Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Choice

I was once told I'm persistent.  I've also been told I'm stubborn, obsessed, fixated, determined, intense, relentless.

Earlier in the week I wrote I was going to do a bit of changing here on this site, and in my life.  I haven't forgotten what I said, nor have I changed my mind about it.  I've been waiting.  Once I put an intention out there, (from in here), I sit back and let a thing take shape, then I go to fill it...or step into it.  But first I check to see if it feels right inside me, or if there is anything else I need to finish up before moving in to the new direction.  And there's always something I'm going to have to let go, there's always a trade.  That's my least favorite part about making a choice.  There's always something in me that wishes I can take the entire cake, and eat it too. 

I listen...and I wait. 

I awoke at 2:30 am.  I haven't been sleeping well all week, so thought it was just more of the same.  But then I began to weep.  The part of me that has always been aware thought, "Well, this is strange.  I don't even know why I'm crying."  I did know, however, if I just let myself be in it, the answer would come soon enough.  It did.

Earlier yesterday, my mother showed me a card she bought and is going to send to my daughter.  ( She's in Navy bootcamp ).  It said, "Life is a delicate balance between holding on and letting go.  Right now, you're in the place between the way things were and the way things are yet to be.  And that's the place of Hope."  It is indeed. 

The picture above is of my daughter when she was 11 years old.   Her greatest tests of courage in gymnastics were on the beam.  I used to take her for private instruction so her coach could work with her on this apparatus.  My daughter was fearless on bars, and my God I loved watching her on them.  The girl could swing.  But the beam was a different story.  Her mind got in the way, generally over the simplest tricks.  It was an amazing thing to watch her do with ease a trick that was considered hard for anyone else.  And the tricks that were easy for everyone else, she'd fall off.  It frustrated her to no end.

One day, she'd fallen one too many times, she'd had enough.  She began crying, feeling she was a failure, and announced she was quitting, she couldn't do it.  I'll never forget what her coach said.  She took my daughter by the shoulders and said, "I want you to look in my eyes and listen to me.  You can fall off that beam 1000 times, but each time you are falling off it is in a different way.  Falling off doesn't mean you are failing.  It means you are learning.  You are learning how NOT to fall off the beam.  Once you've learned that, you'll never fall off the beam again.  Now get your ass back up there, and try it again!"  She did, and fell off a few more times, then quite suddenly the trick came easy, looking as if she'd never had a problem.  She never had a problem like that again.  Besides bars, beam ended up being one of her best apparatuses, mainly because she didn't fall off, which was counted as a huge deduction in scoring.  And her struggle within the time of being between the way things were and the way things are yet to be, her effort, not giving up, brought the hope she had within her to manifestation.  She was gorgeous on beam. 

I share this story with you because after hearing her coach say those words, I took it to a deeper place and pondered it, like I do, and applied it to life.  Simply put, we are all living our lives, making mistakes, muddling through, learning the 1000 ways not to fall off the beam of life.  Holding onto our mistakes, our seeming failures, and beating ourselves up over it seems pretty ridiculous under this light.  Holding on to guilt becomes a waste of energy and effort.  We are learning, and whenever I feel guilt, I let it teach me how not to fall in that particular way again.  When an occasion arises for me to behave differently, it isn't perfect by a long shot, but I know I corrected a tiny part, and the next time I do better, until finally, quite suddenly, it comes easy. 

I didn't know at the time I would need what I learned 2 years later, almost 10 years ago.  Before I change some things around, and in the spirit of revelation, there is a story I need to tell.  It is why I was weeping upon awakening.  A week after 9/11/01 I had to go to the emergency room.  I was in a lot of pain, and to make a long story very short, I was told I had a life threatening condition, and needed surgery yesterday.  I took it home and prayed on the matter.  The following year was one of the greatest challenges of my life.  I look at it now and see that it was also one of the greatest blessings. 

Eight years prior to that God walked into my life.  Needless to say, it changed my relationship with Him, because I was pissed at Him for a time, and went through the "why is this happening to me" stuff, like we do.  I lived with the prospect of dying every single day.  There were times I'd throw my hands up in the air in fearful surrender and say, "Okay, I can't live like this!  If you're going to take me, take me, but I can't worry about this shit anymore."  I let go for a time of the nagging worry, (until the next time I found myself falling off, in it again ), and geared my mind to what is important.  Love was important.  Because when I found out I may only have a short time to live, what was important came into sharp focus for me real fast. 

If you found out you only had a short time to live, what would you do?

So while it may appear to some that I am obsessed, or persistent on some things, and they wonder why I do what I do, and seem bent on certain actions, they haven't known my motivation, nor where it was born.  They couldn't have known, because I told no one.  I'm telling you now.  The only way I found to lose worry in that year, to not fold up and just quit, was to gear my mind toward loving.  I made a choice to be the best person I could become, to spend the rest of my days loving the best I knew how.  I decided if there was anything that needed correcting, like a broken trust, I'd do everything in my power to mend it. 

I honestly didn't know I would live this long.  I see it as living in Grace.  Every year, on Sept. 17th, I hold a private celebration for my being graced another year of this precious life.  But what I learned in that first year is our lives are significant.  Way more significant than most can even comprehend.  We cannot waste even a moment.  More than anything else we take time for granted.  We think we have it forever here on this plane of existence.  The truth is we don't know how long we have, and we need to live fully, deal with our karma if need be, build our bridges, extend our olive branches to those who are important to us.  If they aren't willing, then we have to let them go.  Life is too short.  What will you do with the life given to you?  What was important to me, and still is, were the things I will be able to take with me.  Which is all my memories, my time, with you.  All my relations.  What did I give to you?  Did I hold nothing back?  Did I do and give all within my limited power to love you without holding back?  Was I the best person I could be with you?  Was I honest?  Was I real?

I honestly don't know if I've been successful.  All I know is I have given everything in me, good, bad, or indifferent, and I am the one who learned so much from the endeavor...falling a 1000 times like I have.  Perhaps that's what it was all about.  I suppose, in the end, only God can tell me if I did okay with the gift of my life.  It is my hope that He is proud of me.

Now, I turn slightly to a new endeavor.  It doesn't mean I won't continue with the old endeavor.  It means I've walked that way for so long that it is now a part of me.  We become that which we try to interpret.  I have this practice of before leaving a place I've been renting, I will leave some thing of beauty behind for the next tenant.  Whether they like it or not doesn't matter.  I know I left it for them.  It could be anything, a flower planted, something I added that wasn't there before, and now they inherit.  I pray that it bring them a smile. 

So as I stand in the place between the way things were, and the way things are yet to be, my hope is to begin leaning toward the creative...considering some beauty I can add to this world, or this place, that will perhaps bring a smile, or touch someone in some way that is good.  My contribution, as it were, in appreciation for the life I've been given.  It's the little things, the small touch, that makes all the difference.  Wish me luck.  I'm sure I'll do a lot of falling off before I get it right :). 


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