Seriously. Please hold. I am in the midst of big changes in life. I am on the verge of cracking wide open. Please hold. I won’t play some ridiculous muzak but just hold the space for silence – silence before triumphant procession. Please Hold. I will be back – with a crown of twinkling satelittes and with a heart full of hummingbirds. An operator is standing by…
Yesterday, after too many nights of my youngest waking up every two hours, I began to unravel with exhaustion. Unable to fall back to sleep at 5 am, my mind began mining in some very negative territory. And then, in the morning before I began work, I found this poem. They were the right words at the right time. I hope they fill your soul too.
by Rumi (Version by Coleman Barks)
Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Besides ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, laying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.
Filling my soul: the idea that if we let go and just be helpless without answers that “miraculous beings” will swoop in with stretchers and grace and come to our aid. We need only to be ourselves and only that.
What is currently filling your soul? What poem is resonating right now? Comment below or tweet me @charakingston
Most of us can forgive all sorts of blips and blunders from our friends and family. We forgive them for leaving. We forgive them for forgetting us. We forgive them for taking their own shit out on us. But when it comes to forgiveness, the hardest people to forgive is ourselves. And for some painful reason, any mistake we make ourselves, we build it up so it is bigger and more jagged, making it harder to tackle and move on from.
My smart and lovely man recently told me, “You are not your mistakes.” And instead of hearing it, I used my twenty twenty vision to “should” all over myself. “I should have been smarter.” “I should have paid more attention.” “I should have tried harder.” But the reality is, my mistakes & ‘failures’ got me here. And here is where I am meant to be – mess and all. And if I continue looking back, it will be nearly impossible to move ahead. I will keep tripping over those damn mistakes. F it! Forgive already. I am not my mistakes.
You are not your mistakes.
One “mistake” I have been punishing myself for is how I did not pay attention to the fact that my business (a bricks and mortar retail store) was slipping financially the year following my son being born. I didn’t tighten the bootstraps for the business or my families budget. I didn’t even look at the numbers. I just kept the status quo. I just kept applying temporary money bandages to stop the hemorrhaging. So now, as things have gotten even harder economically for retail, I have been looking backwards at that mistake. But the reality is, that money is gone. The hit to my credit card and line of credit are still here but I can not change what happened. I can only progress forward. So I acknowledge my mistake and then counter it with positivity:
- I ran my business – doors open, customers happy – with two kids, sleep deprivation, and postpartum. F it! I did that.*
- I did what I could do to keep all the balls in the air at the time. F it!
- There are lessons in those mistakes. And those mistakes have brought me to where I am today. F it!
- And mostly – F it – I am now the proud mama of an adorable wee boy who lights me up way more than any business.
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.
– Paul Boose
* I really want to acknowledge that this was not done on my own. I have an amazing husband and mom who really picked up my slack and offered support when I fell apart.
So what can you forgive yourself for today to allow you to move ahead tomorrow?
Until recently, the saying “let it go” used to bug the shit out of me. When said to me, it felt like a crappy non-stick band-aid, knee-jerk response to my (self-described monumental) hurts. “If this had happened to them, they wouldn’t be saying ‘let it go'”. But when the tables were turned, “let it go” was always there to fill the space when nothing else would do. And, “forgiveness”? Well, that was just too big of a spiritual mental mountain to attack.
One day this past February, while skimming Gabrielle Bernstein’s Adding More -ing to Your Life, I read about forgiveness. I read. I resisted. I thought and sat and wondered. What if “letting it go” & forgiveness were akin to just filling up a balloon with the hurt, tying it off, and then releasing it upward. Could it be that simple?
source: Balloons (Midtown, Manhattan) by Youngna Park
There had been something I had been holding on to that quickly came to the surface after my initial reading in Bernstein’s book. It was a messy old hurt, highly charged, and wound into a long, tight thread. Perhaps my reading about forgiveness might not have hit home if I did know that in a month from that moment, I was going to be face to face with it, with her, with my messy ol’ hurt. So I let my resistance and guard down and asked myself: What would it feel like to let it go? How would forgiving change my experience when we meet up again? Who else will benefit from my forgiveness?
So I filled my metaphoric balloon with all that I wish I could say but is probably best left unspoken. And I made a blessing on her for my family and for me and…as my heart began to soften…for her. And my balloon began floating.
Truth be told, it wasn’t as easy as ripping off one the above tags and ta-da “now I have forgiveness”. It wasn’t as easy as blessing anyone or opening my own heart. I had to continually remind myself that the hurt and the resentment was taking up too much of my heart space. I had to continually remind myself that carrying my anger and hurt feelings had no positive benefits. I had to psych myself up. I had to cheer myself on. And I had to wade through some uncomfortable first hours with the one I was so angry at. But I went to bed that night with a sense of peace. Our relationship will most likely never be what it was and she might never ever know how painfully deep she hurt me (which was hard for me to let go of – feeling vindicated), but I felt peace. I let go.
My mind can be a very busy place. When my mind becomes noisy and overloaded, I need a “go-to”, a thought, or manta that I can focus on. It helps me let go. It helps steady me. It helps quiet me down.
source: Pinterest (here but there is no origin to the post it seems…)
Filling my soul: this quote reminds me to take it all in, be in the now, and not worry about the outcome.
What about you? What are your go-to quotes? Or do you have a mantra that you recite to get you out of your head and bring you back to the present moment? Comment below. Or tweet me @charakingston
With a month of writing about feeling and feelings, my urge to just throw paint onto a canvas has been growing.
“I found I could say things with colour and shapes, that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keefe
I have been feeling like this:
This is Fede Saenz. This is watermelon juice dripping down your arm. This is a sweet pink kiss snuck in a movie theatre. This is a pink macarron you spent entirely too much on. This is anxious feelings of giddiness right before the roller coaster starts out of the gate. This is filling my soul.
Monday I posted a poem that was born from a week of doubting myself countless times. I returned from a week of rest and relaxation to a week where I questioned my abilities, sanctioned creative ideas, and quarantined my enthusiasm, shoving those ideas and that energy into a file and stamping it “Why would anyone listen to you?” or “Who do you think you are to do that?”
Yuck. Yuck. Yucky-yucksville.
And then I came across the newest Brene Brown TED talk about shame. Brene describes shame as a gremlin following you around as you try to carve your way through life, telling you ‘you are not good/smart/pretty/strong…enough to do this’. Had someone asked me about shame before hearing this I might not have answered “Yes”, but this week I shamed myself. As I got excited about possibilities and began working toward goals, I could feel myself getting tired, anxious, and distracted. I could hear all sorts of “not….enough” talk.
Brene Brown says in her talk that empathy is the antidote to shame. When I heard it the first time I heard it in relation to understanding shame and using to “finding our way back to each other” but the more I reflected on her empathy antidote statement, I thought about its importance in our relationship with ourselves. I think it is so much harder to have empathy with ourselves, especially as we are housing and feeding a gremlin like shame. We would never shame a friend right? So why do we do this to ourselves? We are our own worst critic. We keep ourselves small. A friend recently asked me “What do you do when it all begins to unravel? How do you deal with it?” After hearing Brene’s talk, I think I will try to add empathy to my cocktail of breathing and stepping away (perferrably outdoors). I will try to respond to myself as I would a friend – with love and empathy.
Here is Brene’s talk. And if you missed her talk on Vulernability (to which she refers in this talk, do check it out as well.
Sometimes I stop myself
Sometimes I stop myself
from saying what I want,
from allowing my voice to be heard ,
by an anonymous group
I stop myself
from asking questions
or answering questions.
Sometimes I dip my toe into the water only to pull it back
so as to not feel the icy cold shiver
or the slimy, squishy bottom
or the pull of the tide.
Sometimes I stop myself even though it might be warm
and light will bounce off the water and on to my cheeks.
I stop myself
because once I drown.
because once I fell.
because once I screwed it up over and over and continue to screw it up
because once I didn’t try hard enough and everyone knows it
because once I only did it half way and then quit.
And everyone knows it.
And then sometimes,
I open my mouth
Knowing my voice will creak and my palms will sweat so much that the wetness bleeds all over my ballpoint notes
Knowing that what will come out may sound like a canned pop song when in my head it was an aria.
birds may fly out :
Small perfect yellow canaries
and nurturing red bellied robins
and loud, wise crows.
They may fly out
and amaze and delight.
Sometimes, I put my hand up.
Knowing that my thought is just one dull star in a milky way of brilliant light
Knowing maybe no one will pick me. That blood will rush from my hand from hanging in space for so long
But that I might put my hands up so high I touch planets
And that touching alternate atmospheres and firey gases will light me up brighter.
Sometimes, I jump in.
Knowing my bathing suit has nestled itself between my cheeks
Knowing my wet hair pressed against my head makes my large sticking out ears more large and more sticky outy
But that the saltwater will heal the cuts on my leg
And will rest on my lips making my beer all the more delicious at the end of the day.
Sometimes I can be salty delicious
And firery bright
And delightfully amazing.
Sometimes if I stop myself from stopping myself
A number of times this week I have bumped up against this thought: “Who do you think you are?” As tantalizing creative ideas surface, as aspects of my life shift, as certain desires grow stronger, I am met with that question. But I am working on pushing through – mostly because I know the reward out weights the anguish.
What fear is stopping you from catapulting yourself to a bright, new stratosphere? What small step could you make to push past the fear?
Let this video give you wings. I dare you.
Filling my soul: the uplifting melody and the chorus: “Keep your head up. Keep your heart strong.” This is a great mantra. But really, all the lyrics are lovely: “Feeling blind but realize all I was searching for was me.” And I adore the video.
What is currently filling your soul? OK