|Posted on February 20, 2017 at 11:30 AM|
Dear Moms of the Littles,
And by Littles, I mean the young-uns under the age of 6.
I want to apologize. I want to say I’m sorry for each and every time another Mother has said, “OH! Enjoy it! It goes by so fast!”
I mean, it does…or it will. I can hardly believe my oldest is heading in to college and my youngest is 10 and my baby girl is a teenager with a social life better than mine.
But…(and this is a big but):
when your days are full of poop, snot and regurgitation; when going to the grocery store causes you anxiety
when your nights are sleepless and your days barricade you and the Littles in a house strewn with puzzle pieces, legos and Dora
when your laundry seems never ending (well, I don’t know if that ever stops)
when you can’t remember how to hold an adult conversation
when there isn’t enough time in the day to blow dry your own hair
when leaving the house requires a game plan
when you become obsessed with Veggie Tales and consider it your new religion
when you are searching frantically for a park with an open baby swing
when you look at the father of your Little and you wonder what the hell you were thinking
when you aren’t sure what life looked life before or what life will ever look like after your Little is not attached to your hip –
when all that is happening and sometimes on the same day –
time does not go by fast.
I remember shopping at a discount store with an infant in the cart and a four-year-old bouncing around beside it – I remember standing in the middle of the aisle exhausted and unsure…I remember the sweetest middle-aged woman strolling casually up to me and commenting on my beautiful family, telling me that I was so very lucky and how in the blink of an eye they will be grown and gone…and I remember wanting to cry.
Not at the idea of them being grown and gone but because I couldn’t fathom it…my days seemed never ending and my four-year-old seemed like it was taking him a very long time to be five.
And then I felt really really guilty for feeling like time was going by so, so, so so slowly.
Don’t get me wrong – there was never a moment I regretted having three children.
They are the biggest adventure of my life. I am completely amazed by each of them.
I do, however, regret not totally understanding at that time – how lucky I really was. Oh, what I would give to be back in that little ranch surrounded by legos and puzzle pieces and coupons I never used!
I spent a lot of time worrying…worrying about a lot of people/places and things that had nothing to do with my Littles.
I so badly wish I would have known that all that worrying wouldn’t save a single soul, friendship, relationship or job. Instead, the worry just added to the length of my day and stole joy from raising my Littles.
Now, when I see you, darling young Mother…instead of telling you how fast time flies…I want to tell you that the Little you have with you right now is the most important soul you will ever be given. Please do not fret about what is going on outside your doors…those other adults in your life will figure things out…or they won’t. Stay kind and compassionate, help when you can but never ever ever feel like you’re letting others down because you are focusing on your Littles and your bond with them.
People that are meant to be in your life will still be in your life when your Littles are no longer begging to be attached to your hip, when then legos are packed away and Dora is no longer cool…friendships and relationships based on honesty and communication will still be there when your house feels like a ghost town…and you realize how wise that middle aged woman was so many years ago.
Middle Aged Meg
|Posted on December 9, 2016 at 4:45 PM|
This year, has been the roughest year, thus far, in my life.
Keep in mind, a few years ago, within one year - I went through a divorce, moved twice, changed jobs and had emergency surgery.
And this year has topped that year.
But, there's this memory that keeps popping in my mind:
I'm about 8 years old crying at our kitchen table on 44th Street. My arm is resting in a pool of dried sticky syrup (our family of 10 never allowed a clean table for more than two minutes) and my forehead is resting on my forearm- I can see the tears dripping from my face, my nose is running and my knees are scraped.
My Mom appears with tissue and band aids, gently lifts my head, wipes away my tears and holds the Kleenex as I blow my nose. My knees are cleaned and bandaged. She tells me, "It's going to be okay."
I don't remember what happened to cause the scraped knees but I do remember the gentle touch of her hand against my cheek, the tug of the the tissue at my nose and the kindness in my Mother's eyes.
This year, I have wished - so many times - that she'd appear with a box of tissues and maybe a cup of tea.
But that can't happen.
I've learned that no one can magically appear like your Mom and I've learned that sometimes you gotta ask for help, and I've learned that sometimes you will be the only one who can wipe away your tears.
Perhaps years from now, I won't feel the pain from the events of this year, but I will remember the tissue givers, the gentle souls, the kindness of those who have let me know, "It's going to be okay."
|Posted on October 20, 2016 at 10:25 AM|
It can be hard, right? To control our emotions when someone is treating us badly? Whether it be a person you care for or a person that barely knows you.
It’s hard to stay calm among the chaos.
Our first instinct, as humans, is to fight back or run away. We either lash out -- defend and protect ourselves or take flight and disappear -- especially if shame and humiliation are tools being used by the aggressor.
Years ago, when I was going through a divorce, my first instinct was to justify to everyone the reasons why. I wanted people to know that it was “all his fault.” I was adamant that others should not judge me but I was perfectly okay with the idea of juding him. I was in pure defense mode.
I’m not happy about that—I’m not proud that I put him down in order to lift me up. Did I need to talk while I was going through the divorce? Did I need therapy after our marriage? Oh yes. I needed, we all need, someone to witness and acknowledge our pain, whether it be a paid professional or our best friends. Talk therapy is real, helpful and life changing. I’m not advising anyone to hold it all in – but purposely tearing someone down won’t help you heal. It breeds hate, it adds to the conflict and increases our need to defend ourselves more.
Our marriage wasn't good - for either or us. It was broken and unfixable for a very long time. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Now, we are at peace with each other. We focus solely on our common interest and the three most important people in our lives – our children. There are times, I think of him as a friend – something that seemed impossible during our marriage. And this, this place we are at in our divorced relationship has brought peace, stability and a whole lot of love back in to our family.
More recently, I went through an experience that had the opposite effect. I didn’t want to fight back and defend, I wanted to flee. I wanted to hide, bury myself deep in a pit of aloneness and weep. And I did. I did what I needed to do as far as my responsibilities to work and my family and then when I was left all alone, I cried. I sobbed. I slept, I binged on television, wine and bad food. The hangovers felt better than the sorrow I was experiencing.
I knew what I was doing.
Thanks to Yoga and Meditation. I knew very well that I was self-medicating and avoiding dealing with something I had been putting off for a very long time -- the truth can be very scary to acknowledge. It hurts.
I vented my frustrations and my sadness to the people I trust most in the world -- people who love me with all my faults and insecurities. I started reading the Tao. I got back on my mat. I sat in silence. I decided to stop putting off the inevitable. I stopped numbing myself with alcohol, television and bad food. I told myself the truth. I let it sink in. I swam around in it. I wrapped myself up in the painful truth of the consequences of my decisions. I sat, wallowed, absorbed the truth.
I let all the anger, hate, frustration, compassion, love, confusion, hurt and sadness that comes with finally admitting the truth to yourself roll right through me. I felt the weight of carrying all that around.
And then, I felt the lightness of letting it go.
Once you see the truth it is hard to turn away from it. And now, I will make better choices, respond better to the pain rather than numb, ignore and push it away. I'll stay present with the truth letting it be as it is -- knowing the only thing I have control over is myself and my reactions to the chaos that surrounds me, that surrounds all of us.
In each and every situation, we have a choice. We can decide to cause more hate, more pain, more sadness. We can decide to numb ourselves, build a wall of protection around our hearts and toughen up. Or, we can practice peace, compassion and kindness. We can reflect, accept responsibility and respond in a way that adds more love…more goodness…more encouragement to heal our broken hearts.
|Posted on July 24, 2016 at 2:35 PM|
With all of the recent and ongoing brutality occurring in the world, I’ve been feeling a strong urge to be surrounded by the people I love. And by the people that love me. I’m finding it easier to disengage from people who seem to be holding grudges, anger, or judgement. I’ve never understood how people can continue to hold grudges against people they are supposed to love. It is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever experienced in my life and I am thankful that while I may be quick to anger at times, I’m always able to forgive.
I know I’ve disappointed people. Just as people have disappointed me.
I know I’ve had high expectations from family, friends and employers and have found myself crushed by their inability to give me what I needed or wanted. Just as I have not delivered what others have expected from me.
I know my actions, while not deliberate, have hurt people I love and admire. And I know there are times I have been hurt, not on purpose, by my friends and family.
I know all of this, I’ve always known this. What is new for me is the realization that true friendships -- whether they are within the family or not, are based on the ability to acknowledge that forgiveness is at the heart of every worthwhile relationship.
I recently read an article written by a woman in her final stage of life, with a cancer diagnosis giving her just a few weeks to live -- she said she wanted to spend the rest of her days only with people she loves and vice versa. Only with people she is the most comfortable being herself around.
I don’t want to wait until I’m dying to finally learn this lesson. I don’t want to spend time with people who are holding on to anger and unable to forgive.
I am so very grateful for the people in my life that get this. That understand that there is not a single perfect person out there. That understand that life is a process. That understand forgiveness and kindness as a life practice.
I am very fortunate to have true friends in my life -- they are rare and precious and I feel blessed to have them with me on my life journey.. And I’m heartbroken over the friendships and connections I’ve lost.
Below, is a writing by David Whyte that struck me right in the center of my heart. It is what I look for in friendships and it’s what I strive to be as a friend.
I hope each of you are surrounded by people that have the gift of friendship in their heart.
is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die…
Friendship is the great hidden transmuter of all relationship: it can transform a troubled marriage, make honorable a professional rivalry, make sense of heartbreak and unrequited love and become the newly discovered ground for a mature parent-child relationship.
The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence…
Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversational way even after one half of the bond has passed on.
But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the self nor of the other, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.
|Posted on May 25, 2016 at 4:30 PM|
I sat down to write about something else.
A few hours ago, I wanted to write about a few lines from a poem that have been on my mind. These lines, when I read or recite them, often make me feel uncomfortable:
“Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.”
It’s from a poem written by one of my favorite living poets, David Whyte. I wanted to “write out” why these words make me uncomfortable and as I thought about it -- right away I recognized that thinking of others as “too small” for me goes against some of my core beliefs. Who am I to say anything or anyone is too small for me? I recognized that I had been raised by the “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all” credo so even the thought of thinking “small” about another makes me cringe.
However, there are times I’ve told friends and family to get out of relationships that are hurting them or agreed with their decision to leave a job where they have felt used or unappreciated. I don’t ever want people I love, or people in general, to be in a place where they feel “small.”
So then I thought about the times I felt “small” and recognized that in those experiences, I was in a relationship, work environment, class, or situation that was wrong for me. It was either an experience I was not ready for or an experience that would have taken me way off of the path to happiness.
So, as I was thinking about all of this, I decided to google David Whyte to make sure I was writing his words correctly and I came upon a youtube video of one his speeches in which he recites a few of his poems.
Mind you, I was fully ready to write out all of the situations where I felt “small’’ and why I felt “small” and who made me feel “small” and what I was believing about feeling “small” and so on and so on. And in each of those situations how I had always felt a sense of abandonment either by myself or another.
And then I heard this:
“to feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings…put down the weight of your aloneness…”
And I stopped. I stopped thinking about all the times I felt alone, abandoned, small, betrayed--because those things happen -- and they happen to everyone. And while these things are happening - the sun still rises, friends still care, Lotus (our family pup) still snuggles close, my kids still need me, and I still have work to do -- constant reminders that in each and every time I’ve felt abandoned, I have never been alone. Even those times I’ve felt like I couldn’t verbally express my sadness or couldn’t find another living soul to listen to my sadness, I’ve always been able to find a hiking trail, a church, a sunset. In my aloneness, I’ve created a stronger sense of how not alone I truly am.
So I’m putting it down – the “weight of my aloneness” and I’m joining in with the intimacy of my surroundings. I’m hugging my husband, taking the dog for a walk, rolling out the yoga mat and taking cupcakes to my daughter and her friends. And in each of these situations, I know I am not small.
My hope is that during those times you are feeling alone, that you also can put down the weight of your aloneness and recognize the beauty of all that surrounds you – and make a silent agreement with yourself that you, too, should never, ever, ever stay in a place that makes you feel small.
|Posted on April 12, 2016 at 2:45 PM|
I’m thinking of how lucky I am, how I just celebrated the anniversary of running my own small business in a neighborhood I love. I’m thinking of how lucky I am to have just returned from a vacation celebrating five years of marriage to one of the kindest people I know.
I’m thinking about the range of emotions I felt on that vacation: bliss – while gazing over landscapes I can’t quite put into words…anxiety – over missing my home and children…sadness – while saying goodbye at the end of a hike to all the beauty I just witnessed…frustration – over finding myself caught up in unnecessary drama thousands of miles away.
In between all of those emotions, I read a book about two Honduran children, ages 6 and 12, trying to make their way to Texas. Abandoned, the older sibling leads her younger brother through violent, dangerous situations in order to find relief from their Honduran life which offered no hope for a future. They encountered pure evil – the kind of evil that makes you hold your breath and squeeze back tears from your eyes - and in the end, only one of them makes it to Texas. While the story is fiction, the book is based on factual events. Children are on their own in many parts of this world, abandoned either on purpose or through untimely deaths of their caretakers.
And it makes me angry and embarrassed that I let myself get caught up in the pettiness of people who have everything these children desire – a safe home, food, people to love and people who love them. It makes me angry that I myself get frustrated when my coffee is cold or someone doesn’t do what they are supposed to do. It makes me wanna slap myself when I feel myself wallow in self - pity over why someone doesn’t like me or invite me to be a part of their life.
And I’m thinking of the email I read when I got home from my friend -- my friend, who, for the last 6 years, wakes up with this huge hole in her heart, takes care of what needs to be taken care of and not only endures but celebrates life…even though she experienced what I think is the greatest pain a person can experience – the death of a child. This is the kind of pain that makes me catch my breath and squeeze back tears. It’s a pain I can’t let myself feel for too long because I start to lose my mind. And I know she is still grieving and always will and I want to hug her and squeeze her and remind her of what a great job she is doing – living.
And I’m thinking of how, year after year, she leads a fundraising campaign with hope that a cure for the disease that took her son’s life will be found. And I’m thinking of the range of emotions she must feel during this time.
And I’m thinking of all the people living with Cystic Fibrosis and the pure fact that they can’t take BREATHING for granted.
And again, I wanna slap myself when I let myself forget that I can BREATHE without worry. I can breathe.
And it knocks my socks off when I think about how breathing is a basic gift, the foundation of living, of being alive -- and then I start to build on that foundation – I stack up on top of that foundation all the things I am so very grateful for – starting with the most simple yet amazing things like trees and stars and food at the grocery store…eventually growing this big old tower of gratefulness and topping it off with awesome things like my three children -- and the fact that later -- I’ll sit around a dinner table with them – eating and laughing and arguing – all of this while breathing.
|Posted on February 4, 2016 at 12:05 AM|
My main inspiration behind everything I write is always to write the story that I want to read.
And for the last two weeks, I’ve been consistently scouring the internet for stories with titles like, “How I Knew I had Breast Cancer” or “What a Breast Cancer Lump Feels Like” or “What I Did While Waiting to Find Out if I had Cancer” or “How I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer” or “Other Symptoms of Breast Cancer besides a Lump” -- You get what I was looking for right?
Well, I couldn’t find anything along the lines of what I was looking for. I wanted to find a story about someone who finds a lump and is in the waiting limbo of having it diagnosed. I found lots of stories of surviving breast cancer. I found lots of stories of women in the midst of fighting breast cancer.
I found a lot of sad stories too.
I couldn’t find what I wanted to read. Desperately wanted to read.
The shock of finding a lump.
The shock of not being able to get in to see my doctor for 10 days for an examination.
The way this lump can consume your thoughts and bring up your deepest fears.
The mixed emotions that have you searching the internet at 2 a.m.
The immediate focus on what I did wrong. Why do I have this lump?
The ridiculousness you feel about feeling this way when you know it can be so many other things. I’ve had family members and many friends go in for lump biopsies and the lump was just a lump.
I wanted to read that someone else found a lump, had to wait, and while waiting tormented herself with thoughts of death one minute and thoughts of triumph the next moment and then thoughts of how silly she was being about the stupid lump. I wanted to read that her lump felt exactly like mine and that she was okay. That the worry was needless and useless.
I know worrying and thinking fatal thoughts will do nothing to change the outcome. But I can’t help it – I’m an American with a lineage of right-off-the-boat Irish blood running through me -- and the Irish like to brood and head in to the dark side every once in a while. At least the Irish I know do.
And so I did.
I imagined chemotherapy. I imagined trying to teach Yoga, raise kids, live.
I imagined skipping through treatments and coming out on the other side – stronger, better, braver.
I imagined my death.
I thought about people, who, for the most part have treated me poorly during a large part of our relationship, finding out I had breast cancer. I thought of them being motivated to be nice to me…finally apologizing or making amends.
I thought about saying to them, “Don’t be nice to me because I have breast cancer. Be nice to me because I’m a human being and all I’ve ever wanted was for you to be nice to me.”
I thought about my kids and how spending time with them would be the only thing I cared about. I thought about how I’d have to be careful about this because I wouldn’t want my need to be close to them every second of the day to interfere with the lives they were trying to lead; I thought about how I sometimes do this now. Especially with my oldest son – it’s been rough watching him grow in to him with less and less need for his Mom. It’s also been rewarding and wonderful because he’s growing in to a wonderful him.
I thought about not seeing them as adults in the workforce. Perhaps married. I thought about their children.
I thought about the places I wanted to see. The adventures I thought I had lying ahead of me. Mountain climbing, trail hiking, dolphin swimming, unwritten stories. I thought about the vacations I wanted to experience with friends I’ve had since the beginning of time.
I thought about Ray.
I thought about writing this, of sharing this experience while I was waiting. I thought about how my need to share it stems from the need to read a story that would say what I need to read – that they too had a lump toward the top of their right breast and that the lump was just a lump. I want to read they too were also extremely dehydrated and waking up from nightmares covered in sweat. I want to read that the exhaustion they were feeling by sunset every night was also not a symptom of breast cancer. I want to read that they had all these other things happening while they were waiting to find out and their lump was just a lump.
I thought about people going through cancer on their own. I thought about asking people to help.
And now, with one more day to find out -- I know it is time to stop thinking. Stop worrying. Stop searching.
Writing has always been my outlet. My way of processing, calming fears and figuring things out. And I’m telling you --there is great freedom in writing it out. Seeing your fears on paper. And I’m telling you--there is great freedom in reading another person’s fears and realizing you are not alone.
And I’m telling you--as I write this, I don’t know if I’ll share it now while I wait or tomorrow after I finally see the doctor. My fear is that I won’t share it once I find out it is a benign lump. Because it has to be just a lump. I know it. My fear is that if it is cancerous, I'm not sure I want everyone to know.
My fear is that if I do share it people will think I’m being dramatic and needy.
But what’s wrong with being dramatic and needy once in a while? Do I really not want to share this because I fear other people’s thoughts? Is this not what I’ve wanted to read the last two weeks?
And If I do have cancer, I’m not going to be worrying about what other people are thinking about me…maybe it’s time I say to myself, “Don’t be fearless about expressing your thoughts because you have breast cancer. Be fearless and express yourself because you are a living, breathing human being."
Well, if you’re reading this, I guess you know my decision! Thanks for reading friends. Good energy. Positive thoughts. xo
February 13 Update:
Yay! My lovely lady lumps are just lumps!
As I sat through testing, I was stunned by the amount of women waiting around with me. This wasn't where you go for a routine check up -- this was an area you're sent to when there is a problem and I couldn't believe how many women were there alone. I couldn't imagine sitting with the thoughts running through my head and not having someone waiting there for me. Thankfully my results were awesome.
And I'm not a scaredy cat -- just a few years ago I had emergency surgery and was told without it I would die. But in that case, my mind only had a few moments to freak out; in this case it had what seemed like endless hours. The mind can be ruthless, that's for sure!
I'm so thankful to be in a place where I have human support. I'm so thankful to have my bag of Yoga tricks, crystals, meditations and oils to help support me through stressful times like this. And my hope for you is that you do too. xo
|Posted on January 26, 2016 at 12:35 AM|
When we decided to open Southside Om, Ray and I had very clear reasons for doing so – some of our reasons were the same; some were very different.
Because of this, we never sat down and created a “Mission Statement.” I mean, we KNEW why we were ready to invest our time and money in the business, we knew we wanted the business to be in Canaryville and we knew from personal experience that Yoga profoundly changes the emotional, physical and spiritual wellness of any person committed to a regular practice. This we knew, but, we were having trouble putting it in to words.
Ray, graciously decided to leave the manifestation of the mission to me.
And here we are, approaching our First Anniversary of Southside Om, and while we feel like we are just getting started, we now agree, our reason, our “mission” for Southside Om is a real thing – it’s happening. All those thoughts we had about why we wanted to open have walked in through the door. We’ve heard incredible life changes from regular students at Southside Om and we’ve felt the appreciation, support and love from our Southside community.
So here friends is the Mission Statement of Southside Om Yoga and Wellness:
Southside Om Yoga and Wellness Studio’s mission is to create a community based on peace, communication and human wellness. We recognize people as individuals with their own ideas of physical, spiritual and emotional health and with this in mind, Southside Om offers classes designed to meet the needs of its South Side Community. We respect Yoga as a sacred practice originating in Indian culture and we respect the evolutions it has taken in our American culture. We strive to teach Yoga and its philosophies in a way that relates best to our community and our lives as members of a Chicago community. We whole-heartedly welcome every race, culture, religion, philosophy, and person. We whole-heartedly welcome you as you are today.
There it is friends, Southside Om’s official Mission Statement.
In short, we didn’t open with the promise of Enlightenment (it might happen, you never know!) but we did open with the promise to help support you in living your best life. Because life is good and life is precious and so are you.
|Posted on December 4, 2015 at 11:05 PM|
A week or so ago, I was gliding through a meditation session when an old conversation popped in to my mind. This conversation occurred right after a bothersome interaction with a visitor to Southside Om. I was a bit shaken up, defensive and angry.
Unfortunately, a kinder soul walked in to the studio shortly after and unknowingly commented on something kinda- but –not- really related to the bothersome interaction I had just encountered. So, I was snotty. I was passive aggressive, I said things I didn’t mean. I’m not even sure if this sweet soul noticed as we just went on about our business and our conversation moved to other topics.
But here’s the thing…as I spoke those cranky words then, I knew immediately that I would regret them. But, I shoved that “knowing” aside and went on about life. I put the bothersome interaction with the mean-spirited visitor aside and buried my conversation.
Well, that’s the interesting thing about those kind of moments in life…you can’t bury them or shove them aside. Not for long anyway. Sooner or later, when you least expect it, they’ll grab you by the arm and whisper, “remember me?”
And you know what, I’m glad those “remember me?” moments occur. I’m glad I get a chance to explore why I reacted the way I did and decide whether or not I need to make amends, apologize or do better next time. I get to figure out where my insecurities lie and how I can create more peace and strength in those areas of my life where my feelings get easily hurt. I know I have a choice…I can replay the events in my head over and over again and decide to:
A) Blame the other person for being jerk-ish and putting me in a bad mood
B) Take responsibility for the way I reacted
C) Continue to shove aside the experience
If you’ve taken any “How to Succeed at Multiple Choice Test” preparation classes, you’re probably thinking A is the right answer because it’s the longest and why would anybody create a long answer option if it wasn’t the correct one, right?
But no, as much as I sometimes want to, blaming just creates more chaos and crap. And we’re seeing an awful lot of blaming out there these days…our mayor, our police, our schools, our government, our gun laws, immigrants, religious beliefs and so on and so on. There’s enough blaming going on to last each one of us an entire lifetime.
Why are people so scared to admit fault? Why is it so hard to apologize from the heart? Why is it hard to admit mistakes, acknowledge our screw ups and confirm something we all know – that there is not one perfect being roaming among us right now?
We are all flawed.
We all want to feel loved, we all want to feel valued and respected and safe. We all want to love, pray, explore and connect with others in a way that makes us feel alive – that makes us feel well.
We all want to know we are not alone in our mistakes.
|Posted on September 25, 2015 at 2:15 PM|
Many moons ago, I ventured out to experience my first “silent retreat.” Surrounded by acres of land and space – I was ready to be enveloped in silence and to get in touch with my good old self.
The first few hours were wonderful, consisting only of trees, walking paths, bright sunshine, deer, blue jays, cardinals…minimal human contact.
It was awesome.
And then the sun starting going down and I retreated into my little cabin, with no television and no Wi-Fi, nothing but the bare essentials.
Hmmmmm…things changed. It soon became too dark to wander outside – complete darkness. Lots of stars to gaze at through a patio window but otherwise…nothing “to do.”
I turned on my IPOD…the songs made me miss people. I turned it off. I did some Yoga. About five minutes later, I tried to convince myself an early bed time was needed so I could get up early and see the sunrise. However, my body and mind had other plans…the thoughts wouldn’t stop and my body seemed prepared to run a marathon.
I opened my journal and began to write…and I wrote and wrote and wrote for hours. At midnight, I stopped and fell asleep.
I missed the sunrise the next morning so I made a cup of tea and decided to review what I wrote the previous night. The words were a jumble of emotions…from anger to sorrow to blame to gratitude. But mostly, anger. I had no idea I was so angry about so many things.
This retreat center had a little library so I wandered over and picked out a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer. As I skimmed through the pages of his book, the words “being angry at someone for treating you badly is like being mad at a tree for growing moss” jumped out at me.
In other words, holding on to anger is basically -- useless.
Harboring anger does nothing. The person you’re mad at doesn’t know, most likely, and doesn’t care, more likely. If someone is treating you badly, chances are they feel their behavior is justified. More importantly, anger diminishes your self - worth. Your life is too valuable and too short to walk around with the self-defeating energy of anger.
I’m now reading another of Dyer’s books and these words are currently stuck in my brain “self-esteem doesn’t come from what others think about you, it comes from what you think about you.” I paraphrased a bit there – but that’s his message. It’s not called “other-esteem” so your ideas about yourself should come from you, right?
And if you think about the times people have hurt you, when they treated you badly -- were they exuding self-esteem? Or did they seem a bit broken? Because, I truly believe that hurt people hurt people. I know when I’ve lashed out in the past -- I was feeling hurt, unsure or unappreciated. A bit broken.
I recently completed another silent retreat, all by my lonesome. It was a completely different experience. The time flew by and I barely noticed when the day shifted to night. I am a different person now. On my first retreat, I wasn’t really comfortable hanging out with myself. Now, I’m getting comfortable in my own skin, I’m believing in the goodness of others, I truly believe that God(whatever you conceive Him to be) would not have created this great big grandly beautiful world for you to exist miserably in. I’m thinking my own thoughts…I’m calming my own fears and I’m appreciating the lessons each human experience brings in to my life.
And this is what I know -- as I’m learning to value my self-esteem, I’m becoming a better Mom, a better wife, a better friend…I’m learning to appreciate the healthy relationships I do have, including the one I have with myself.
As always, thanks for reading!