Tag Archives : journaling


What’s Great About Today 6

Have you ever felt like nothing can go right, one “bad” thing happens after another, and you just can’t catch a break?

Lately I have fallen into that trap…

And I’m starting to take it personal.

I can’t help but wonder why nothing seems to “go our way.”

I’ve even gone as far as asking, “What did we do to deserve this?”

Welcome to my pity party. It’s not a fun place to be.

You know…the SUV needs all new ($1,000) tires, all the windows in said SUV refuse to roll up at the same time, a huge business deal falls through, you get sick and rack up an ungodly ER bill…

None of it is earth shattering, or life-ending, or tragic.

And my husband and I find ourselves constantly saying, “It could always be worse.”

And it could. We don’t need a reminder of that. We hear of horrible things happening around us every day.

We know our life is good. Great. Ideal.

I’m not here to compare troubles.

As always, I’m here to try and learn something.

And I’m just not happy with, “It could always be worse” as the lesson.

So, then what am I supposed to be learning from all this?

How to be more patient? How to live simply? How to be frugal? How to appreciate the small things?

I’m starting to think the lesson is how to focus on what is already good rather than what “could be worse.”

I know you’re thinking, How perfect and cheery and pleasant!

Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds. A few weeks ago I asked my mother-in-law to borrow the book, One Thousand Gifts. I was determined to “dare to live fully right were you are” as the cover promises.

I read the first ten pages and had to stop due to uncontrollable crying.

Okay, maybe I’m not ready for this lesson yet. 

After my poor hubby accidentally backed into someone’s car in the bank parking lot today, we started questioning things again. Not sure if I was ready to revisit the-book-that-made-me-cry, tonight I serendipitously came across this article which invites us to ask, “Do you know what’s great about that?” every time a challenge arises.

The car needs all new tires! You know what’s great about that? It will be super-safe and easy to drive once we have them!

My outlook  finally started to change and just when it seemed like one more “bad” thing had happened to us, I remembered to ask, “Do you know what was great about today?”

And I had the best possible answer.

We got to witness the miracle of life today.

We got to see our daughter’s beautiful face for the first time.

We got to hear her healthy heartbeat.

And we got to watch her stick her tongue out at us, as if to say, “How dare you need reminding of what is great about today!”

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I hope to push the tears aside and read more of One Thousand Gifts, start keeping a gratitude journal, and continue to ask, “What’s great about that?” when more challenges arise.

A helpful journal topic to explore this idea is making a cluster of your current gifts and challenges.

I’m excited to share this journey with you!

 


Trust it or Adjust it 2

Today in class we read “Purge Your Portfolio” from Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb.
I really wish I could have read this particular story right before my birthday party when I was having an attack of the “excuses“…
You know the ones…
“Don’t look at my patio, I didn’t have time to get new cushions.”
“Don’t look at my shoes, I didn’t have time to find the perfectly matching pair.”
“Don’t look at my hair, I didn’t have time to get it professionally straightened.” (
which is too expensive anyway)
“Don’t look at my stomach, I didn’t have time to lose that extra pregnancy pooch in the past week.”
UGH!!
In the story Patti said she needed to “lose about 1,000 pounds,color my hair, and polish my dance steps” before her high schoolfriends arrived for a visit.
She didn’t.
And then she realized “I didn’t need to make any excuses anymore.The hips, the house, hair–they just are. They are me. They are my life.This is me!”
She tells a wonderful story of her daughter taking her art portfolioto a comics convention and showing it to fellow artists to get theiropinion. When looking at one piece she said, “That’s not really a goodone,” to which an artist replied:
“If you don’t like something, take it out of your portfolio. Youdon’t want to have anything in here that you need to make excuses for. You want to be proud of everything you put in front of people. ”
Finally she asks, “What in my portfolio (where portfolio means house, life, brain, relationship) should I keep?
********
Taking another look at “excuses,” she opened the story with:
“For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future but an excuse can last for life.” –Eric Hoffer
It just so happens that I recently discussed this very thing with a close friend. We talked about the pressure to be perfect(for me it’s with my writing and physical appearance)because somewhere along the way someone told us we were good, or pretty.
Now, I feel like if I’m not good or pretty EVERY SINGLE DAY, andEVERY SINGLE time I write, or present myself to the public, I willdisappoint. When I fear I will disappoint I MAKE EXCUSES…
“Don’t look at my hair/patio/shoes/stomach….”
How can we stop this cycle?
I have a notepad that says “Trust it or adjust it.
I think I’m going to go with that motto for now.
LOVE it (hair, body, home, life…) and embrace it for what it is…or change it.
Be proud of everything I put in front of people, or get rid of it.No more excuses.
I know in my heart that the more I read, write and connect in this space, it will happen.

“Good Enough” vs. Great

As I’ve mentioned before, I am reading the book Life is a Verb by Patti Digh with my Advanced Composition class. Today our story was called “Don’t Stop to Wave, You’ll drown.” You can find a version of the story here on Patti’s blog.
The story opened with this quote:
“Why are women so immobile? Because so many feel like they’re waiting for someone to say, ‘You’re good, you’re pretty, I give you permission.” –Eve Ensler
Why didn’t I hear that 20 years ago?
Another great quote from the story:
“Just imagine what we could accomplish if we harnessed all the energy we spend hating and changing our bodies in order to be ‘beautiful’ or ‘good enough.” –Eve Ensler
Also from Eve, “Women have to overcome their fear of not being liked. It’s a choice we have to make between being good–quiet enough, tin enough, pretty enough, pleasant enough, good enough–and being great.”
After Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues, became famous she spoke of being drawn toward a fast-moving and powerful river, being part of that river, and of creating in and of the river.
“The only time I got into trouble in the river,” she said slowly, “was when I wanted people to look at me in the boat in the river, when I wanted to stop and wave and make sure people saw me in the boat.”
Patti said, “At those moments when we try to wave and be seen and praised, we are actually drowning.”
So true!
Patti advises, “Get in to the river. Fully embrace it and flow with it because it knows what you should be doing with your life. Move with it without trying to stop the boat so people can admire you and like you, so they can say ‘You’re good, you’re smart, you’re pretty. I give you permission.’ Keep moving, keep seeing, keep knowing, and keep saying what you know to be your truth, without needing or looking for the admiration of others. You are good. You are beautiful. You are smart. Give yourself permission. ” 

The journal topic for this piece mentions the “imposter syndrome,” something I know many women suffer from.

Emil M. Cioran said: “It is because we are all imposters that we endure each other.”
-There are times in all our lives when we feel like an imposter, like someone who will be “found out.” Write for five minutes in response to this question: When do you feel like an imposter? What do you fear people will find out about you?
-Stop. Read what you have written.
-Circle a word or phrase that stands out as a hot spot and write for five minutes on that topic.

After re-reading my first journal response , I circled the word “good” as my hot spot and wrote the following:

The word “good” stands out in a lot of my writing…especially the phrase “good enough.”
What is “good” anyway? Who gets to define “good”?
Look inside “good” and you will find…
“okay, sufficient, mediocre”
Don’t I want to be great?
In this story the author says the difference between being good and great lies in overcoming our fear of not being liked.
We can be good–quiet enough, thin enough, pretty enough, pleasant enough–enough.
Or we can be great.
I choose great.

Here are some more quotes Patti sprinkled throughout her story:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” –Dr. Seuss
“Do not carry the burden of the past; do not live in the future. The only important thing is that one lives in the present authentically and fully. Whatever your current life is, be the most you ca be by living in the moment.”–Chin Chih
My final thoughts:
It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow for my big, outdoor, BBQ style, birthday party. My hubby is stressing out majorly. I love nothing more than SUNSHINE….when I envisioned this big birthday party I told him all I wanted was to sit outside in the sun, eat good food, drink some wine, and listen to good music.Well, it looks like the sun isn’t going to happen. But, instead of letting it ruin my day, I’m going to try really hard to live in the present moment authentically and fully. I am going to love my imperfect appearance and home. And I am going to dance in the rain.