The best thing my mom ever did for me when I was an adult and moved out was to not sympathize for too long. I HATED hated hated it when my Mom would say life is hard. I was all about looking for the easy way.
I hated the stupid stuff I had to go through but that is life — going through . It’s what makes us grow and become – how we handle the crap that is tossed at us. Slipping on ice and hurting our backs. breathing in water. job limitations and regulations.
It’s shit! But flowers need shit to grow. So do we!
Don’t wait till you’re my age to figure that out. Learn to grow through the shit. Even welcome it. Ah, here comes another chance to grow!!
Honey, I love you so so much. But I won’t take away your opportunity to grow and I can’t linger long at wallowing with you. I’ll figuratively hold your hand, send you hugs, and let you complain – for a little while.
But then I’ll offer suggestions. I’ll even get kinda philosophical…
Find a saying that pushes you through. I have always used the Serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can change, the courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.
A few other suggestions:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Even flowers need shit to grow up beautiful.
Find something you can put up and remember.
Now, I am embracing hard. Bring it!!!
I promise you, the moment you realize and embrace that shit is just part of life, you will feel so free.
Never forget that I love you. NEVER.
Apparently, the best way to learn…is to struggle. And boy oh boy—is that in my face right now. Our 13-year-old son is struggling in school and he’s not okay with it. So much so, he has basically just phoned it in at school. I get it. I can think back to the times I did whatever it took to avoid the challenges in front of me. While in the short-term avoidance feels good, the problem is we miss out on what challenges teach us.I found this video on learning that features a group of professors, journalists, and engineers to be reassuring. There’s a number of great tips but the most powerful takeaway is that we all have to learn to be okay with struggle.That means I have to learn to be okay watching our son struggle, and not rush in to rescue him. And he has to learn to be okay as he struggles with certain subjects at school, so he can face challenges and become a better learner.
Here is a cute ongoing story… last Sunday I was trimming back Barney’s potted roses. They are at a very weedy stage (growing from below the crown) and I suggested that we take them out altogether as the rhodies are shading them anyway. So, I go in there clipping away when all of a sudden there was a chirp and fluttering whirrr of wings startled me. I had disturbed a mama quail. She chip chip chipped at me from the opposite roof and called to her mate. He made loud noises at me as well.
A letter to two of my daughters that I thought was useful.
I happened to be on Facebook – rare for me anymore – when I happened on the post by Caleb when he announced he was bored after having finished college. I read your convo and how lost you feel right now. I have to say I was there when I was your age. Even Caleb would admit he was there not all that long ago.
Some of life is accidental but most of life is intentional. It is meant to be experienced. The only way you know you like or don’t like something is to try it. College is just one very conventional way to try it.
I “tried” life through college. Didn’t like it. I tried living with a job or two or three. Didn’t like it. I got married and had a family. I loved it and at the same time didn’t like it. I have a job now that I love. AS a matter of fact, I just plain love life.
I found out that life is what you make it. Truly. YOU MAKE your life. If you don’t like it, you can change it. Don’t like how you look? Don’t like how you feel? don’t like where you live or who you’re with or… you name it – change it!!
The old serenity prayer says it all:
Grant me the courage to change the things I can change, to accept the things I can’t change – and wisdom to know the difference.
Let’s tease that apart… Get out a piece of paper and list all the things you don’t like about what is going on in your life. You don’t like your weight? That I know you know you have the power to change. You don’t like being alone? Find places where people hang out.
If you feel like people don’t like you, it’s often because you don’t like yourself. Learn how to love yourself. How? Do things in your life you can be proud of. Not what I’d be proud of or what your dad would be proud of. Not what you think anyone else would be proud of. You! They don’t need to be big things, either. they can be something as “little” as getting out of bed early and on time. Taking a shower and following a routine. Keeping the bathroom tidy. Starting and finishing the laundry. Choosing not to eat pastries or a whole pizza or buy a full meal deal at McDonald’s.
Bigger things like having plenty of money, a job you’re proud of, a comfortable place to live in.
These are all things you can change!
Now, look at the things you can’t change. It’s a pretty short list!! I mean you can see, you can hear and taste and move. You have a smart mind. Imagine being blind. They can’t change that they are blind but they can change how they move around in the world. What if you didn’t have legs? watch any video with Nick Vujicic and that will take those excuses.
Now, on that list of things you can change, don’t get overwhelmed. I know it’s pretty big. Mine is too. Anyone who is honest has a list of things they are always working on. All successful people do. And by successful I don’t necessarily mean rich, I mean they are happy with where they are in life. Happy but always willing to expand and grow and be the best they can be.
You are already doing the “improve my income” change by looking actively for work. You have “get healthy (lose weight)” on the top of the list as well. So, work away at it steadily. And don’t knock yourself for the times you fall off the wagon!!!! Just get back on.
Meanwhile, work on other personal development skills. Choose to build people skills over TV and movies. I almost obsess over this, personally. I just bought a big ass TV and I don’t even use it!! Because I am so obsessed with self-improvement. Not from an “I’m worthless” point of view. But expanding ME as a soul in this vast universe. STOP comparing yourself to anyone. They are on their own journey. and chances are even they are not happy with themselves. If they are, like Sadhguru or Michael Singer, they don’t waste time wondering what to do. They just live and serve and love. That is really our reason for being. to expand the soul to live and enjoy life, to serve and to love.
Okay, so you need to pay attention to your health (by eating better choices) and hygiene (caring for your body and hair). Get an accountability partner. Someone you admire and who you can take their input without getting defensive. If that person says, you need to take a shower, don’t get defensive – do it! If they tell you to watch your words, thank them and learn to either reframe your words or not talk at all. I bet, if you asked, Lindsay would be glad to help. I know she’s busy but if you don’t take a lot of her time, ask for her insight. Take one bit of advice master it, then ask for another bit of advice. If she sees you are in earnest, I am sure she’ll continue. But you are your own best teacher. Learn from those you admire but take responsibility for you.
“I am my own damn fault. I get the blame if things go south and I get the glory if things go north!!”
You love the excitement of peopling. You just need to get peopling skills!! THE classic book on that subject is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Norman Vincent Peale. Borrow it from the library. Read it. Study it. Apply it!!!!
Maybe you’d like to get into sales?! In order to do sales, you need to be approachable. (And don’t use the excuse of being overweight. Plenty of obese people make good salespeople).
Stop making your weight the reason you are not succeeding in life. Get obsessed with life, loving and serving your fellow man. Focus on others. Give. Love. Be. If it becomes superfluous, your weight will come down all by itself. Why? Because you are concentrating on giving yourself to you and to others and there won’t be time to eat and eat and eat.
But even Jesus said, if I might paraphrase, you can’t love your neighbor unless you love yourself first! So, I challenge you to, first of all, google “how to love myself” and read about that. chew on that and meditate on that. Learn to see past your outward appearance and see the sunny soul that you are.
I know you have a huge heart of love. Love You First then let it spill over…
With the deepest love,
I’m a reformed couch potato. The spirit is willing but my flesh is definitely weak! What do I mean by that? You see, as a kid, I thought PE was a waste of time. That exercise and sports were optional. I always felt like a klutz… I was one of those kids in PE that hoped the teacher didn’t see me. I was the kid no one picked to play Soak ‘em because I couldn’t catch or throw the ball worth a darn. I was the kid who was always picked last for teams.
I was just a clumsy, skinny kid and I came to find out later in life my muscles are tighter than average. I mean I cannot touch my toes – never could. The worst thing was that even the high school gymnastics teacher finally recognized my limitations – but only after I tried to vault the vaulting horse and my feet caught as I tried to tuck them under me and I landed smack dab on my face and crumbled up in a heap. Oh, the humiliation of it all!!
Needless to say, I hated gym class. I’d invent ways to get out of PE. Fake sickness. And as a result in later years I never did go to the local gym, too much like PE class in school.
As life went on, though, I came to realize how important exercise is to living, well, healthfully. I think I allowed myself to get overwhelmed with all the shoulds in my life. I should eat better. I should exercise more. I should get outside more. I should meditate more… and on and on. To me that means, make better choices for food, set up a simple doable exercise plan and hook my meditation practice to something I already do – make coffee.
So, I have done the first and third part: eating better and doing meditation while my morning coffee is brewing. But I still held back on exercise!!!
Fast forward to today. I know better. I am still not into sports but I KNOW how important it is to get daily exercise!! No gym for me – not my idea of fun. Exercising in public reminds me too much of PE class, I guess.
Also, I am a full-time in-home caregiver, meaning I am with someone for 6 to 10 hours a day.
So, how do I fit in 30 minutes of functional exercise? I figured this out: I decided to set up my phone to remind me to get up off the chair every hour during the day to do something for 2 to 5 minutes. I use SplenDO app and have it notify me to do something like:
So far, this has been the only way I can fit in about 30 minutes of a workout without interfering with my work schedule. I’ve done it for several weeks now and I am just excited to have finally found a way to fit in exercise that I like doing.
Is this perfect? Maybe not to the fitness coach or trainer. But it is perfect for me, at least starting out. Because ultimately, any exercise is better than no exercise. And my theory is that small chunks of exercise are doable for anyone. Even those stuck in an office. Every time you take a break to use the bathroom, take a few minutes to stretch, move, jog in place.
This question is a bit like something a high school guidance counselor or a life coach might ask. Where do you see yourself 5 years, 10 years, 30 years from now? I wish I’d listened to her all those years ago… Of course, it’s never too late to ask. Today I can decide what steps to take which will be part of the outcome a year, 5 years or 20+ years from now.
How do I determine what steps to take today? I have found thinking of something negative helps prompt me. For instance:
So, what am I doing – today – to exercise my body to keep from getting stiff and sore?
What am I doing today to support my future income?
Who do I call to get involved in distributing food? Is there a dance class in my area?
See? Just ask yourself what you don’t want, then reframe it as a something you can do to NOT end up that way.
How about you?
What would you say to your younger self if you could talk with him/her?
One of my favorite movies, Disney’s The Kid, with Bruce Willis and Spencer Breslin. Of course, the idea of being able to converse with yourself is sort of insane, This movie makes it almost believable!
Bruce Willis plays Russ Duritz, an image expert who helps people make modifications to their physical appearance as well as coaching them how to behave to get the best results in their field. He is quite successful helping others fix their lives but his bravado hides his own life failures. Early in the movie, Russ gets visited by a kid who turns out to be his younger self.
Anyway, when young and old Russ/Rusty get to know one another, at first elder version is annoyed with the younger version, even disgusted. As young Rusty (Spencer Breslin) shows up over and over again, Russ (Bruce Willis) begins to have “deja vu” moments that upset him. In time, he finds out what point in his life he stops remembering why he became hard and cynical. He guides his younger self through some trying times but in the end, he heals emotional pain and mental blocks by facing the pain.
My favorite scene is when older Russ is talking to a friendly newscaster, Deidre (Jean Smart). He is telling her he’s seeing his younger self and interacting with him she sort of smiles. When she tells him that his younger self was there to talk to/teach him, not the other way around, he falls silent with a dumbfounded look.
I love that. What could we learn from reliving a part of our childhood? What would you say to your younger self?
I for one, have learned to practice parenting myself, where in my mind, go back to younger versions of me and either comfort yourself or take the younger you on a walk to meet older, presumably more successful aspects of yourself. I love this. The best time for me to do this is when I travel back and visit 5-year-old Cheryl who had just been laughed at and humiliated by some bullies, and take her for a walk through my history, showing her all the times the older Cheryl had succeeded at one thing or other. Big things and small, like:
I could go on and while you might think those are big accomplishments, it meant a lot too that young Cheryl. She grew up that day.
Anytime, I feel worthless, I travel back and look at my history. I feel proud.
What would you say to your younger/older self?
Few books fill me the way The Untethered Soul has. Even fewer have I picked up a second and third time. It is my go-to book when someone asks me what is your favorite book? Or what book changed your life? The book is impacting to me that I have bought several print copies, one in hard back for taking notes and I have the audio book as well.
It's that good.
If you've read any of my other book reviews, you know I read books that teach about the inner journey. Books about "who am I?" I have come to realize that nearly every one of us asks that question sometimes more than once. Who you are is not "wife", "partner", "teacher", "student", fifty something years old...
From Singer I learned that who you are is the one who watches all those aspects of you. He is the first person to make that crystal clear to me. You know, when you're watching a TV show and part of you is saying, "isn't he handsome" and another part of you is wondering if the pizza guy is about to knock, while yet another voice comments that the dog must have left a pile behind the couch again"...
You know what I mean. You have those odd rambling conversations in your head all the time. Elsewhere I have learned about my different aspects. You know there's an aspect of you that wants pizza, yet another aspect says that is not on the diet and yet another aspect of you is nagging you to get exercise while yet another aspect is more interested in watching another binge of Grey's Anatomy! It used to bug the daylights out of me - all that noise, chatter. My mind was never quiet!!
But Singer helps you to know "Who am I?" in all that noise. What's more is that he teaches in the simplest terms how to stop the chatter - getting all those aspects of you to chill.
The whole book has an "aha" on nearly every page but the chapters that meant the most to me are further along. An example, Pain - The Price of Liberty. I understood for the first time that pain - both physical but more importantly, emotional, serve a very important purpose and spending my life trying to avoid it is like avoiding the sun while walking on a cloudless day. If we try to avoid pain we are not going to grow. If you are like me you WANT to grow. So, as crazy as it sounds, now I don't get shocked when "bad stuff" happens. I ask, what am I supposed to learn? How is this to make me whole as a person?
“I want to be fixed – NOW!”
Anyone else feel like that? Kinda like a whiny kid in the store, I get to stomping my feet (mentally). I want to remember it will take time to turn this ship around. I want to remember that it took time to become who I am and it will take time to change some bad habits and add new good ones. I want to be patient with me, right where I am.
I want to accept me now for who I am or I find I stay stuck, like a truck in a muddy rut. The only way to get out of that muddy rut is to stop and accept the situation. Then allow the mind to come up with a plan to get out of the rut.
Life is a process, a journey, taken one step at a time. I think I, we, have been tricked because of this instant gratification society into thinking we can get it all now. Well, maybe you can fulfill that craving for a frappe or a chicken burrito – now. But learning to meditate? Organizing my life? Changing the way I think about me? Those will take time. and practice.
A wise friend told me that when I say I want to be fixed indicates I think I am broken. That I don’t love me. Wow. I have been so busy loving everyone else for who they are, I forgot to love me for who I am.
So, I purpose to accept me right where I am today and take each new moment as it comes, consciously choosing the next steps. I purpose to love me right where I am and know that I am free to change. And breathe…just breathe.
(originally posted in a group I am part of)
When life got really hard and scary as a new wife and young mother, I wish someone had told me to “Do it afraid” sooner. No, let’s take that back even before that. I actually wish my mom or dad had not just told me that it’s okay to make mistakes way back when. That mistakes were not bad but that it’s good to make mistakes. That mistakes are just how we learn and grow. To show me, by their own lives, that adults are adults by making decisions, and being accountable for both the good and the not so good outcomes. If Mom and Dad did anything wrong, it was that they didn’t let me see them make mistakes and how they dealt with the fallout.
It’s not as though they didn’t support me in my growing years. I was an above average student but nothing that would put a spotlight on me. I was a Girl Scouts all the way through school and I got First Class badge at the end. I had guitar lessons. My grandmother, a professional concert pianist, tried to teach me piano. I took vocal lessons… Never stayed with anything long enough to get really good though. Maybe it was laziness? Maybe it was scary when I had to get in front of others? Not sure at this point.
I was afraid to make those mistakes because somehow I assumed I was the only person who was so naive. Why do we do that?? Why do we think everyone else is smarter or got things all figured out? I can totally relate to the character, Mia, in The Princess Diaries movie. I was good at being invisible.
I have no traumatic incidents that twisted me up one way or other. It’s just that somehow somewhere I got the idea that making mistakes was a “bad thing”.
Never did I get the feeling from anyone that making mistake is how we learn and grow. I still ask the question, what scared me so much that I decided to hide from the world way back on the brink of adulthood? But even so, whatever it was the scared me, I needed a PUSH to do it afraid!! Freakin’ do it!! Do it and cry and fall and try and get up and… just DO IT!
Now that I know better, I am “preaching it” to my own kids and anyone else who might benefit from my new found wisdom.
Do it till you ‘get it’. Do it when it seems others are laughing. I had to explore that question for myself. Over time, there were more and more answers that needed questioning; so-called pearls of wisdom that needed testing.
Do it afraid!
This is the beginning or introduction to the Question the Answers (QtA) journal. Hence the reference to the first book of the Bible, Genesis.
Question the Answers is an outflow of a major life change for me. It seems strange that a grown woman with nine children and three grandchildren, as of this date, would need to start over. But start over I did.
I was born at the end of the so-called baby boom to two college-educated parents. Dad put in a few years in the Navy Reserve then signed on to Boeing till he retired. Mom didn’t quite finish college when they married, deciding to stay home, build a nest and raise my brother and me. Once we were in our middle school years, she returned to college to finish her degree and she began to work at Boeing till she retired.
Growing up was relatively uneventful. But it was great! Dad made sure we went hiking and camping – he and Mom are great explorers to this day). Mom got me into Girl Scouts and was my leader for many years. She and I got along so well – we could talk about anything. We lived in comfortable homes which Dad worked hard to provide. I finished high school well and planned to finish college – because that is what was expected. Frankly, I didn’t want to go to college and dragged through 2 years taking this and that.
Meantime, in high school, I started to bump up against my expanding spirit (I didn’t know it at the time, though). I began to really wonder who I was and why I was here. In school, I was exposed to all sorts of worldviews. Also, I didn’t belong to any particular group which was very hard for me as a teen – a time when we are just setting out to discover life. I didn’t want to smoke so I could hang with them. I didn’t like sports or want to be on the pep squad. I wasn’t a brainiac. Though I was a Girl Scout, none of my troop members attended the same school.
I was a wallflower. A very uncomfortable wallflower. Since everything inside me was crying out to belong at school, I began to notice the nice kids, the churchgoers. Fast forward, I went to church with a friend and I instantly felt like I belonged. I joined and the course of my life forever changed.
For one thing, my chosen church was rather rigid. Only members could go to heaven. Looking back, I can’t believe I bought into that line. But in my zeal as a newly reborn Christian, I informed my parents that if they didn’t go to my church they’d be lost in hell for all eternity. Dad was never very vocal about his pain, but Mom – she was heartbroken! Literally. And so was I. You see, I admired my mother (still do). But she wasn’t there during those blossoming spiritual growing pains. Needless to say, our closeness was rudely interrupted by my bigoted beliefs. I chose what I thought was a protected, safe worldview and she was on the outside.
I was embarking on a long lonely journey. I had lost the only thing that made sense to me but Mom was very busy with her schooling and then work when I was needing those answers. Looking back I realize now that the spiritual journey is one you take alone – even as much as I wanted to take it with Mom.
QtA was born from the need to stop and assess the deep questions in life. I learned that it is important to ask yourself Why? How? Who?
For my part, I hated the idea of touching those chewy questions: Is there a God? I wouldn’t even question it. I thought, “Of course there is a God”. To think otherwise is inviting his wrath, were my thoughts not so long ago.
But one day it was as though God himself asked me to question the answers, the answers that I thought were set in stone. It was as though He wanted me to discover him without religion, without preaching, without some man and his opinions to hide behind. It was as though God said, “I am big enough and I love you enough for you to question whether I exist.” It occurred to me that God is bigger than all the religions and loving enough to let me find him on my own in my own way.
So I started asking the questions: Is there a God? If I believe so, why do I believe it? If not, who or what do I believe in? If there is a God then why would he create hell, or even heaven, for that matter?
Then there were other questions. If I hadn’t met my spouse, how would life be different? What if I had chosen to finish college rather than opting out, who or where would I be?
On entering adulthood, I was scared. I had already been laughed at, failed miserably at a menial job, disappointed my parents, said goodbye to too many friends.
I really just wanted to hide under a rock. I ended up finding my rock to hide under – a man who made me feel safe – and got married. 35 plus years later I am still married to that man but both of us have changed so much. So I asked myself if I would meet him today, would I marry him? That is a tough question. It made me look into what marriage is and what it is not – at least to my way of thinking. And that will be the subject or entry for another day…
So, I give you a self-discovery journal. One that I needed when I was transforming. I hope to ask a question on a daily basis or edit/update answers as I grow and learn. I hope you will find courage, inspiration and a bit of hope as you read through.