Friday’s Focus—Admitting

The other day, Jill, a friend of my family, had called me in tears saying that she couldn’t do it anymore. She couldn’t handle the pressures of her current work situation and didn’t know what to do about it.

She had never said anything like this to me before and though we were friendly enough with each other and spoke often about what was happening in our lives there was still always that separation between us, so I was especially caught off guard by the brutal honesty of her call. She was given a three week work assignment that exposed her to levels of business dealings and decision makings she didn’t have a lot of previous experience with. I knew that on one hand she was excited at the prospect of being trusted but on the other, nervous about how it would all work out. The time came and there were the normal blips that happened and she was handling things well enough to keep things moving. But then the call came.

It was just one of those days when nothing was going right and whatever could go wrong did. Imagine weeks of Mercury Retrograde packed into a few hours! Situations and problems just exploded exponentially. The morning of the call, there were already problems brewing on the job but then, the personality of one particular employee, who was high-maintenance and had a combative nature was the factor that tipped Jill’s balance. Jill had taken this woman under her wing because she reminded Jill of her own mom, but this woman’s constant neediness and antagonistic behavior was becoming a real issue from increased confusion of early onset Alzheimer’s. Coupled with a series of problems that had come up that Thursday morning brought the frustrations of Jill’s new responsibilities to a peak. Her initial fear of not being able to do the job seemed to come to fruition and that morning brought her to the point of the phone call to me and the tears.

In truth, it was the first time that she was left with such enormous responsibility and for such a long time, and I think it would have been a challenge to many people with her experience. Listening to her talk, I didn’t judge her for how she was feeling because when I heard her say that she couldn’t do it all and didn’t know what to do or who to talk to, I heard myself in her voice and in her words and most deeply, I heard myself in her tears. How could I possibly judge her for something I knew only too well from experience, from words and tears I’ve cried myself?

I just listened and let her talk. I assured her that she was going to be alright and that all she could do, and all anyone could expect from her, was to do the best that she could. There’s no way that she would know all the answers to the situations that cropped up—how could she since she never dealt with them in that capacity before? I told her she did the right thing by walking away from an argument that was brewing. She was afraid of what she was going to say and so walked away to sit in her office to cool down and gather her thoughts. It was then that she called me. I was really surprised that it was me she reached out to, but I’m glad she did, because I completely understood every emotion she was going through.

The conversation with Jill was a good reminder about how important it is for each one of us to feel free to admit our fears and frustrations and honestly say, “I don’t know how to do this.” or “I can’t handle this.” It’s here in that mustard-seed moment that our true power comes in.

Each one of us has our own threshold of what we can handle or think we can handle and we do so in different ways. Some people dodge responsibilities when they feel they can’t handle them, others plow through them like a bull, and then there are those, who I think are the bravest of all, are honest with themselves and admit that it’s not working.

My mother used to say, “Don’t play hero,” meaning don’t be so full of bravado to think you can handle everything yourself. The real hero, as far as I’m concerned is the person who admits that they can’t do everything themselves and that they don’t know it all. And there’s no shame in that. Even just admitting it to yourself is an act of release that opens up space and energy in yourself, creating room to allow for growth.

Admitting that something is too much for you to handle is not a sign of weakness, insecurity, or immaturity as some would have you believe. I look at it as a sign of maturity, honesty, and integrity with yourself and it’s from that place, from that deep place of surrendering and acknowledging that you don’t know, don’t have all the answers, and don’t know what to do is when we grow our strongest self.

I am lucky in that I have someone in my life I have said the very same things to about situations I found myself in and I have had my days of being alone where the only thing I felt I could do was literally throw my hands in the air and cry out to an empty room, “I can’t do this!” Each time I did this, I grew. And I know Jill will too. And you, as you’re reading this thinking about your own situation that you’re wondering how you’re going to get through.

I hope this Friday’s Focus will take you to a place in yourself where you can find solace in knowing it’s okay to admit, even to yourself—when you’ve had enough and you don’t know what to do. It’s okay to admit that we don’t have all the answers. It doesn’t matter if it comes as a shout or a whisper, you’ll find that you can do whatever it is but you will do it to the best that you can and not to the expectations others had for you or the ones you may have placed on yourself.

Go and be your own hero today!

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Midnight Awakenings

The dogs are barking,
The rabbit came back,
And the fox is on the run.

The sentry caws from his post
On high
Until the shaking of the branches
Launches him into flight.

The cacophony of unrest reverberates
In my eyes and ears and has
Awakened both feather and fur
As the clouds wrap the night in its mist.

My toes tap tap tap
To the drip plip drip
Of the raindrops from the spout in the garden.

Am I dancing with an angel or the devil
In disguise?
The exquisite beating of my heart
Aches with love and devotion
Ever since I laid eyes on you.

The mid-night is velvet and its
Moon nestled like a pearl in a bed of starry lace.

In grace, you absolve me and finally forgiven,
I lay my hand in yours and I rest my
soul in the solace of your faith.

#poetry #love #mysticism #God #religion #faith

Friday’s Focus—Balance

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And Jane a frazzled mom. And Steve a stressed out commuter. And Becky an exhausted caretaker.

It’s a tough thing these days to keep our lives in balance with so many responsibilities, and though the intention is there, the follow-through can be hard. It’s easy to become so focused on keeping our heads down and marching one foot in front of the other just to survive the day, that we tend to lose balance by losing ourselves in working too hard to keep everything (and everyone else) together.

Take some time out today and this weekend to do something to bring some balance back into your life and your daily routine. Even if it’s  a start with 5 minutes of stopping and looking out the window or closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths.

Have a great weekend!

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

The Art of Being Human II: The Flip Side

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to say no? And I don’t mean the “Because I said NO!” kind of no. I mean the, “No, I’m not going to be able to X, Y, Z.” “No, I’m not going to take/bring/cook/fill in the blank.”  We don’t want to disappoint the ones asking but we seem to think of nothing of disappointing the ones doing—ourselves! Whether it’s a parent thing, a friend thing, a spouse thing, a daughter thing, a work thing, or any other kind of thing, it really doesn’t matter what the situation is where we say yes instead of knowing that we really mean to say no.

No is a strong word and saying it can be empowering but also scary. It should never mean that we failed ourselves or another person when we say no, sometimes even after having said yes and changing our mind.

Agreeing to something we don’t want to do isn’t always intentional. There are circumstances when we say yes, and we mean it at the time, but sometimes things change and that’s when the conflict comes in of changing our answer. Occasionally we say yes because we don’t want to disappoint the other person or we feel strongly that it’s important to keep our word, but when whatever you agreed to do is more for the benefit of the other person than for you, it becomes a disservice.

I’ve been saying no to people and things more frequently recently as a matter of self-preservation from crazy schedules and admittedly, some self-induced commitments, but it hasn’t always been easy. I still find it difficult but what I recently became aware of was that no matter how uncomfortable it may be to say no, it is okay to doThat soul whisper in my ear of “it’s okay to say no” one morning not that long ago, when I was thinking of a decision I needed to make, caught me off-guard and stopped me short. I never thought I needed to give myself permission to say such a simple word, but really, it’s more than about the one word. It’s about granting myself permission to do be in true alignment of my beliefs and heart. I strongly believe in keeping one’s word, but I feel just as strongly in keeping true to myself.

The ego wants to be the king/queen of the prom and will agree to anything that will get them that crown for being the good girl, the savior, the reliable one so it will always say yes. Next time you say yes, ask yourself who is saying Yes– your heart or your ego?  By saying no, we can take the lead in the dance.

Realizing this and recognizing the power of choice has shifted things enormously for me in my heart, my head, and of course, my schedule! I feel freer in saying yes, and by the same token, saying no. The next time you are asked to do something, I urge you to think for a moment of your answer. The choice is yours of course, but I hope that if “no” is really the answer you want to give, then allow yourself to do so and notice what happens within.

As I write this, I’m reminded of the lyrics to the song “Time to Change” that was sung by Peter Brady in the 1972 episode from the Brady Bunch show. Peter is approaching puberty and his voice begins to crack but with a smile on his face, he loudly sings:

“When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange
Move your heart to where you’re gonna be.
Sha na na na na na na na, she na na na na.”

So go ahead–Let your voice crack and let your soul sing:

“Sha na na na na na na na, she na na na na”—NO!