Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Facing Darkness


I am choosing to embrace love


One of the troubles I face when writing an affirmation is the disconnect between what I currently feel and what I am trying to affirm. Right now I feel like I am staring into a deep chasm of darkness that I am not yet sure how to cross. It is filled with doubt, fear, and an aching sadness. I felt the same way 15 years ago when I watched the 2nd plane fly into the World Trade Center. I felt it with Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Boston, Pulse... they all made me feel like I was being swallowed up by despair. None of them made any sense. I wanted all of them to just be a bad dream I could wake up from. I can't. It's the reality of the world I live in.

So what do I do when faced with hatred, violence, bigotry, greed, and all of the ugliest parts of humanity? Sometimes I just want to take vengeance. Make them hurt like I do. Sometimes I feel like just giving up - withdrawing and throwing up my hands in despair. But I have tried those things before - we all have - and it   just   doesn't   work.  

What I really want is change. I want to live in a world more loving, peaceful and benevolent. I want to learn how to forgive instead of taking vengeance. To reach out instead of withdrawing. I want to breach the dark chasm and be the change I want to see in the world. It is much more difficult to extend myself in love than it is to lash out in hate. It takes work and strength for me to forgive. When voices of arrogance and bigotry shout out and take center stage it takes courage to speak up with grace and humility.

I affirm that no matter how much of humanities darkness I face that I will choose to live my life from a place of love.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Windy Night


I am gaining strength by reaching out to others in times of need

Image Source: https://poietes.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/wild-and-windy-night.jpg
I live near the mouth of a canyon and it is not uncommon to have nights where the wind will blow hard for hours. Tonight is one of those nights and it has led to a couple of extra small bodies in my bed. My two youngest daughters woke up from the noise the wind caused outside and one by one they both ended up climbing in bed beside me to fall back to sleep. It is typically tough to get a good nights rest when they are crowding me off the bed but I do love that they still look to me for comfort when they need it. 

When did I stop doing that? One of my early childhood memories is a night when I woke up from a terrifyingly vivid dream fit for a horror movie. It involved our house being suspended on beams somewhere in the middle of the ocean. I was swimming with my cousin off a small dock that was connected to the side door entrance when I turned and saw that he was no longer there. I spun around in the water and saw the open jaws of a shark swimming straight towards me. I attempted to pull myself onto the dock to escape, but it was if I was moving in slow motion and I fell back into the water again and again. I woke up in a panic and went straight to the door of my parents' room in tears. 

Somewhere along the way I stopped reaching out to others when I was afraid or needed help. I became much more comfortable withdrawing and trying to deal with things on my own. Earlier this evening I ran into a parenting moment that left me feeling inept and angry at myself for making what seems like a frequently repetitive mistake. My first response was not to reach outward but to try and figure it out on my own. I can see that it is my own feelings of shame or pride that get in my way of looking for help outside myself. I don't have to figure it all out on my own and if I get stuck, sometimes the only way out is to ask for help.

This is my attempt tonight to step out of isolation and recognize the need to reach out for strength beyond my own. What are the things that block you from reaching out? Where could you most use a helping hand? 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Synecdoche



I see and accept my whole self

Today I spent some time thinking about how important the process of change is. I know that it drives what I choose to teach and the way I approach a classroom. I want to make talking about that process even more central to what I am already doing and as I wrote down some of my thoughts I felt the familiar wave of shame that comes over me whenever I compare what I teach to the struggle I still experience in trying to do it myself. 

Change is a process and a slow one at that. I find myself wishing that instead of the gradual growth I see in myself that it would happen all at once in spectacular fashion. It doesn't. Because I always see that long path in front of me I lose sight of what progress I have made and focus instead on my mistakes and shortcomings. It is a common problem for me to focus on just one part of myself and make it a representation of the whole - synecdoche.

I am more than my mistakes, age, weight, accomplishments, work, family role, favorite sports team, bank account, political affiliation, or the myriad of other small pieces that make me who I am. If I focus solely on one of them as a representation of who I am at any moment I have lost touch with who I am as a whole person. I get imbalanced. Today I will see my whole self and accept that I am all of it. A human-being in the messy process of change, full of paradox and possibility where no single part of me represents all of me. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Abundance



My life is filled with abundance

I have lived most of my life under the fear and anxiety of scarcity. It seemed there was never enough. Not enough time to finish the endless to-do lists of life. Not enough money to meet my needs. Never enough sleep to feel rested. Life seemed to be a constant struggle to stretch my thin and meager resources, and I always came up short. It was like trying to sleep through a cold night with a tiny blanket. No matter how I positioned myself or stretched the corners, something always seems to be left out in the cold. 

As I have come to believe that the universe is a benevolent place, I can see the abundance life has to offer me. I am more capable of being present in the moment rather than having my mind spinning anxiously in the future of "what if..." Unlike many of the changes I have worked on in my journey, practicing abundance has not been as difficult to embrace. Once I began to shift my perspective by trusting that life is truly abundant and full of what I need, the universe immediately reinforced to me that truth. If I am open to see and receive it, life will provide what is needed for me to travel my path. 

"The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." -- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Wanna Bubba



I am open to life's lessons and opportunities for growth

My youngest daughter loves to drink bubbas (bottles), particularly juice bubbas. I think if she had her druthers she would prefer to drink all of her meals through a bottle. I thought that by trying to slowly ween her off of the bubbas she would eventually make the switch to a sippy cup or regular cup. I have had no such luck with that. It was magical thinking to believe that this was a change that would come easily. When she asks for one and I suggest she only needs a bubba for bed-times she insists firmly and persistently that a bubba is exactly what she needs and nothing else will do. 

"I wanna juice bubba dad. Daddy please give me a bubba. I wanna bubba! I WANNA BUBBAAA!!!"

This can also escalate to her delivering blows with her tiny fists or well placed kicks to my shins.  

After taking her out for a one on one daddy daughter date last week I let her know that she was growing up to be a big girl and it was time to say goodbye to the bubbas. She seemed to take it relatively well at the time. There was some sadness but she seemed at least moderately excited to tell her sisters and mom that she was a big girl and giving up the bubbas. That was relatively short lived. The intensity of her bubba rants has increased exponentially and it has been difficult for her to make the transition.

When I am faced with situations that force change I sometimes find myself throwing the same type of fit as my daughter does over her bubbas. Change often requires letting go but I am often resistant, even defiant at the idea. Life presents multiple opportunities for my personal growth and they often come whether I am prepared or not. How I view those opportunities and the level of willingness I have to make changes is a choice. Focusing on what I think I may have to lose rather than what I may gain does not leave me open to change. Prefering the comfort of what is known over the uncertainty of what is possible also stunts my growth. 

To reach my full potential I will open myself to change and the opportunities life presents for my personal growth and development.