Everything is a Gift, No Matter How Sh*tty the Wrapping Paper.

PUBLISHED ON ELEPHANT JOURNAL

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I am not into politics.

I am not into picking people apart or putting them down.

I am into compassion and respect. I am into seeing the gift—the good in everything and everyone.

I have not always been this way. I have been on a journey most of my life, as we all have; most of us just don’t know it.

It has been a journey of seeing past what is right in front of my eyes and knowing there is something deeper, more meaningful going on. It is about intuition, seeing within, tapping into my innate sense of knowing there is something beyond what our eyes see and our ears hear. There is something beyond people’s personalities that drives their actions.

When you take a moment and look beyond what is at face value, you can grab a taste of it. You can see something good, or at least understand why something is happening. It is coming to the awareness that everyone and everything is here to help us—and we don’t have to like what we see and feel to know the truth of this.

I am not a stranger to disappointment, anger, frustration and turmoil. When I faced a full-term pregnancy loss 13 years ago, my heart was broken into a million pieces. The grief was insurmountable.

Yet slowly, as my heart began to heal and I reached beyond the loss, I was able to see the gifts I had been given. The amazing value of life, the strength I never knew I had, my own innate power, the ability to not sweat the small stuff, the ability to live in the present and the knowledge that I can handle anything life throws at me.

How can I say losing my child was a gift? Because I cannot count the number of lives that I have touched positively as a result of that tragedy. Because the compassion my heart has felt every moment since goes beyond what most can bear in a lifetime. Because the beauty of a bird can bring tears to my eyes, and the wonder in a child’s eyes can warm my heart.

I have come to know a faith that is beyond this world and a joy that I feel each day, no matter what is going on in the world around me.

So yes, it was a gift, even though the wrapping paper was f*cking sh*tty, and I hated every moment of the process.

Because of it, I am the person I am today—the one with the rose-colored glasses. It is the reason I can look at our country and see beyond what the media displays and the people shout. I see the changes that are just beyond the horizon, and they look pretty f*cking good to me.

I can even see Trump, despite all his shortcomings, as a gift.

I don’t see a man taking power who has already said and done so many things that go against the things I believe. I see a million women rising up and finding their voice.

I don’t see chaos. I see change.

I don’t see Facebook getting blown up by political posts, I see people reaching deep down within themselves and figuring out what it is they believe. I see our country four and eight years down the road as a better place. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Despite the pregnancy loss, I have been given the gift of three other beautiful children. As most moms know, one of our jobs is to spend hours in the car driving our children from one activity to the next. Just yesterday I drove a car full of 16-year-olds home, and I did what I always do—I listened to their conversation.

Within a few moments, the conversation turned to politics. But it was beyond politics. They discussed the impact of climate control, the necessity of space travel, confirmation hearings, the Department of Education and the importance of speaking the truth when you are the U.S. President. Never in my life, in all the years I have been carpooling, has the conversation been this interesting and thought-provoking.

How great is that? What a gift! Without Trump getting elected and all that has occurred since, I would have only born witness to conversations about homework, dating and who has the longest running Snapchat streak.

Is our country messy right now? Absolutely. It is messy because people who are not used to using their voice are forgetting the Golden Rule. We are forgetting to “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” This holds true for our 45th president as well.

We are forgetting respect and compassion. It’s not about shutting up or stopping the posts or tweets. It’s about communicating consciously, speaking what is in our hearts, all while keeping the bigger picture in mind.

Yes, I see everything in life as a gift, no matter how sh*tty the wrapping paper. It has been years since I have taken off my sunglasses, and put on my rose-colored glasses. And it is pretty damn sunny here, just the way I like it.

I have a pair waiting for you. Just uncurl your fists and open your palms. Take my hand. I will show you the way.

 

 

Author: Beth Mund

 


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The Stories Whispered While I Was Sleeping

 

I have a confession. I have been a tyrant. A domineering, controlling, relentless commander for the past forty years, and the victim of my transgressions has been you, my beloved body.

I have judged, manipulated, hated and resented you. I have taken you for granted. When we were younger, I pushed you beyond your limit with exercise and dieting, while always demanding perfection. Then there were the pregnancies. You performed beautifully, feeding and protecting the little bodies growing inside of me – such magic. Yet, there I was again, criticizing those stretch marks, extra pounds and scars. Now, at forty-seven, age has come with its own set of judgments and standards. Too many lines, bulges and sags, where once, there was none. I have plucked, shaved, colored, waxed and whitened. And you have allowed me all along to think this is what mattered.

With all that I have thrown at you, there has been nothing but love and the beautiful workings of a perfectly functioning body in return. Yes, you are perfectly functioning, even with headaches, disease, broken bones and fatigue. Symptoms that I tried to quiet, ever so loudly with pills, surgeries, caffeine and sugar.

You see, I did not like that you were slowing me down. I did not know that you had a bigger plan. That it was your way, the only way you knew how to tell me it was time to put down my sword and pick up my heart. To put aside the future, and release the past, living in the moment through each glorious breath.

I did not know that slowing down was what I needed to do, so I could open my eyes and truly see my life. Appreciate the flawless workings of nature that surrounded me, feel the touch from another human as the connection to all that we are, and understand the thirst of pain in my child’s eye was there for her to feel, not to be quenched.

I did not know that when I slowed down, time became abundant, and love arose, and in that space, came a chance to feel it all. To cast aside judgment and blame, and welcome home all feelings – especially the unfavorable ones like anger, sadness, jealousy confusion and boredom. That allowing my feelings to slowly destroy me, through the lowest moment of despair, was where the miracles began to happen – I found the path back to perfect health. How the power of relaxation is not a luxury, but a necessity, a daily prescription. That too much time with technology is over stimulating, while not enough time alone is stagnating. That nature is calming, as is the company of a dog. How the flow of creativity allows for the joyful fluttering of my heart, and the feeling of an afternoon nap is not about laziness, but self-care. And playing more within the confines of an adult life creates the opportunity to dream, while the healing power of music and laughter is bountiful.

Stillness is the way back to health, for it is in this space, that our heart whispers all the answers. It is here, where we wake up. It is not time to write our own rules? Blanket medical procedures, general prescriptions, mass dieting and exercise do not work. For we are each unique, with our own needs, our own stories whispered from deep within. What makes one heart sing causes another discomfort. What heals one person harms another. Hating our bodies, and quick fixes only up the ante for the lessons we came here to learn. Perhaps, we have all been too busy shouting judgments and opinions that we have never stopped to hear the stories whispered from of our own bodies while we were sleeping.

Stillness does speak. I heard in beautiful verse, the answers emerging from my tingling skin. It was sinus pressure that erupted, each time I held my feelings inside. Migraines, when I have given away my power. Adrenal fatigue when I have pushed you beyond limits, choosing another over myself. Broken bones, a way to slow myself down, take a break.

There is always more to know and learn, and with patience, the understanding will come. Until then, I accept and I receive each physical discomfort as a gift, knowing there is something beautiful waiting on the other side.

Wrapped within these gifts are the hearts yearning for self-love. Here begins the process of dissolving the physical reminders, steering us gently back to the path of perfect health. And it is you, my body, surrounding my all- knowing heart with your beautiful layers of perfectly working divine miracles that have opened my eyes and led the way.