The Lesson At My Door

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A knock came on my door yesterday. I wasn’t expecting anyone and when I asked

 “who is it?”, 

I cringed as the voice on the other side said,

“It’s me. A life lesson.”

I am really starting to believe that we bump into the same lesson over and over again until we finally master our response to it. There are days I mutter to myself, “really again, why me”, but there is a part of me that is certain the answer is always the same. My reaction to things out of my control is not a very healthy one. The physical response alone is quite disturbing and the thoughts that dance closely behind are not graceful either. It’s so hard for me to accept whatever is sometimes. My fight or flight kicks in and the adrenaline is quite unsettling. I actually have the urge to jolt right out of my body and escape whatever it is making me feel so uncomfortable. The reality that I am not a superhero is tragic. I am me. I am mom. I can fix everything right? The only problem is I am trapped in this human body. Where is my costume? Don’t I have hidden powers? I can’t possibly be this helpless and ordinary. That’s where the life lesson makes her entrance. She glares at me with crazy eyes as she taunts me with the words, “you’re not at all as great as you think you are. You are ordinary, powerless and I am your master”.

Last night and again this morning did not go as planned. The truth is, it never was about my plan anyway. I decided to take a deep breath and just go with the flow. Why waste the little energy I have fighting something I can never change? The truth is so obvious but even as I write these words I can feel the resistance inside of me. I need to make peace with that part and nurture it back to good health. I need to teach that small part to trust the sum of the whole and find the courage to really believe that it will all be okay in the end. The sky is not falling. A deviation from plans is not the end of the world. Distorted thoughts and believing in false threats is the only roadblock keeping me from living a calm, peaceful life. Time to remove them and carry on to a more peaceful place.

Can Goals Become Too Important?

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Everywhere I look, people are trying to do more, be more. I can’t help but sit back and wonder to myself, are goals starting to be more important than living these days? Conversations with friends revolve around the desperate need for their kids to get straight A’s. Guess what? Not everyone is capable of getting an A in every class. What kind of message are we starting to scream to our children? Anything less than perfect is not good enough? I watch as parents spend almost 1000 dollars to help their college bound student get a better grade on the ACT test. Do we really need our kids to get into Harvard or Yale to feel like they are successful? When is enough enough? How many parents rave about their kids getting a 4.0 at the end of their college years when in the real world what matters is if they get a job and how well they do it? How many teams do we have to encourage our son to play on to do everything we can to eliminate his chance of sitting on the high school bench? How many hours do we have to spend grasping at goals that don’t mean a damn thing in the end? Is perfection and being the best worth the time we trade for it every single day? Does happiness and living have to be dependent on whether or not we ever reach our goals and do you ever ask yourself, what is the cost? 

I’m sorry but I will not raise my children to kill themselves to be above the crowd. I will raise them to appreciate their real gifts and encourage them to use those gifts to better the world. I will encourage them to appreciate time and the things that most agree are really important at the end of our lives. I will encourage them to be their own personal best and not to compare themselves to the people around them. I will show them that I love them for who they are and never make them feel it is conditional on how well they do. Not being the best but rather their personal best, will always be good enough for me. 

The Power of Silence

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Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.Rachel Naomi Remen

Look Harder

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Some days, it is necessary to put the magnifying glass down. Don’t look at everyone and every word so closely and stop being so critical. As hard as it may be, see the God or good in everyone around you. It is there, whether you want to believe it or not. Sometimes it is not the person who is faulty but rather our perception of him that is really off. More times that not, what we do not like in someone else is a part we do not like in ourselves. It is a reflection back of something we do not wish to face. Look for something good, see something good. Look for something bad, see something bad. Whatever you look for will be waiting there for you to see. One of the greatest challenges in life is finding the good in someone who has hurt you or who you have grown to hate. Look harder. It is there.

Remember When

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Remember when, 30 seemed so old, now looking back, it’s just a stepping home from where we are to where we’ve been, said we’d do it all again. Remember when?

I was driving back home after dropping Chase off at school this morning and the reality hit me like a ton of bricks. All of a sudden, tears were flowing down my cheeks. That song, Remember When, by Alan Jackson came on the radio and every single word ripped at my heart like every other time I hear it. Some memories do that same thing too.

Life is short. Time is precious and we have to enjoy the moments as we are in them, for in the blink of a moment, they are long gone. Today, I want to remind myself to forgive like I’ve never been hurt, smile like I don’t have crooked teeth and to love like my heart has never been broken. 

Focus on the ones who have filled your life with blessings. Be grateful to the ones who have caused you pain. For everyone we meet is our spiritual teacher, whose job and unknowing responsibility is to challenge us to be the person we are meant to be.

Love, laugh, forgive, heal and love. Make a choice to love from your heart and not from your mind. The mind will steer you wrong almost every time. Accept people exactly how they are because you can’t change them anyway and love yourself right now, in this moment. Say to yourself, I am enough because I believe you really are.

Flow With It

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Late last night I shared my adventure of being diverted to another airport on my flight home due to weather issues. I guess life was testing me because the story got a little complicated way too fast. My intention was to go with the flow and not get overly stressed out by what I couldn’t change. Not long after we landed, the pilot made an announcement that the plane we were sitting on would not be flying anymore that evening. They had discovered some damage to the wing and didn’t think we could get flights back until the next morning. After what seemed like forever, they announced they were getting charter buses to bring us the hour and a half ride home. Flight time was 20 minutes so the crowd was pretty disappointed. Lucky for me, my husband was already on his way and I was very grateful. They eventually allowed us to leave through the back exit and make our way to the airport. The plane was half empty when they started yelling for everyone to get back on the plane. It would be fixed in the next 40 minutes and we were expected to sit and wait. I called my husband and told him to make his way back to the airport and sat there another hour and fifteen minutes. I, along with the other passengers watched in disbelief as the maintenance team duck taped the wing. At last we were off and our hour and forty five trip turned into five hours. It was a long day and I was exhausted but as I climbed into my own bed for the first time in weeks, I was very grateful, even if it was three in the morning.

Life is a test. Everyday we are faced with new challenges. Whether we pass or fail is entirely up to us. We can keep on flunking or finally get it right. The sooner the better because life will offer the same test over and over until we do. Someday, I will look back on this and laugh. Today is not that day. Until then, everyday, I will remind myself, I should not fight what I cannot change. Just flow.

Feed Your Soul

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You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel

Tabitha Suzuma 

I learned a long time ago that to really move forward in life, you have to face your own demons. You have to grab them by the horns and force a friendship that is difficult to form. It’s not until you face every side of yourself and look in the mirror and still feel beautiful, that the world really opens up to you. Sure, you have flaws, we all do right? We all have things we are insecure about, maybe even embarrassed and ashamed about. Make peace with those things and stop keeping them hidden in a place that is dragging you down. Find a way to love yourself, every single part, flaws and all. Learning to love yourself unconditionally is never easy but once you do, your heart will open up in a whole new way. You will forgive yourself and forgiving others will come naturally as well. You will stop being so critical and notice you have no tolerance or need anymore to judge others or yourself. You will accept and love yourself for who you are and will finally be free of the conditions that determine whether or not you will love and accept another. You can’t heal what you don’t feel. You can pretend your demons don’t exist but in your heart, you know they are there. If your heart is hard, maybe even closed, you have got to do whatever it takes to feel love, happiness and forgiveness again. Every single day matters, you never get a single one back. Do it now and don’t starve yourself of the important things that nourish your soul.

Life Can Turn You Inside Out(My Reaction To The Movie)

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I recently saw the movie Inside Out. I went with the expectation that it was going to be funny but the truth is it left me feeling very depressed. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you but I will share the reasons I found it so painful.

We are born with the purest of hearts. We love unconditionally and we trust in a way that makes us feel safe and secure. Our eyes only see the good in the world and the people around us. They smile at us and we smile back. The world is a place that is exciting and we are exhilarated by the way we see it every new day. If something is wrong, mom and dad are there to fix it. We want something, it is given to us. We learn that whatever we need will be provided to us by someone else. We are told everything will be okay.

Somewhere along the road of growing up, we learn pain. We don’t wake up excited anymore, we wake up trying to convince ourselves to get out of bed. We are told to suck it up buttercup and keep moving on. We learn that the world is not as safe as we once believed and we learn that people are capable of hurting us in the most horrible ways. We learn that we are on our own and there are just some things that will never be fixed. Everything will not always be okay and we have to deal with the disappointment that brings. We start to love conditionally and we shut ourselves off a little more each time someone lets us down. People we loved so easily start to appear a whole new way. We place conditions on them and they place condition on us. We start to judge our lives and others by the unrealistic expectations that end up killing the spirit that used to make us feel so free. We say and do things we are not proud of and we spend a lifetime trying to forgive ourselves. We spend a lifetime searching for happiness instead of finding happiness in every single thing around us. We start to believe that happiness is dependent on this or dependent on that. We put off living today because we are living the past or rushing the future. Our looking forward to a new day is replaced by dreading another mundane day. The happy go lucky child in us takes on responsibility that doesn’t feel as fun as riding our bike down the street we used to live on each night. Bills happen, tragedies happen, people die and despite the grip we have on the wheel, we cannot control the direction of the car we try so hard to steer. We want life to be fun and roses but the truth is we are sad, discouraged and mostly lonely. We pretend we are happy. We pretend we can handle anything and let life’s blows just roll off our back. The reality is every blow hurts. Every blow leaves a scar and taints the innocent view of the world we once so easily had. We stop seeing through the bright eyes of a child that used to be bursting with life and worst of all, we stop making time to play. We don’t even remember how to play anymore. We are serious now. Mature. Responsible. We wish we had a binky to make it all better or a replacement for that stuffed animal that used to be tucked underneath our arm. Remember how it used to make everything better? Our security blanket is ripped away and we are left alone standing fearfully on our own two feet waiting for Superman to fly in and save the world, save us from ourselves maybe. He never comes. We stop expecting anything from anyone and we stop looking into the eyes of people all together because they are much too busy staring into cell phones to look back. We become one with our sadness until it feels comfortable and slowly, one day, we start to heal.

I’m not trying to say life is horrible. It’s wonderful and there is so much good. What I am saying is growing up can be really hard. We realize that what we believed as a child is not the reality we live as an adult. We discover that life is more than being happy. It is about loving and living and disappointment, success, failure, hurt, pain and everything in between. It is a journey of embracing every detail of your life and reinventing the dream of what you thought it would be into the reality of what it is. You love the inner child in you so she feels safe again and you accept her unconditionally so she learns to reopen the parts of her heart that hurt once closed. You learn to let life happen the way it unfolds and you set your car on cruise control. You accept that everything won’t be okay but you will hold it together to get to another day. You learn that each day holds promise, a chance to do better, to live better and to finally make time to play. You accept that Superman is not real and you learn to become your own hero, to save yourself. You learn that the best friend you could ever have is yourself and to live a way that feels right with your soul. You start to love unconditionally again and you find forgiveness for the ones who let you down. You learn that life will be filled with every emotion and that’s okay. You start to look for the good in everyone and you feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for the blessings that are all around you. You accept that life is tragically beautiful and you buckle your seatbelt for the bumps along the way. You live, you love and you do it all again when you wake up the next day. Life can turn you inside out and make you feel upside down. Learn to stand on your head and enjoy the view from wherever you are. 

Is There Anything We Will Not Try And Change?

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I saw an article about Bruce Jenner today that started me thinking. Everywhere I seem to look people are trying to change who they are. It started with basic things like hair color which led to changing our look all together. Now we have face lifts, tummy tucks. We even go as far to change our name and finally we get to a point that we are even changing our gender. My question is where will we stop? Will we stop? When we are uncomfortable with something, we never learn to accept and deal with it, we simply find a way to change it. If we are in a relationship with someone who has habits we do not like, we expect them to change. Not only do we want to change ourselves, we try and change the people around us. If someone has a different opinion, we try and change their mind. Why oh why can we not accept people, ourselves and the world exactly the way it is? What drives us to fix everything that was never even broken? Are we so selfish to think we need to be insatiably satisfied with every little detail of everything around us? There are agendas all around trying to change everything from what the constitution of marriage should mean to the Constitution itself. We fight accepting things as they are and we are bold enough to think we should change them to what we think they should be. I truly believe that part of our journey here is to love and accept ourselves, others and the world exactly the way it is. We need to learn to be okay with who we are and embrace our whole self instead of changing the parts to make us feel whole. We need to learn to get along in relationships and accept that not everyone will be the person we think they should be and allow and appreciate them for who they are without prejudice, without judgement. We need to find a way to love ourselves and others including the parts that we consider our imperfections. Does that mean we should not improve what we can make better for the better of the people and the world as a whole? Oh course not but we do need to find a way to accept and appreciate and respect our lives without always wanting to be someone else or someplace else. The hardest challenge we ever face as humans is accepting things exactly the way they are without our preconceived notions trying to resist what is. Be in the moment. Be proud  of who you are. Love the world and your journey in life exactly the way it is and stop letting expectations and the constant grasping for perfection rob you of the precious time you have. Rant over.