Friday, May 27, 2011
We can be extraordinary together, rather than ordinary apart!
What amazing words. Think about them. This can pertain to relationships, marriages, families, friendships, battle buddies, businesses and organizations. I for one won't settle for anything but the extraordinary.
People come and go in our lives but those that stay, those that stick by us, those that have our backs, those that help us make that difference that we couldn't make without them, and those that are steadfast in their support of us, prompt us to be extraordinary!
"Great minds have purposes; others have wishes."
Sometimes we are balanced and sometimes we aren't. There is no magic formula. But if we are lucky, if we are blessed, there are those surrounding us that provide the props for us when we feel wobbly. Sometimes we break and have to heal. And during these times we have to realize that it will take as long as it will take, and we need to delight in the friends that hold our hands during the journey.
Who has been there for you when you are healing? This question prompted me to contemplate the following.
Maya Angelou said, " When people show you who they are, believe them the first time." This is a hard lesson to learn, but with age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes the reality that this statement could not be more true. The more I witness and experience, the more I realize that there is a lack of willingness in many to give with no expectation of receiving anything in return. To me this is an instant mirror to their minds. Ouch...that is an eye opener isn't it?
Recovering from one surgery and two weeks later being told I need another next week caused me to crumble. But does that help? I am tired. I am worn out. I am disgusted. I have 'stuff' to do...books to write, appointments, warriors who need me, sadly I am flattened. But it is what it is. So today I write.
Leo Rosten must have read my mind when he said, "The writer wants to be understood much more than he wants to be respected or praised or even loved. And that perhaps, is what makes him different from others." For those that choose to be ordinary, go for it. I for one choose the extraordinary. I get one shot at this life, and I plan on taking those that also choose to be extraordinary with me!
"Talk sense to a fool, and he calls you foolish."
"Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius ~ and a lot of courage ~ to move in the opposite direction.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
There are times when we are forced to stop. To simply stop. To let go. To take care of ourselves. To remember how to breathe. To nurture no one else but ourselves.
I have learned this recently, or perhaps more importantly, relearned this. In recovery mode for two weeks after minor surgery, I have been given a great deal of time to rest, to sleep, to discover those people who are really there for me - there for me no matter what, asking nothing, simply being present.
"Often the most loving thing we can do when a friend is in pain is to share the pain...to be there even when we have nothing to offer except our presence and even when being there is painful to ourselves." ~M. Scott Peck
In these hours and hours of reflection, I have come to some rather interesting disjointed conclusions. So here goes!
Sometimes we are looking for obstacles rather than magic. Don't we all put up walls and barricades at points in our lives that prevent us from experiencing life, living life, having the life we deserve? I for one am going revel in the magic!
Sometimes we have to work through the stress in our lives to find that all along balance is the key. We need to resist the tendency to look at life through broken glasses. Everything is not wrong! We need to make the effort to appreciate the blessings, for it is in balancing the scales that we gain perspective and the ability to handle whatever comes our way.
Sure there are times when we get battered and bruised, and it is in these times that we have to simply say to ourselves that 'it could always be worse.'
People don't always rise to our expectations and disappoint and demolish our once highly held admiration. People will come and dangle a carrot in front of us and just when we are ready to grasp it, they suddenly show you who they really are.
"Speak quietly to yourself and promise there will be better days. Whisper gently to yourself and provide assurance that you really are extending your best effort. Console your bruised and tender spirit with reminders of many other successes. Offer comfort in practical and tangible ways ~ as if you were encouraging your dearest friend. Recognize that on certain days the greatest grace is that the day is over and you get to close your eyes. Tomorrow comes more brightly.
~Mary Ann Radmacher
~Mary Ann Radmacher
I also came to the conclusion, or realization if you will, that it is because we have not attended to the wounds in ourselves that we have no capacity for the pain of others. Because we ourselves have too often refused to heal, we cannot heal others. It is a fearsome carousel when we anesthetize ourselves. It can block us and color us and make us paranoid. And on and on the circle goes. These are the people whose hearts become hardened. These are the people who are stuck.
It has been said that those who swallow a stone become a stone! The question then remains, once battered, how shall we learn to live again? Perhaps the answer can be found in a quote from Maria Robinson. "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."
So upon deep reflection and observation of those who sat close by as I healed, I stand staunchly by my beliefs. I will continue to strive to bring a glimmer, a glimpse, of peace and solace and comfort to those who need it the most. I resolve to rescue a breaking heart or a crushed spirit or soul in need. And I will remind myself that, if it were easy everyone would be doing it.
"You must know that in any moment a decision you make can change the course of your life forever: the very next person standing behind in line or sitting next to you on an airplane, the very next phone call you make or receive, the very next movie you see or book you read or page you turn could be the one single thing that causes the floodgates to open, and all of the things that you've been waiting for to fall into place."
It just can't get much better than that.
So today when I go to the doctor and he asks how I have been doing, I probably won't tell him the whole story, but I will tell him that it has been a journey I shall not regret ~ or forget!
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Where do you go when you just need to know that everything is going to be alright? When you are alone, afraid, full of butterflies and what if's? Who is there to just reach out and touch and know that you really aren't alone and that someone is there for you no matter what. Just to softly feel their touch and hear them say that all is going to be fine and to know without a doubt that they will be there for you with a hand and a smile.
People ask how you are and you say 'Well, not so good...I am scared, worried and anxious.' The response is 'Oh, okay.' The subject is changed rapidly, indicating that they didn't expect or want you to say how you really felt. They either don't know how to answer or simply don't care.
Strange this world. We all need mothering I suppose at one time or another. But what if no mother has ever been there for you? What if you don't know what that feels like? Or what if your mother never nurtured you or taught you how to feel compassion and empathy and a deep caring for another person who is struggling and afraid? How do you deal with this? How do you cope?
When my precious golden retriever Penny had limited time left on this earth, Kelsie became her mother. She snuggled close, sometimes seemingly barely touching her for fear she might hurt her. But this warmth and touch was all that was needed for Penny to know that she was cared for and loved and that someone was there for her no matter what. There was no distance between Penny and Kelsie.
It has been said that life is a circle, not a merry-go-round. Sometimes the distance between people is emphasized. It is then that that you come to understand that there are times when a real relationship is not possible. Because in a real relationship compassion requires intimacy - in good times and in bad. Compassion brings people together. When people receive compassion there is an effect on their health. This much I know.
I have a friend who uses the camera to create a separation between the soldiers and herself. This way she keeps the pain at arm's length. This she is honest about. This I can understand. Sometimes there is a fear of being helpless when you know there is nothing you can do. But is that right? Does that make it right? Isn't there always something you can do? Empty spaces with no words needed! There is no need to fill the silence with unnecessary words...sometimes your presence and a hand to hold is the greatest offering.
Whether a soldier or a child or you, we are all waiting to wake up. We all need to feel someone cares deeply for us. When your pain is not recognized, or worse yet ignored, it hurts. My questions is can you be loved unconditionally without this compassion?
We all need someone to be honest with, vulnerable with, sad with, afraid with, a good friend.
Once again I revert to the wisdom in one statement, "There are a few things in life that matter tremendously and most of them can be learned from our dogs."
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
What do you do when? When the sky is falling Chicken Little? When everything you counted on is crumbling? When anticipation of an event either good or scary evaporates into thin air? What happens when you gather your troops around you and you aren't sure if they are really there or not?
I for one withdraw. I find a time for downtime, time to do nothing. I try to find the abundance already existing in my life. I try to focus on the simplest of luxuries that could cheer me, such as an hour of Tourandot, a pint of chocolate fudge ice cream, a yummy soft blanket and a snugly dog on the bed with me. I know the lack of abundance in my life often comes from worry, fretting, anxiety, deprivation of sleep and an excess of pain, both physical and mental. Lack of time and energy and little to no time with loved ones causes me to stumble and wobble and compete with my new progressive lens to find my way.
What do you do when the people you once totally relied on appear to be slipping further and further away? What do you do when you feel your life is slipping away? I expend a tremendous amount of time on caring for others. Tally this against what I expend on myself! One provides me with happiness and a light feeling...the other a feeling of fear that sometimes is hard to get rid of. So yes I, like most of you I would imagine, have one foot in both worlds. What should we do when we need a shoulder to lean on and it just isn't there? Excuses don't work in this space.
A difficult person or circumstance causes us to feel things we don't want to feel. So do we change the way we respond to them? Or does that worsen it? Or do we walk away? I want to be awakened this morning with an internal AHHAH! I want the answers. So perhaps, if I listen and pay attention the answers will come. They always seem to don't they? We expect one thing and it doesn't materialize. We tell ourselves that, "I guess it just wasn't meant to be." But was it? Did I mess it up?
George Orwell said, "Happiness can exist only in acceptance." Rats! Sometimes I don't like accepting things the way they are. I want to fight and rail against them. Instead I turn inward and try and hide from the pain. I found out a long time ago that bodies heal, but the spirit and soul can take much longer. Nothing happens by mistake.
When is it time to let go? When is it time to untie yourself from the negative? From the people that say one thing and do another.
So as was said in "Meet Joe Black" ~ "I am looking for that whisper or thrill that there is no sense living your life without."
For me caring for 'my' warriors is sacred. I am not motivated by how good I am doing. I am just helping one person one dog at a time. This is when I feel most alive. Perhaps that is all I need or should need.
But on the other hand Buddhist tradition asks, how can we put anything new or more into an already full cup. So it seems that when I am feeling empty and alone, I am in a cycle where I have to find a place to go and reflect and prepare for a new cycle. So today I will realize that dreams don't come true all the time. And that instead of being the victim, I will be empowered to move on to the good things that just might be around the corner. The place between ''no longer and not yet." I will let go and trust the mystery. For the music is made by the space between the notes.