and hopeful. I have the desire to get there, I have just lost my way. What do you do to find your way back when you slip into the negativity hole that swallows you up until you feel completely lost?
“and is NEVER a discipline problem in the classroom.”
“Also, he is no problem in class!”
These quotes were taken directly from emails between Chases teacher and myself. I was questioning some of her grading methods and one of the things I strongly disagreed about was a child’s behavior affecting his grade. I have always and will always believe a child’s grade should be based on his learning and his ability to express it through many forms of schoolwork such as tests, worksheets, projects, papers, etc. That being said, I was very surprised to see this grade come across the internet today. These emails took place earlier in the week so can someone attempt to make sense of this for me. Calling all teachers! Help me with this one. This is what I stumbled on today:
Score 85 (85%)
Name Europe- Classroom Behavior
Due Date 01/19/2015
Date Assigned 01/19/2015
Total Points 100
“To think negatively is like taking a weakening drug.”
I awoke to this quote today. I’m not sure who originally said it but I can testify that I am drinking the poison. I realized today how crucial it is to wake up on a positive note. Those first few hours of the day can make such a tremendous difference. My mother has been staying with me for a few weeks and today I realized something important. I always call her first thing in the morning after I drop my daughter off for school. I am usually not in the greatest of moods. Often, I am either complaining about someone’s bad attitude or talking about the things I am dreading that I have to do that day. I take my poison and literally pass it to her to drink. My venting is toxic. It is killing me and the people who take the time to listen to me. We all vent and slowly, one day at a time, we are killing the positive spirit that is fighting to live inside each and everyone of us.
Don’t we have a responsibility to ourselves and others to pass a different cup around? How about passing something like happiness or encouragement or even love around? I decided today to take a personal challenge. For three days, I will not complain. Even if I think a bad thought or stumble into a bad mood, I will not speak of it. I will give the mood/circumstance no words, no attention and I will not drag my garbage around and stuff it in someone else’s can. Three simple days. It sounds so easy but the truth is it will take some serious discipline and dedication. I will start small and hopefully grow this new practice big. Will you join me? Will you say no to dumping and complaining? Let’s give it a try.
All I’ve heard about for days was the impending doom and gloom over the blizzard heading for the east coast. Today, as I sit here on my pool deck in shorts and a tank top basking in the glorious rays of this warm, healing sun, I am filled with gratitude. I am fortunate to be here, right now in this wonderful spot feeling the heat shine down on my face. I am fortunate to be at peace enough to sit here awhile and bottle this up. It is nice to take a moment and be thankful for all I have. I haven’t done enough of this lately. What are you thankful for today?
Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well. I have this gnawing need to keep a clean house. If the house is dusted and vacuumed and everything is in it’s place, I am in a good place. It might seem irrational to some but the fact is, that is just part of who I am. It is necessary for my survival whether it makes sense or not. I tried really hard to conserve my energy. I knew being sick would take its toll so I tried my best to not notice the fingerprints on the counter and the cat litter on the floor. I even lit a candle to help me relax. Anyone who really knows me would understand the mental angst it would cause me to leave the house unattended. One thing I learned in life is that we all have things that make us tick. Our priorities and our needs are diverse to say the least but when we are in a relationship, we learn what is important to the people in our lives and we just don’t question it. We may think to ourself that Kim is a total nutcase with her constant need to have a tidy house but for whatever reason I love her and I will embrace this part of her. So, back to yesterday. Of all the things that would have been helpful to me yesterday, what does my husband choose to do? He blows the candle out, my candle out, that I lit. If I’m being honest, his choice of being helpful did not sit with me very well. I was furious. I realized as I calmed myself down that in my mind I was that candle and in a single moment, when I wasn’t looking, just like that, my light was blown out. Isn’t that how we all feel sometimes? We do our best to act out our roles and out of no where, when we least expect it, someone sucks the life right out of us? And why? We were just going about, minding our own business, doing the best we can and bam, undeservingly attacked. That is what our mind allows us to believe. The truth is, even if someone blows out our candle, we have the power to light it again. It’s as simple as that. We can pretend the action of another is the end of our world or we can simply make the choice to dust ourselves off and move in a different direction. We are not victims, not to others at least but we can certainly be a victim to our own thoughts. All I had to do was pull the lighter out of the drawer and re-light the flame. I could have saved myself the aggravation of the poor me saga and moved on to something more productive.
Remember, no one can permanently blow out your own flame. They can try and it might seem dark for awhile but the power to light it back up lies in power of your own two hands.
I have a distant memory of a time long ago when I was a young girl. The need and urgency to lay out the day did not exist back then. The hours and minutes would be welcome in their own time, one at a time, with no need to rush them along. These days, now that I am grown, I feel unsettled when the minutes lack any sense of structure. It is hard to comfortably sit back and just let it be. I feel uneasy not preparing for the details of the day. I guess that’s what adulthood does, makes us so responsible that we lose the ability to loosen our grip on the stifling reigns of responsibility even for a small snippet of time. Even as I sat eating my breakfast, I was already consumed by what we would be having for lunch and dinner. I spend so much time planning for every detail that I lose the ability to take a moment to relax. Time to make some big changes. I can’t go on living this way. Nobody should. The best moments of all are the ones we are truly present for, not the ones where we bring the past to the future or waste the one we are in thinking about what is yet to come. So, please join me in my new journey to finding a path that helps me let go of my need to control. Sit with me as a passenger where I willingly choose to take my hands off the wheel and sit back and enjoy the ride. Who knows what we may discover on the way.
I wrote a post yesterday titled Who Are You? I got a few responses that really started me thinking. Imagine if people could see our true selves. What if we had a flashing light on the back and front of our shirt that described how we were feeling at that moment in one word? Would we be more sensitive in our interactions? If I was standing in line for coffee and someone’s shirt read depressed, would I offer a hello and kind words? Better yet, what if someone’s shirt read aggressive and I could automatically choose to stay away from him or her altogether. Wouldn’t the avoidance of that interaction help me stay in a better place? What if I knew to be kind to that person and possibly soften his heart. Wouldn’t that be a beautiful gift?
The truth is, we have layers and boundaries that hide who we really are. We think we know someone but our behavior may portray the very opposite of who we are in our heart. What if we could put into words what we really need? One word, on our back that would make us vulnerable enough to ask for what we need. Words like space, love, compassion, attention? We are always interacting with the layers. My layers react to your layers and your layers respond to my layers. It’s exhausting really. When do we ever break through enough exterior to have a relationship based on the real truth of who we are…who others are? Many of us don’t have the time or patience to stick around long enough to even get a glimpse of the soul of another human being. We are so tangled up in our own web that we become stuck there and that’s all we see.
Why is it so easy to feel aggravated and frustrated with the people around us? Why couldn’t it be easier to see their gifts and positive attributes as it is to see their faults and flaws? If only we could tear down the walls and sit there naked in front of one another unclothed by what the ego has led us to become. If only we could be brave enough to drop the fear long enough to show someone the beauty of our heart. The sad truth is for most of us, that will never happen. We are all like soldiers with PTSD trained to protect ourselves at all costs. What happens though is the sudden onset of the imagined threat of danger sends us into a complete tailspin. We are at risk to hurt the very people we were meant to protect because the fear and conditioned response to save ourselves elicits an involuntary reaction to destroy the enemy or whoever our mind convinces us is an enemy in a moment of weakness. I want to put down my gun and run as fast as I can to join a mission with the sole cause to bring about peace but do we really ever have the discipline and trust to make a commitment to something like that? Don’t the words we feel we have the right to speak and our need to prove we are right destroy the very thought of an opportunity to keep and promote peace? Imagine how beautiful the world would be if there was no threat of pain and hurt and a desire of all to love and heal? Our intentions are there. Our hearts are in the right place. The real work is convincing the mind to allow the layers to fall away, one at a time, one day at a time.
How are you feeling today? If you had to choose one word to describe who you are based on the way you are feeling right now, who are you? Give yourself a name. Are you love, peace, hate, anger? If I didn’t believe that we carry around energy and transmit it wherever we go, I sure do believe it today. I went to yoga this morning and we worked on opening our heart chakra. I spent an hour and a half breaking down protective barriers of my heart and opening myself to love and receive love from others. It took exactly 2 minutes after class ended to receive my first test. That is what yoga teaches us, that everyone who comes into our life is there to teach us a lesson. We are told that it is easy to love people who are lovable but how do you fend when you are trying to love someone who doesn’t seem lovable at all?
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about kindness. It has changed titles several times. A woman sent me a message telling me I had to change the wording of the title of my post because she owned the copyright to particular words. Today, weeks later, I received another threatening reminder even after I changed the title immediately days ago. As I left that class feeling all open, I checked my email and bam! Lesson one was staring me right in the face. I felt like I was under attack. Did this woman not even notice my title had changed because she was so focused on projecting her anger and aggression toward me? I responded by asking her politely to stop contacting me and wished her many blessings. Soon after, I came home and was filled with aggression too. I let that woman fill me up with so much of her anger that I became it. I couldn’t believe it. Her misplaced aggression was passed onto another innocent victim through my misplaced aggression. This energy thing is a tricky concept. It is hard to find the perfect balance of giving and receiving. No one can steal your peace. Peace is a calm that resides in each and everyone of us but anger is triggered by more anger. It’s a chain reaction. Next time I hope I will remember to breathe and that people’s words and behaviors are mostly about them and little about me. I need to calmly remind myself to choose peace and forgiveness and to be more responsible for the energy I carry around. I would never intentionally pass around a sour apple so I must think before I react.
So, let’s hear it. Who are you today? I’m ashamed.
If you haven’t read A Return To Love, I highly suggest you buy a copy. I have a distant memory of my aunt from when I was just a child. All the cousins used to get together and sometimes we would get on each other’s nerves. I remember when things started to heat up she would ask, “Are you mad?” When we would reply “yes”, she would suggest we scratch our mad spot. What in the world did that mean? Where the heck is my mad spot? I have no idea why that stuck with me but as I read the pages of that book today, things started to make sense. I have been pretty mad lately. That’s a fact. I’ve been mad at my daughter, my mother, my husband and anyone else that was willing to step in my line of attack. Being mad attracts more of being mad. I just couldn’t seem to shake the mad. I would be annoyed at something that happened in the morning with my daughter and when I would pick her up at 5:30, the mere sight of her would fire up the mad. What in the world was going on inside me? I didn’t want to feel mad. That never seems to do anyone any good. Just like magic, I opened the book and read these words from A Course in Miracles. Read them slowly and pay close attention. The lesson in these words offers a solution to being swallowed up by our irrational emotions.
“Forgiveness is the choice to see people as they are now. When we are angry at people, we are angry because of something they said or did before this moment. But what people said or did is not who they are. Relationships are reborn as we let go perceptions of our brother’s past. ‘By bringing the past into the present, we create a future just like the past.’ By letting the past go, we make room for miracles.”
Excerpt From: Williamson, Marianne. “A Return to Love.” HarperCollins.
How silly I was dragging the morning aggravation into my evening. How unfair of me to treat my daughter as if we had just left each other a moment ago. How crazy that I would choose to stay in a moment that didn’t feel good and waste the present moment by bringing in the past.. The very moment I wanted to escape was brought into every moment after by yes, you guessed it, me! Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done and nothing to brag about either. But, I was starting to understand that the person I was really mad at was myself for seeing people as the crime I condemned them for. People are more than their words or a bad day. People make mistakes and do things that are not nice but I should know better. I write about this kind of thing all the time. Now that I know better, I need to be better. That will be the real test. Applying what I have learned choosing new, healthier behaviors. No more grudges. Leave the past behind. See each moment as a new moment to unfold the way it will without dragging the past into spoil it.
I think I figured it out. The way I see it is we have a choice. We can choose to be mad or we can choose to love. When we scratch our mad spot it hurts. It is a clear reminder that holding onto anger hurts everyone involved so simply scratch it and move on. There is so much power in knowing we have a choice. Sometimes we just forget and a line from a book can put us back in a more loving place. I thought it was an important lesson to share. It sure meant a lot to me.
I’m starting to really believe that it is necessary to remove toxic people from my life if I want to be happy. The problem is there are some people that I cannot remove so I have to get the relationship moving in a different direction. Like it or not, we teach people how to treat us. If we drop everything we are doing to meet every immediate need of the people around us, we teach them we are not important. How do we learn to set up new boundaries and lay down the foundation for a new mutually respectful relationship? Things don’t change over night. That is the one thing I know to be true. How do we set even the smallest boundary when before there has been none? I have this visual of my little dog. He is so small that he can easily slip through the fence in the back yard. For years he has escaped and roamed freely wherever he chooses to go. What if tomorrow I put up an electric fence? Is that fair to the dog? Is that how we need to set boundaries in our own life, in a shocking way that will not slip from the attention of the person we need to respect us? Or, should we do it gradually, expecting a little more as time goes by.
Living with teenagers can be pretty hard. They are self centered and everything about them is a big deal. At least that’s what they believe anyway. It’s important to me that they do not take what I do for them for granted. Is it wrong to want to hear please and thank you and see a little appreciation from time to time? I am more than just mom. I am a woman with my own needs and a human being who does not want to feel like I am continuously at the mercy of the people around me. That is when the relationship goes bad. That is when you stop feeling love for the people in your life because you are bogged down with resentment and anger. Those feeling just don’t feel good and the aftermath is damaging for everyone involved. Time to set some boundaries. Time to teach people, with the way I treat myself, that I am important and I have my own separate life aside from the roles I have in this play of life. Where to start. I guess it is like paving a new road. Sometimes the road is so damaged, it is necessary to rip that one out and start anew. Oh, the back up that can cause. Weeks and months of being inconveniently stuck in traffic, but when that road is done….the drive is much smoother. Time for a smoother drive. It’s long overdue.