Tag Archive | one step at a time

Lighting the Unknown Path

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As I have said before, it is the “unknown” that is always more difficult than the knowing. The waiting. The wondering. The wandering… of the mind as it tries to grasp on to something concrete.

My last several months have been spent in this suspended state. First we found out that our home of 15 years was suddenly being sold and we had to, in weeks time, find a (hard sought after one story) home, apply for a mortgage (which had become a Big Scary Monster in our heads), sort and pack through years of our life and family “heirlooms,” find the means to buy (and fix up) said house, move and settle, the list goes on.

The only way I survived this process was JUST doing the next right thing.  Nothing more. My husband’s anxiety would reach new and alarming heights and I would have to remind us both, “okay, let’s take a breath. Now, forget ‘The List; ‘ what’s Just ONE Thing we can do in this moment?”

And you know what? One (baby!) step at a time, we walked our way right through the scary terrain of the unknown and into our brand new home.

These are the lessons and skills I so desperately need to remember to apply to my life now.

Because just when I thought I was leaving the path zig zagging through The Woods of Uncertainty, I fell into a Bog of Burdensome Worries! (Didn’t mean to go all Tolkien on you!).

I’ve known since fall that my body was heading into unknown territory again. It’s both a blessing and a curse that I am so in tune with my physical being after years of severe illness and trauma, that I can tell as soon as I start to go off-kilter.

This time, I knew somehing major was brewing.

So, instead of going to the doctors with these worries  (although I didn’t sugar coat my concerns at my appointments either), I turned to internal pep talks, such as: ” Hey, dear body of mine, I know you are giving me warning signs that you’re failing in new and different ways, but could you just please hold on until March? And then I promise I will attend to all of your needs with the upmost of care!”

That wasn’t too much to ask, was it? Guess it was!

Because my “gift” for Christmas Eve was to wake up without the use of both my legs. Totally and completely, from the hips down (yep, includes the bladder, too!). What fun!! For two days, I could  not walk and afterwards, I had complete numbness, like my legs had fallen asleep and could not be stomped, shakened or rubbed “awake.”

Yet, did I go to the hospital? Nah! I had a host of “good” excuses… “It’s the holiday; it’s a weekend” and the creme de la creme: ” I just don’t have time for this right now!”

So my body went from flashing yellow to a blaring red : STOP!!!!!

A little over a month ago, I was reading when half the page disappeared. No joke. I could only see half of every word. A very strange and scary experience. So I shook Dave awake with a, “Honey, I need to go to the ED.” Complete resignation. No questions anymore.

The details since don’t matter as much as the lessons I’ve learned. But in brief, I am in an even deeper state of limbo… not quite knowing the true cause of my weakness and Optic Neuritis (the partial blindness ) yet (MS? CIDP?) and therefore not able to receive the right treatment aside from high dose IV steroids to abate my symptoms.

So nothing left to do but Surrender. Wave the white flag of blind faith (literally this time!).

And to reach out for help. I already feel physically vulnerable, so why is it still so hard to completely crack open and be emotionally vulnerable, too?

If anything, this move was a great practice lesson. My husband is the first to open his door to others when they need a helping hand, but he latches every bolt when it comes to receiving help for his own needs. This time I didn’t let his fear of “not seeming like enough” dictate our choices and I threw open every door and window wide with a sign hung proudly, “HELP NEEDED WITHIN.”

And my friends and family showed up. They packed, they listened, they moved, they cleaned and scrubbed my new abode. All with a smile and an encouraging hug. No expectation of return payment.

This move would not have been possible without this team!

So why should my health be any different?! I need to throw out the old skipping records that get stuck on the refrains filled with shame. Shame over my diseases, over my needs and inability to “do it all” for myself; shame over what I used to be like vs what I am like now; shame over always needing more.

But, most of all: FEAR. Fear that I won’t be able to give back. But we all have our own gifts to offer to the world. And for a long while, mine were coming in the form of my words; of being completely vulnerable through my stories. Through sharing with others and having them, in turn, share with me.

But as soon as life became overly tangled, I stopped writing. Which essentially dammed up my River of Grace… the universal energy that flows into, through and out of me… on to you… connecting all of us on this divine journey of life. So that WE ARE NOT ALONE.

So I think of Buddha’s quote, “if you light a lamp for someone else, it will brighten your own path.” And it helps me remember that whenever someone “allows” me to help them, it always feels like I am the one receiving the gift!

So while my path is now being illuminated by the inner light and energy from other’s  (as I write a dear friend is coordinating meal help for us; fulfilled by those who know me and others who are doing so purely as a random act of kindness); I am holding out my own candle in hopes of lighting just one other’s dark path of the unknown.

There is so much going on beneath the surface of each of our lives.  Let’s look just a little deeper inside.

I know I’m grateful someone stopped and did so for me. All while holding a candle to help light my way, as I take just one next step forward along the path. For as long as I’m moving forward, I’m heading in the right direction.

Namaste.

Don’t Think, Just Do.

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It has been far too long since I’ve written a blog entry. And it is not for lack of ideas or thoughts to express and share. It’s all because of me. I have gotten in the way of myself…

I have fallen into the trap of over-thinking.

I am analyzing my ideas at every turn:
*Which topic should I focus on for my first re-entry into the Blogosphere?
* Which one will have the most impact? Sound the most eloquent? Be the most timely and pertinent?

Like, I, the Almighty Blog Writer knows what will affect the most people (positively, of course)?!?

All this introspection has served is to stall me out. To keep me from writing anything at all, for fear that it won’t be the right thing. The best thing.

As I started down this path again today, I finally heard the insistent, intuitive voice that has probably been speaking to me all along; I was just too self-absorbed to listen…
“Don’t think, just do,” these wise Yoda-esque words whispered in my ear.

And, this time, I paused and I listened. And I realized, that’s it. That’s all there is.

NONE of us are supposed to be the perfect writer, painter, teacher, student, accountant, sales person, sculptor, dancer, nurse, counselor… even parent.
We are never going to be 100% successful.

And, when you think about it, that is a huge relief. Once we stop trying to be perfect, we free ourselves up to just be… who we are, where we are.

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Each of my blog entries can deeply touch one person and completely turn off another. At the same time. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

We will all have moments of spontaneous brilliance and also times where we completely fall flat and have to call a “do-over.” That’s life.

Yet we so often get bogged down with replaying all the areas or circumstances in our lives we feel we should excel at, that we completely miss the mark because we’ve forgotten all the times we have succeeded.

We’ve forgotten that just by the pure act of doing, we’ve already succeeded!

Life is forgiving. We just need to be more forgiving of ourselves.

Is this blog entry the “magnificent-all touching” entry I dreamed of creating? No. But I finally started writing again. And for now, just now, that is enough.

I feel full and purposeful. I finally got out of my own way and stopped trying to be the director, producer, and creative manager of the play called, “This Is My Fabulous Life!”
And once I took a back seat and let my higher power and the natural ebb and flow of the universe guide my hand, I started doing. It sure beats sitting on the couch “planning” what to write—deciding what next step I should take to reach my goals and dreams…

I just started walking. And as long as I am actively moving, I am moving forward.

I encourage you to take a step with me…
*In what areas of your life are you feeling stuck right now?
*Where are you idling in neutral, waiting for a sign, or the exact right moment, to push yourself into drive?
* Where can you start walking forward? Today. Right now. All it takes is one step.
* And where can you show yourself some compassion for stumbling and sputtering in a challenging aspect of your life? Perhaps it’s in your job where you want to be a shining star, the best employee ever? Or at home, where you may be struggling without always knowing the right solution or the best way to handle an on the spot situation (which can so often occur suddenly and unexpectedly when it comes to children)?

I guarantee, your children will remember that they had a parent who always tried and didn’t let fear keep them from facing the hard parts, rather than how you actually faltered (in your mind) in any given situation. One of the best lessons you can pass on is that we don’t always succeed the first time around; that we don’t have all the answers but we know how to listen and then try to investigate a solution together; and that when we make a mistake, we can acknowledge our part and ask for a “do-over.”

The same goes for your job. As a past supervisor, I remember the teachers who took a risk and tried regardless of any “guaranteed success;” who knew how to ask for help and work as a team; who bravely suggested innovative ideas even if they didn’t work out. I do not remember their slips and stumbles. I do remember their guts and faith.

And, on a personal level, I am already feeling successful. The critic in me wants to go back and refine and rewrite this entry until it’s perfect. But, then I remember that the definition of perfect is “being entirely without fault or defect” (Merriam-Webster). That perfect is boring, always the same, never varying. And that certainly does not describe me nor my life. And I’m just fine with being “imperfectly perfect!”

I’ll leave you with a parable:
“Three frogs were sitting on a log one day and two of them decided to jump off. How many frogs were left on the log? The answer is three. Because there is a difference between deciding and doing.”*

I don’t want to end my life thinking, “Well, I was full of great ideas.”
I want to think, “I did.

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(*pearls of wisdom from long ago read Reader’s Digest)