Move into life

A little watercolor painting that I did a few weeks ago. I had forgotten my bag (with what I had planned to paint) and this feather was on the path as I walked to class

A little watercolor painting that I did a few weeks ago. This feather was on the path as I walked to class

I woke up, a few hours after I had peacefully fallen asleep, last night with a feeling of anxiety sweeping through me. I turned over and looked out at the dark sky filled with stars and asked what this was about. My question was basically, “Come on, what is up here? I know that we (humans) are supposed to live in joy and inner peace and I am not even close to these. As a matter of fact I feel on the edge of despair.”

I kept looking at the sky and the answer came, “Move into life, not away from it.”

As small and insignificant as this may seem, my favorite thrift store had been closed for 3 weeks, was set to open up again today, and the one volunteer who is unfriendly works on Mondays. I had been thinking about how to avoid her and made all sorts of excuses for doing just that, thinking,  “Maybe I’ll just go another day, maybe she has resigned, maybe I’ll even say something about her to the director”. My reasoning was, “She is ruining my experience, and this is one of the ways that I relax, so I need to adjust things and not run into her.”

I had been thinking about this for a couple of days, but not very often and certainly not to any degree that I thought was serious. After all, I am fully aware that going to the thrift store is simply a fun outing for me, and no cause for anxiety of any kind. And yet, as I pondered my discomfort last night I could see that I needed to change. Suddenly it just seemed so easy to say, “I am going to go tomorrow and have a wonderful time.” My emotions cleared instantly and I fell asleep in a state of ease.

We have all, at times, avoided situations that we feared would make us uncomfortable, and sometimes it seems that this is justified…and yet, when we are making decisions based on fear, they can never be very high-quality. One way that I can discern the difference between my guidance saying not to do something, and not doing something based on fear,  is to really listen to my inner voice. If it is saying, “I’d love to go if it werent’ for….” then I can pretty much tell that I am letting fear make the decision, and I am not really choosing at all.

I will not die if someone isn’t friendly to me. But my life will get smaller, and I will feel like I am less alive, if I base my decisions on avoiding that person or people. I will not die if I don’t go to the thrift store, but my life will shrink or expand in proportion to the boundaries I set up for it.

My neighbors have a 5-year-old who is going to school for the first time this year. I can hear them as they wait for the school bus. This little boy is afraid to get on the bus, afraid to go out into the unknown, and his parents are constantly telling him, “It will be ok. You are going to have fun. We’ll be right here when you get off the bus. You are such a big boy. We are so proud of you.”  I just sit on my porch and smile. It is so sweet. It seems like at times we are all this little boy, needing someone to say, “Go and live life! Have fun! Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. You will have what you need. You are being cared for and loved, and I will be right here when you get Home” .

25 thoughts on “Move into life

  1. I went out Saturday night for the first time in years since taking care of parents who are gone now…i was so full of terror all day since I would be around people I had known including an ex-husband…it was the exact exercise in this…let go and move forward and don’t care what or if people are judging you…it was quite the exercise both mentally & physically…and old friend and i danced our gizzards out…and thank you for the prayers…

    • I’ve never heard that expression Janette, “danced our gizzards out”…it is great!

    • Thank you Susan… and I did have a blast shopping. Sharing the adventure here made me feel so good as I stepped into my day

  2. That was soo appropriate for today and for so many of my clients…this has been the”year of fear” for me and your encouragement has been so important…

    • Thank you Janine. You are in my thoughts so often, although we hardly see each other anymore…maybe we need a thrift store trip together!

  3. So appropriate…..I still have lovely things my friend Mary aquired for me at said thrift store……I know that “middle of the night feeling”

  4. Hi Mary –

    That’s some good advice about moving into life instead of away from it, and about giving oneself permission to have fun.

    I have a favorite thrift store, too, and I usually feel very guilty hanging around there – why am I so fascinated with all this discarded junk? I also worry that some of the employees will notice that I am there often and think I am a hoarder or just strange. The truth is, I really enjoy browsing there – it’s very relaxing and I just love looking at the weird and wonderful clothing and the funky glassware, not to mention the other people. It’s just not very “conventional ” and I avoid letting my friends know I do this. Like its a bad habit I am embarrassed about.

    Thanks for your thoughts – reminds me of a line from an Atlanta journalist from years ago – “Treat yourself better today!”. (Ludlow Porch)

    Susan

    • Thank you for this Susan…I’ve had the same feelings/thoughts that the workers at the thrift store are going to say to themselves, “What is she doing here again so soon?” I’m happy to know that I am in good company with my (sometimes) nutty thinking!

  5. Mary, I love the little feather! And today’s post. I’m about to embark on some solo travel that includes meeting up with a friend I haven’t seen for 30 years and instead of happy anticipation, I find myself feeling nervous anxiety. I like the phrase, Move into life, not away from it! And that’s what I’m going to do!

    • Happy thoughts to you on your adventure Cynthia…and thank you for the compliment about the feather. I was so surprised that it looked as nice as it did…I always thought I disliked watercolor and this made me change my mind.

  6. Mary – Another message perfectly timed! Thank you. And what a gifted artist you are! That feather looks so soft and delicate. I hope you had a lovely visit to the thrift shop today.

  7. Mary, thanks for your encouragement and, as always, for sharing your truth, your fears, your ‘failures’. . . you are a gift to us all! So, how was the Thrift Store outing? xo Veronica

    • Thank you so much Veronica! The thrift store was great…the woman was there, but I greeted her in a friendly manner, and although she seemed the same, I also noticed that she pretty much treated everyone with a little bit of attitude. There was a huge line to check out and I was very happy to wait, (didn’t even mind the interaction that I knew I’d have with her at the register) when another volunteer came out of the back and pulled me out of line saying, “If you have everything, I’ll just check you out right here so you don’t have to wait” …a perfect experience all the way around!

  8. I went to France last September, and by the second morning, I knew that I was less than pleased with the tour guide. But, I decided to have fun and not let her get in the way. I enjoyed the trip enormously and want to visit some of the same places again – just not with her in the picture.

  9. You are so right that our world gets smaller when we hold back, either afraid to try new things, or let our ideas about others (the unfriendly worker at the thrift store) determine what we do or don’t do… Life is too short to not be enjoying our days so everyone, have a special day today and everyday!!!
    Mary, I just love this painting you have created ~ it’s just beautiful. Have you just started painting?
    Love and hugs xoxox

    • Thank you Marian,…I actually have always painted but have never done watercolor (I never liked it before the class that I took this summer)! Love and hugs to you too!!

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