Friday’s Focus—Mirror, Mirror in Our Hearts

You don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day to show the one you love how you feel. I recently had the most interesting and telling conversation with my husband that not only showed us a lot about each other but showed me some things about myself as well.

Sit with your loved one and tell them all of the things that you learned from them since you’ve been together. Remember it’s not about what you learned about them (their favorite color or sports team) but about what you learned from them (I learned to see that things aren’t always black and white; I’ve learned to be more flexible; I learned how to cook!).

It’s an incredible mirroring exercise that will show you so much about your relationship and at the same time be a mirror for yourself in bringing to light how much you may have grown and changed that you normally may not have been aware of.

You can do this with anyone special in your life–it doesn’t have to be just your spouse but can be extended to friends and other members of your family.

Have a great weekend!

Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

Stumbling From Perfection

I don’t know very many people who are perfect. I don’t know any actually, but there are certainly a lot of us who put our face forward acting as if we were and thinking anything less is unworthy; even shameful. It’s from this place of striving for perfection of whom we think we should be—the perfect parent; perfect spouse; perfect child; perfect employee; perfect person—that one day, we will inevitably stumble.

And when we do and we reveal ourselves of the imperfections of being human, we either ask forgiveness or are asked to forgive. Is there a limit to the number of times we forgive? Do the numbers change when we ask for forgiveness of others instead of ourselves?

Some people say there is no number—you forgive as often as there are stars in the sky, and then there are people like my ex-husband who held steadfastly in the belief of three strikes and you’re out.

I’m not sure which is harder, forgiving someone else or forgiving ourselves. I think that we tend to be much harder on ourselves, allowing feelings of shame and degradation for not being “perfect” to cloak us into feeling unworthy and unloveable.

Perfection isn’t real, but forgiveness is.

In those moments when we fall out of who we think we should be into who we really are, in our various stages of sometimes awkward, sometimes raw humanness, learning as we go, we need to remember that underneath it all, in each one of us, there is always the connection of grace and divinity. And for that, there is nothing to ask forgiveness for.

Blogging From A to Z: Grace

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I wanted to use the word grace for this post but it is a hard for me to talk about it, to really be able to convey what it is and means to me.  Maybe it’s just because I like the way it sounds and I like the way I feel when I say it or think about it.

The classic Webster’s definition of grace is quite clear and easy to understand:  divine assistance, or virtue, from God; behavioral skills used in polite society; an attractive trait. To me, though, the word itself has always seemed Big and Sacred. Words just don’t seem to do it justice in defining it and it’s so much more then Webster’s effort.

There are some words in our English language that evoke feelings or emotions regardless of their definitions. For example, think of the words giggle, sunshine, peace, enchant, lullaby, sigh, and then you have the other end of the spectrum with snarky, pus, or shrill. Didn’t you feel a twinge with each word? To me, there is something soothing with the word grace. I can almost hear my soul sigh even as I write about it here. Words have the power to evoke an emotional response, and grace is one such word for me.

Grace is innate goodness. It is silk against my soul. It is a smile radiating love. It is pure acceptance with arms outstretched to hold me. It is an opalescent cloud that wraps itself around me. It is Divine and Divinity. I can just weep at its power and emotion. What words give you a hug from the inside and hold your breath even for a moment? I’d love to know what words make you take it a little bit deeper!

 

Holding the Space for the Right Voice

This morning, I decided to name my inner critic Stu mainly because he stews about all sorts of things that he feels I should or should not be doing, feeling, tasting, seeing, and well you get it. So first off, apologies to anyone really named Stu.  My choice is no reflection on the name itself, only the ogre behind it.

I had been feeling irritable for the past few days, not quite able to put my finger on why (or more likely, not being able to decide which one thing was really behind my biting comments). My frustrations all came to a head this morning with the simple act of trying to clip a barrette in my hair. This normally easy task almost put me in a fetal position on the floor, because apparently even this one ordinary act couldn’t be accomplished without a struggle.

I finally got it clipped, adjusted my hair, when I heard the voice: “Eh, you made it look too flat now. Face it, just not a good hair day. You’re head’s going to be too cold. You need a haircut. You need to lose weight.” I looked hard into the eyes of my self in the mirror and out loud said, “Knock it off.” And so Stu was born, or rather named.

I had a chat with Stu on my drive in to work today, and I found it helpful to have named my judge and jury; my inner critic. It’s helped me focus my rebuttals to one voice rather than the chorus of “should’s” and “shouldn’t’s” that started to drown out my other creative “inside” voices.

So Stu has quieted down some, I think more from shock that I have identified him, and caught on to this inner critic, and that he can’t hide as a witness or shadow anymore. We all have shadows and we all have witnesses, and yes, we all have Stu’s, but they cannot hold the same space at the same time. What’s important for me is to make room for the witness to hold my space for my creativity, my divinity, and my own perfection, and not my insecurities and my shortcomings.

Now, if I could only send Stu out to shovel the snow we’re supposed to get, I’ll be happy!