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He makes me new, He is making me new

Monday, April 09, 2012

Bliss

I was having a conversation with a very wise man recently, and yet rather than feeling inspired, I was left confused and annoyed.

This wise man was perhaps, in his signature style, condensing the truth (as he saw it) about the subject into one or two sentences, which troubled me, since I process everything verbally, and speech (whether written or spoken) is truly where I find my peace as I unravel the knots and work things out.

The conversation went something like this:
Me: "I don't know what to do, I want to do something, I just don't know what it is"
Paul (yes that's right, he is the wise man I am referring to): "Just do what you love" (notice how many fewer words he uses)
Me: "But I am just not sure what I love! (in a whiny childish tone...endearing, I know)"
Paul:  "Just follow your bliss" (ok, this statement was a bit frightening as it sounded more like Oprah than Paul, but I swear that's what he said)
Me:"ugh, you don't get it!" (sounding like an angry and rebellious teenager)

Of course, if I am referring to Paul as the wise man, it's because I realize,  in hindsight and a couple of months later, that I am the one who "gets it" now and who was not getting it before.

The truth is, his statement troubled me because it was simple. It was an action statement. Unfortunately I am the kind of person who will go about something in circles and never-ending speculation and regurgitation before I will actually DO something, which I am sure, drives Paul crazy, but that's besides the point.
The point is, action is scary to me. Fear. Action implies commitment, desire, movement and consequences. That is scary to me. Talking about doing something, writing about it and considering all the pros and cons, THAT is where my strength lies, right? Or maybe that is where I lose my life. I lose my life while I am considering what to do with it.

It also troubled me because I truly thought I had lost touch with what I love and would not be able to discover what it is I wanted to spend time exploring and doing. And then what? Scary. There's that fear again.

And it unsettled me because I thought that "my bliss" would translate to my life's work, my career, the thing I spend the rest of my life dedicating myself to. And sadly,  I just did not see anything in my life that could become that, which left me feeling a bit like a loser quite frankly. A scared loser.

Then I started trying to think of it in different terms, and just truly find something that gave me pleasure, and do that, for a while at least. Even though I was still scared. Even though that wouldn't be enough, even though I still had so much work to do to find what I truly wanted to do (or so I thought).

I forget exactly how it came to be that I took a step forward, but I did. Amidst the fear and the doubt, I was SICK of myself and all my "researching" and decided to pick something-anything-that I had been considering and, in the wise words of a very rich advertiser, just DO IT.
Then I promptly found some excuses for why it wouldn't work:

It's too far away
We don't have the money
I don't even know if I will like it
It will probably be a waste of time

Then the annoyed "I've had it up to my ears with all your wishy-washy pondering" side of me took over and the decision was made. I am going. And that's THAT!(that is a reference to "How the Grinch stole Christmas" in case you missed it).

The thing I had decided to do (and had been considering more or less for about SIX YEARS) was sign up for a dance class. Modern dance to be exact. Something I have loved since I was a teenager and have missed since I stopped doing it. You would not think it would be this difficult for a person to realize they love and miss something and decide to bring that back into their lives, but what can I say, it's a gift. I am my own worst enemy.

Much to my own surprise, when the day actually came, I got in my car and drove the whole half hour to the studio (I know, SO far!!!!), I went in and danced.
I danced, boy did I dance. It was like coming back to life. Being in the studio with other dancers,moving and flowing and learning a routine, piecing it together, the rhythm and the sweat, feeling my heartbeat in my throat, and the sore feet.

The whole experience left me wondering "WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME" I could have been feeling like this for the past six years! But, that is the side of me that likes to beat me up, so I promptly shut her up and continued to bask in the glow of my reclaimed inner dancer.

I have been dancing for only a month, but I cannot conceive a time when I would choose not to dance. Or when I would again say that a half an hour in the car is too long or too big a sacrifice. Or when I would find there is something I would choose over this for that time.

For the 90 minutes I am there, something beautiful happens to me, and I would be an absolute fool not to give myself that gift, as often as I can. That is bliss. It's only one little piece of bliss once a week for now, but it is the true definition of bliss. It's not a career, a life's work or anything beyond one dance class. It is the sense of truly belonging in my own body. It is the feeling of closeness to God Himself, to the one He has made me to be,and closest to her full expression. This is bliss, and I am following it, one class at a time, all the way to wherever it takes me.

I guess the wise man with few words was right. Boy, I hate it when he's right!


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Enough

So often my posts begin with a quote from a book....yes, I admit it, reading is my crack, and Lord help me when I find an author I really enjoy..I end up reading all their work in just a few days. I guess I do have an addictive personality after all? I was sure I didn't, but I digress

I was reading the book "Lost and Found" by Geneen Roth (whom as you may be guessing is the author du jour for me, or more precisely du week) and she mentions the concept of "enough", which resonated deeply within me, and kind of echoed what I said in my post about contentment.

She writes:"Enough isn't an amount; it's a relationship to what you already have"

Well, we can probably all agree with that statement pretty readily,I think. And yet, in my own life, though the theory of this concept is something I can completely embrace, in the daily comings and goings, not so much.

The fact is that I want more, always
I have been living as if there wasn't enough to go around
I have been living as if I have to "make up" for who I am by getting "more"

If I surround myself with "enough" accoutrement's I can accessorize who I really am (not enough) and hope that everyone will see that what I have clearly demonstrated my worth, and agree with me.
From that standpoint, enough is unattainable. Because enough has to make up for my perceived lack, my deficiency, my inadequacy. And since it is my perception, no amount of outward accessories can come close to that which is inside my faulty head.
For a long time now I have worked on being as genuine as I can be with everyone around me.
I am transparent, honest and open about who I am, my shortcomings, my doubts, my fears. I always thought that meant that I was being "real". But where is the definition of this particular brand of real coming from?
As I am finding out, a big part of it is really a poorly constructed persona. Something my head has developed over the years, and not the best reflection of who I actually am. As it turns out, my version of "real" has more to do with the things I believe about myself (for many intricate reasons) than with the actual TRUTH about myself. It's not that I was being disingenuous, I was just being ignorant and stubborn.

How many of us live this way,I wonder? What do we really believe about ourselves, deep down? What things about ourselves do we take for granted as being "facts" about us, that could maybe stand a little closer examination?I ask because I think maybe, therein lies part of the reason why enough is just not within reach for so many.
For some of us enough is a number, like the one on the scale, or the one in the bank account. They represent security, identity and comfort.
For some, enough is a look, an outfit, a pair of shoes. For some is degrees, titles, accomplishments. There is of course nothing inherently wrong with these "things" in and of themselves, the question is: are these things that we believe about who we are? are these the things that propel the search and striving?
It's really not about the things themselves, it's about what value are we placing on them, what power do they have over us?

For me, the answer to that question was simply: too much.

I can slowly see that I subconsciously thought of myself as the child of long ago. Defenseless, unworthy, broken, insecure, inconvenient, and needy. This child needed comfort wherever it could be found. But there was never enough comfort anywhere. Not in a number, an outfit, a place, a home, a person. I looked for comfort and I looked to be MADE worthy by the "enough-ness" around me, not within me. Because I did not believe there was enough, inside.

Now, don't get me wrong, on a CONSCIOUS level I knew who GOD Made me and how much He loves me and that I am worthy simply because He made me and loves me.
But did this reflect in the way I lived? Did it show in my countenance, my joy, my heart? I was even using THAT as a shield, as an identity. It was not changing my heart, as much as I did try.

And what was my relationship with "what I already have"? Well, it was all going into a bottomless pit, so my relationship with what I already had was fraught with frustration and dissatisfaction. Nothing gave me meaning, nothing gave me peace, nothing brought on the fullness I was searching. Nothing was ever enough.
And another layer of sadness about this is that it robbed me of the joy of taking in what I did have. Those things that I fought hard for, those blessings God had brought into my life, I didn't even "let myself have them". I didn't truly believe (deep down in my broken subconscious) that I deserved these things, that they would last, that I wouldn't somehow screw them up.
Consciously I was grateful, but inside there was no peace.

So enough is a relationship. It has to start with the relationship I have with the one God has made perfect through His holiness. She is within, and she is enough.
Enough is my relationship with the One who has made me enough.
Enough is my relationship with the life He has given me.

Enough is not the number on the scale. Not the list of accomplishments. Not the amount of "likes" on my posts ;-) It isn't attainable "out there". It's IN HERE. It's in dismantling the lies I have believed about myself, and in discovering the freedom of the person He has made, not the prison of the person others have broken.

Enough is attainable because all I need is a willing heart, open and willing to look in and question things. It is attainable because He promises fullness and joy.
I want to spend the rest of my life reminding myself of that and looking for ways to have my "enough" spill over and be poured out for others.

I want to practice living what I know is true, and no longer letting my subconscious choices sabotage what I know. He has made me, He knows me, and He leads me inside for peace.
That is enough.

I want now to be...enough.

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