Category Archives: Offering

What I’m Learning Now

Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself. ~Jean Anouih

On Thursday, I worked a lot with letting the day unfold naturally, without force or agenda. I was fatigued, worn out, and took a sick day to rest. The plague (several versions) has been circling around campus and there’s a good chance my body is doing everything it can to fight it off. I stayed in my pajamas all day, fed myself well, drank lots of grapefruit juice, watched some inspirational videos while resting on the couch, taking notes and at one point having a long nap.

The Universe is bombarding me with messages about self-love, self-care, self-acceptance. The classes I’m taking, friendships I have, things I read and see and hear make clear what I can give, what is needed. The theme is that there is only one me, I have unique gifts, a specific perspective and calling, and that I must be true to that, honor it, because that’s what I have to offer the world. And most importantly, it is not selfish to be who I am, to love what I love. In fact, it is the deepest kind of compassion, the most profound expression of wisdom.

To succeed at being somebody that you are not (but think you need to be) is still a failure. But to love who you are and courageously be that fully is a life well lived. ~Kute Blackson

I contemplated this blog post that I’m writing now all day Thursday, but made the choice to rest instead. In fact, this past week, I only posted three times, when I typically post every day, sometimes twice. Normally that would make me feel bad, less than worthy and anxious because my stats were down. For years, I’ve been singing as loud as I can, dancing as fast as I can, performing elaborate routines, begging to be noticed, to be loved and accepted, cared for and safe. I can’t do it anymore, won’t–“a life lived in order to please others ends up pleasing no one at all,” (Elizabeth Lessor).

Pleasing another person is often about avoiding the conflict that might ensue if we tell the truth about our feelings, needs, fears, and dreams. ~Elizabeth Lessor

I know I have something of value to offer, but I can’t do it from a place of exhaustion and overwhelm. When thinking about how I might do this, my heart’s work, while maintaining full-time paid work and all the other things I’m responsible for, it is clear to me that the same approach that had been so unworkable, such a failure in my old job–overwork, overwhelm, anxiety, perfection, hustling for worthiness, people pleasing but self-hating–was being carried over into this. The same method of forcing and pushing and denial.

I want to continue loving what I love, so I need to soften my approach. I need to meet this work with gentleness, kindness, and be open to joy. I need to maintain my focus on how I want to feel, the experience I want to cultivate, the process rather than a product. I need to balance my effort with ease.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

I also must forgive myself for all that came before. All the years of trying to be good, hoping to be perfect, imagining that if I did what others wanted and expected that I would be loved, safe, accepted. The self-denial, self-loathing, self-abandonment, self-abuse, the pushing, forcing, smashing myself to bits, and broken promises. The cycle of starving and stuffing, never satisfied. I have to also forgive myself for my confusion, my disappointment, my despair, my rage, and every action that came from that dark place. I was only trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be.

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are. -Anne Lamott

I’m choosing that second option, dreaming bigger, cultivating courage and rest and joy, keeping my heart open, showing up and staying with whatever might arise, and doing it all imperfectly. My wish is to leave you, this space, this planet in better condition than I found it, and to ease suffering, in myself and the world.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
~Mary Oliver

Wishcasting Wednesday

image from Jamie’s post

If anything was possible, what would you wish for?

When I first thought about my answer to this question, maybe I thought too small, but then I looked back at Jamie’s post, at this picture, and rethought it from the perspective of “if pigs could fly,” which is an altogether different view.

If anything was possible my dogs would live forever, and I could bring Obi back.

If anything was possible no one would ever again lose someone they love to cancer. In fact, cancer would no longer exist, other than something to kick in the butt when you needed to get out some bad energy, wanted to break something or felt stabby.

If anything was possible those who were confused, sick, angry, sad, lost, and addicted would be whole, sane, healthy. They would remember that they are innately wise, kind, and strong, they would embody and manifest basic goodness. They would practice creation rather than destruction, rediscover that things are workable, realize joy through gratitude, and discover healthy practices to help maintain their sanity. They would heal themselves and then turn towards serving others. With open, brave hearts, they would change the world.

If anything was possible no child would ever again go to bed hungry or sick or scared. They would all be safe and well and know that they are loved. And in this way, they would grow up and make sure the same thing was true for the children who came after them.

If anything was possible there would be world peace, health and happiness for every being, no war or famine or sickness, clean water, a healthy environment.

If anything was possible for me, I would experience whole health for the rest of my long, happy life. Self-love and self-care would be my middle path, my regular practice and primary way of being. With an open, brave heart, I would first save myself and then help change the world.

If anything was possible for me, I would live the life of a writer and artist and yoga & meditation practitioner full time, with no need for paid work that wasn’t both enjoyable and easy.

If anything was possible for me, I would publish with ease, books and essays, and facilitate retreats, helping others recover and reconnect with their basic sanity and innate creativity.

If anything was possible for me, I would be able to happily and kindly follow every interest, take care of every need. I would live an entirely wholehearted life, with complete confidence and love, embodying and manifesting wisdom and kindness.

If anything was possible for me, I would be remembered for my kindness and generosity and wisdom, for being gentle and relaxed and joyful, inspiring others to be brave and do good by being brave and doing good, my whole life an offering.

*sigh*

I want to go to there…