when i bow my head to meet my destiny—
the hard fact that will not bend—
the battle hymn of my ancestors fills my ears—
my breath meets at the point of yielding and resisting—
and as a soldier i pledge myself
to that which i do not understand.
Level 1: Not Listening
“You feel like you’re betraying yourself.”* This doesn’t feel right and you know it. Not following guidance, both inner and outer. Not pausing for stillness or reflection. Refusing to hear the truth.
Level 2: On Standby
This doesn’t feel right, but it doesn’t feel wrong either. State of confusion. Constantly asking yourself, “Am I missing something?” Honest reflection and prayer yield no guidance for change. Feeling stuck, yet knowing you’re doing your best. Waiting.
Level 3: Flow
In flow. “Yes!” In contact with soul. Joy. Sense of purpose and fulfillment. Certainty. Labors of love. Synchronicity. Truth that has followed you your whole life long.
*quote credit to Carolyn Myss
there is only one answer:
do not try to outrun it—
you only waste your breath.
do not cover it up—
you only compound it.
there is only one answer:
feel it in all its senselessness,
in all its depth and fury.
once you have surrendered
to your one and only master
you are slave to nothing else.
sometimes we are lost in questions
which is to be lost in things unlived.
ghosts of the past, no longer alive
or ghosts of the future, not yet in form.
but we may make use of lifeless thoughts.
we may recognize the fear in them
and where there is fear
there is the chance to face it.
there will always be the question of giving in.
or any number of misfortunes.
but the choice to face fear anyway
is the end of lifelessness
each breath you take may be a question:
do I have the strength?
as long as you’re breathing
your pain is alive
it has a pulse
and it needs to be acknowledged
as a living being.
ask what it needs
thank it for being the messenger
you don’t want but know
deep down you need.
nurture it with questions
and with silence
with not demanding answers
and with patience
and someday it will whisper
the words it has waited
all this time to say.
it is okay if other people become who I wanted to be.
it is okay if they master my half-developed talents
or realize my half-begun dreams.
it is okay if they live the life I wanted to live.
I will visit them daily
at the altar of forgiveness.
it is okay if others outshine me.
it is okay if words spoken in bitterness become true
so long as I come to love the truth.
maybe I won’t try to be who I am anymore
because I don’t know who I am.
perhaps I will not mind if others misunderstand
because I do not understand either.
maybe losing is letting go
and letting go is becoming.
What do you say
When there is nothing to say?
What can you conclude about
What you can’t fathom?
How do you cheer someone on
When you can’t imagine their pain?
How do you thank someone
When you can’t imagine their sacrifice?
In times like these
I want for wiser words…
Words wide enough to encompass
All that was loved and lost.
- There is no right answer.
- Start with options.
- Choose flow over force….
- …but force if necessary with value-driven action.
- The first two hours are a warm up.
- Anything can be done ten minutes at a time.
- Accept the possibility of making no progress, or a mistake, or a shitty first draft.*
- One thing at a time.
- Even the greats don’t know what they’re doing half the time.
- If you’re not facing your fear, you’re not working.
- Limitations are opportunities for creative solutions.
- This isn’t about feeling good.
- It’s about getting on with your life.
- Negative thoughts can be written down, tape recorded, or otherwise set aside so that you can get back to work.
- Leave room for what you can’t imagine.
- It doesn’t have to make sense.
- You don’t have to achieve anything.
- Final grades are based 50% on effort and 50% on self-honesty.
- It’s okay to take it slow.
- Make your own rules.
* See Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
maybe there’s a difference between emotions that arise from thinking
and emotions that arise from the body.
in other words, the primary source is the body, not the mind.
they never passed through the mind before reaching you.
these emotions tell the truth, for the body does not lie.
allow yourself to feel them fully.
these are the moments that bring catharsis.
the message will arise if you can be still.
the truth is neither good nor bad.
we do not have a word for it,
and that is for the best,
for we must learn to move beyond words
to define things.
allow yourself to feel
name the emotion, but be mindful of the thoughts
are they adding to a story?
or are they bringing you closer
to the truth?
I’d like to express my gratitude to Eckhart Tolle, whose recent YouTube video inspired this post. His teachings have been life changing for me. I encourage you to check them out.
Pain to power
Doesn’t mean replacing
It doesn't mean
Getting rid of
It means being alive in it
Breathing through it
Listening to it
So you may also
Allow the light to come through
That’s what heals you
That’s what makes you powerful.
Thanks to my friend Dr. Andrea Dinardo for the phrase "pain to power."
I highly recommend you check out her blog, Thriving Under Pressure.