Tag Archives: peace

Good Enough

6 Oct

A more than good enough place to write a blog post

If you’ve ever taken a class or read anything about becoming more efficient or effective in your life, you’ve probably read about time management techniques, but the most profound thing I ever heard about time management is that you cannot manage time. Everyone has the same amount of hours, minutes and seconds in each day, and although we each spend a different number of those days on the planet, in each given day, we all have 24 hours. The key, then, is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves during that time, and there are so many factors that can affect our ability to do that well. As I always do, I want to make it clear that I understand that people who have mitigating factors such as illnesses, physical challenges or who have other legitimate challenges may be an exception to what I’m about to share, but I think the information is quite relevant for the rest of us.

Have you ever heard the expression that if you want to change some things in your life you have to change some things in your life? I love that expression for its simplicity and truth, but sometimes we don’t know the things we have to change to achieve the results we desire, and that can be quite a problem. For years I struggled with cleaning and being organized. Truth be told, organizing still doesn’t come naturally to me (more on that at a later date). I tried being like my mom, my mother in law and a few other people I know that were really good at keeping house, and I failed miserably. I was nearly ready to give up when I found a system that worked for me. Why did everything else fail while that worked? For me, this system seemed to understand how I thought and helped me be successful being me, not trying to be like someone else. You see, the people I had tried to emulate before were good at cleaning. They are very task oriented people and the task of keeping up with the house came easy to them. I learned how to keep house from someone like me who found that more challenging. I had to learn how to manage a part of me I’d never managed before, and it was very difficult at first, but not only have I mastered the basics of that, I’ve actually learned to be happy while I’m working because I know it will only take a little bit of time to accomplish what I’ve set out to accomplish, and that may be the biggest accomplishment of all. You see, I used to hate cleaning because I was convinced I wasn’t good enough at it. I’ve never seen the point of scrubbing a floor with a toothbrush or having a perfect dust ruffle. I know people that take great pride in having homes like that, and I applaud them for that but it’s just not that important to me. Yes, my bed is made every day. No, you cannot bounce a quarter off of it. Yes, my home is mostly company ready on most days. No, the counters aren’t clear and yes, there are a few small piles of paperwork. I’m happy with my home and I’ve learned the concept of good enough.

For a good part of my life I never felt good enough. I was a good student, but because I didn’t get straight A’s all the time, that wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t thin enough, despite the fact that I had a 22 inch waist and 35 inch hips. Even when I cleaned up my room or the bathroom, I usually had more to do because it wasn’t good enough. It became a never ending cycle that I bought into and piled onto, and it made for some very tense times in my life when I was trying to be good enough knowing at the same time I could and would not be. It’s amazing when we believe this about ourselves how we attract the very things that confirm our beliefs. I dated men who didn’t always treat me well. I had jobs that paid me less than I was worth. I struggled to keep my home in shape, and I put on weight, lots of it over time. It wasn’t until I heard the expression about changing some things in my life that I began to truly change some things in my life, and as I changed the outside, I began to feel changes on the inside. As I learned ways to clean, I began to realize that I could keep a house; it might not be the way anyone else did it, but I could do it and I could feel good about it. I actually began to feel I was good enough at doing something, even if that thing seemed like a small thing in the grand scheme of life, and the real success wasn’t from learning or accomplishing anything. The real success was from the shift in thinking of myself as a failure to thinking of myself as capable and good enough.

It took me several years to get to that point, but since then, we have shifted our energy in so many ways. We used those same principles to pay off $30,000+ of credit card debt in three years and to send our children to college without debt so far. I used that thought process to write and publish two books, and let me tell you, there were some real battles there. While writing the books I found out so many areas I still had thoughts of doubt. I wondered if they would be any good or if anyone would want to read them let alone buy them. I even doubted whether I could handle my life if the book actually became successful as well, but I did it, and I survived it, and with the current book, I’ve been able to take it a step further. With this book, I liken it to a flower blooming. It takes a lot of energy and effort for a flower to bloom, but the flower blooms anyway, without pain or anguish and no matter what it looks like, some will judge it to be beautiful and some will judge it to be less than that. It doesn’t change anything about the flower whether it is a dandelion or a rose. I am aware that this book and the two that have come before it will never win a Nobel Prize or even a National Book Award. I write because I believe I was born to do it, and I love doing it, and hopefully it helps a person or two along the way. I don’t need the awards or even to sell a million books to validate anything about my writing anymore. Would it be nice? Of course it would, but that isn’t the point anymore.

So what do I get from this energy shift to good enough? I get peace and fulfillment. I am living my dream of being a writer by writing every day. It may not support me financially today or ever, but it does support me mentally, emotionally and even physically because of the way I’ve grown as a writer. It is ultimately important to me and not important at all to the world. To realize that you are merely a blip in the world of writing is incredibly empowering because it allows you to write your truth knowing the vast majority of humanity may never read it, and because of that, all you have to do is write or paint or do whatever it is you dream of doing.

Last year, a friendship I treasured came to an end. At the time, I was broken hearted and wanted so badly to find a way to make things better. I felt that if I could mend that relationship, all would be well in my world again. I was talking on the phone to my husband about it, trying desperately to figure out what to do when I literally got hit in the rear end by another car. I hung up with my husband and jumped out of the car to check the damage. The young man who had hit me was a young man of color, and we were in a part of town where the police were not known to be gentle to anyone of any color. There was a dent in the back of my minivan, but the door still worked and the boy looked scared. Truth be told, I was scared for him. He was the same age as one of my sons, and I couldn’t call the cops. I told the young man that I felt like I was supposed to ask him to turn down his music and pay better attention to the road, but that I was supposed to forgive him, give him a hug and send him on his way, so I did, and when I got back in the car I burst into tears. I called my husband back and hoped he wouldn’t be mad at me for letting the young man off the hook. Instead, he laughed and told me the Divine had figuratively kicked me in the behind to show me who I really was as a person. How could he be angry about that? It was then that I started to realize it wasn’t only that young man who I needed to forgive. I needed to forgive my friend for whatever I perceived she had done, and I had to forgive myself for whatever she perceived I had done. It took a while and much reminding of that accident to get there, but I did, and when I did, everything changed. My second book came together in just a couple of months, and my life has been amazing since. I hope it has been the same for my friend because I believe she was part of that lesson for me. I hope we get the chance to be friends again someday, but even if we don’t, I will cherish the friendship we had and the lessons and gifts it gave to me. For now that will just have to be good enough. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

Do Better December 24th 2014 The Christmas I Choose to Have

24 Dec

To listen along, click here: http://tobtr.com/s/7216845
For those of us who celebrate Christmas, today is Christmas Eve. For us, it’s the day when my husband’s family gathers at my sister in law’s house, all 70 to 80 of us. We have four generations with one mom, nine children, most of whom have significant others, twenty eight grandchildren, some of whom have significant others, and over 30 great grandchildren, with a few significant others. There is pandemonium and chaos and tons of fun. Gifts, hugs and teasing are the order of the day, and I always leave there smiling, not because of any gift I get, but because of the love that is shared. On Christmas morning, I celebrate with my immediate family. I spend time with my all of my boys together, which is a rare treat with jobs, girlfriends and school. We have a quiet morning filled with the same love, laughter and teasing, and I feel the blessing of the season. Then it’s time to host the grandmas for a quiet and relaxing afternoon. It may not sound like much, but I love it. It’s not about the gifts. It’s not about the parties. It’s about spending time with the ones I love, especially the ones I don’t see as much as I would like. It’s about re-connecting and just being. Some years I do it with more grace than others, and this year has been one of the more graceful.

I don’t know why this year is different. Maybe it’s because I’m acutely aware of others’ suffering this year. I know so many who are struggling with strained relationships, loss of a loved one or serious illness. It makes my problems of figuring out gifts and logistics seem small and nothing to get worked up about. It makes me look at my home and realize it doesn’t have to be immaculate to host a loving and fun gathering. It just has to be presentable. It makes me look in the mirror and understand that my body doesn’t have to be model thin or even thin at all to be worthy because love isn’t measured in pounds. It used to be that I compared my life to others’ and wondered what I might be missing. I would look at the things they had that I thought I wanted and my life never seemed to measure up. It was sad and defeating to do that, so I stopped. I changed my focus and changed my life.

Now instead of looking at what I lack, I move toward what I want. It may seem like the same thing, but I assure you it isn’t. There is a difference in looking at your bank account in misery because you wish it was bigger and looking at that same number as a starting point of building wealth. There is a difference between looking in the mirror and criticizing your body and choosing to eat healthier and move more. There is a huge difference in looking at what others have in terms of what you lack and looking at your own life and deciding what you would like to add. This holiday season has been about being peaceful and kind rather than drivingly focused and controlling. It’s been a season of doing what I can and letting go of the rest. It’s been about releasing resistance to those things I can do nothing about and just going with the flow, and most of the time, it has actually worked this season.

I don’t share any of this to brag or even say that anyone should aspire to be like me. I share it because I’m guessing there are at least a few people out there who would like to have a more peaceful holiday season next year or even now. I want them to know it is possible to do that. I want everyone to know that although there may be moments of stress, the tone of the season can be peaceful. It has nothing to do with anyone else. It has to do with you and sometimes the most amazing thing you can do is learn to say no. You do not have to attend every party you are invited to. You do not have to give everyone, including the mail carrier and the garbage workers, a gift. You do not have to cook a twelve course meal, from scratch, and serve it on twelve different styles of china. You do not have to live up to anyone else’s expectations of you but your own. What will help you immensely is to choose which activities and actions will bring you joy and pursue them with all your heart.

I love getting Christmas cards and I love sending them out. Guess what? They don’t always go out before Christmas, including this year. Does that make me a bad person? No, it makes me a person who sails through the holidays with a little less stress. I love hosting my family on Christmas Day. I cook a simple meal with ham, lima beans, corn and sometimes homemade bread. My mom brings au gratin potatoes and we have Christmas cookies for dessert. These are foods that we enjoy, and they are easy to prepare. This year, we are even eating on disposable plates so clean up is easier. Our gifts are simple and practical and mostly within our budget. Peace reigns throughout the house, most of the time. We are better rested than we’ve ever been and life is good. I’ve stopped trying to top the best Christmas we have ever had because when you give each day your best effort, your best life is every day and doesn’t depend on one or two days per year. Yes, I want people to enjoy the gifts I buy, the food I cook and the time they spend with me; and the best way to make that happen is to live from the heart every day of my life. When I do that, I buy gifts that bring joy instead of grabbing whatever is available. I cook with love and everyone who has a passion for cooking will tell you that’s how you make your food taste best. I can truly enjoy those I spend time with because I focus on what’s in front of me rather than the giant to do list in the other room. It keeps me sane, grounded and peaceful and during this time of year, that is a priceless commodity.

As those of you who celebrate go through today and tomorrow, think of what will bring you peace and then do it. It isn’t about pleasing your parents, spouse or children. It’s about feeling the peace of the season in your own spirit. Until you do that, you won’t please anyone. Find your peace and you will change your brain chemistry and your bodily functions for the better. You will change your outlook on every activity, and you will uplift your spirit and the spirits of everyone you encounter. Take a deep breath. Forgive yourself for whatever you think you may be lacking and focus on what you want and can accomplish without losing your balance. Just thinking about that helps me some days, and I hope it helps you too. Tomorrow, I will be taking a day off of Do Better December to spend it with my family. If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas filled with love and joy. If Christmas is not part of your life, I wish you a terrific Thursday still filled with love and joy. I will think of you and pray for you, and I’ll be back on Friday for some post-Christmas thoughts. Until then, choose well and be well. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

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