Wounds in the Process Of Healing

 

brene-brown

“We’ve all fallen. And we have the skinned knees and bruised hearts to prove it. But scars are easier to talk about than they are to show, with all the remembered feelings laid bare. And rarely do we see wounds that are in the process of healing. I’m not sure if it’s because we feel too much shame to let anyone see a process as intimate as overcoming hurt. Or, if it’s because even when we muster the courage to share our still incomplete healing, people reflexively look away.”

My parents like to tease me about a video of me when I three and in my first year of pre-school in Pennsylvania. Throughout the year, our class had someone tape “interviews” with each of us, along with our holiday performances and parties. Then, at the conclusion, each family had a personalized year-book on tape, glimmering with the hopes and dreams and oddities of their own child. In mine, I sang to the camera-man, I often turned the “questioning” back on him and I revealed my talent for knowing the difference between a boy Easter bunny and a girl Easter bunny (one wears blue and one wears pink of course).

Over the years, my mom has told the story of my video proudly to many and I’ve come to realize that she was not as proud of me for my performance skills–although I did belt out a fabulous rendition of “Where is Rainbow Bright,” to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin” and reaffirmed my dance skills during the solo in our class Christmas performance in which I chose to lift my dress up over my head while swaying to the music–as she was by my unabashed self-promotion and assuredness. I was all-in. I was proud, fearless and full of self-confidence. And I was having a hell of a time.

Not long after that candid, documented time in my life, I began my life-long battle with perfectionism. I began to recognize consequences of failure and learned the easy habit of self-doubt. I’ve spent much of my life fighting between the two very different, very pervasive sides of my personality–the fearless girl who wants nothing more than to have a purpose, rise and shine and show the world what she’s got, and the one who hears the cruel whispers of perfectionism reminding me of the what-ifs: What if I don’t say the right words? What if I mess up? What if I they don’t like it?

I was driving to work one day and on a billboard outside of a church was written “Acknowledge life’s hurt, habits, and hang-ups.” I pulled in to the parking lot and wrote it down, not sure what it meant to me yet, but knowing it was something important. Then came Brene Brown’s latest book, Rising Strong. There are so many things I love about this book, but the thing that has stuck with me the most is the thing Brown calls the “messy middle,” which describes the part of our story in which we’ve falling and are trying to figure how to get back up.

Brown writes, “But scars are easier to talk about than they are to show, with all the remembered feelings laid bare. And rarely do we see wounds that are in the process of healing. I’m not sure if it’s because we feel too much shame to let anyone see a process as intimate as overcoming hurt. Or, if it’s because even when we muster the courage to share our still incomplete healing, people reflexively look away.”

I’ve decided to start my process over again by sharing the fears (not altogether rational) that have crept up on me in the time of my own messy middle with the hope that the act of writing them down and putting them out there will in itself pay homage to the fact that we are where we are. We all fail. We are all afraid. It’s okay to be low.

The Fear:

The fear that I can’t find my voice. The fear that I’ll never be a good writer. The fear that I might appear too self-confident. The fear that I will appear not self-confident enough. The fear that my words will be taken wrong.  The fear that I will offend somebody. The fear that I am not good enough. The fear that I will make a fool of myself. The fear that I will not be the best I could have been. The fear that I will not succeed. The fear that I will not bounce back. The fear that I have wasted my time. The fear that I gave up too soon. The fear that I didn’t quit soon enough. the fear that I am too hard-headed. The fear that I put up with more than I should. The fear that I am selling myself short. The fear that I won’t tell enough of the truth. The fear that I will say too much.  The fear that I am not a good enough friend. The fear that I have let someone down. The fear that I will let someone down. The fear that someone close to me is hurting, and I am not engaged enough to know. The fear that I made too much out of nothing. The fear that I made not enough out of something very big. The fear that I don’t laugh enough. The few that I might laugh at something that hurts someone else. The fear that I take things too seriously. The fear that others won’t get me.  The fear that it’s written all over my face.

In Response to My Own Fears:

May I learn to trust the process more and worry less about the outcome. May I muster up the courage to sing more, dance more, go all in.

May I worry less about what other people think. May I contribute more to other people’s joy.

May I take more time to enjoy the moment, be present, uninhibited, and happy in the midst of imperfection and fear.

 

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn

alicerabbit

The past five months have been some of the strangest in my life. When I stop and reflect on them, I see that I was living in a way that I have always admired in other people without even knowing. Because circumstances were beyond my control and the stress could have easily eaten me alive, I had to make a decision to look forward, live with the risks and just handle whatever was coming at me in the moment. At the time, it just felt like survival.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written and of course, the longer you wait to do something, the easier it is to build that something up in your head, until it seems enormous and out of reach, looming above your head. I tend to look at the things I am not accomplishing more closely than the things that I am experiencing at that very moment. When I look back at my notepad, I realize that I have been writing all along these last two months, just not in my usual format. Here are a few sentiments I wrote down that have stayed with me on the journey.

Fear can only hurt us if we let it.

Trust yourself.

Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to stop participating in it.

Well, why the hell not?

The best people possess a a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable, they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. -Ernest Hemingway

There is no path to happiness; happiness is the path.

Take courage.

Choose to see beauty.

Let go.

If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. -Thomas Edison

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. -Ernest Hemingway

The bad news is, people are crueller and meaner and more evil than you’ve ever imagined. The good news is people are kinder, gentler and more loving that you’ve ever dreamed.

Always be kinder than you feel.

Be quick and curious and playful and strong.

Don’t stumble over something behind you.

Trust the vibes you get from other people. Energy doesn’t lie.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better. -Maya Angelou

The trouble is, you think you have time. -Buddha

You don’t need a reason to follow your heart.

Don’t settle: don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it. -Chris Brogan

Wake up each day and say ‘Thank you.’

Silence is so accurate. -Mark Rothko

Kindness has a beautiful way of reaching down in to the weary heart and making it shine like the rising sun.

Be happy for no reason.

If running is difficult, run more. This lesson applies to many things.

Fall in love often.

Doubt is your only disability. -Chris Mott

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. -C.S. Lewis

Be filled with wonder. Be touched by peace.

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable. -Mary Oliver

 

Life’s too Short to Worry. Life’s too Long To Wait.

water

1. Be Authentic. The most powerful asset you have is your individuality–what makes you unique. Don’t put too much equity in other people’s opinions.

2. Trust the process. Expect plot twists.

3. Work hard and you will always benefit from it.

4. Create. Do. Make things. Innovation in thinking is not nearly enough.

5. Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to be reminded how much you don’t know.

6. Strive for grace. There’s always room for more grace and there’s always another chance to embody it.

7. “Do Good.” The Golden Rule actually works.

8. Read everything. Read with an open-mind and a child’s fascination.

9. Go out on more limbs.

10. If you want to change, change. You are what you are until you decide you are something else.

11. Connect in real ways. Life is visceral. Get off your devices and connect with real people in real-time in real culture.

12. Instinct and intuition–learn to feel and trust them.

13. Let passion guide you. The things you are passionate about are not random. They are your calling.

14. If you like to eat pretzels in bed, eat pretzels in bed. Occasionally. Don’t abuse your own power.

15. Be a dreamer AND a doer.

Why it’s Important to Sing in the Rain

rain

The Japanese poet, Kenji Miyazawa, wrote, “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”

It’s really uncomfortable to sit with pain–to accept it and not fight it. It’s written that “unrelenting disappointment [can] leave you heartsick.” The heart is the core of our being. In it lives joy, charity, faith and wonder. To protect our hearts, we do things to diminish suffering and avert pain.

Because of that instinct, sometimes we ignore painful feelings or deny them all-together. We over medicate, isolate ourselves and engage in behaviors that are out of character. We search for anything we think will help control the pain. The risk we take by avoiding painful emotions is that we’ll grow bitter, angry and anxious.

Bernard Baruch said that “the art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.” Great truth–really hard to actually do. I’ve been trying to see it lately, as the art of “singing in the rain.”

In the movie, “Singing in the Rain,” Gene Kelly is walking through the streets in the pouring rain with an umbrella in his hand, unopened for most of the time, singing. He’s existing happily at that moment while in the rain, not despite of the rain. I’m not suggesting that pain is easy to deal with by just smiling through it–but it’s a starting place. Happiness is something we choose and every decision we make contributes to what we will allow ourselves to feel. Singing in the rain is an art we can never stop practicing. 

I’m singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeling
I’m happy again
I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I’ve a smile on my face
I’ll walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singing in the rain.
Singing in the rain.

Dancing in the rain
I’m happy again
I’m singing and dancing in the rain
I’m dancing and singing in the rain

Take a Moment and Reflect…Every Day Holds A Reason to Rejoice

thanksLove one another. Take care of each other. Tell the truth. Always do your best. Listen to the big people. Listen to the little people. Explore new paths. Have fun. Know that you are loved like crazy. Give thanks for all your blessings. Above all else, love. You will do wonderful things in this world.

Grace Wouldn’t Be Grace If It Came Easily

I’ve had my grace tested on numerous occasions lately. One thing of which I’m certain is that grace wouldn’t be grace if it came easily. Reflection is a good thing but it’s only lucrative if we take what we learned and move forward–working to be better today than we were yesterday. Grace is an art. It’s something that needs to be practiced every day. It’s the realization that life is a gift and the ability to move beyond fear or anger or frustration. Grace is flexibility and courage and gratitude. And the best thing about grace? When you fail at it, there’s always another chance.

 
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