On stumbling….

Yes, life is a dance, that whole two steps forward one step back…sometimes one step forward two steps back.  I get frustrated with myself on such occasions where my stumbling lands me back at a place I struggled to get out of.  Recently I quit smoking, for what seemed like the 100th time (in reality it probably was my 10th really good one…meaning longer than 3 weeks with really good intentions of being DONE).  Well, the last time I quit prior to this I went through quite the ordeal, the bad moods, the restless sleeps, the headaches and worst of all, the weight gain.  I swore it would be my last time putting myself through it.

Now I’ve quit again, a month into it and I went through it all again, all for the non-pleasure of falling back into the trap for a mere month.  It was a colossal waste of energy and time. Yes, I am proud that I made the choice to quit again, but I don’t want to spend my life fighting the same battles over and over again all because these battles are familiar and I know how to win them.  I need next level business. I need a new view of life, this one has become dull.  Going back to the gym to lose the same 5 lbs I’ve lost 100 times before, instead of moving towards a new level of fitness.

I am taking on new things this year, I am finding my way back towards the dreams I had before I learned to doubt myself. That requires NEW beliefs…I have become certain I know what is best for me, how to attain the goals I wish to achieve, now its time to put new plans into action.  Now its time to do and be not want and need.  Theres a saying “When you know better you do better”.  Yes we are supposed to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, but the “moving on” requires that we learn from them and then MOVE ON…no more repetition for me…goodbye cigarettes, hello new and healthy body!

On returning to your dreams…

When I was young I believed everything I needed to be, I  needed to be while I was still young.  I did not account for a life past 40. I did not account for the 40 something version of myself to finally be the person who had the guts and the wisdom to understand what “following your dreams” meant, and what it really took to do it.

Sure, life requires a little luck to get things done, the right place at the right time, the right moment that you  meet the right person under the right circumstances etc…but the glitch is…if we’re doing everything we can to prepare ourselves for that moment, well…that moment inevitably arrives.  I have no proof of that as of yet, but a wise voice inside me knows it to be true, and I find (in life past 40) that I am able to recognize this voice, and know it to be a teller of truths.

So what does “preparation” look like in my life, at present? It looks like working out, it looks like letting go of resistance, it looks like playing my guitar, it looks like showing up…to class, to work, to the gym, to my life.  Showing up if I feel like it or not, showing up when I’ve gained 5 lbs, showing up whether I’m sad or happy or crampy or tired. I have yet to perfect this, but I’m working at it….every day getting a little bit better, and that to me is what progress looks like.

I am glad that I have learned that I don’t need to be young, youth is a lie, or rather, a moment, in the life of someone that is always evolving, it is a gift, though most of us don’t use it as such (I know I didn’t). Youth did not, as I once thought it did, define me. I define me…this spirit, this smile, this fight, this desire…I survived my youth, which is a wonderful thing, now I wish to thrive.  I have finally learned that there truly is “no time like the present” and that today is the youngest you will ever be again…

On what Ive learned, what Im learning, and what I’ve yet to learn……..

My mother once said (though I’m sure she did not coin the phrase) “You may be a late bloomer, but you smell as sweet as any other rose” I think that may have meant more to me than she would ever know (especially since my mother is apt to be my worst critic as much as she can be my biggest fan).

Its a solid truth that my second chapter in life (now in my forties) is a much more stable, and pretty chapter than the one preceeding it. (See ya later 20’s, you were NOT my best friend).  I, like many, if not all, other women, do not want to get old, but man do I love getting older, I am very good at it, and getting better all the time.

It is nice to know that my “glory days” are in the now and not in the past.  Its nice to now my friendships may have grown fewer but, oh, so much deeper.  Its nice to know my laugh lines are from, well, laughing! Its nice to know that the dreams I didn’t chase are coming round again and have started chasing me (time is a frenemy, that scares us, sometimes, so much, that it kickstarts us into taking action we may not have otherwise taken). Its nice to know that when love comes its never too late, actually its divinely on time. I’m very happy I never pressed that issue.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that we are born overcomers…our spirit was made to be resilient. Our paths were meant to teach us, all those bumps and blocks…all of them, strategically placed to give us our unique human experience.  Its NOT what we have been through, but what we have overcome that defines us…me? Im a warrior.  The most delicate kind, but still in the ranks, and for now ‘Im ok with that, as I said, I’m getting better all the time.

What I’m learning now is that one is never truly ready…not that we shouldn’t make great efforts in our life to prepare ourselves for opportunities, but our work should be spent more on creating opportunities and then jumping straight into them vs. preparing ourselves for the elusive opportunities we have yet to call forth.  I am learning how to trust…everything…the process, life, myself (the hardest one), the unknown, the unknowable….just trust.  Waiting on the right time is wasted time.  Do your best…it will never be perfect, but it will always be better than waiting to do it later…later is not a real time.

What I hope to learn is that I can really do this. That I can shift my way of thinking, move forward with all these new(er) beliefs, and really succeed…get that level of fitness, never pick up another cigarette, travel, help others, adopt that child, love my partner as well as I want him to experience love in this life, and do the same for myself. I want to learn that practicing what you preach makes all the difference in the world, that my mind, my heart, and my soul can all operate on the same level and bring forth more and more of all these beautiful changes that I am feeling, and always seeking more of. I hope that this learning never ceases, I hope that my later chapter in life will amuse me, as I look back on a life that was lived dancing and tripping and running and falling and jumping and sobbing and laughing and loving and that it somehow all comes together to make a beautiful story…one that I am proud of, one, that I am lucky enough (and wise enough) to already be proud of. Loving myself is by no means an easy relationship, but it is one I am fully committed to.

On being Imperfect….

There isn’t always a perfect way to handle imperfect situations.  Those of us who try to always “come from love” can sometimes find our heads hung in shame and disappointment in ourselves when we recognize that we (despite our best efforts) can react as poorly as those who pay no mind at all.  Anger can be a very powerful emotion, disappointment or sadness can have us reacting in ways that we thought we had left behind, before we had accumulated the little wisdom that we have worked so hard to gain.

Exhale. We are human. Its unfortunate that in this “human state” we find ourselves susceptible to emotions that can over power, challenges that leave us tired, and circumstances that roll over us like a hot iron, flat lining our resolve to be the bigger person, the better human, the purer soul.  We can, at times, just freak out and lose our cool. what can I say….it happens.  Sometimes? It happens in dealing with those we love. This is the hardest.  This is when we feel deflated and depleted…when the very bonds we’ve tied with love, we cut with hurt.  Its also, understandable.

I have, in the past few weeks, hurt ties with two people very close to me.  One, my best friend,  just finished surgery on her ankle and came out smoking cigarettes like it aint no thing.  Smoking, on its best day, is a dangerous and ugly habit…coming out of surgery…its just irresponsible and, in my humble opinion, cruel to ones self, and anyone that cares for that same self.  Considering this friend is already a somewhat unhealthy person with more than one bad habit to break, I became filled with worry, and disappointment, and, something that felt very much like…anger.  Yes….I came from THAT place. Sometimes, anger is born from love, would not otherwise exist if you did not love to begin with. I have to be ok with that.  That was my imperfect situation that I handled less than perfectly.  Love means forgiving yourself first.  So I do, still working on forgiving her…

The second person was family, my very best friend in the world, my older sister.  We are both going through a high stress time for reasons that require a whole different blog entry. She asked me to do her a favor.  I didn’t want to do it.  I struggled.  I reviewed the reasons over and over why it seemed more than I was capable of.  I had to say no.  Could I have done it? Yes. I could have. I also would have taken on more stress than I could handle while still remaining balanced or happy.  I asked her to understand.  She couldn’t.  She is now not talking to me. That is something that hurt a lot.  Her last words to me were “Go live your beautiful life”…THAT hurt…I thought that’s what we aimed for, for ourselves, and for each other.  I thought that was the goal “a beautiful life” why was I now being condemned for trying to have one? Was I in the wrong? Was I supposed to try to help her at a high cost to myself, or was it my job to not hurt myself so that I could continue to help others? Imperfect circumstances at their most imperfect.

I am two people down at the end of two weeks…two of my closest people.  Maybe this is what happens when we start to set boundaries. Maybe selfishness, to some degree, is a necessary ingredient in the makings of a good and healthy life. Maybe we cant always stand behind our choices 100% because we are imperfect people just trying to figure this life out.  I have to believe that the more we continue to TRY, the better we’ll become at it.  The more we can try to understand ourselves instead of judge ourselves, then the more compassion we will have for ourselves.  Compassion cannot be extended beyond ourselves if we haven’t first mastered it FOR ourselves.

I am not sure that ‘Ive played my cards right (in either case), I’m not sure if how I’ve handled things made any of the angels sing or made this world a better place.  Ive hurt two people that have also hurt me and all I can do is forgive, first myself, and then them…and now I can say that whatever may come, Im starting fresh again from a place of love….and will continue to, until I get this right.  After all, this is how we get wisdom…this is how its born, from the labor pains of imperfect circumstance. This is how we learn.  Be love (imperfect, glorious love).