Saturday, October 10, 2015

Again and Again

Yesterday I was walking downtown with a friend. We were walking fast, talking a mile a minute, laughing, when I noticed a pole with several cables that were all connected at the top of the pole and then angled down and were anchored on the sidewalk. My friend's fast pace led her smack dab in the path of that pole and for a split second, the thought crossed my mind, "She's going to hit the pole!" But it was one of those surreal moments. I didn't have the presence of mind to reach out my hand and stop her, to warn her ... and then BAM! She slammed into that pole, hitting the side of her face at record speed because she was turned to look at me. Her head bounced back and hit the cables surrounding the pole and she stood there for a moment, stunned.

Last night she sent me a text: the entire side of her face is black and blue. Poor thing.

This week? This week I slammed into the metaphorical pole.

I have been reading a lot of Brene' Brown lately. If you haven't read her...you should. She's amazing. Inspiring. Real. And she's all about living in a wholehearted way. She deals with shame and how we all react to shame--the tricks that we use to escape the pain and succumb to its pressure rather than facing it head on and continuing on a wholehearted pathway.

And I "amen" her all of the time--love her messages.

And now I'm going to get really "real" for a minute.

This week? Well, this week I didn't love her messages. This week involved quite a lot of shame. And I found myself wanting to retreat from everyone I know, to just hang on Facebook for hours and numb the pain, to curl up in a ball and pretend like none of it happened.

But every time -- every single time -- that I found myself "reacting" from the shame, I remembered Brene'. (We are on a first name basis, Brene' and me.)

 And I sighed. Heavily.

Because being wholehearted is easy when things go your way. Focusing on messages such as "I am worthy of love and belonging" or talking to oneself as one would talk to a friend rather than having inner thoughts that rage: Why are you such an idiot??...is easy as pie...

until the going gets rough.

And then it's a whole different story.

Sometimes when I am at work, I throw something on in the background to listen to while I do tasks that don't require critical thinking. Sometimes it's music; other times? I try to find something inspiring or informative or, simply entertaining.

Yesterday I chose Ted Talks. I love Ted Talks. When I taught, Friday was always Ted Talks day and I would start the class with one that inspired discussion or deep thought. It was my students' favorite part of the week. In fact, if we ever missed school on Friday due to a break or whatever, they would beg for Ted Talks Monday.

Anyway, the first one I listened to was a young guy in his 20's who has ADHD. His talk was fascinating as he discussed what that meant for him as a student growing up in a regular classroom and the shame the ADHD diagnosis brings. However, he is blazingly successful now--and all because he has ADHD. He has taken the aspects of the "disorder" and used them to his own benefit.

Another Ted Talks I listened to was a 17 year old boy who suffers from a terrible disease that deeply affects his physical appearance. Genuinely there is nothing about his appearance that is attractive. He is tiny, awkwardly built, bald, has an elfish face and a squeaky voice. But he shines with confidence and a can-do spirit. Clearly his family has encouraged him to live in a wholehearted manner because this kid thrives.

Sometimes we all have moments, days, or even weeks where we get punched in the gut, breathless. Sleepless nights seem to be our best friend.

That was my week.

But I am going to do my best to face it, to grow from it, to seek control in my own perceptions and my own reactions rather than others' because that is the only control I really have.

I am going to strive for wholeheartedness when what I really want is a dark closet away from the world around me.

I am going to be brave, courageous...

And when I am not? I am going to get back up and try again.

Because that's what wholehearted living is all about: trying again and again...

...and again.

1 comment:

  1. And when you can't? Think of me! My fall was high off a pedestal and far to the ground and the only pride I have now is that I can "out-embarrass" anyone! I can truly make others feels better because nothing they can say will be worse - that's my claim to fame! Yikes! But maybe, just maybe, someday I'll be able to help someone else through something as you and so many others have helped me!! Love you! Pick up and keep trying and be proud! You are fabulous!

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