Monday, May 28, 2018

...Seeing where "yes" takes me...

I am a walking contradiction. I take huge risks in some ways that many do not, but I am also prone to never want to venture outside my front door.

I went parasailing, but am afraid of the terrain in the woods. I can be exceedingly bold on paper, but a cocktail party full of strangers sends me into an anxiety attack.

I have been consistent, disciplined, and myopic in my goals, but when they’ve felt like they were approaching, some part of me put a stop to it, convincing myself that their lack of arrival had more to do with my destiny than my energy.

We are met at the level of our expectations, and my expectations have been less than optimal, when push came to shove, though my hopes and dreams have not.

Fortunately, I have insightful friends who are honest. And fortunately, I want a different outcome badly enough to take heed of that honesty.

We humans are invested in the status quo, the familiar, no matter how much we say we want something different.

To really want change is to embrace the unfamiliar, to lose sight of dry land, to leave what we’ve known behind, in favor of potential, possibility, and something greater that has not been modeled in our lives.

To be out of control is something we associate with being detrimental to our well-being, like being drunk or subservient. To give our control away is something we are warned against for our own safety and survival.

So how do we do it for our good? How do we allow good to come to us when it means we must let go and enjoy the ride? If we haven’t seen it, felt it, tasted it before, how do we know it’s safe to go there?

We don’t.

We have to trust.

Damn. That does not come easily, at least for me.

We have to decide that the torrent of good is one we want to succumb to. And the issue of trust isn’t that we fear the torrent of good, it’s that we don’t trust our own ability to know the difference between that torrent of good that we should succumb to and anything that is legitimately a threat. So it all feels like a threat.

The reality is there are only three things we have control over in this life – what we think, what we say, and what we do. That’s it. And that’s plenty. That moves mountains, in fact.

If we harnessed those three things to their maximum potential, the world would be and look a lot different. The trouble is we relinquish our power where we actually have it, and we don’t where we need to.

So having had this epiphany, with the help of my friend, Alisa, I should add, I’m left with the decision of whether or not I get onboard or hold my hand up and say “no” once again.

Since I already know that leads to nothing good, but it is familiar, I am opting for something new and different – I am willing to see where “yes” takes me. And because I am serious about this, you are all my witnesses.

When I feel that wave of good a-comin’, I am riding it. I am saying “yes, thank you very much,” and jumping in.

This time, I am seeing where “yes” takes me.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Mother's Day Blog

I’ll be honest with you - since my mother passed fifteen years ago, Mother’s Day has felt like a party everyone else has been invited to, while I sit home, counting the hours until it’s over.

I know, I know – it’s a Hallmark creation, no doubt encouraged by florists and candy manufacturers, or maybe the restaurant and perfume industries. But still, I would gladly exhaust all my funds frivolously, if I could but spend one more day, Mother’s or otherwise, with my mom.

I know I am far from alone in these feelings, so this blog is dedicated to those of us who find ourselves without moms here to shower with affection.

Fortunately for me, I have a Sunday morning gig at a spiritual center. So I will be celebrating that I get to do what I most love. And I know that my mother, were she still here, would no doubt be kvelling (Yiddish word, loosely translated as “beaming with pride.”)

The theme of the day is gratitude, and there is an endless list of stuff for which I’m grateful.

My mother was nothing if not straightforward.

One time, when called for jury duty, the defendant had twenty-six counts against him. When asked if she could be impartial, my mother answered, “With that many accusations, he has to be guilty of at least some of them.”

Then there was the time I was in college, when I was convinced I had been Chopin in a previous life, because I already knew his music and I’d never studied it before.

It turns out my mother played Chopin on the piano when I was in utero or a newborn, or both. (Imagine my disappointment that I wasn’t reincarnated.)

My mother was the one who stayed up until she heard me arrive safely home, the one who reveled in girl time shopping with me, the one with the inexplicable enjoyment of seemingly violent movies where the underdog eventually kicks ass and the good guy wins.

She was my partner in relishing figure skating and ballroom dancing, the one who cheered my victories in life and who dried my tears.

I know, from wherever she’s perched right now, my mother would want the day to be a joy-filled one and the memories to be sweet ones. And so that is what I will make it.

To all of you who might be feeling a little lost on this particular day, I hope you find a quiet moment, a happy memory, and do something kind and loving for yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day. And thanks for stopping by and spending a little time with me.