Saturday, April 28, 2012


emerge  verb 

intransitive verb
1. to become manifest, to become known.
2. to rise from or as if from an enveloping fluid
3. to rise from an obscure or inferior position or condition
4. to come into being through evolution

I've noticed the first moths and butterflies of the season lately. In my yard, the ones I have seen are black with an orange smudge on each wing. They are pretty creatures, butterflies and moths. Not being too into bugs, they are one of the few that don't make me go, "eeuw." 

I have learned to appreciate that those "delicate" butterflies are extraordinary survivors. Even though it is their lifecycle, they have had to earn that beauty. Emerging is messy. It takes a lot of energy and perseverance. 

I can relate to that.  Struggling to emerge from your own chrysalis can feel more like fighting against yourself,  your choices, habits, ways of living that may no longer serve you. I think one of the reasons we are all so chronically tired is that we are spending so much energy fighting against ourselves, beating ourselves up for not being the perfect person we think the world wants us to be. 

Emerging and transforming requires letting go. It's letting go of one rung of the ladder so that we can move to the next one. And that's hard to do. 

"What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from." T.S. Eliot

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Leaving the path of Acceptance

     Acceptance is a person's agreement to experience a situation, to follow a process or            condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.

     Acceptance as a concept appears in Eastern religious concepts such as Buddhist mindfulness, and in human psychology. Religions and psychological treatments often suggest the path of acceptance when a situation is both disliked and unchangeable, or when change may be possible only at great cost or risk.

You know Acceptance. It's the same as "go along to get along", "don't rock the boat", "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Acceptance was my primary setting, my mode of operation. Acceptance became a habit that robbed me of my voice and buried my true self. I accepted everything and everyone, which sounds really virtuous, but many of those situations and people require some deeper examination. For me, Acceptance was really one layer after another of damp, wet blankets that nearly put out my inner fire.

Through a lot of work, and therapy, and writing, and enough tears to float a boat, I parted ways with Acceptance. I woke up from the coma I found myself in - never speaking up, never questioning, never protesting, and realized that I was missing out on life by accepting everything that came by. Do you remember The Stepford Wives? Yeah, I was one of those... always smiling, always politically correct, always diplomatic, and truly false. (I love that, "truly false.")

Leaving the path of Acceptance has been difficult. Probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done. But I have found my voice again, allowed my inner fire to use those blankets as fuel, and began to question and examine life again.

Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." How many of us are living our lives just going through the motions of everyday busyness thinking that we are truly living? We accept that "it's just the way it is", "I'm just lucky to have a job", "I can't leave my marriage, even though we are just roommates with kids." There is a whopping lot of comfort with Acceptance and there are times when Acceptance is very positive as solid reality and a coping mechanism.

But Acceptance can be like a drug. Therapeutic and healing when used with care.  Acceptance can be abused and habit-forming when we keep thwarting our desires as if they are annoyances.

The ride on this big blue marble is a short one. If you could do anything you wanted to in life, anything, what would it be? A novelist? A racecar driver? Run a tennis camp for kids? International business tycoon? Chef-owner of your own restaurant? A photo-journalist? Winemaker? Professional volunteer? President of the PTA or the USA?  Own a bike shop? What are you called to do and is Acceptance of the way you think life has to be right now standing in the way of that?

Life's calling. What are you going to do?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sensory Overload

Today's view is one that is lush with spring's sensory overload. Kelly green grass, deeply scented lilacs, and tulips of every shade.  The white crabapple trees in the lawn of the church actually glowed in the moonlight after leaving worship Thursday night. 

For many of us, Easter is a time that brings back memories. This week, I've been helping my son assemble a memory box for the title character in the novel, "Friedrich." It's a story of a Jewish boy in Germany during the time of Hitler. John's assignment is to create a box that may have belonged to Friedrich. It is to include at least a few things - a set of letters from a new character the student creates who is a friend to Friedrich, what might be considered photos of Friedrich, a whistle, and a photo of the new character and Friedrich.

This week, we went through a similar box I created several years ago. It includes old photos of my grandfather during his time at the University of Iowa around 1915.  Letters from home my uncle receieved while he was at UI or in basic naval training. An old savings book from great aunt Ellen. A small framed silhouette of Aunt Beverly. 

This small box doesn't hold much. However, what it does contain are truly links between my children and family members they will never meet except through these items. It has been wonderful to go through the photos and items and have my children listen to their grandmother share her family with them... Florence, Kate, Mabel, Ann, Ellen, Clara, Richard, Beverly, Riley...

Also in this box of mine are photos of my grandmother, Virginia. She loved Easter. I remember the beautiful egg tree she would decorate and the scent of Easter lilies in her home. I have Easter cards she sent to me as a little girl, signed in her lovely script. Between the lily in my own home and the photos, I do feel like I am spending the holiday with her, too.

Easter brings sentimental memories to me of new dresses, white gloves, black patent leather shoes, and of course, a hat. Easter eggs made of sugar with a little peep hole to view a beautiful garden scene within... the list goes on.

This weekend, I'll enjoy those memories of Easters past, of loved ones who live only in spirit, and soak in the rebirth of the land as spring has returned. I wish for you the joy that spring brings.