Friday, July 31, 2015

On Forgiveness

My mom was a latchkey kid of the late sixties/early seventies. A Navy brat. She practically raised her younger sister.

I still think they're bitter about this.

Because a comment was made the other day--about the narcissism of my grandmother--how it was always about her. And, if it wasn't, she would find a way to make it about her. Family always came second (or third, or fourth).

She passed away a couple of years ago. Cancer, ultimately. But my mom was there. All the way to the end.

So her tone and the narcissism comment surprised me. And I was reminded of the saying:

Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Forgiveness isn't condoning the behavior or the actions, but choosing to let go. 

I think we're all doing the best we can with the information we have and who we are at the time. And we are each a product of the generation before us. 

I communicate with my daughter (probably to a fault). Explain and discuss and explore because I never felt comfortable enough to talk to my own mother about things.

My mother watched her mom work and work and work--put family second--for a mediocre job. Limited resources. If family is going to come second, the job should be worth it. Education became super-important to her.

My grandmother grew up in a world where women had few choices. She would never depend solely on a man. She ran away from my great grandmother, would take that job, make it her life.

I wonder what my great grandmother was running from. 

And her mother. 

Doing the best she could with the information she had and who she was at the time, I guess.

I wonder what my daughter will over-compensate for in her own life.

Whatever it is, I'm not drinking the poison, and I hope she doesn't, either.


Monday, July 20, 2015

On Peace

Our landscaping in the backyard was looking pretty pathetic. Not a priority at all, really, as grasses and tiny trees and thick, hollow weed-stalks took over the spaces between shrubbery.

So on Saturday as a thunderstorm rolled in--skies gray and wind gusting--I stepped outside, donned a pair of gloves, found hands and knees, and started pulling. 

It was hot and humid, but the breeze was glorious--ruffling leaves. So was the thunder in the distance.

And the first raindrop felt cool against my skin.

So I kept working.

Until the lightning was too close for comfort and my shirt was drenched, I worked. Then I watched the storm from the porch--the wind and the rain and the trees....

It's no coincidence that rain is often a symbol in literature.

A symbol of cleansing--of washing away.

Starting over.

It felt like the culmination of everything I've worked for this past year--to understand the world a little better, to understand myself better, to be a better me.

I've been thinking about something a student of mine recently said, about not searching the world for that thing that "completes" you. Because, outside of you, there is nothing that can complete you.

Only YOU can complete you.

We are both Yin AND Yang.

And I'm okay with this. At least, I'm learning to be.

Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pressfield On Fear

"Resistance feeds on fear. We experience Resistance as fear. But fear of what? 

"Fear of the consequences of following our heart. Fear of bankruptcy, fear of poverty, fear of insolvency. Fear of groveling when we try to make it on our own, and of groveling when we give up and come crawling back to where we started. Fear of being selfish, of being rotten wives or disloyal husbands; fear of failing to support our families, of sacrificing their dreams for ours. Fear of betraying our race, our 'hood, our homies. Fear of failure. Fear of being ridiculous. Fear of throwing away the education, the training, the preparation that those we love have sacrificed so much for, that we ourselves have worked our butts off for. Fear of launching into the void, of hurtling too far out there; fear of passing some point of no return, beyond which we cannot recant, cannot rescind, but must live with this cocked-up choice for the rest of our lives. Fear of madness. Fear of insanity. Fear of death. 

"These are serious fears. But they're not the real fear. Not the Master Fear, the Mother of all Fears that's so close to us that even when we verbalize it we don't believe it.

"Fear That We Will Succeed....

"....We know that if we embrace our ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us." 

More wise words from Steven Pressfield.

Go Forth and Read.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Highly Recommended

I just finished reading Steven Pressfield's THE WAR OF ART.

So, SO good for anyone fighting against the grain: writer, artist, entrepreneur, etc. 

I love how he develops the idea of (captital R) Resistance, and all its many forms. 

"Resistance's goal is not to wound or disable," he says. 
"Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: 
our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on earth 
to give and that no one else has but us."

It was a quick read, with A LOT of highlighting going on. 

For all you creative types waiting for your call to action (to write that novel, to snap that photograph, to paint that masterpiece)--this one's for you