On 12/24 I was involved in something that will make this Holiday really memorable.
Let me tell you what it was NOT.
It was not something that I have to store.
It will not clutter my life.
It does not sparkle in the usual way.
It did not cost me an arm and a leg.
I did not incur any credit card debt.
Everyone who heard about it loved it and some were even jealous that they did not do it.
This is what I did…
I was part of a group that hosted a Christmas Party for a group of homeless folk. I was a part of a team of people who provided gifts and food. I did something a little extra. I created a Book Store background and I set up an author signing table and signed books for anyone who wanted one. The party was magical. It was a blessing to be able to spend part of my holiday with these guys. They showed up with a smile. They relished their food and their gifts and some of them sat down and began to read. One beautiful woman said, “I ain’t never meet me a real author before”. I gave her a huge hug and said I was so glad to meet her.
When folks live on the streets or in the woods, their possessions have to be functional. Nothing too heavy, or requires too much care. So books may not be so practical. They can get wet or be too bulky for a bag that is already crammed. My hope is that they read as much as they need and then repurpose it as needed. It may end up as kindling for a fire on a cold night. Some of the pages may become a napkin. It may even be a pillow. The book will disappear at some point in their lives. It will be with them for exactly the amount of time they need it and they will forget it and move on.
I will not forget the memories I made giving it to them and the feeling I had in my heart.
I am grateful that they came and shared part of their day with me.
I hope that 2012 will be better for them than 2011.
That is my prayer.
Doing something for folks in need is one of the quickest ways to get blessed out.
I wish you a blessed out New Year. Dream Large in 2012. The world needs us all to show up to the fullest extent of our capacities.
This year in Houston, we have a very bad drought. I read that in East Texas, they have been in drought for 3 years. I am saddened for the animals and the trees. People can always seem to find water.
What would happen if it was just the opposite? What if it rained NON STOP for 3 years? What if it rained NON STOP for months on end? It would be called Monsoon. Many parts of the world manage to get through their yearly Monsoon, but not without loss and heart ache. Houses get swept away, human and animal lives are lost, and a host of other tragedies occur.
What happens when life sends you a FLOOD of a different kind? Emotional floods. Floods that sweep through your heart and up end all that you held sound and solid?
Maybe that looks like a loved one passing at the same time that you lose your job. Or maybe it looks like the youngest child leaving for college and your spouse declares that they want a divorce? Or maybe it looks like you are in the hospital awaiting surgery and then the spouse walks in asking for a divorce? It has happened!
When these waves of emotion begin to crash all around you, do not try to swim… just float. DO NOTHING! This too will pass. It always does, it really always does.
Ask instead these questions:
1. What do you know for sure?
2. What can you be grateful for in this moment?
3. Who can you call to share/weep/sigh/scream to?
4. How can you REST inside of the turmoil and wait for the lessons?
5. DO NOTHING.
If you still have some time to read a great poem about emotional flooding… search for THE GUEST HOUSE BY RUMI.
Do you sometimes feel that you are caught between two conflicting sets of morals and values?
Do you feel tugged and pulled with having to make simple decisions?
I met someone recently who had to “not invite” her parents to a significant celebration because the parents ” from the old country” would take over the way the party “should be done” and the celebration would then become all about ” what our culture expects” and none of what would create true happiness for the newer generation.
If this sounds even remotely familiar, do I have a solution for you!
What if you could step in both worlds and be happy with both sets of rules? Sound like fantasy world?
It is so very possible. The trick is ( ah you knew there would be a trick) that YOU KNOW WHO YOU WANT TO BE!
Ok, so maybe that’s a little too tricky. How can you know who you want to be, if you have been brought up in a world that has little value for an individual ( think ” I ” ) and huge amounts of value on “WE”. You have to be very vigilant with observing your thoughts.
Ok, so now I see you rolling your eyes, just hear me out. When you are being pulled between, do you feel like you MUST please everybody?
Do you feel like “people” will hate you if you do not do exactly as they wish?
Will you hate yourself if you continue to please everyone at the expense of your own happiness? Do you believe that your happiness is important? Can you accept that there can be balance between what others expect and what you want?
There is a way to straddle both your worlds and still be true o your own values and mores.
The simple answer is to allow yourself to observe yourself and others when you are in the midst of making decisions. Notice what your think, how you hold your body, what tone of voice you use, if you feel attacked?
That does not sound so simple you say, well maybe it’s not always simple, but it is always doable. It is always possible to “step” out of the situation and to become the detached observer.
The detached observer does not have to “believe” all the thoughts that pop into their heads. We think thousands of thoughts every day and most of them we let go, but some thoughts stick around to nag you until you feel like your head will explode.
So, here is a simple challenge for you. The next time you have to choose between two worlds, be it a cultural situation, a religious situation or a social situation, notice what you are thinking and see if you can give yourself a “thinking” break.
A “thinking” break means to try to distance yourself from the words in your head.
Try these simple steps:
1. Take 5 DEEP BREATHS
2. Take five more
3. Pretend that you can see the words forming in your head. What kind of font is it, how big are the words? Do they run together like a jumbled mess or it is like a well structured sentence? Do you also see punctuation marks? The trick here is to help your mind take a break from the thoughts that are all consuming.
4. Notice if you were able to take a “break” from the thoughts that are causing stress.
Try this little exercise for one full week on the thoughts that cause you the most stress. Thoughts like ” I should be a better Mom, Wife, Employee, Friend, Daughter ” etc.
I hope you give it a try and also try to give yourself a well deserved break.
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