Parking Outside the Lines

As my day was winding down last Saturday, I hastily pulled into a very empty parking lot outside a grocery store. In a rush to pick up my son, I threw the car into park and ran into the store.  When I came outside, I found this note on my car:

THANK YOU

YOU INCONSIDERATE BASTARD

NEXT TIME PARK IN BETWEEN THE LINES

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I took a deep breath and asked myself, what message is the person who wrote this note sending me? I hear you laughing. I mean pretty obvious, right? I looked at my tires. Perhaps I was a bit over the line, but not by much. And the parking lot was empty. This note was not about me.

As I got in my car, I began to wonder what this person’s life has been like that he needed to take the time to write a note like that and stick it on my car. Who was he yelling at, really? Who had invaded his space? Who was the inconsiderate bastard?

Driving away with the note gripped between my hands and the wheel, I thought about a life teaching that says people are showing you where their pain is when they lash out at you. They are actually screaming for you to help. If you can appreciate this, give them a compliment or just acknowledge them you will help them tremendously. In my opinion, a much better alternative to screaming back, right? So was I holding a reminder of this lesson?

Perhaps.

When I got home, I went back to the note and was struck suddenly by his first words: Thank you. While he may have written this with sarcasm at heart, maybe not. Perhaps he was really thanking me for allowing him to vent. What if I had given him the perfect opportunity. What if that is what we are here in life to do – help each other unleash our buried emotions so we can all breathe easier? Today we are the windshield and tomorrow, the bug.

The note didn’t seem half as bad all of a sudden.  In fact it felt like a blessing in disguise.  I was about to toss it when I was reminded about a friend of mine who had been going through a challenge over the past few weeks. She had turned inward and quiet, and this had caused me to feel helpless. The more I tried to help, the more she withdrew. So, I kept trying.  She is not a yeller, but if she was, I bet she would have yelled, THANK YOU, YOU INCONSIDERATE BASTARD!

Have I been invading her space? I have certainly not been staying within the lines. And because I did not get it at the time, some very considerate gentleman helped me out by dropping a not so subtle hint on my windshield.

So, while I was helping out the person who wrote the note, was he not also helping me? Can we not in every interaction be both the windshield and the bug?

I have driven enough to know that receiving a note on your windshield is not unique. We have all been told off in traffic. But what if we all saw anger as a blessing, knowing in some way, we were helping that person?  And what if we needed help back?  Were we speeding?  Distracted?  What if at that moment we needed to slow down, put down the phone, get out of our heads?

If we are always here to help each other, there is never any reason for anyone to feel like we have done something wrong, or to judge another.  No reason for guilt, blame or hatred.  The next time you receive a ticket for speeding from a police man, he may have been saving your life, averting an accident.  Detoured by traffic, life put you out of harms way of a falling tree limb.

When life does not seem harmonious or when something pulls us out of your normal routine, if we stop to pause, there may is a message there. An opportunity to help, make a difference.  Just beyond our frustration, lies a beautiful garden of understanding, forgiveness and grace.  Perhaps next time we get rear ended or told off at a sporting event, even quietly to ourselves, we can say, thank you.

I know I am saying thank you to the beautiful person who left the note on my car. For, we never met but we indeed helped each other out. We are truly all connected, if by nothing else, than by simply being human.  Just being ourselves is all we need to do to begin to change the world, one note at a time.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mirror of Truth

How often do we tell ourselves lies within the walls of our relationships?  It all begins innocently, as small untruths cloaked in a dress of feigned indifference.  We tell our significant other that we do not care what restaurant we go to, when we do.  Or we choose to go out with a friend, when what we really want is to be home alone, with a good book.  Once the wound is opened, the occurrence of lies increases, thickening like dried blood upon our skin.  Eventually, we become lost, forgoing ourselves completely.  We do not know who we are or what we want.  Our needs are buried deep within ourselves, beneath layers of denial and lies.  We continue through our days, sliding across the moments of our lives, having learned these lies as a way of living.

This denial of ourselves continues until we come upon a person who senses our weakness, who commands themselves over us, as they try to fill their own hole, a void in their heart.  And we allow it, until the moment when we don’t.  We snap, and a voice from deep within us creates a wedge, and our own words rise from within us loud and clear.  We sense we began to hide from ourselves long before the innocent lies began.  Yet the anger is felt now, and is raw which enables us to withdraw from another’s embrace, and revel in disbelief at how they have mistreated us.

Our anger serves us well as we step away from our partner.  Our disbelief fuels further awareness.  And although we no longer chose to dance with this inequality of abuse and control, we see that it was always a choice, our choice.  Perhaps this is the dramatic way we chose to learn the lesson to love ourselves beyond a doubt, to come back to ourselves after we have strayed so far.  A respite of relief we cannot deny, after we have been left starving, neglected and alone; shivering in the iciness of another’s actions, which felt nothing but damaging and loveless.

Yet, is it possible to see this person, their attempt to snuff out our being, as a gift, a mirror of truth? Out of love, they have led us so far from ourselves that we have no option than to snap back, like a rubber band that has reached its limit.  Yes, it hurts when the band retreats quickly, whipping against our skin.  Yes, there is loss, sadness, disappointment.  There is rage, disbelief and pain.  But over time, the redness fades, the sting remits.  And we begin to understand that the stretching is just what we needed to grow.

So, we leave.  And with nobody to control, our dance partners have no option but to look at themselves, to see the nature of their behavior.  And this is not easy, so they resort to manipulation as an attempt to take back control.  But if we stay strong, we give back to them what they gave to us.  We become their mirror of truth.

Regardless of which side of the mirror we are on, when the dance ends, we are left standing alone. This is the perfect place to look into our own eyes, and melt into our feelings.  To accept the confusion, anger and loneliness we feel. To learn how to give ourselves all that we need, what we never had, one step at a time.  To love ourselves unconditionally, without judgement for what we have said or done.  To let go of our story.  To treat ourselves like we would a child, with compassion and understanding.  And eventually to forgive, not only another, but ourselves.

And we begin to understand that what we have been searching for our whole lives is the beauty and love of our own heart.  The joy of hearing the cry of our own voice.  The peace of loving ourselves for who we are, not breaking ourselves down for who we are not. The joy of loving all of ourselves, not judging our behaviors as good or bad. And the bliss of knowing everything we need is right here within us.

Until we show ourselves more love, not less, the search for a savior, a temporary fix, will continue.  We will live with the hopes of dancing with the perfect parent, the endlessly adorning lover, the unconditionally loving friend.  And the violins will again begin to play, enticing us to embrace one another desperately, until we are pushed once again to face the mirror of truth. When we come home, accept and love ourselves fully, we will look no more.  Our lesson is learned.  The dance will end.  The mirror will shatter.