Thursday, 30 October 2014

An unexpected beauty

Today I don't want to give you a big story about the words I'm about to share with you.

I just want to type them and click 'publish' and let the magic speak for itself.

But I feel a little introduction is necessary - so consider this brief!

I've been listening to Tara Brach, a Buddhist meditation teacher and wise wise woman, talk about acceptance and love and worthiness on my ipod for over a year now. And it all makes sense. In fact I love it so much that I recently decided to buy her book of the same name: Radical Acceptance.

It arrived last week. And it is beautiful - the feel of the cover, the colours, the weight of the book, the texture of the pages - oh! I am wondering what took me so long to order it?



And she has such a beautiful way about her, the way she tells stories to illustrate the teachings, her down-to-earth and kind approach to matters of the mind and heart. And it's just as easy to read as she is to listen to.

She opens the book with a famous Rumi quote that I have heard her recite over and over again. I know I said I'd keep the intro brief, but I really want to share it too - so here it is:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

Sigh.

But it is the poem she begins chapter two with, by Antonio Machado, that prompted this post. I'll leave you with it... xx

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt - marvelous error! -
that I had a beehive
here in side my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Enough

Today I am not at Uni. My daughter is not feeling well so I will work from home. There is plenty to read - always - so I have plenty to do.

But for just a moment I contemplated what it would be like if I didn't have to do any work today. No reading. No writing. No thesis to think of or post to post.

What if I was to let it all go?

What if I was to live the life I've always worked so hard to avoid?
The life that is Mum and Wife?
Just that.

I can see the days turning into weeks and then months and all of a sudden the years will have passed, years of washing and cleaning and cooking and shopping and ...

This line of thinking has always scared me, cos if I did live that life, of Mum and Wife, then I'm afraid I'll wake up one day and regretfully wonder :
What have you done with your life?

That's the pattern. Until today.
Today another question spoke up.

Today I asked, Do you have to do anything else with it?

If you've lived it with a peaceful mind and a joyous heart, isn't that enough?

If you've loved and laughed and learnt from everything that's come your way, isn't that enough? 

If you gave everything you had to everything you did, wouldn't that be enough...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Get real

This letting go has taken me into new terrain.

Friday's pain had me seeking further understanding around judgment and blame.

While contemplating my present situation it dawned on me that I ask far more of myself than I do of others. It seems I have made up two sets of rules - one that I live by and another set that I insist everyone else live by.

Your set says reach out. Share your story. It's ok to feel how you feel. It's ok to ask for help. It's ok to be human.
My set says I should know by now. I should know what to do. I shouldn't feel this way. I have to do this on my own. It's not ok to be human.

I'm not sure how or why this happened, but when did I decide that it's ok for everyone else to be human but me?


The past few years of ill-health have definitely taken their toll, and instead of me being kind to myself and cutting myself some slack, I did the opposite - I judged myself harshly, criticising myself for what I was going through. My self-talk was riddled with shoulds. And should is loaded with blame and guilt.

Where was the compassion I had so often given to others? The gentle accepting voice, supporting and soothing; the good listener hearing all that was hurting; the patience and care for the sufferer and their suffering?

Now at this point I could've heaped a whole lot more criticism -  more blame, more guilt - onto myself for treating myself with such disdain.

But this time I didn't.
This time I saw the truth and I saw myself differently.
I realised my humanity.

This was my journalled response:
I want to be human don't I?
I want to experience life just like everyone else.
How can I be of any use to anyone else if I don't allow myself to be human? 
I don't want to be unreachable, untouchable - I want to be real. 

So...It's definitely time I ditched my set of rules and started living by the ones I let everyone else live by. Something else to let go of...

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Perfectly whole

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I'm a recovering control freak and a perfectionist. I'm not proud of either of these titles, but rather than pretend these parts of me don't exist I've decided to be open to them and even curious about them. Hell, I might even celebrate them!

Yesterday someone told me that I am 'already perfect'. This wasn't someone who knows me very well, so it wasn't coming from a place of flattery and pleasantry - it was delivered as fact. A universal truth. I frowned. It's not the first time I've heard it - and not the first time I've struggled with it.

My relentless strive for perfection is an obvious testimony to the belief I have about myself :  I'm not perfect...yet.  And it's a nasty belief to have.

I'm not perfect yet is like an insidious disease - it eats away at your confidence and undermines your self-esteem. It taunts you with a promise that I'm not sure will ever be reached or fulfilled - cos who says what's perfect and what isn't? My judging mind and critical eye are the first to say No... not good enough. So when will I ever measure up to my over-blown unrealistic expectations?

I won't.

All night the word 'perfect' kept popping into my mind. I vowed on falling asleep to look it up this morning.

Joy. Three definitions were available, with the number one in pole position for a very good reason.

Coming in third place were the words 'very satisfactory'. Hmmm...I can live with that. But it's still open to judgement - something I'm trying to let go of ; )

In second place, was the word 'faultless' with the example, 'a perfect diamond'. This definition is the one that I have let rule my choices and my life - at my expense. Faultless... knowing I am not this is what has driven me to distraction (and perfection).  Let the diamond be perfect and get on with being human Gena. Enough said.

But coming in first, with surprise and delight, was the definition I have needed for years. It shatters every ridiculous ideal I have of faultless perfection into a million tiny pieces of insignificance - 'complete; not deficient.'

Goose bumps. I sigh with relief. My days of believing I am fundamentally flawed are over.

If I am 'perfect', then I am complete, whole. Not deficient or lacking. This is not to say that I won't continue to seek, evolve and grow. But the intention will be powered by curiosity and my love for learning - not so that I may become faultless and flawless - but whole.
From the Twigseeds Contemplation Cards Volume One