Tag Archive | being in the moment

The Sacred Path….one step at a time

Eleanor saying, "I am comfortable here...whether you think it is a safe spot for me or not!"

Eleanor saying, “I am comfortable here…whether you think it is a safe spot for me or not!

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters, by Portia Nelson

I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V
I walk down another street.

I was in my 30’s when I first read this poem and it floored me. I loved the simple imagery of the street. I loved the progression of action from frantic, blaming, and frightened, to centered, calm, and confident, steps. For many years I considered these words ones of action. If I was having a hard time with someone, maybe I would wait a day before returning their call, or not make another plan to meet. But over the years, I began to see that this journey is really one of thought.

The “same street” for me was the well-worn path of fearful, angry, or suspicious thoughts if something wasn’t working the way I thought it should, or if someone wasn’t treating me the way that I wanted to be treated. My thoughts would go something like this, “What is wrong with them?!” and then flip to “What is wrong with me?!” Blame them, blame me….back and forth from anger to self-condemnation, and back again…always assigning blame.

One day I had the radical thought, “What if there is nothing wrong with me? and even more radical, “What if there is nothing wrong with them?”

Everyone is on a journey of self-discovery…even if it doesn’t look that way to me. We would all love to go from seeing that hole in the street to instantly being on a whole new highway, and we’d like to pick up those around us (who seem to be stuck in that hole) and transport them to the highway of our choice too. But even if it was possible, would it really be in the highest and best for us or for them? The journey is valuable, isn’t it? If Portia Nelson hadn’t gone down that “same street” a whole bunch of times, we wouldn’t have this glorious poem to identify with. And if I hadn’t messed up, made mistakes, learned from them (continue to make them, and continue to share) what would I have to say here? And why would you care?

Your journey is a sacred one. Your holes, your well-worn paths, and your emotional ups and downs, are all a part of your sacred path. You’ve gathered a lot of wisdom during your travels. These are the things that make you real. It may be time for you to walk down a different street, and that is fantastic, but don’t wish you’d done it earlier or better or different…. or just because it has been difficult, don’t assume it has been wrong.

Just take a new step, if that is what you are feeling called to do. Just think a new thought. Today.

“Each one of us is like a single thread in a huge tapestry, woven in a complex and colorful pattern. We may be only one strand, yet we’re all integral to the finished image. We affect the lives of others just by choosing whether or not to be our true selves. Our only obligation to others, our only purpose, is to express our uniqueness and allow others to do the same.” pp 151 from Dying To Be Me, by Anita Moorjani

 

***I may not write again until after Christmas so I just wanted to say to you all, THANK YOU for being a part of my life. THANK YOU for adding your thoughts (even if you never comment) and telling your stories of love and hope and struggle and overcoming, here with us. I love you all. Even if we’ve never met, even if we’ve never spoken, you are in my heart. Loving thoughts of kindness, peace, happiness, joy, calm, (and fun!) to you all, Mary

 

Today I’ll find no sorrow….

One of the things that I really want in our new house is a porch…I want to sit and watch the world from the front and back of my house. Yesterday, as Jack and I were riding by one of my all time favorite houses (with a great porch), I commented that I would love to see the inside, and Jack said, “Do you want me to see if Paul is home?”… Paul was home, and was delighted to give us a tour. He had thought about selling, at one point, but now thinks he may keep it. The house is WAY beyond our current means….7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, gorgeous back yard, wonderful feel, what a treat it was to even think about.

And this morning, I am here in our little 2 bedroom, 1 bath cottage. Writing and  knowing that everything, for today, is as it should be. Thoughts that I should be someplace else, that what I am, or what I have, are not good enough, make me so unhappy and  dissatisfied with life. So, like the words to the song, Looking Out My Backdoor, ” I have to say to my mind sometimes, “Bother me tomorrow, today I’ll find no sorrow…”

Doing “something” really well…pause…

appreciating the towels!

When Jack and I went to Costa Rica last year, one of the many things that we appreciated was the wonderful care taken, with even the smallest detail, at our hotel. We used to look forward to going back to our room to see what the women who cleaned and tidied it daily, would do with the towels. They were always adorned with fresh flowers and these new, creative creatures looked like happy little critters.

Sometimes, I can get really hard on myself for not doing everything “perfectly” everyday. I expect myself to make a beautiful home, cook great meals, always be available when someone needs me, be 100% patient 1oo% of the time, never have a negative thought, never get my feelings hurt, or become worried and afraid. If I am not aware of it, I can easily overlook the things that I do really well that day, and my life becomes a mad dash to the finish line…of what?…where am I going in such a rush during these times?  To the future where I believe that at some distant moment, I will find fulfillment. Eckhart Tolle talks about this, and says if an alien was dropped onto our planet and watched people on a city sidewalk he/she would think that we were insane, rushing here and there. (I do actually feel a little crazy when I am rushing).

When I slow down (primarily in my mind) and take time to do one thing well and then appreciate that…let that little thing, like making a really good cup of coffee or combing out Luke (our big shaggy dog) be enough for that moment, my entire self takes a deep breath and expands. One little thing done really well, and then a pause….taking time to smell the roses, or fold the towels, or appreciate that someone folded them for me….this is where I want to go.