Category Archives: Three Truths and One Wish

Three Truths and One Wish

berryharvest1. This summer is going too fast. And it took me so much longer this year to settle in — I was sick, my CSU situation was not working, and I was so depressed. It took some real effort to work with all that, and now that I’m finally sinking into summer, slowing down, savoring it, it’s already almost July!

2. I’m leaving for Oregon on Friday. I always feel such anxiety planning for a trip. I don’t know what to pack, I obsess about what I’ll eat, I’m anxious that I’ll forget something important like a prescription or my bag will get lost or the rental car will break down. I worry about what might happen while I’m gone. I’m not very good at traveling. I’m not very good at leaving the house.

3. I’m working hard at being okay with accomplishing less. I’ve been pushing myself so hard the last few years. That would be okay if I’d been enjoying it more, but instead I can sometimes feel depleted, sad, dissatisfied. As an antidote, I’m lowering the bar and being gentle with myself, continuing with what seems like the work of my life — self-compassion, not smashing myself to bits.

One wish: May we all slow down, sink into this season, and savor it, and may we do so in the company of love.

Three Truths and One Wish

peonies031. Truth: I am driven by a need for external approval and permission. Even though I am smart, fundamentally wise and intuitive, I am constantly seeking out a second opinion. Especially when I have a big decision to make or I find myself in a difficult situation, even if I know what’s right, am absolutely certain, I’m uncomfortable unless I get someone I trust to agree, to tell me I’m okay. It’s incredibly painful, but I’m working on it. I’m risking trusting myself, no matter what anyone else might think about it.

2. Truth: When a difficult situation arises, my default is to either avoid it or get too busy to deal with it. This is a pattern I’ve spent a lifetime perfecting, so now that I realize that it doesn’t actually work, that it isn’t the best thing for me, I also realize it’s really hard to shift. Awareness is a good first step, seeing what I’m doing, noticing and paying attention to it. Pausing before acting comes next, getting comfortable with not immediately checking out or rushing off when things get uncomfortable.

3. Truth: Even when I try my hardest to do no harm, to do good, I mess up. There are just too many causes and conditions at work for me to be able to control the outcome of any situation. I was thinking about it this morning when I saw a spider in our bathtub. I typically prefer to move a bug outside if I can, rather than kill it. This morning was a bit different, because on Sunday when we got back from hiking, we were checking Sam for ticks and found three bright red bites on his belly. We don’t know what bug exactly, but when I saw the spider in the tub, I was thinking “it could have been spider bites,” and it made me want to kill it. I didn’t, but when I captured it under a glass, I broke off a part of one of its legs. I released it into the backyard, but who knows what kind of harm I actually did, and I certainly am under no illusion that I somehow saved Sam from ever getting bit again.

One wish: That when we make mistakes, are misunderstood, or find ourselves in the midst of some other difficult situation, we can be gentle and kind, with ourselves and others.

 

Three Truths and One Wish

firstpeony

The first peony opening in my garden

1. Truth: I read a lot of books at once. It’s a bad habit I picked up in graduate school, where each week I had to make it through hundreds of pages of content, and no matter how good it might be I could never read just a single book from beginning to end because there was too much other reading to do. That approach stuck with me. Right now I’m actively reading five books, and in the midst of at least ten more.

2. Truth: Through books, I can access so much wisdom. But I’m not a snob. I think that there is the same kind of wisdom available online, on television, in films, on stage, etc. — anywhere that humans are endeavoring to tell the truth, to share their stories, there is wisdom to be found.

3. Truth: At least once a day, but usually more, I encounter truth that has the potential to change everything. This morning, it happened while reading Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. I saw myself so clearly in the way she talked about how we cover up our discomfort with short term solutions and distract ourselves from our deepest longings with busyness. It goes back to what Adreanna Limbach said about laziness. I can see how easily I get confused, but also know there is a way out.

One wish: May we reconnect with our deepest longing, may the next necessary step be obvious and easy, and may we continue to be patient with ourselves and the process.

Three Truths and One Wish

It's a tiny harvest so far, but I'll take it

It’s a tiny harvest so far, but I’ll take it

The theme for Issue #4 of Mabel Magazine is “what’s next.” Initial pitch and synopsis submissions are due June 19th. Some of the suggested prompts are:

  • Are you beginning a new chapter in the current adventures of your life or work?
  • Are you working on plans for a grand new endeavor that will take your work or your life in a new direction?
  • Do you have a story about how you’re working through and handling a major shift in your work or life?

I’m submitting something, so as I was writing in my journal this morning I was brainstorming what I might write about. Looking back on the life rehab I’ve been undergoing for the past three+ years, I was considering what kind of advice I have for anyone hoping to do the same. Here’s just three things I know to be true when you are making a change.

1. Truth: Know what you want. When I first started to change my life, I knew in general what I wanted, but to get more specific I took all kinds of personality and “what’s your perfect job” sorts of quizzes, assessments, and tests. I spent a lot of time journaling about what I would do if money, time, other people’s feelings, etc. weren’t an issue. I wrote out what my perfect day would look like, made lists of my core values. I took ecourses and read lots of books. I had long conversations with people who understood and sometimes knew better. I wrote a mission statement for my life. I got really clear about what I wanted.

2. Truth: Show up and do the work. This is key. It’s great to spend time dreaming, planning, imagining, talking about the change, your new life, but at some point you have to stop staring at your toes and move. Don’t misunderstand me, though — this doesn’t mean a grand gesture, a big showy shift. It means taking one tiny step, doing one small thing that moves you towards your dream. For me, one way this happened was by writing and/or publishing something every day, starting this blog. Other times it was taking my camera with me and going for a long walk with the dogs. It was completing yoga teacher training. Sometimes it simply meant doing a load of laundry and feeding myself. Whatever it was, it was about not waiting for something to happen, and happening.

3. Truth: Don’t give up. This can take a really long time. It can be frustrating, disappointing, confusing. Your life won’t stop happening, be easy just so you can focus on this one thing. There will be obstacles — and if you are like me, the biggest one will be yourself. There might be layers and layers of stuff you need to work through to get yourself to your true center, to find your true north. You might need special training or certification, or just lots of practice. There might be things you need to heal or let go, and that can be hard, take time. Don’t give up.

One wish: May we know what we want, accept that we are allowed to want it. May we show up with open hearts and the wisdom to do what is necessary. May we keep the faith, hold our truth tenderly, move with courage and love, and never ever ever give up.

Three Truths and One Wish

Lory State Park, image by Eric

Lory State Park, image by Eric

1. Truth: Eric and I have been watching documentaries about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. It’s the sort of thing he’s always been interested in: stories of long treks, challenging hikes, voyages to places less traveled — people setting off into the wilderness, into the unknown to discover something. Now I’ve got the bug too. I haven’t put my finger on exactly what it is yet, but there’s something about a journey into nature, into that particular mix of silence and chaos, that’s really a journey deeper into yourself. When I hear the hikers talk about quitting jobs, putting their things into storage, leaving behind family and friends, and being transformed by their time away, gaining a new understanding of what’s really important, it tugs at something in me. My plan this afternoon is to finally watch Wild, so that probably won’t help.

2. Truth: I meant to write this post yesterday. I came into my office just before dinner, was standing at the computer getting ready to start typing when my phone rang. I don’t talk about this much here but someone I love very much is deep in the pit of addiction, at times almost drowning and at other times fighting to get out. There’s a part of me that wants to avoid the situation altogether, to run away, to resist the connection, to let the call go to voice mail and not respond. But there’s another part of me that can’t stand to ignore the suffering. Even if I don’t know what is going to help this person finally be able to find the right help for themselves, I have to keep trying, I have to show up and keep my heart open, not give up. One of the things I did while I was really sick was binge watch episodes of Intervention, trying to get some insight into the situation. I felt like it really did help me in the conversation I had last night, so don’t let anyone tell you TV is all bad.

3. Truth: A shift is happening in me. I’m not sure how it will land exactly, but it has something to do with having better boundaries, living more intentionally, and getting the rest I need. Being sick at the beginning of my summer break, some things that happened at work as I was making my way out, a conversation I had with my therapist, watching people I love struggle and suffer, finishing up Feast and intermediate yoga teacher training have created the perfect conditions for contemplating how I’m living my life, considering if it’s working. I’m reading three books right now that are related: Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte, and 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris. And the fact that I’m reading three at a time should tell you a little bit about how much I need to really hear what they are saying.

One wish: May we find stillness and quiet and space. May our inherent wisdom and compassion arise from this place of rest. May we trust and have confidence in basic goodness, knowing that it is our fundamental natural state.

Some Truths and One Wish

peoniesbuddhasandcandy1. Truth: I am obsessed with peonies right now. Just like I do every year around this time, I attempt to drown myself in them. I can’t get enough.

2. Truth: This post usually happens on Tuesday and is only three truths. But this has been a busy week, the last week on my contract, finals week at CSU, and I’m sick so that makes everything harder, and I wasn’t going to write this post at all this week, especially not today when I’m home sick and just want to sleep, but then I remembered…

3. Truth: Five years ago today, Kelly passed away. This day doesn’t pass just like any other. I’m not sure if it ever will. This whole season, the shift from winter to spring, all the blooms and the rain, the flowers and the flooding, reminds me of her, and then that reminds me of Obi, and that reminds me of Dexter. I’m acutely aware of everything I’ve lost, and everything I have because I was so hurt, all the ways I opened up and let life in because I had no other choice — tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal.

4. Truth: I’m sick because I worked too hard, didn’t take care of myself. More than anything I need to learn how to be of service, to give, to be generous and helpful and compassionate without running myself into the ground. I need to figure out how to care for myself as well as I do others, to make sure that it happens so I can keep going.

5. Truth: My life would feel like enough if I truly let myself experience each moment, each breath. For example, I could stay with the joy, the creative energy of learning and putting together yoga classes for yoga teacher training, just that and not project myself into teaching this weekend, worrying about maybe getting sicker, all the things I need to get done in the next few days, etc. — I could be calm, peaceful, at ease, well, content right now. All I need to do is be in this moment, rather than carrying the weight of all the possible moments.

6. Truth: I don’t practice to feel some things and not others, I practice to feel all the things. I want to meet whatever is arising in this moment, be open to all of it, be vulnerable. I put so much energy into resisting, forgetting, running away when it’s so much easier to relax with what is, to be here now. I listened to a Daily Dharma Gathering talk with Koshin Paley recently and he said, “The more I become intimate with old age, sickness, and death… the surprise is I feel more alive and joyful.”

7. Truth: I want the last thing Eric and I say to each other to be “love you.” I insist on it every time we part, so that our last words don’t end up being something like “are you coming home for the dogs?” or “don’t forget your lunch.” It might not work out, but I’m still going to try.

8. Truth: I’m so tired right now I’m about to fall over. So, I think I’ll go finally take a shower and then take another nap.

One wish: Even though the first noble truth is that life is suffering, may we find ways to ease suffering, for ourselves and each other and the world.

Three Truths and One Wish

swoonlilacbloom1. Truth: This is one of my favorite times of the year, as well as one of the hardest. It’s the busiest part of my whole CSU work year, but it’s also spring — the smell of the lilacs, my irises starting to bloom, buds on my peonies, the trees getting their leaves, the bird song, the promise of a garden and summer, the rain, the rain, the rain.

blergh...

blergh…

2. Truth: I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’m very aware that S.A.D. is the kind of condition that if you don’t have it sounds like a made up thing, but trust me — it’s real. It’s some kind of trick the light and moisture and temperature plays on my brain. And when it’s as gloomy as it has been the past few days (and will be for the next few as well), I just want to stay in bed. I feel like I’m carrying the full weight of the sky and the weather in my body, like the whole thing sits right on top of my head, settles in my chest, and it’s too heavy. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I just thought I was a gloomy person. Then I moved to Colorado and realized it was actually the weather.

overit3. Truth: I’m ready for this semester to be over. I was playing around with my new work camera yesterday, and my friend who’d stopped by to have lunch took this picture of me. It makes me smile because it’s so ridiculous but also so accurate — this is exactly how I feel right now. I have two more weeks of CSU work (fingers crossed that I finish what I have to by then, but even if I don’t my office has to be packed up so they can move it back into our newly remodeled building, thus the chaos behind me in the picture) and three more Sundays of yoga teacher training, and I’m so ready to be done, to rest.

One wish: That even if we are busy, overwhelmed, sad, tired, confused, we are still able to see and appreciate the beauty amidst the mess, still able to laugh. That we do what we can to be gentle with ourselves and others. That even as we surrender to what is, we don’t give up.