Gentle reminders; let’s try again

The little shrine in Jack's shop

The little shrine in Jack’s shop

I stopped by Jack’s store the other day but he wasn’t there. The door was open and music was playing …he always plays the same cd: Jennifer Berezan’s “Praises for the World”. The first thing that I noticed was the music seemed too loud, then I saw a watercolor painting with dirty glass. As I walked toward the back of his shop, I noticed something else; my need to scrutinize, judge, evaluate, and try to “improve” my (or Jack’s) environment.

When I noticed this thought, I stopped and took a breath. It almost brought me to tears. …surrounded by all of this beauty, I looked for the dust. Looking into the face of someone I adore, I notice the pimple. Looking at my own smile, I notice the teeth that are not white anymore.

As I became present, standing in the middle of Jack’s shop, I saw a little shrine against one of the walls. As I walked closer, I realized that although it probably once housed a religious statue, Jack had arranged little glass chickens and a rooster (accented by a model T Ford plaque) inside. My thought was,

“If I didn’t know who owned this shop, I would like to get to know him.”

Then I realized that I didn’t know him. Not really. When I think I know what he will say next, or how he should arrange his store (or his life), how can I know him? I know my version of him; the version that, to my mind, always needs tweaking.

When I am finding fault with Jack, or myself, or anyone, it’s because I’ve focused on something that (in that moment) is unacceptable to me, and the result is always the same; I am unhappy, and I think that I need to change it. Now! …I also know enough to recognize when I’ve fallen (yet again) into this state and what I can do about it.

First, I notice. Second, I try to be very gentle with myself and say, (almost like I would speak to a little child who fell down, or to a newly rescued animal that was still very afraid of getting hit), “It’s OK (to whatever just happened!). Let’s try again.”

“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life. The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. …Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life, and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you”. pages, 33-35,  Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

20 thoughts on “Gentle reminders; let’s try again

  1. Mary this is just so true of us humans…looking for the dust…this makes me tear up for oh so many reasons…thx for the reminder to keep on track to the small beauty around us…have a wonderful week!!!!

  2. Oh Mary, how true this is and as much and all as I catch myself there are times when I’ve had the same reaction you have…This morning serving my elderly guest’s breakfast (and they are only eight years older than myself so you see the word ‘elderly’ is also a judgment call that needn’t be used) the woman explained, having rheumatoid arthritis now, which runs in her family, how so many of their relatives at the wedding they’ve just attended, all had advice for her on how to handle her medical problems. She is very informed and has been dealing with it as naturally as possible between exercise, naturopathy/diet and attitude. She knows what she wants and that is to avoid harsh medications for as long as she possibly can…but it seems to be human nature to offer up advice to others, doesn’t it…yet, how often do we take it ourselves, as graciously as this guest here, has. As my husband says: free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it…
    I’m still smiling over your reaction and observation of yourself. This is what makes your messages so human, so real. I loved your post this morning,
    SandyP in Canada

  3. “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with mr in-between ” Is what your post said to me in a gentle way. Good enough is my mantra for TODAY!

  4. Such a timely post…..I work so hard to see people for who they are and do pretty well at it…then others’ opinions (mostly family) derail me. Its an ongoing effort isn’t it.

  5. Mary, so well said. Why do we always look for the negative? I loved what you said when you were looking at Jack’s shop. Why do we see the dust, when we should look at the love, the care, the adoration of another? Isn’t that the part of getting the plank out of our eye, before trying to get the mote out of our brother’s? We need to find the grace in everything. I had a similar experience last night, and I had to take a step back and remind myself of my own plank.

  6. Another wonderful reminder from you, Mary. And once again, thank you for so honestly and openly sharing your real thoughts so specifically that I can relate your experience 100% to my own life and grow.

  7. “….surrounded by all of this beauty, I looked for the dust.”

    Mary, this post hit me so positively on so many levels, I would have to write a novelette to get all my thoughts down. Suffice it to say that you gently yanked me up by my bootstraps (or, in this hot weather, should I say sandal straps) with today’s words.

    Thank you, especially for the line I copied above. That is going to find its way to a place where I can see it daily to help me keep myself on track.

  8. Dear Mary…I love the Eckhart Tolle quote and your sensitive and honest description of your experience in Jack’s shop. Thank you also for your beautiful description of how you talk to yourself when realizing you want to make a correction in your way of thinking. Being gentle with myself while also learning to expand my awareness….practicing a loving attitude towards myself as well as others is sometimes the most challenging…and yet the most profound.

  9. “Let’s try again” will be echoing in my mind for days to come. Thank you Mary for reminding us to look for the good, for what is just right, just fine, – dust bunnies, welcomed!

  10. We are so often our own worst enemies… I love this quote for today, and if it’s “self-created”, we can surely self-create something good, and positive, and wonderful in our days and our lives.
    Have a fantastic day!!! Love, Marian

  11. Once again Mary, you helped me to see more beauty and less flaws in everything and everyone. ” Let’s try again” will stay with me.

  12. Mary – I can so relate to “I am unhappy, and I think that I need to change it. Now!” I appreciate your honest explanation about how you then go forward. When I remind myself to get out of the way, wonderful things can happen. Love the quote!

  13. I think sometimes all the dust is really Fairy Dust. Not necessarily a bad thing. 🙂

  14. Mary, I just love the insight gained from today’s post. Those “dusty old thoughts” always seem to creep into all our lives.
    You can now picture me talking to myself, using the same voice I would use for my adorable grandson, saying ‘ It’s OK, let’s try that again’.
    🙂 It really works, I feel so much better! Sending this off to you with a smile and a hug.

  15. “It’s okay . . . Lets try again” is exactly what I would say to my students or my little grandsons, but it’s a good reminder to be equally gentle with myself. That’s harder!

  16. Thank you for your beautiful posts, this one especially was something that I need to hear, remember and practice!

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