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…
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?
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?
We have everything we need in us. As we are. Right here. Right now.
Don’t believe me?
Take yourself outside and move. Do whatever comes naturally to you or is within your capacity. Move at a pace that feels invigorating but not strenuous. Move for at least 30 minutes and then slow it down for a few minutes before coming to a complete stop. Find a bench, a stump, a porch, some steps and just sit. Feel your body from the inside out. Feel you blood pumping. Feel your chest rise and fall. Feel a pulse and vibration all through your body. You know what that is? That is all you. Your blood, your organs, your body.
Do you feel stuck in life and your in pursuits?
Know that you are capable of moving a machine such as your body. Whether you do it with a limp, or with a crutch, in a wheelchair, or without an arm, or with skin grafts, or with a broken heart, or with a debt load that is coming in so fucking fast you feel like you can’t breathe.You did breath.
You did it. You moved in a direction. You breathed. Your body is humming and ready and willing. Feel it. Know it. You have everything you need. As you are.
Feel it. Then take another step.
If it helps listen to this:
I’ve done it in bed. I’ve done it on my sofa. I’ve done it in the bath. And today I did it with my down coat on.
It was my father who told me to take 5 minutes every day and breathe. It was his answer to my perfectionist, classic type A, charge ahead, fix-it declaration of what I should do to get over my overwhelm: “I need to meditate. I need to start going to a meditation group or something.”
Really, it seemed like everyone is doing it: business coaches and life coaches I admire, yogis, my dad. Everyone is meditating. I knew I needed to get out of my own head. I knew I needed to breathe. But adding one more “should” or “to-do” to an already overwhelmed me seemed so daunting. And scarily, if I did find the time, I would have to be still and listen to my own thoughts? Ack.
“Five minutes”, my dad said. “Just sit still for five minutes.”
I last two minutes. I sat in the bathroom on the toilet with the toilet seat down. I took one deep breathe in followed by another. The quiet sank in. And it was deafening. I filled it back up with lists, to-dos, as well as some hooey about “being too busy for this”. That was the spring of last year.
Every few weeks or so, I would try to carve out five minutes for myself to sit, be still and be quiet.
In February I pushed myself to start again. Five minutes.
I begin every five minute meditation by affirming to myself that I have five minutes for myself. “I am worth five minutes.” “I have five minutes to give to myself.” “I can afford five minutes of my 16 hours of awake time.” “Five minutes is a gift I choose to give myself.”
And then I take deep breathes. In. Out. In. Out.
Do I find my mind wondering what time it is? Definitely! Do I find myself thinking about what I am going to do next? For sure! But I sit there, straight up, with my eyes closed, for the five minutes I have set aside for myself.
As thoughts come up, I acknowledge them like I would as if I were up on a balcony above a party happening below me. I notice my thoughts like I would the party-goers. “Oh. There’s Nancy.” “Susan looks lovely.” “Stewart’s here.” I try not to allow myself to go beyond the observation point. If strong feelings come up, I try to just sit with them around me and not analyze them. And when I lose focus (which happens every time I sit), I go back to my breathe.
In. Out. In. Out.
For me, the experience has allowed me to be still enough to feel what I am feeling. I have no distractions of computer, paperwork, kids, television. And even though there is ambient noise all around me, those five minutes allow me the quiet to be, as is, feeling all those crazy emotions that I have been having lately.
For those five minutes, I am. As is.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or unclear or just have a feeling that meditating might serve you, do it. Don’t attempt to sit for an hour or solve all the chaos in your life with one enlightening thought. Just sit. Sit for five minutes. Start with five minutes.How did that feel? Let me know how it went for you. Or if you are well-versed in the way of meditation and have some insight to share – please do.
Before you head out for the weekend…a little treat. I know that this song has had lots of airplay and some of you might be sick of it but I am not. But this cover took me over the edge. I like this cover very much.
Filling my soul: those heart wrenching lyrics and the simple melody. Plus I have a soft spot for girls who just rock out their own truth in music.
What is filling your soul?