Friday, May 27, 2011

The Stone

I’ve been asleep in the center of a hard stone.
Trying to be.
Trying to wake.
Living in the stone.
Pretending I’m alive, all the while trusting the death that is so evident.

I begin to awaken.
This stone is not a chip from a mountain,
But the center of a fruit!
I have grown!
I have become!
I am no longer a stone, but a tree!
A magnificent tree in full bloom.


I am a fruit tree.
I can produce apricots, plums, cherries, peaches.
I have it all,
I can do it all.
I don’t want to miss being in one single pie or cobbler.
I can make the taste buds of any tongue squeal with delight and satisfaction.

Look at me!
See me!
Know who I am!

But – who am I?
Will my beautiful blossoms produce peaches, or apricots, or plums, or cherries?
Am I to make pies or jam?
What am I to do?

Shakespeare said,
To thine own self be true.
What does that mean?
That question feels like a stone buried deep inside my heart.
This stone holds the question.
This stone holds the answer.

Another tree,
Another season,
Another winter –
Beautiful, glorious, peaceful winter.
A winter infused with magic,
A spring infused with hope,
A summer infused with growth,
A fall infused with harvest.

That’s what I am to do:
Learn from the winter.
Enjoy the spring.        
Grow into the summer.
Partake of the fall.
Love my life!
Celebrate my life!
Dance in the harmony of all seasons expressing at once.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Work Dance

In my life I have had a habit of putting other's needs before my own. This is something I saw my mother do, and I picked it up and embraced it like a thumb and a blanket. In the past I have looked at this as a noble vice—the kind of habit that only a very loving and giving person would have. And in some respects I still think that is true, but today I’m seeing a side of it that I haven’t chosen to look at until now. After watching myself the past few days, I see that I have been guilty of using this habit as an excuse for me to squirm out of my adult responsibilities.  I wasn’t expecting to stumble on this version of what I call the work dance—suddenly becoming helpless when one is asked to do work.
In the morning I’m tired and don’t want to get up. So, I drag myself out at the last minute feeling tired and a bit resentful at having to leave my cozy bed. I’m still in my pajamas late into the morning, even though I’ve been up for several hours. My routine is to exercise in the morning. Pretending that I am going to go out and exercise gives me a great excuse for not being dressed so late in the morning. My reason for this is I am putting Jamie’s and her kids’ needs first, so I don’t have time for me. (That’s the kind of mother I am, unselfish, never thinking of myself.)  The truth is, it’s cold out. I’m not naturally drawn to exercise, and, quite frankly, I don’t want to go running. I didn’t make and commit to a plan last night. And I’m still under the illusion that getting more sleep will make me feel better and give me the vitality that I’m looking for.
I have homework to do this month. If I stay on top of it and do what I have outlined, then I will be prepared and get the learning that I am going for. I haven’t done very much this week because I have been involved with Jamie and her kids. When the kids go to bed, I stay busy finishing things up with the needs of the family and visiting with my new grand-baby. The truth is that this family is so well put together that an excuse like that is just an excuse to justify not doing what I don’t want to do. My homework takes something of me. It takes focus. It takes discipline. It takes time. It is easy for me to say that I don’t have time to sit down and work on my homework because of all the demands of the children and household. But in reality, I do have plenty of time, to do it after the kids are in bed or in the morning before they wake up. The discipline, focus, and commitment are the things that are missing, not the opportunity.
I used to think that as long as I had an excuse for my behavior, then anything was permissible. I’m now learning that if I hang on to that belief, then most of my creative energy is spent on making up excuses.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Good Enough

It happened in fifth grade reading group. I hated reading out loud – each child taking turns standing up to read one at a time. I needed time to become familiar with what I had to read. It came my turn. I stood up and began reading. My best was to read slow and stumble over most of the words. Feeling extremely self-conscious standing in front of my reading group, I caught out of the corner of my eye one girl whisper to another, “listen to Anita read, pass it on.” She silently giggled, whispered the message to the next child in line, creating a chain connecting the group.

I was devastated. True to my ten-year-old pride, I swallowed the ball of fire and rage in my throat, quickly turning it into a ball of pain and self-punishment. The moment I swallowed that anger, I began an unattainable quest to become good enough. I believed if I could be a good enough reader, I would never be ostracized again. If I could be a good enough friend I would be included, despite my lack. If I could be good enough at anything, I would have no problems.  I would never experience pain again.

The pursuit to become good enough has been an obsession for most of my life. At age 53, I got new insight. Those were mean kids. It never was about me. My not being good enough was something I made up in my head. Those kids were dealing with their own insecurities and pain.

I forgive my classmates for not giving me the love and support I so desperately needed at that time. But more importantly, I forgive myself for buying into a big ugly lie and putting myself into a prison of my own making.