Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” -Pema Chodron
I love painting pictures with my words. It starts when I’m trying to figure something out. I visualize what I’m thinking in an animated or metaphoric way that helps me make sense of it. So, what is my carpet bag of baggage?
It’s a rug big enough to fit all the stuff I’ve collect along the various journeys of my-life. It’s an ugly carpet, full of untruths, most of them having to do with my self-esteem. It’s all tied together with the black rope of fear. I’m so used to carrying it around that I don’t even feel how much it’s weighing me down most of the time. It’s in those moments when I’m paying attention to life that it falls off my shoulder. It’s a wonderful feeling as if I’ve sucked in some helium and I’m floating right above the ground. And I wonder why it can’t be like this all the time.
When the black rope of fear sees me happy it starts to untie itself around the carpet. Moving like a snake. Fear knows I’m afraid of snakes. It’s the way it gets my attention. As the carpet bag begins to slowly open all the dreadful demeaning voices jump around shouting me, me, me pick me. All it takes is for me to believe one demeaning thought of worthiness, and I’ll find myself standing upon the rug that fear uses, to pull the joy right out from under me.
But I’m seeing a little clearer now. They say, you have to see what needs changed, before you can change it. As the quote says about, “nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” I’m learning one thing for sure, that as big as fear looks, what lies on the other side of it is majestic.
“When was the last time you told your story?” The question comes from a Native American Medicine Man.
Sometimes we keep telling, sharing or re-writing our story the way I have for so many years. We can’t help the need to release and express that which presses on our heart. People may get tired of hearing about it, but it is only through the telling over and again that we are able to understand it all. Mark Nepo adds that, “It is the sweat and tears of the telling that bring the meaning out of its sleep as if no time has passed. It is the telling that heals.”
I was encouraged by today’s reflective reading to close my eyes and imagine the passages that have brought me to the person I am today. It’s ironic that I come across this right now as I’m re-writing my story. I’ve actually been noticing how many doorways and thresholds I’ve crossed through. The deeper I go into these various places the more I see clearly as if no time has passed. The journey, this time, is not a walk I do alone. I am holding the hand of my younger-self. Something my wonderful therapist once taught me to do. I let her lead the way as she walks me back through each doorway of our story. While it can still be painful at times to live through, I am able to remind my younger-self that it is okay now because we made it all the way through. I’ve learned to thank her this time too. For the strength, perseverance, bravery and the faith it took to get through one thing after another. My hope is that when every doorway has been gone through noted, and the last word is the end. That the child in me will not only see how much she is a part of who I am today, but that she will let go and become as I am.
“A women is like a tea bag,
You can’t tell how strong she is
until you put her in hot water.”
There seems to be a special day or month for almost anything these days. March celebrates women’s history month. So I’m certainly happy to celebrate my womanhood along with all the best of my sisters. We’ve come along way baby, and as far we’ve come, we still have a long way to go. However, in the process of overcoming whatever injustices we have yet to face, don’t forget how much stronger we get the longer we step in the hot waters of our life. Most important we cannot let our troubles overshadow the beauty of who we are inside and out and what a gift we are to the world. Then let us stand arm in arm and shout with pride, “I am woman!”
“In our moving outward,
upward and onward,
I feel the silent strength linking me
to all others
by bonds of sympathy
and true brotherhood.”
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Monday always seems to get a bad rap. So many start their week thinking that they can get through it if they put their focus on the upcoming Friday. It feels as if it can’t get here soon enough. In the meantime between today and Friday there is 345,600 seconds, 5760 minutes, 96 hours, 4 days of life wasted thinking about what’s up ahead. It’s not just the working class that this applies to. Even people like me who are retired can get caught up in what’s coming up down the road. What guarantee do we have that we’ll even be here tomorrow or an hour from now for that matter?
Everyday is a gift and an opportunity to use the power of our thoughts to create the kind of life we want. Sometimes we have to do what we don’t want to in order to get to the place we want to be. It can only happen by changing our thoughts and becoming the change we want. That happens in the minutes, the seconds and slivers of time in between. As Eleanor Roosevelt points out, with each new day comes new strength and new thoughts to create the kind of day we want. So let’s work at being more mindful. As I work at this practice myself it’s taught me how to enjoy every moment I’ve been blessed with. In turn giving my life more purpose.
I’ve been working hard at gaining my strength back after having two sinus surgerys within a three month time period. Pushing myself daily to move and get back to the living. I had a good two days this week even doing some exercises and this morning I had to drag myself out of bed. So as I think about what I’m going to write today my brain goes blank. All I can think about is how I feel. So as I read Mr. Rogers quote I feel encouraged by his words; “Life isn’t perfect on any front-and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves.”
Today this is my best, and I feel ok with that!
It is true that sometimes you just don’t have the strength to pick yourself up no matter how good of an attitude you have. As I thought about what I would write today I felt like I have nothing to give. What I need is some of my own medicine fed back to me, and right when I needed to hear it there it was in a thank you card I got in the mail today.
“There is no time for worry, or fear, or anger, or any negativity!”
“What does that mean?” I hear my inner spirit ask me.
And I remember it’s because there is always a degree of beauty, to be seen between the slivers of the moment that present themselves to us. I may not see the big picture as strongly as I’d like right now, but the glimpse give me the hope I need to keep going until I get to the other side of what I’m going through.
Taking care of our self first is not being selfish. It actually allows us to be a better care taker for other. What good am I to anyone if I am completely drained from my own lack of care.
Wow! I love this 12 step self care list. I can sure use the reminder. I think it would be a good list to go down during those times when you feel like something is off kilter in your life. You know, when you’re feeling down but don’t know why.
I pride myself on always having something positive, kind, and life giving to say to those I care about. I find myself at a loss for words, as so many are in need of something to hold onto. I found this profound quote below, that I thought we could all benefit from.
“Hope is a beautiful thing. It gives us peace and strength, and keeps us going when all seems lost. Accepting what you cannot change doesn’t mean you have given up on hope. It just means you have to focus your hope on more humanely tangible and attainable goals.”
– Julie Donner Andersen