Revitalizing the Triad of Sorrow

Pain throws your heart to the ground

Love turns the whole thing around

No, it won’t all go the way it should

But I know the heart of life is good

– The Heart of Life, John Mayer

melancholy man sunset

They say bad things tend to happen in threes. As ominous as that may sound, I’ve experienced these superstitious threesomes on more than a few occasions. But, I wonder, do bad things really happen three in a row, or do we get caught up in negative thought patterns and seek out more bad after the first one appears? What if we changed that?

What if we simply let ourselves focus on one sad occurrence and show it proper respect on it’s own? What if we could be open to feeling our feelings and discover what purpose that feeling is meant to serve us? I believe the energy that you put out there attracts more of the same back to you. So instead of saying, “When it rains, it pours”, actively and mindfully notice the “rain” and dance in it. Endure the experience with the strength and fortitude that is your birth right. Before you say “I can’t…” maybe try a new way. Before you blame a self instigated negative pattern on an emotion, pause to question how that is serving you and remember that “the heart of life is good”.

Our human experience allows us to feel and revel in so many different emotions that we often miss the opportunity to actually be aware and sensitive to those perceptions. So many missed opportunities to feel our feelings without judgement (good, bad or otherwise) because we are too caught up in forcing culturally learned thought and behavior patterns attached to those emotions. Why do we not question some of these norms that spin us off into a negative divergence? These are the opportunities for small changes that can have major impact on your overall wellbeing. Gather your strength and create more positivity.

So, for my dear friends who have been hurt and saddened by the heartbreak of my recent triad of sorrow, I wrap my loving arms around you and hope you can find peace. I will see them each as a separate loss, feel a bit somber, reflect on my relationship with you, and wish there was more that I could do knowing full well you all have to deal with your own grief in your own way. I’m here with an open heart and two willing ears should you need to vent, cry or just chat with a friend.   

Instead of just accepting every melancholy cultural expectation attached to loss, I challenge you to get in touch with your own human emotions and sort through them in your own way and in your own time. Allow yourself to feel, don’t think, just feel. These experiences do not define the person you are, they are a part of the story that you create for yourself everyday.

“Someone I loved once gave me a box of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” -Mary Oliver

gratitude to StefaninLA from morguefile.com for the beautiful yet somber photo above that fits so well with my message today. Namaste.

Counteracting the Inevitable Snake Bite

brown snake

It was all just one big misunderstanding. I really just didn’t know, or at least that’s what I tell my middle aged self that is just trying to be as happy as possible without making anyone else miserable.

There were so many things I didn’t know that I didn’t know about getting older. I did a lot of assuming along the way, maybe had a little too much faith in some things and disguised it to myself as hope that everything would turn out like the end of a tear-jerking, problem-solving, life-lesson-learning movie. But real life is not lived in 2 hour movie chunks and “half the promises people say were never kept, were never made.” ~Edgar Watson Howe.

You know what people say about making an assumption….

So here we are, mid-life. I may be a bit wiser than I was a decade ago, but I don’t feel much smarter. Maybe I have a little more patience, or maybe I just have a higher tolerance for ignorance. When you are force fed the same drivel and balderdash for half a lifetime it’s possible to develop a tolerance to it, like a daily dose of serum to counteract the inevitable bite of a poisonous snake. You do what you have to do. But, what do I know?

What I do have is permission. It’s a gift I have given myself. I have granted myself the permission to make myself happy even in the midst of all of the unhappiness and intolerance I often feel around me. I have allowed myself the time and space to sort through half a life of perceptual errors and mountains of guilt given to me directly or indirectly by a life lived hard. Years of trying to do the right thing and please the wrong people has given me quite the pile of sorting to do. It seems that each time I climb up to a peak on Guilt Mountain, I see another off in the distance that beckons me forward.

It was all just one big misunderstanding. You don’t arrive at mid-life knowing what you want and feeling ready to take on all the responsibilities, even if you were sure you would. You fumble through your days with good intentions, feeling sometimes exhausted and unsure of the decisions you’ve made. It seems we all endeavor to make it seem that we are exactly where we want to be, doing it all with ease and, of course, flawlessly…. but if you are looking at someone else’s life through a lense of expectations and assumptions, then you are not seeing them clearly. It’s like constantly photoshopping reality. It may look prettier, but it’s just not natural. 

If you know the snake will inevitably bite, then it’s smart to drink the serum. It’s smarter to get the hell away from the snake. But what do I know?

gratitude to paulabflat from morguefile.com for the above photo

My Little Walk on the Prairie, Dog

prairiedog

I went on a nice hike today. I got bundled up and took a long walk down a beautiful path leading up to a ridge off in the distance. I made the decision to make it to that spot before turning back. Along the way, I had time to take in the breathtaking mountain range in front of me and listen to the rustling of the hundreds of prairie dogs making themselves busy all around me.

Most of the time when I hike or spend outside where the mountains are in such plain view, I focus on their majesty and let my mind wander and dream. But today, I was far more focused on what was immediately surrounding me and all that was happening along this nature’s path. Being new to Colorado, I’m not very used to coexisting with prairie dogs and I started to think about how amazing these creatures actually are. They symbolize an invigorating community spirit and how much can be achieved by working together. They instinctively know what takes many people years to learn, if they ever do at all. They know somewhere in their little doggie guts that there is strength in numbers and they are most likely happiest and feel safest when they are surrounded by others like them. I love to see them standing together in the sun or kissing, cuddling and grooming their little furry loved ones as they come up from their cozy homes to get some fresh air.

Their underground wonderland that I will never see makes me realize how much can lie right under the surface even if you never know it’s there. I imagined them scurrying through their elaborate tunnels beneath my feet preparing their next meal or caring for their young. I imagine they take great pride in their surroundings and take the time to do the maintenance necessary to accommodate for their extended family so everyone feels comfortable. They seem to understand that a strong sense of family and a bit of self-nurturing and hard work can be rejuvenating for the soul.

Eventually, I had walked long enough to reach the ridge only to realize that there was another ridge beyond it off in the distance, but instead of worrying about what was over the next ridge, I decided to turn back and spend some more time with my little friends on the prairie as I walked back down the path.

During my hike I felt surrounded by so much beauty and love. Today I got out of the house to remind myself what I wanted more of at home.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

myhappypromise

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