Friday’s Focus—Landscapes

And it all comes down to this.

The grass will always grow through the cracks in the sidewalks and the vines will reclaim the landscape from the concrete and steel.

It’s all just a matter of time before there comes a balance again, when we can catch our breath as we stand between the wall and the cliff.

There is a balance that is always there, but it is not not always equal except maybe in our delusions. Even then, nothing stays the same for long. Everything changes and sometimes they can be so subtle it seems like nothing has changed at all.

And it’s then, when we look back, do we see that it wasn’t so much the situations that changed. Instead, it was us and our perception of our own landscapes of concrete and steel that changed and we saw the grass through the cracks in the sidewalks and the wildflowers in the playground.

Today’s focus is about the trust that things change whether we want them to or not. It’s our perceptions of our landscapes and the necessity of finding the stillness within that will determine whether we are gazing at weeds or wildflowers.

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Friday’s Focus—Getting Up, Showing Up, and Doing It All Over Again

This week has left me feeling more stressed than usual and I found myself sitting down to my computer every morning filled with dread and ending the day feeling completely drained to the point of answering my husband’s questions in one-syllabic grunts. But then this morning I finished reading a book by Michael Singer called, The Surrender Experiment in which he talks about surrendering to what life is asking each one of us and to look at our lives not as what we want out of life, but rather what is life asking of us.

Near the end of the book, he says “It was not my responsibility to find out what is binding me; that was life’s job. My responsibility was to willingly let go of whatever was brought up within me.”

Wow.

This week in particular had been a struggle for me as a new level of challenges popped up at every turn. Stress begat stress and by the end of Thursday evening, I found myself feeling feverish, achy, and with a sore throat. I was stressing myself into illness.

I already knew from early in the day Monday, that this week wasn’t going to be easy but I tried to keep in mind  Singer’s words about questioning what it was that life wanted from me and not what I wanted out of life. Though it wasn’t always easy, there was a freshness to the approach that appealed to me and my curiosity of where things  could go.

Each day, I showed up and did the best that I could give and knew how to do, and in that I could take solace in and pride. My job is not brain surgery and no one’s life is at stake but I have a high ethic in everything I do and what is expected of me as an employee, daughter, and even my personal expectations of myself. In hindsight to this past week though, it turned out to be more than I could give. Was I seeking perfection? Maybe, as I tend to lean toward that, but it took my body to feel like it was breaking down to really bring it home the stress that I had put on myself. Instead of building on yesterdays gains, I was building upon yesterdays fears and losses as I perceived them. This is how disease and depression grows giving way to a loss of hope.

“My responsibility was to willingly let go of whatever was brought up within me.”

Yes.

Every day I get up, show up, and do it over again the next day. But today was different. Today I showed up with a renewed determination and focus of letting go of whatever is being brought up in me from what’s going on in my life. Surrender. This act, in of itself, is asked of me and each of us every day. It’s not something you do once and you’re done.  Life is continually upping the ante and asking for us to do things that oftentimes we don’t feel we can handle. We can fight life and our situations or we can surrender.

But doesn’t surrendering mean giving up? Giving up what we think we want, yes. Giving up on opportunities that life presents to us, no. It’s surrendering to the energy of the flow of allowing ourselves to end up wherever we need to be. In other words, getting out of our own way. The only control we really have is over our own reactions and so all we can do—the best thing that we can do—is to surrender. Again and again and again and again. Singer calls this the journey beyond ourselves, and what a ride it is.

I don’t know for sure what life is asking from me, but I do know, that at the very minimum, it’s asking me for an open heart, a curious soul, a creative mind, and a clean body. And that, my friends, is what today’s Friday’s Focus is about and what every day hereafter is about, not just for me but for each of us.

Taking it deeper…

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.

Twilight

Aching in the beauty of the grace of love in this moment,

my cells and emotions remember a past my mind refuses to acknowledge.

My heart aches as it grasps at the memory and I  silently scream yes/no!

Yes, I remember; No, please, not all that pain again.

The exquisiteness brings tears to my eyes.

Maybe it’s painful only because I cannot hold all of that love, all of that grace, and sweetness in this body and so I have no choice but to surrender and

I start to do so

with each tear that silently rolls down my cheek.

My hands cover my heart in prayer as I

drown

in the agony

of the ecstasy.