I don’t know about all of you, but 2020 is not a year where I’m going to allow anyone else to tell me to try to live a life in balance anymore.
With a pandemic, looting and rioting, unemployment out of control, a man that lives in a house that is white telling us that he is cured after just 5 days ill with Covid-19, the stock market higher than it’s ever been (give or take), Russia and China not rooting for the same outcome of an American election…shall I go on?
Nothing is in balance.
So rather than trying to live a life in balance, I’m going to substitute that phrase or concept for the rest of this year with simply trying to do the next indicated thing and let the chips fall where they may.
I don’t have to try and control the outcome. Heck, if I thought I had any part in outcomes then I would have pulled all my retirement funds out of the market on February 28th, then put it all back into stocks on April 1st. Looking back, that seems like a logical thing to do…pandemic, crisis, panic, rebound… ‘merica.
So I’m not going to try and fool myself into thinking there is balance in 2020.
Sure, I can hear the naysayers out there: “balance is an internal thing Greg” …”it’s a state of mind when you calm your inner self and find your connection to…”. Yep, I have one to say to those folks…there’s a place for balance, it’s on a beam, and there aren’t any gymnastics this year at the Olympics, or at the college level right now, so pffft to your theory.
Ok, ok, those of you who know me may be saying to yourself, “he’s gone off the deep end, send for reinforcements, preferably with a straitjacket.”
But truthfully, I’ve never been better. I just have a more realistic understanding that trying to make sense out of this year is an exercise in futility.
So, perhaps you will join me in giving up the idea of balance as we approach ‘an historic election’ (as if every 4 hears our democracy isn’t an historic undertaking…sorry to those of you who are dramatizing this one over the previous 44) in a time of complete unknowing, find a way to do the next indicated thing, lower expectations, and just take deep breath with me and CTFO. And if you don’t know the acronym, stay tuned to next week…just know it has to do with Chill… 😊
I remember hearing years ago that holding a resentment is like allowing someone to live rent free in your mind. Well, real estate is getting pretty damn expensive these days!!!
I have a confession, but only if you promise not to blab it to the entire world: I have unrealistic expectations of others.
Can you relate?
While I want others to forgive when I have wronged, give me space to learn and grow, be patient as I continue to grow into the person I am trying to become, I quickly pull out the rusty butter knife at a moment’s notice to cut someone by the throat (figuratively, I’m nonviolent here, don’t be getting your panties up in a wad over that visual).
So why is that? Why am I so quick to judge yet eager to be cut some slack?
Isn’t that human nature? We want our cake and eat it too.
Instant gratification. A right now society. Gimme gimme gimme…Veruca Salt to the extreme (if you don’t know the Willy Wonka reference, we can’t be friends).
So perhaps, I can start with me. And that’s exactly what has happened this past week.
I had this resentment building for years, ok…decades. I wanted this person to rescue me, fix me, take all my troubles away, and when I thought I was wronged, abandoned, I just wanted to see all the horrible there was in them, and not give it a moment to see any of the good. Or, to take a moment and see life from their perspective.
Good thing I have friends in my life who can give me a reality check and a virtual bitch-slap to put me in my place.
So, I have been asked to pray for that person, for 2 weeks, to have everything they want. I’m halfway through as of today, and can report that the amount of anger, rage, and gall I have for them is nearly completely dissipated. It feels like the 50-pound sack I’ve been carrying is finally being set down and I can walk again unimpeded.
And dare I say, the love that was buried underneath is starting to return.
Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.
Kindness doesn’t cost a thing. Yet how often do we default to fighting for what we think we need: more of what we can consume at any one time, winning a senseless argument to prove a point, getting that parking spot just a few paces closer to the front door of the grocery store?
How important is it really anyway?
If we just paused a moment and asked ourselves that question, how much less stress and angst would we have in our lives?
Now don’t get me wrong, and please don’t take this as a lecture from me to you, because I’m one of the biggest offenders here. Lord knows, just ask my husband!!
But what I do know for sure is this: when I take a moment to be kind, to be supportive, to take a moment out of an incredibly jam-packed life full of “I’m so busy” to be helpful to the person coming up behind me, as I wished there was someone when I was trying to make my way, there’s this inner glow that starts to happen that feels almost magical.
Do you ever wish for a time long past where ‘things were simpler’ and ‘life was easier’? I’m not talking about some Pollyanna BS, but a time when you felt better about the world in general.
Well, you can still grab a small piece of it.
Just try this: a small act of kindness. Not contrived, but true giving, without expectation of reward.
In these heated times of political grenades, unrest in the streets, economic uncertainty, and a virus invading every aspect of our lives, we can use some good news. And you can be a part of that. Just one small act can ripple across another’s life, which in turn can influence another in their life, and so on.
Let’s start that revolution, today, one person at a time.
I have faith in humanity still, won’t you join me in this belief?
“A body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force.”
— Isaac Newton
I find it easy to spot in others when they aren’t taking care of themselves, when they need to slow down, rest, allow their body, mind and Spirit to heal. But to give myself that same courtesy seems to be the greatest monumental task that I continue to battle with in my life.
Why is that? Why is it so difficult to take just a breath, cut myself some slack, and allow the time for rest and rejuvenation necessary to present my best self to the world?
I have a few theories: perceived pressures of society always demanding more from me, seeing so much that needs to be done around me in the world where people suffer (needlessly) and wanting to help, knowing that I have the means to do more—so a quasi-success guilt, or on maybe an even more personal note, trying to make up for lost time for all those years spent selfishly steeped in addiction taking FROM the world without care for who or what was left in my wake.
It’s not like I don’t take the time for self-reflection in prayer and meditation, slowing down enough to see where there is a need to check myself and regroup. The truth of the matter is that I don’t prioritize my own personal well-being above what I perceive to be more important: rankings at work, accomplishment with volunteer work that shows how ‘good’ of a person I am, or wearing my busyness as a badge of honor.
Silly I know…like a childish game of ‘anything you can do I can do better’.
Yet I find myself in that same spot, time and again, like a carousel going round and round.
So as I prepare for vacation this time around, perhaps I can step off for just a moment, and allow myself a chance to breathe, not worry about all the details leading up to it, and just take a moment for the enjoyment. Because the utter exhaustion I felt yesterday, the first day of my vacation, my body, mind and Spirit, were literally in revolt, and all were trying to tell me something. And today, I’m grateful that at least I am well enough to listen.
“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Is it me, or has this entire Covid-19 pandemic made everyone a bit on edge, quick to anger, and much less patient with every aspect of their daily lives? I mean, I’m not normally the Buddhist monk version of patience, love, and tolerance, but lately it’s been so amplified I don’t even want to spend time with myself!!!
A friend of mine shared with me the 90 Second Rule, a term applied by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor in her book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientists Personal Journey. Ok, stay with me here….it states that the body physiologically only holds a negative emotion for 90 seconds, and after that, well, basically, we are choosing to be a bunch of drama queens and re-thinking or re-stimulating that fear, anger or whatever.
DAMN!! That’s just mean, telling me that I’m the one holding onto the anger.
But wait, maybe there IS some truth to this.
Have you every stubbed your toe in the morning getting ready for work (when we used to do that) and it snowballed into an awful day? Or someone asked you how your day went, and you tell them how bad it was? When, it was something negative that happens which lasts just a few minutes and you choose to make that the focus of the entire day?
Truth be told, there is plenty to be grateful for in my life every single day. The days I choose to focus on my health, my family, a roof over my head, my pups, my friends, fresh air to breathe, this computer I am typing on, the internet to post these blogs, the electricity to power said electronics and internet…well, you get the picture…then I find myself in a place of extreme gratitude. On days I choose to focus on 105-degree temperatures, the partisanship in politics, extreme poverty, high crime rates, slow drivers…ok, I’ll leave it there…then I’m not in appreciation and can find myself spiraling downward quickly.
So I guess the question is: at this moment, what will I choose?
"Educating yourself does not mean that you were stupid in the first place, it means that you are intelligent enough to know that there is plenty left to learn." Melanie Joy
I must admit, the first thought that comes to mind is not always the best. I have the type of mind that likes to attack from all sides, so it takes work to make sure that the crazy doesn’t spill out over everyone and everything. I jokingly like to say that the committee in my head usually meets before I wake up, takes 4 of 5 votes, and I lose every single one!!
The difference today? I don’t have to act on my first thought. I can choose to respond to situations rather than react.
Now let me take a step back, because truth be told I don’t ALWAYS live my best life and not spout off when I should take a breath and hold my tongue or choose a better way of expressing what I think or feel. And let me tell you, it gets me into trouble quite often when I do. But today, I can learn from these lapses in judgment, when my mouth is quicker than my mind. And I can forgive myself for being unkind, or immature, or falling back into old habits allowing character defects to flare.
Today, I don’t have to be perfect, or pretend to be.
Today, I don’t have to pretend to have it all figured out.
Today, I don’t have to mask my errors with lies and the ‘blame and shame’ game, but rather take responsibility (respond with ability), make amends for harm done, and most importantly, not repeat that same behavior again.
Today, I am grateful that this is a lifelong journey of learning. So, educate me, and help me to continue to be open to learning anew.
‘I want to see you be “Brave”’ –Sara Bareilles
Sometimes we just can’t find the right words, so we remain silent.
Should we ask them how they are feeling? Should we say we are sorry? Should we speak up for what we know is right when it might put us in the crosshairs? What if we say the wrong thing? What if my ignorance shows in the question I ask? Should I know better? But what can one person do to make a difference when the problems are so great?
All around us we see opportunity do something. I’m not just talking about social injustice, or wearing a mask, or stepping in when someone needs a hand up, not a handout. But these are the present moments that scream to us behind muffled cloths begging for our interjection.
I’m talking about simply finding our own voice.
This is my story….and it needs to be told.
I found my voice years ago. I was on a path of authenticity, discovering who I was and expressing it for others to see. I was sharing my journey and allowing others to come along for the ride, blogging weekly for a few years. Then fear, doubt, uncertainty, and old demons crept in, so I crawled back into my shell, and shut it down. I let others take my power….no that’s not true, I gave it away. And it’s taken me nearly 5 years to get the get the courage to take it back.
Have you ever felt that way? Like you don’t have a voice? Or just needed a little mmph to get going again? To overcome an old fear that keeps creeping back into your mind wanting to drag you down.
Well I say screw that, come with me, and let’s do this together!!
I am going to take Sara Bereilles’ advice. I am going to say what I wanna say, and let the words fall out. And I encourage everyone to do the same. Because honestly, it inspires me when I see others showing me their brave.
So please, “don’t run, stop holding your tongue...maybe one day you can let the light in.”