Just do it!
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”
– Charles Darwin
And might I add to Mr. Darwin’s theory…the ones whose hearts are open.
And, you can’t know the difference until you’ve experienced that openness.
And when you feel it again close, as it does when from time to time, when challenged, when hurt, the world surely darkens and your possibilities seem diminished, you might point a finger outward as if the world or someone in it created your displeasure.
Go back inside, drop back into your heart and the sky will open again.
Trust me on this one.
That’s freedom….and your options are endless. Endless.
My mom was a winner, in all respects! I spent a long weekend in my hometown of Lancaster, PA, at a highschool reunion, visiting with friends from LOOOOONG ago, relishing the fertile, brown soil (really) of my home turf. Truly one of the most beautiful farmlands anywhere and I’ve seen a few here, there and about.
Though my mom died nearly 12 years ago, I feel her presence everywhere when I visit ‘home’.
I was chatting with a friend this afternoon. She was telling me how 23 years ago at 5:05pm, (the very time we were speaking), she was getting married in a little chapel in Las Vegas, ‘The Little Church of the West!’ We were recalling good times with friends, with lovers, husbands. We reminded one another that whether things ended badly or not, the good times were just that and ALWAYS will be….not to be negated one iota with a sour event. Why should they be?
Life is an illusion of sorts. It is. Think about it. You see what you see because you want to see it that way. In time it might change, but, you see it how you see it.
As she was telling me this story, (turns out years later she learned her groom was already married….oops…a technicality). Just as we were sharing our stories, deciding to hold folks we have loved, (and possibly still do), in the light, she passed a church sign which read,
Forgive Everyone, Forgive Everything…Always and Forever!
We broke out in riotous gaffaws!
It reminded me of a story I wrote awhile back…
Mama Loves Jesus
My mother was raised Presbyterian though was more of a spiritual person than a religious one. Not a regular church goer, she instead communed with God while in nature or in the ordinary business of her life. I do remember however her disdain at the proselytizing folks in our community who rather pushed their brand of religion on their kindly neighbors. My favorite memory was when she’d picked me up at my best girlfriends home after a Saturday night sleepover.
My best friend Liz lived in town and I was the country mouse. Unable yet to drive, Mom was my chaffeaur. As we drove out of town toward home one Sunday morning, I remember stopping at a traffic light. Ahead of us was a family, two adults and two children. They were no doubt on their way back from church. We both noticed at the same time that they had a bumper sticker which read, ‘Honk if you love Jesus.’
Before we could comment I saw that devilish spark in her eye. Hang oooon I thought. Without a moments notice, she laaaiiiid on the the horn of her aqua Thunderbird, ‘HOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNK!!!!” Everyone in the car turned and scowled the ugliest of scowls toward my mother and me. She beamed her characteristic BIG smile and waved happily, while it took the family in front of us a good 10 seconds to regain their composure, realizing that she was honking for her love of Jesus. On to the next light, dang if she didn’t do it again. Ohhhh, my mama loved Jesus.
Often they are loveable.
They are FULL of surprises.
They come in many colors.
They make me laugh.
They can make me sad or upset, making my laugh feel even better!
They can be fun to go on short and long trips with.
Sometimes they laugh at my jokes.
They can think up fun stuff for us to do together.
When they make me mad I usually get over it.
They help me see how I want to be.
They help me see how I don’t want to be.
They can make good friends.
Some know how to play music or garden better than me.
I get to eat their vegetables.
Some people can let you down and then return shiner than before.
They do stupid things making me not feel so stupid about some of the stuff I do.
Some are really nice to look at.
Some have terrific smiles.
Some surprise me with how smart and kind they can be.
Some teach me tricks, new ways to tie a bow, or how to make pie.
Others show me how to display new and different cheeses on a pretty platter to share with guests.
I like seeing all the things that people are good at.
I like to see how confident some people are, even when I don’t agree with them.
I like when some people agree with me.
I like when people don’t agree with me and we laugh til we fall off the sofa about it.
I like when some people get really serious about things, or when they don’t.
I especially like the ones who like animals the way I do.
Some are fun to dance with though not many I’ve met.
I like the ones who can talk as fast as me.
I like the ones who don’t feel the need to talk as fast as me.
I really like the ones who don’t mind hearing the stories I tell twice,
or who like to listen to the stories I write and don’t mind if I act out certain scenes.
Today I’m focusing on the people I like.
I prefer that to not liking people.
I figure we’re all doing the best we can.
People who love math mesmerize me.
Or the ones who are good parents or who don’t need much sleep.
I like to watch people in movies much more than people in the circus.
Old people are often very cool, and people under 3 feet tall,
though I probably will always relate a bit better to my dogs.
So, yes, I keep a window open for good people to show up,
and for good things to flow through to me.
It’s fun knowing some people for years and years, sometimes growing closer to them.
Sometimes you just don’t but like them anyway.
Probably if I got to know you, I might find something to like as well.
I’ll consider that I might.
I’m thinking this morning about the people who have come through my life, considering the possible ‘soul contracts’ we had way before coming to this particular time on earth. I’m considering the necessary losses we go through to tumble on top of each and every day. I’m thinking too of a book by Judith Viorst of the same name.
I am considering too how people come and go and often return in ways.
I am considering the various ‘connections’ I’ve felt with different people, the gifts I have received from them and no doubt they from me. And sometimes the gifts come through what we perceive as disappointment, hurt, anger. Others through expressions of love and kindness. They are all valuable.
One of those people is my friend Sherry, clearly a ‘sister’ soul who entered my life almost 20 years ago. We’ve had similar paths, with regard to spiritual growth and business. We buoy each other up in ways and challenge as well. We have gotten angry with one another but always return, knowing that the heart of the other is pure and well meaning.
Usually what has angered me is something I need to hear, though must take time to digest and assimilate. I always forgive any delivery that might sting. And she learns too how better to approach me or others through my response. We’re all learning.
What struck me as we visited the other evening was the power of our defense mechanisms. Our defense covers our woundedness. And we all have some. The more I need to be ‘right’ or ‘the best’ or ‘central’ shows only that I am perhaps hiding the vulnerable parts where, whether I admit it or not, I’m less sure.
If you’re thinking of yourself and denying this place, I encourage you to consider just ‘maybe’. That ‘maybe’ can lead to a breakthrough of seismic proportions! Consider too trusting me on this one.
I know too that our relating to others, in our marriages, friendships and business associations can transform as we consider this part of ourselves and endeavor to heal what is so deeply hidden.
I see these places in others. There are many parts to develop in oneself as a human being.
It is the emotional parts that seem less developed in the professionals and adults I meet. They’ve yet to do that challenging work. They have not yet expanded into a place to feel all of who they are and they operate more from ego (this is what we train people in, in our culture), and less heart, a mind-y-ness,
(3rd chakra for those of you familiar with the energetics behind ‘being’).
I spent a good many years sorting through all manner of issues with a most savvy therapist, eager to understand why I did what I did and how I might shift aspects of myself to move toward a life of greater peace and in tune with some less reactive part of myself. I was eager to give up a struggle which didn’t serve me. It was GREAT work with a great mentor for sure. I value those afternoons pulling apart thoughts and feelings.
He is the person who shared, ‘you must make things what they are before you can change them.’ Indeed. And to see clearly you must tune into not just your mind, it WILL fool you, but your heart. This I know for sure.
Some of the people who I clearly have had or have ‘contracts’ with are brilliant, charismatic, loving, certainly fun or funny, but a tad dangerous in not being in touch more fully with this part of themselves.
I see the fuller person for sure, though their actions and the decisions or choices they make show me where they are less tuned in. I know, as I see myself in them. The attraction is strong.
I hold a place for them to move more fully into themselves. Similarly, I have had people hold the same for me, thereby bringing forth what is hidden in me, if I’ll trust and open my eyes and drop into my heart.I have seen how I have deluded myself (or delude myself) when wanting instead to cover a hurt. It’s insidious. Hard for the smartest person to see. The defended self is a warrior, strong and sure in himself. We wear many cloaks of armour…
You can tell when you hear people speak, what they talk about. How they respond to what is happening around them. There is a thick coat of protective denial, the need to be right, a rigidity. This wounded ‘part’ expresses itself in so many ways. My father’s was through rage…..others a cunning logic.
When you drop into your heart….(just do it, even if you don’t think you know how), everything changes. My friend Sherry tells me that how I hold my lower jaw changes. She’s right, I can feel it. The heart is the King/Queen keeper of all. The heart rules….the mind, the body, perhaps the spirit.
I aspire to be a heartful leader, smart, savvy, open, vulnerable and on point. I’ve seen these qualities in only a handful of leaders I know, and only in moments. I am both inspired by them and feel tender toward the protected parts I feel within them. We are but mirrors to one another.
My heart is beginning to grow fuller as I meet these folks, several quite dear to me in ways. I see myself in them and have felt and feel a real connection. I know that somewhere there is a contract out on our ‘bumping into one another’. There is something to work out (each for ourselves) that the other helps present.
I’m deeply aware here. And here lies the blessing. So, I sit with all that ‘comes up’ for me with regard to people who appear somehow on my radar.
We are all gifts to one another.
And with this, meeting people, caring about them, expanding together or falling apart. I understand the necessary losses and that they are also much more. They are gains if we’ll look from a higher view. It is through bumping into one another and experiencing the hurt or defense or hubris that we can see ourselves better and have compassion for what is.
For me, this takes an uncanny courage.
My hope, as I grow forward, is that time and again those losses, which to me, with my heart open, feel less sad despite the learning and that in time, with some of the souls who have touched me, that there is a more awakened coming together to share all that has transpired, sometime before I leave the earth.
But, that’s just my ego craving comfort. It might be another lifetime for some who have crossed my path. For when there is a contract, there is a contract and what is meant to be, is just that.
I take NOTHING for granted!
The plural of opus, is opera. I just learned that today. I would have thought it was Opi….but what do I know!?
One of my favorite films is ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus’. A man, (Richard Dreyfuss), a musician intent on creating his major musical work, his symphony, his opus to present to the world. Instead, his short tenure as high school music teacher becomes, (much to his chagrin), his lifetime work and the hundreds of people he touches become the fortunate recipients of his many gifts, hence, his opus.
I’ve seen the film, I’m not sure how many times, and I always, ALWAYS break down in solid tears, the underdog appreciated. I drip into a puddle.
So…your opus? Or ‘opera’? It’s not about who notices really, or how it’s received in your eyes, or my contributions in my eyes….our job is to uncover our talent, our purpose perhaps. And once we do, that’s enough. If someone appreciates it, benefits in some way, okay…but it needn’t matter. Our ‘work’ is ultimately not about fulfilling our ego. Conversely if the world at large abhors your contribution, who cares. It’s our job to scratch the itch of why we’ve perhaps arrived on this planet at this particular time.
And just as Monsieur Van Gogh was not acknowledged until his lobe was long cut from his ear, worry not if your opus is not cannonized. You are no doubt making a bigger impact than you realize….and honestly, it’s not about you, it’s about you expressing you. Though it feels terrifically good of course to hear the praise or the applause, an affirmation of sorts, know instead that you really don’t need it….you and I are magnanimous beyond compare, just as we are, bumps, foibles, idiosyncrasies and all. Terrifically so.
There is nothing you need redeem yourself from. You are the perfect you, I the perfect me, constantly arriving at our next place, our next spot, our new ‘aha’ which might catapult us forward more greatly into our purpose. I must remind myself this regularly. Regularly.
I’m smart in moments. Trust me on this one.
And as a reminder, one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel….I love the choreography. (with Kate Bush). Listen. I bet you’ll be glad you did.