Ever have a book that you set aside right in the middle? Perhaps it bored you? Maybe life got busy? Maybe the subject matter was too much? That was the case for me last summer. The book was Rising Strong by Brené Brown – and during ‘The Summer of 2016’, I could barely rise let alone rise strong. The book was cast aside and collected dust.
In my new year post I talked about intentions and being intentional – along those lines, I am applying that principle by attempting to not chase the next big idea in the latest book – but instead (1) assess the books I already own – decide if worth my time, (2) donate the books I KNOW I’ll never read and (3) finish the books that inspire, challenge, and interest me.
Re-enter Rising Strong. It’s about living brave and highly recommended…but be forewarned…it’s a tough, squirmy, kind of read. Talk about taking a deep look at yourself. Any who…
The subject of Chapter 6 – People are doing the best they can.
Yay or nay?
Unfortunately, for all my brave, self-compassion, meditative, prayerful efforts, I fell into to the Nay category – which is generally characterized by ungenerous, judgmental, self-righteous thoughts – ugh. But what I also learned is that the other side of the self-righteous coin is not good enough. Yes, very familiar with that toxic rabbit hole. Ironic. But not really. I’ve often shared that I’m my worst critic – the self expectation and resulting feelings of not good enough is often ridiculous.
There are no easy answers. My personality, wiring, and worldview is not an easy fix. NONE of THIS is an EASY fix. But, try telling that to my inner critic who REALLY does think I should already have all this life stuff down.
That’s where the not good enough is coming from…first from the shame of having issues – good Lord, where did the thought that a perfectly controlled life was even possible?
Resisting the circumstance is often worse that the circumstance.
The opposite of control is not chaos – it’s surrender
There’s an element of sacrifice that usually comes with surrendering, and the truth is we … simply … don’t … want … to … let … go. Whether it’s our busy schedules, the things we have in our home, the clothes in our closet, or the books we have on our shelf—they all weigh us down. Brian Gardner
We also don’t want to let go of our old thinking habits, our preconceived ideas, the stories we are telling ourselves, our self righteousness, our sense of what is right and what is wrong.
I am right and you are wrong.
It is much easier to focus on you than to change me.
Sigh…what a mess.
So where do I go from here?
mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.
What if I told you there was place on earth that was so peaceful and calm that NOTHING could disturb it…would you want to go? Of course, my first response is “heck ya” but then I hesitate…what would a life of NO REACTION be like? Would I be like an unfeeling statue? Would it be like botox on the soul? And quite frankly, I enjoy and even seek out the highs of life – it’s the lows that I feel like I can do without. I think that’s why we are sometimes hesitant to change. We don’t know what the other side is like – and probably, in the beginning, it’s very uncomfortable.
There is what is called the “cushion of the sea.” Down beneath the surface that is agitated by storms, and driven about with winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed in the least, for hundreds and thousands of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the cushion of the sea, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble and disturbance; and he who enters into the presence of God, becomes partaker of that undisturbed and undisturbable calm.–Dr. A. T. Pierson
I don’t have all the answers (yet-lol). I do know that a life filled with expectations, resentment, self-righteousness, fear, loathing, etc is not brave, free, desirable, worthwhile. I do know that I have work to do on boundaries, integrity, generosity of spirit.
The cushion of the sea is not about our physical life – life will be hard. People will disappoint. Bad things will happen. My heart will be broken. But life is also amazing. It is full of adventure. It is full of love. The peace of God means that I have a choice on how to react to the external world.
BUT – that can be an awfully trite answer, yes? This incredible peace of God can also be seen as a trip to the moon. A fantastical idea that looks good on paper but probably won’t happen. I hear you. But I also know seeking this sacred place has got to be better that how I am living now.
To obtain that deep peace requires a tremendous amount of sacrifice and work on my part. I have to die to myself. I have to be transformed. I can’t even grasp what all that entails this morning – feels so very vast and impossible.
I do know however that it begins with willingness.
It beings with prayer.
It begins with being aware and mindful.
It begins with brave.
It is a journey and not a destination.
The road is not straight and is very bumpy
It will take one damn day at a time.
Thanks for listening <3