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Thursday, May 31, 2012

what do you see?

What are we doing, fellow house fraus?  And non-house fraus, too, of course.  This message applies to all but I'm a house frau, so I am especially addressing my own breed of breeders.  Ummmm...  where were we?  Yes.  What are we doing?  Are we living our own lives?  Or are we chasing someone else’s?  Shout, “amen,” if you’re with me.  Go ahead.  Holler it right now, while sitting at your computer, while lying in your bed, while stirring your bernaise sauce at the stove.  Can I hear an, “amen,” if you have lost sight of your own priorities b/c you are unknowingly spinning your wheels, trying to keep up with your neighbor’s definition of a *good* life.  
What is a *good* life afterall?  Who defines it?  Our spouses?  Our kids?  Our bosses?  Our parents?  Our BFFs?  Or...  wait for it...  IS IT US?  Are we supposed to define our own *good* lives?  Shit, if that’s the case, there’s a lot of pressure on each of us to figure out what *good* means, what *good* is and what *good* does.  Or maybe there is no pressure.  Maybe there is just contemplation...
Contemplation is something that we don’t spend much time doing.  Quiet contemplation.  Listening to the crickets (KF ;-), watching the clouds blow by, focusing on one thing at a time, slowing down the pace of our lives so we can live mindfully - so we can live *on purpose* and *with intention*.   

When we live intentionally, we can only live a *good* life.  Because otherwise we are intentionally living a bad life - and who does anything bad with intention?  Makes no sense, right?
So it’s not secret, I had a total effing meltdown last week.  The meltdown took place mostly in my head.  On the outside I may have appeared serene, but my insides were an aluminum pan of hot meat lasagna flipped upside down and splattered on the kitchen floor.  This is not what one expects after 3 weeks of devoted meditation and inner peace.  But life is always changing and we are always learning.  So I gave into the mental tantrum for a spell, just to see where it would take me.   
By giving in, I mean I spent an afternoon hashing out a thousand mixed up feelings while cleaning out my office.   I unloaded on a few dear friends who were willing to lovingly tolerate my crazies and even compassionately commiserate by sharing their own.  I ate a ton of sugary food.  And committed to a 2 day tennis moratorium.  (I mean, who do I think I am?  Boris Bloody Becker?)  When I felt all sorted out, I consciously turned the mental station to healthy food, kids and laughter (hence the hours spent watching Ben Aaron and weird pics on my Facebook page - nothing gets me a cheap laugh like Photo Booth).  

Finally, I crawled into bed early and re-read “Peace is Every Breath”.  This is what made me stop:  
“Contemplating aimlessness helps us stop feeling compelled to go around seeking after this and that, exhausting ourselves mentally and physically.  Aimlessness means not chasing after anything, not setting any more objects in front of ourselves to run after.  Happiness is available right in this present moment.  We are already what we want to become...
“Everywhere you turn, life is full of wonders.  The Kingdom of God, the Pure Land of Buddha, is already right there, within and all around us; and the same is true of happiness.  Contemplating aimlessness helps us be able to stop our rushing around and experience a sense of contentment and joy.”  
There are so many ways to interpret and apply this idea.  But since I am a housewife in the suburbs, I naturally apply this to such.   And here is my tiny shift...
We are who we are.  We cannot be EVERYTHING.  Each of us has special talents, special characteristics that are unique to us.  And it is in these specialties, these God-given gifts, that we can find contentment.   
I have friends and family who are extraordinary cooks, athletes, intellectuals, parents, gardeners, listeners, socialites, performers...  and it is my job as a friend or family member to cheer my loudest for them.  It is my job to support these people.  It is my job to give these loved ones lots of space so their lights can shine as bright as they possibly can.  
It is NOT my job to try to beat them at their own game.  It is NOT my job to wish I were as *good* as them.  It is NOT my job to stress out b/c I’ll never be able to achieve what they are achieving.  It is NOT my job to do these things b/c I AM NOT THEM.  I AM ME.  I am this totally different person with God-given gifts of my own.  It is my job to stop exhausting myself by seeking something that is not in my natural design.  It is my heavenly duty to let my own gifts shine and to be content with the gifts with which God blessed me...  and NOT chase after someone else’s *good* life.  
For a moment, let’s erase the world around us.  Let us sit still and contemplate the magnificent world within.  Slow down your mind for a minute.  Tune in, read a little slower and answer these questions (and I’m answering in my head, too):  
What do you see?  
What does this life hold for you?  
Can you be YOUR best self?  
Can you allow others to be their best selves?  
Can you treasure loved ones without jealousy or desire or anger - but with acceptance? 
Can you accept that their bodies and their personalities are designed by God with *intention* and *goodness*?  
What would happen if you could be grateful for the gifts that God gave you?  
What would happen if you could deem yourself worthy of *goodness* just b/c you were born?  
How would your life change if you could accept yourself just the way you are?
Let’s free ourselves of the pressure to be just like everyone else.  Let’s express ourselves uniquely.  Let’s support each other - really support each other.  We tell our kids all the time to be kind.  Now let us be kind.  Be kind to each other and to ourselves.   Let’s change our world through mindful living.  And let's make it a priority.
It all starts with you, with me.  
Peace, love, gratitude,

Please help my light shine its brightest - share this blog with friends if you like it!  xoxoxox

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