Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’

Handwritten "Acceptance"

A simple reminder

On January 1, I chose my year’s intention: Acceptance. It came to me during meditation and wasn’t what my ego had planned at all (I wanted appreciation!)

It’s no wonder my ego was squirming. When I set an intention, things tend to happen. And this past week I’ve felt like a high school freshman sitting in on a master’s level class. Oh, I have so much to learn!!

I immediately became keenly aware of my addiction to resistance. I want to be accepting. I say I want to be “in flow.” But what I see is myself consistently choosing to resist what is: “My internet service should not have been out for 4 days” … “Client emergencies should not clump together in a single week (particularly during a week without internet service!)” … “The dog should not be barking at 3 a.m.” … “I should be over this cough by now; two weeks is enough!”

Oh, I could go on, but I want to stop. Oh, how I want to stop!

Meditating Frog

My Guru

The next morning on my way to a doctor’s appointment, I observed myself thinking what bad timing it was during such a busy week. And then I asked myself, “What would it be like to be in acceptance?” I took a moment after I parked the car to center myself with a little deep breathing. I allowed myself to become totally present. Then I began my two block walk to the doctor’s office.

It was such an amazing experience. I felt like I was seeing my city for the first time. I connected with people on the street. And I heard birds singing! Birds singing in January when it was 33° outside!  It felt like a shot of pure joy. I was happy, excited, eager to share my smile with others. And the day continued to flow so much more easily.

This morning in the cottage I was reflecting on my soul’s choice for my 2013 intention. My soul knew what I needed most to get to a place of appreciation.

First Comes Acceptance!

It’s going to be an interesting year.

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Hand written: Read this when you are feeling sickI’ve been suffering from influenza. Totally missed celebrating New Year’s Eve. I’m much better, but still not 100%.

On the second day of my infirmity, I found the following letter dated December 19, 2010.

Dear Sick Barbie,

Today, as I write this, I’m feeling well again after three weeks of illness. It strikes me today just how little compassion and patience I have for myself and others when I am sick. I hate being sick. I hate the slow pace. I hate the exhaustion. I hate the lack of creativity. I go into survival mode. Nothing is fun. Nothing is satisfying. Most of the time I’m grouchy, nitpicky, and angry. I feel overwhelmed, and I don’t ask for help.

Right now, I want you to realize that getting well is not something you do in your spare time. It’s the most important thing. Stop exercising! Use your energy carefully! Cancel all of your extracurricular activities. Right now! Just do it! Sleep late. Take naps. Lounge in the tub. Read a book. Television makes you restless. It’s so unsatisfying. Keep it to a minimum. Download some good books and just listen if you need to be entertained.

Most important is this: ASK FOR HELP! Ask first in prayer. Ask your guides and angels to support you in taking care of yourself. Look at all your tasks and delegate. Don’t just let everything pile up until you feel better. Every day ask for what you need.

I don’t think this horrible cough needed to last three weeks. Maybe it did. I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that when I woke up this morning, I KNEW, without a doubt, that I was better. You will KNOW. Until then, practice faith, patience, self-love, compassion, and kindness … to yourself and all those around you.

Sincerely, A part of you that cares deeply and wants you to heal quickly

Thanks to my two-year-younger self for that great advice. I did as she directed and canceled everything on my calendar and stayed in bed for four days. I am continuing to go to bed early and sleep late. I’m so glad I wrote that letter!

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Handwritten entry from journal on 10-22-09

These past three years have gone by quickly. Sometimes I still go into Mom’s old room to share a bit of news. “Hey, Mama, guess who just called to say hi?” Of course, I don’t expect a response. The room has been quiet for a long time now. The nebulizer and oxygen machine are long gone. The television, too.  But the bed, table, and chairs remain. It was her room for the last four and a half years of her life. I brought her breakfast, lunch, and dinner to that room. I sat with her there and watched bits of TV shows, chatted, and read to her. I painted her toenails, administered her medicine, and checked her blood pressure. Even as I did my best to hold on tightly, I watched her slip away, slowly, slowly, slowly.

This morning I had a conversation with her ashes, as if they were a conduit to the afterlife. I told her how much I miss her and how much I love her. I closed my eyes and remembered what it felt like to be hugged by her. I remembered the way her startlingly blue eyes sparkled every time she smiled at me. I could count on that smile as I set her breakfast tray on the table. “Oh, my!” she would say, “That’s beautiful! But how will I ever eat it all?” But she always did; her appetite was good in the mornings, and so I made sure breakfast was the best meal of the day.

I have honored her last wish to, “just stay close to my little kid,” by creating a special place for her ashes at the cottage. She always called me her angel, but she’s my angel now. My heart hurts  today as I remember the pain of letting her go. I am simultaneously sad and joyful. My life is full, and I am so very grateful for having been raised by a mother like her: optimistic, funny, compassionate, and loving. I am grateful, too, for the opportunity to have been there when she needed me and for the grace to lovingly release her when the time came.

Rest in peace, Mama, and know you will live in my heart forever.

Mom's ashes on a shelf in the cottage

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We just got back from walking our legs off in Washington, DC, and I find myself longing for just one quiet, relaxing day by the ocean. Alas, I’m back to work with no beach trip in sight, so, instead of posting pictures from our nation’s capital, I’m going to share a few of my most treasured beach souvenirs.

Pickle jar filled with ocean water and sand

I was 22 when I saw the ocean for the first time. I was so excited that I promptly filled a pickle jar with water and sand as a souvenir. The jar now sits on a shelf in my laundry room next to a jar of water from Lake Michigan, circa 1967, and another from Lake Erie, circa 1977. It’s the strangest, smallest collection I own.

Glass jar filled with seashells, coral, and black sand

We went to Hawaii in 1993. I was awestruck by a black sand beach on Maui. I scooped up the sand and put it in a glass ball along with a piece of coral and a few shells. I love the way the black sand looks like dirt!

Beach shells holding paper clips

I found this shell on a beach in South Carolina. It has served as a paperclip holder for about 20 years.

Large white seashell

In 1990, as I left for a business trip to Florida, my five-year-old son asked me to bring him back a “big shell.” When I talked to him on the phone that evening, he asked if I had found the shell. I said, “No, I just got here, and I haven’t had time to go to the store.” He said, “Not the store! You just walk out by the ocean and pick it up!” I tried to explain that “big shells” are not that easy to come by, but he insisted. “Mama, you get up early tomorrow morning and go out on the beach. You’ll find a big shell. Bring it to me.” I said I would look. I got up early the next morning never thinking for a moment that I would be successful. But there it was, just as he said, waiting for me to pick it up. It’s the biggest, prettiest shell I’ve ever found on a beach. I wonder how he knew it would be there.

Bleached Sun Dollar

In 1989 I was in Florida and obsessed with the idea of finding a sand dollar. A local told me to dig with my toes around the sand bar, and sure enough, I found one. I was so excited until I realized it was alive! I hesitated for only a moment. I didn’t care. I had found my trophy, and I took it to my hotel room. The next morning, I was overcome with guilt. I had killed a beautiful creature just so I could display it. What kind of person does a thing like that? I cried and seriously considered throwing it away because I was so ashamed of myself for killing it. But then I thought doing so would be doubly shameful. So I brought it home, bleached it, and gave it a place of honor in my office. It’s still there, and when I look at it, I sometimes still feel a little ashamed and a little sad. It is the one and only “trophy kill” I own.

Photo of girl at beach displayed in a beach chair frame

Finally, here is a picture I took at Hilton Head Island in 2003. I found the beach chair frame in a souvenir shop, and I thought it was the perfect frame for the perfect picture. It makes me laugh to look at it, though, because it looks like the picture just came with the frame!

There … wasn’t that more fun than the Washington Monument?

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