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Holding On & Letting Go
Where is your well? Where do you go to fill yourself up with what really matters most to you? Have you built or found, happened upon, searched for & located multiple well sources for yourself? Do neon signs emerge to let you know that you need a trip to a well that will meet your needs?
One philosophy that has served me well in adulthood so far is to have wells in place before I need them. I know big time that I will need them. Life’s storms will come since it is part of the human experience so it would be a little like going purposefully into the desert for a week & not taking one drop of water. The wells though that I am talking about are the wells that keep my perspective, perceptions, thinking & attitude on track. It can be the easiest thing in the world to give in to faulty perspective, perceptions & thinking I have found. With this in mind, I have found that for many years I automatically seek new wells for my well being…well thinking, physical & emotional health & ways to stretch my thinking. Sometimes I will receive a snarky response from some people that say something along the lines of “motivation & inspiration” & spiritual & emotional growth is a bunch of nonsense.” That is what it is. We are each allowed thankfully to have our very own opinion & my world will not crumble if someone disagrees with me. I do not measure my values & principles against opinion & that serves me well. Right is right if one person is doing or saying something that is right & wrong is wrong if one or many are saying or doing something wrong. We each figure out what is right & what is wrong based upon our own set of principles & values. Then we live our lives out from that centre. It makes decision making a lot easier right? Hmmm, honestly, even to this day I am challenged by that one. Why is it that if I know better there would be a problem? It is simple & that is frankly that I have a natural tendency to be a people pleaser if left totally unchecked. I would rather give up every ounce of my energy to say yes to everyone & most things if these things are going to make someone else happy. That is my short term thinking. It is a little like spending all our money in one day though in terms of the amount of sense that makes I have found. Of course all of us know about the realities of for instance planning ahead financially. We do not go out & spend our paychecks in one day as this would make no sense whatsoever. Are our time & hearts & our selves worth less than money? We each answer that question for ourselves. The problem comes into play though big time as a neon sign for me if I say my time & heart mean more but behave contradictory to this. Yikes, that is a tough one to look at head on. Have you found though that life is like that? The tough things are the big things & they matter? That is what I experience.
Okay, so filling our wells is about checking our thinking, perceptions & attitudes & keeping track of what matters most. Is it about making sure that we don’t hit the wall of burn out in one form or another? Yikes, if you are have a natural tendency to be a people pleaser, this may be something you think about often too. How about if you are a Mom? Make that a double yikes. We just seem to think that we are behaving badly if we go ahead & recharge our own batteries. It is counterintuitive to properly take care of the needs that we have by nature & visit those wells purposefully & timely. It can feel sometimes like when we make it to the well that we have dragged ourselves there reactively. What if we turned that upside down though & went to the wells often & proactively? Any guilt? Why is that? What if we challenge those feelings? I have come to realize over the years the hard way that when I get exhausted that the time that I spend giving or spending with our sons is not at the energy or presence level that is important & of value & principle to us as a family. To take 30 or 60 minutes at least once a week, what a difference that makes though. The quiet reflection guides me easily back to what is important & what is not. Without this quiet time though, thinking, perceptions & attitudes look further & further from who I am & what our family is all about.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as connecting with our 5 senses I have found. The smell of fresh baked butter tarts in our tiny oven, anything baked with pure vanilla, going outside & taking a few moments to smell the hydrangeas that we have planted in our outside garden in abundance puts an instant smile on my face too. If we are moms we can even break open the bubbles & blow them with our kids & not worry about what the neighbors will think. The reality in our neighborhood anyways is that the neighbors would think that was big time cool & many would join in. Here’s another sense that is big time an instant smile maker & that is sitting down & petting the soft fur of our smiling golden retriever. I love dogs & I have a huge soft spot for golden retrievers especially. There is no way that I can be in the vicinity of a golden retriever & not stop to pet their silky fur & talk to them & then watch for the flurry of tail wagging. Music is a gift. Right now I am listening to soft, classical music & it helps to add to a peaceful feeling. Other times of the day, the boys & I love to play & dance to other types of music & of course sing the wrong words & take ourselves pretty lightly. Speaking of music, the song that is being played a great deal on the radio currently is “happy.” That is pretty cool that an artist purposefully released a song that can add to feelings of gratitude & levity & happiness.
Are you a collector? God gave me a sentimental heart so I find that so many things are attached to memories. There are tea pots & tea cups that I know exactly who gave them to me & when & times shared with Dear Hearts over these cups & saucers. The cups & saucers could tell so many stories. Then there is the priceless artwork that our sons have brought home over the years. My own viewpoint is that I do not want to get attached to things yet I will admit that the memories of some of the things in our home contain sentimental meaning. Teapots & books are my 2 biggest items to collect & they are each enjoyed big time. Just the sound of a tea cup landing on the saucer & the sound of the golden tea nectar being poured into the cup makes me smile so big. The smell & the waves of steam from the cup is like art to me. Everyone is passionate about something & I have many passions & when I love something I am all in so I get what is referred to at our home as “over happy.” What do you get “over happy” about? Do you allow yourself the time to go to the well that contains the ingredients for you to be “over happy” often? I do. One of my t-shirts says it best, “at three thirty everything stops for tea.” I am flexible on what time tea time will be but inflexible on whether tea time will come on any given day.
Do you like the taste of cold tea or coffee or a cold meal? Most of us will say that is not something we are fond of to say the least. Are we giving ourselves and or others in our lives emotional cold tea, coffee or undesirable “meals?” Or, are we going to the well & getting our own needs met & then giving the best of ourselves to those around us? It is a purposeful choice & that means it will not happen on its own. The important things just don’t work that way. The great news is that if we know this then we can do something about it. Have you heard yourself say to yourself in one form or another that you will re energize your own battery once basically your whole to do list is done or some other condition? That is cold coffee, cold tea or an undesirable meal. We make time for that which is important period I tell myself daily. When we get into situations where we find ourselves over committed to tasks & obligations with hardly a moment to ourselves it can be brutally difficult to give ourselves what we need when we need it the most. That is the reason that I literally schedule quiet time into my schedule each week like it is an urgent appointment with a specialist. It is every bit as important to my well being I believe. Without this scheduled quiet time it would be profoundly difficult to figure out each day what I need to hold on to & what to let go or in other words what to say yes to & what to say no to. For me I realized a long time ago that it is so so easy for me to say yes to so many things that would be better to say no to.
Each week, my scheduled time includes different activities because I like it that way. Some scheduled times will be for reading & other times for meditating & other weeks in the time I will listen to music or a podcast that is life giving. Going for an additional walk sometimes is the scheduled activity. Writing at least once a week is another scheduled quiet & beautiful time that is so looked forward to every single time. This may not sound like a quiet activity & it is one that is a rare treat but it sure is scheduled & that is to have opportunities from time to time to listen to a favourite speaker that I admire. Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a speaking engagement by one of my top 3 favorite authors/speakers. He does not often come to Canada so when I heard that he was coming to a city about an hour away from where we live I was elated. Also, I knew that the tickets would sell out quickly. I ordered the tickets to the conference almost 6 months ago before I had knowledge of my additional chronic “365”s. I hope that even if I had known about those challenges in advance that I would have taken the plunge & ordered the tickets anyway & found a way to go anyhow. Let’s face it, there are reasons & there are excuses. If something is important enough to us, we will find a reason & if not, we will find an excuse. This was a good test of this belief in action for me this past weekend. On top of the additional 365’s, I had caught a nasty cold the week before the speaking engagement & was run down & fighting the good fight with blood sugar roller coasters. I felt well, what is the medical term…oh yes, “crappy.” I had to ask myself if all these physical feelings were an excuse to miss out on the conference that I had been excited about for nearly 6 months or if I would come through with a reason bigger than the excuses to get my butt out of bed at 6am on a Saturday even though I had a banger of a headache, the continuation of the pesky cold, the fading yet present red spots of guttate, elevated blood sugars & sleep deprivation. The combination of Tylenol & coffee took the edge off of the headache & sleep deprivation halfway to the conference. Feeling like going I know for me is beside the point nearly every day in many situations. If I don’t check my thoughts but rather simply bow down to the feeling like doing something or not would be a huge mistake. Thoughts can be wrong & feelings are not always in our best service to us. We are adults so we can question our thoughts & choose better ones & better actions versus giving in to how we feel about something. Please don’t get me wrong, it is one thing to listen to our bodies say if we are in low blood sugar & make the necessary care decisions. I am really talking more about my own decision about continuing with an activity that I knew was going to be really great short & long term & persevering with the cold, headache, tiredness & spots.
How do we decide what we give up & take on? We each answer that for ourselves. The conference speaker, M. Kelly said it beautifully when he began his talk by telling the audience that in order to live with passion & purpose we had to get really proficient at 4 things: knowing who we are, what we are all about, what matters most & what matters least. I find that I feel pretty right on about 3 out of 4 of these things. The thing that is still a work in progress for me is knowing consistently what matters least. That is compliments of the people pleaser in me that left unchecked like I mentioned would say yes to things that matter least. That is too high a cost though for me I have learned from experience. The things that matter most cannot be placed at the mercy of the things that are not my passion, or mission or purpose, or calling. If I know who I am & what I am about then I have to get better at recognizing the things that are not for me & learning the “n” word. Yikes, that is a work in progress yet one well worth my effort. That is why the quiet time each week is needed so much I find. Years go by in the blink of an eye & I don’t want to wait to live my purpose. Every moment is an opportunity. A no can open up the world to our bigger yeses…our reason for being here. We are each beautiful originals with a purpose all our own. Is it difficult to stay on track? I answer with a huge big time yes! Is it impossible? Of course it is not. Does it take effort? Yes, it does, big time! Is it worth it? That is rhetorical. The cool thing about type 1 & the other “365”s in my life is that they have magnified the 4 guideposts mentioned by M. Kelly. (While there is nothing cool about having type 1 or “365” health challenges, it is big time cool what we can choose to do with these challenges with passion & meaning). Have I heard these 4 things before? Of course I have & I bet that you have too. Here’s the thing though & that is that the timing of a received message can make all the difference. I felt a tap on my shoulder in the form of the message that I had best keep my wells located & frequented because my natural ability to use the “n” word is still very much a work in progress. Thank goodness for the wells.
My heart’s hope for you is that you have constructed, discovered, created, located & found many, many wells that help keep you living your life with big time meaning & your very own beautiful purpose. We each have our very own gift to give the world. Let’s all give that gift with enthusiasm after we each drink from the wells.
May the wells always be in abundance for you exactly when or even before you need them. Next Monday's sharing is "Sometimes You Have to Lose Your Voice to Find It." :)