I tend to be hot-headed, reacting with indignant anger and self-justification at the drop of a hat…or glove. Gaining enough control to consider before I act or blurt has been a long process.
I wrote this poem to remind myself to keep stretching toward maturity.
Peace starts with me
Even in the most war-like attacks
Even if I am innocent
(Or adamantly claim to be)
Peace always begins with me
With ego-less surrender
To the words of perceived enemies
And territories unclaimed within myself
Where in quiet places I can mother
Magnanimity and smother
The nasty instincts of instant gratification
Protests to peace
“See yourself living in abundance and you will attract it. It always works, it works every time with every person.”
Oh, wait a minute, except with those who say…
- Yeah, right. If that were true, then I wouldn’t be so poor and miserable.
- I tried and it didn’t work.
- It is not fair that other people have abundance and I don’t.
- All I see everywhere is scarcity and trouble.
- But, you don’t understand how much my life sucks.
Prerequisite for seeing ourselves in abundance: Focus on non-judgmental acceptance of ourselves and our circumstances (without the “but”).
Prerequisite for seeing ourselves in abundance: Focus on surrender (without the “but”).
“People have all day to talk about what makes them ordinary. It turns out that they want to share what makes them weird.” -Derek Thompson
Derek Thompson’s Hit Makers points out that humans long to share their particular, however unusual, interests.
When I quit hiding my “weird,” good things happened:
- it became so much easier to find my tribe
- the weight of pretending not to be different evaporated
- others, who thought they were the only one, found me
- there was never anything to be ashamed of
- I was born “weird” for a reason
- being unapologetic-ally me turned out to be a very interesting life
Someday we will understand it all. Until then, life is belting out at the top of its lungs, “Shut up and dance with me.”
I have lied when I feared getting caught or mocked.
I have begged for something when I didn’t think I was enough without it.
Lying and begging sometimes temporarily postponed undesired consequences, but doing so also postponed the life I really wanted to live.
That life is worth the pain of honesty.
That life is worth the discomfort of waiting.
That life is worth whatever integrity and courage it takes to get it.
It’s funny how we often try to protect a life that isn’t worth living.
Often we excuse ourselves for nagging, worrying, or trying to control others by appealing to how much we want the best for them.
In reality, those tactics are always:
- a waste of our time
- detrimental to our health
But, waking up to acceptance and compassion…
- sets us on a path to peace
- relieves others of the burden of our neurosis
- saves the air space for something worthwhile
Most of us spend a lifetime trying to pretty-up or cover-up our own darkness, so an accurate picture is very difficult to access.
So how can I ever fully see my own darkness?
A good start is to turn around every criticism I have of someone else.
Whenever I hear myself say or think…
- “He is so arrogant and selfish.”
- “She is so self-centered.”
- “I would never do something like that.”
First: I quit patting myself on the back for being the indisputable standard of perfect character.
Second: Honestly ask “How and when have I been arrogant, self-centered, or clueless?”
Third: Open up to the words of people who may feel the same about me.
This Judith Orloff quote, “Dreams are the naked truth; get ready for it” got me out of bed this morning to process dreams about feeling trapped in a tragic situation without options. In addition to waking with more compassion for those who live in addiction, with addicts, or without a voice, the dreams also gave me timely insight about myself that I could use today.
My last conscious prayer before falling asleep had been, “Help me to learn tonight in my dreams.”
Step One: Awareness
Instruction is available to teach my sub-conscious mind
Step Two: Acceptance
Insights, although often painful, are accessible when I take time to review and receive the unfiltered, naked truth.
My first encounter with corporal punishment was in Kindergarten when my teacher kindly requested that I sit down. It was a simple and logical request that I boldly and stubbornly refused.
Fast forward to adulthood where I became my worst enemy by refusing to sit down as a real student of the Infinite Universe, choosing, rather to cling to my small limiting thoughts and arrogant words.
Pink got it right in her lyric, “Don’t let me get me. I’m a hazard to myself.”
Escaping the “me hazard” is still the most important triumph of my life: deciding to listen to my heroes and less to the self-chatter that makes me resistant and negative instead of open, brave, and productive.
There is still time.
I just listened to Will Bowen’s Happy This Year and it reminded me again that I am in control.
Whatever happened in my day, I can always take charge of my future by asking…
- Did I help someone today?
- What did I learn today that can make tomorrow even better?
Instead of letting my head hit the pillow with a sigh about…
- how tired I am
- how little sleep I might get
- things that didn’t go today as I expected, or
- my to-do list
I can turn my sleep, and my tomorrow, into purposeful progress.
Whistles and calls
Wrapped in the early breeze
Tiny movement in the leaves
And the slow growth
Of mighty trees
I wrote this after reading The Overstory by Richard Powers. His book artfully (and bluntly) raises awareness of important things such as trees through the over-arching chronicle of family histories.
It seems trees can’t be appreciated enough, especially when it comes to ecosystems, as family histories cannot be appreciated enough, until seen through the lens of “tree time.”
(Remembering the silent planting and the invisible growth helps me learn to walk gracefully through the minefield of all the unplanned todays.)