Saturday, July 24, 2010
And your answer is this moment? Have you lost your sense of your own beauty and loveliness somewhere along the way? Has it been left behind in some mud puddle somewhere, only to be trampled upon by passersby? Or perhaps you left it in a summer meadow, where the grass is sweet and the wind whispers gently to it, but you left it there nonetheless. Abandoned.
Chances are, if you have abandoned your own beauty and loveliness, you've abandoned the beauty and loveliness of others as well. Perhaps you are very much like me, and it is easier to see the beauty and loveliness of everyone else--whether we are speaking of physical beauty or inner beauty. But, what if, in abandoning my own beauty and loveliness, it has made me blind to the fullness of beauty and loveliness in others? What if I can only see them in a glass dimly because I left behind my own loveliness somewhere along the way?
I had a vision this past week, in which I was shown the time and the place where I chose to abandon my own beauty and loveliness. I was all of seven years old, and I had not been chosen to play the lead, Miss Spring, in the second grade play. Instead, I was chosen as the much more prosaic Miss Apple Tree. I still remember my deep disappointment at not being chosen. You see, deep inside me at seven years old, I knew I was Miss Spring. I embodied springtime exuberance and blossoming, the grace of soft sunshine and gentle flowers and the whisper of reawakening. And, oh, how very much I embodied the sun! The friend chosen to be Miss Spring was, of course, a blond and she was oh, so lovely! Through my seven-year-old eyes, I could see her beauty and loveliness. I could see the glow of grace around her. And, for the first time that I can remember, I knew that beauty and loveliness could be judged and found wanting. I felt that my own beauty had been judged and found wanting. There was no glow of grace surrounding me.
And so, I abandoned it right then and there. I decided I was neither beautiful nor lovely like the springtime. I was not, and never would be, Miss Spring. I was not the very embodiment of the Sun itself. I, instead, was practical and prosaic. I was someone to go unnoticed by the world. I was brown. I was Miss Apple Tree. I judged my own beauty and found it wanting.
It's funny how the little decisions we make as children can follow us throughout our lives. Little people making little decisions with far reaching implications.
In the vision, I was shown that while spring is the promise of beauty, the summer and fall is beauty fulfilled. It is in the summer and fall that the promise of beauty contained in the springtime flowers becomes the fruit that gives and sustains life. Miss Apple Tree, I was shown, was the very embodiment of beauty and loveliness fulfilled. Not just the promise of it--the complete fulfillment of it. The kind of beauty and loveliness that sustains. Can I embrace that kind of beauty and loveliness? Can I see my beauty and loveliness as the kind that gives to others and sustains them? I choose for my answer this time to be, "Yes!"
Can you find where you may have abandoned your beauty and loveliness? Did you abandon it all, or just part of it? Can your answer to the call of your own beauty and loveliness now be yes? I do hope so! For your sake, and for the sake of us all, I do hope so!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
One of the first things I decided was that swearing off judgment is like swearing off chocolate or bread and pasta or (insert your favorite poison here--and I use the word deliberately). All of a sudden, all you can think about is chocolate or pasta. The first day for me was truly eye-opening, and perhaps I-opening, too, as I realized just how much I judged. I judged my thoughts, my actions, things that happened or didn't happen, other people. Landmines everywhere. What a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day! Or, was it? First lesson in non-judgment: check!
I was mentally and emotionally exhausted from Day 1, and waited a day before wading back into judgment-free waters. On Day 2, I woke up and my first thought, the very first one!, was a judgment. I could have chosen to throw in the towel on the day right then and there, but decided to persevere. It was on Day 2 that I realized just how much I judged my own emotions. I felt very sad on Day 1 and Day 2. I don't like feeling sad. In fact, I dislike it very much. Sad, I have concluded over the years, is bad. Wow! I wondered on Day 2 just how much I have judged my own emotions over the years. I'm afraid to even guess. Recovering control freak that I am, I can only imagine how I have attempted to control my emotions over the years through judging them. Hmmmmm. Judging as a means of control. Second major lesson in non-judgment: check!
I also realized on Day 2 that there is such a thing as anticipatory judging. You might think anticipatory judging is the same thing as worrying, but it's not. With anticipatory judging, you are not worried about the upcoming event or situation. You know you can handle it. You've just already decided how it will be, or, to be more precise, how your experience of it will be. In this case, I had decided as I was getting ready for work that an anticipated situation would be bad--something I wouldn't like. When I realized that I had made this judgment, I was able to release it, and consciously made a choice to allow the experience to be whatever it needed to be. In other words, I became open. I-open. I hopped in shower, and when I checked the time on my phone as I was drying off, there was a text message. The anticipated event which I had predetermined would be bad had been called off while I was in the shower. Hmmmmmmm. Openness as a means of control. So counter-intuitive. Third major lesson in non-judgment: check!
I have more insights to share, but I think I will save them for tomorrow's post. I have a few strategies to share as well. Thanks for dropping by! Thoughts, anyone?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I hesitate to write in this blog many times, waiting until I feel I have something significant to share, fearing that my words and message will have little or no import and desiring—hoping, really—that my words do have import for those who read them and those who need them. One of the few blogs I follow is Ivy League Insecurities, written by a fellow Ivy League graduate, who freely admits to her insecurities. "No league," she says, "prepares you for life." I think sometimes that those of us who attend Ivy League institutions do so because we are so driven by the depth of our insecurities. But that is for another blog, and another day.
I want to address again the issue of abandonment and the pain that accompanies it. I have come to believe that abandonment causes some of our deepest wounding. Perhaps, no, certainly, abandonment is at the heart of our most profound, cut to the very bone and into our marrow wounding. It seems to be accompanied by an immeasurable hopelessness, as if they are Siamese twins, inseparable companions, bosom friends. In a conversation with a good, good friend just the other night, we uncovered the wounding of abandonment, and in the midst of the realization, she said, "I feel so hopeless." For me, at times, it has felt as though the pain of the abandonment and the extent of the hopeless were so deep that neither could be sounded.
So, what does that leave me (us?) with: incredible emotional pain and the feeling or belief that there is no hope, no way out. But I refuse to believe that. I refuse to lose my grip on hope, no matter how tenuous it has been at times over the last several months. And, there have been times when I have relied on others who love me to help me strengthen my grip. If you are struggling with this issue as I am, I suggest you make sure you have at least one or two people who love and care for you who know the struggle you are facing and can believe in healing for you when you can't believe it for yourself. Let them know this is their job for the next few months until you have reached a place where you can consistently hold onto hope yourself. This experience has taught me, as has nothing else in life, how fundamental hope is to our very existence. Hope is a precious thing, and of itself needs to be cherished and cultivated.
I read something today that has given me some breathing room in the midst of the sadness and has strengthened my will to continue to work through this pain and reach a place of true healing. In response to a woman who was speaking to Deepak Chopra about what to do with the pain of losing a child, he said, "This pain is not your pain." I can imagine that must have been a shock to her. How could something so devastatingly painful, the very physically palpable pain I am sure she was feeling not be her pain? He went on to explain that the pain she felt was not just her pain, but pain shared by countless others around the world. And the truth is, the pain of my abandonment is not my pain. It also is shared by countless others around the world. Some who may feel it even more profoundly and for far longer than I have felt it. As I work through it, as I fight my way toward healing, can I allow myself to uncouple myself from it? Can I allow the pain to be bigger than me, so that my fight to heal it is not just my fight, but a fight for others as well? Can I allow it to be a fight that even heals the pain of this carried in the very dust of the earth itself? For today, I think I can. And for today, that is enough, and even more than enough. And the fight continues, for today, there is hope.