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August 2011

July 2011

Today I gave up on the search for perfection !

For most of my life I've felt "not quite good enough".  Never was this more apparent than when I retired and attempted to find a "new direction". 

I had dreamed of finally having my own Polarity Therapy practice.  I had worked toward that goal for years.  Once I retired I converted our dining room into a 'therapy' room.  I had business cards printed.  I filled small white shelves with flower essences and essential oils and continued to take classes and frame certificates.  I gifted sessions, and imagined the satisfaction in "working" at something I love.

Then I decided that I wasn't comfortable charging for something that came straight from my heart... but I realized quickly that most of us are not comfortable accepting things for free.  I think we have some misguided notion that if something is free, that is exactly what it is worth...nothing.

Okay, so photography was another love.  I completed my Professional Photography training, framed my diploma and purchased equipment.  I created a web site, had business cards printed, took more classes and studied more books.  I took photos and spent months attempting to PERFECT my skills.   I taught myself PhotoShop, LightRoom, Portrait Professional and Digital Professional.  Again, I wasn't convinced that I was adequate to charge for my time.

Lastly, I decided that it was finally time to write that book that I have been working on since Shannon went to Heaven.  I took more classes, read more books on writing books, started this blog and allowed my soul to spill onto blank pages, trying to find the courage to allow my 'writer's voice' to be heard.  So many of you have encouraged me and given me a sense of purpose and I will be eternally grateful, but when the opportunity presented itself to put it out there between two covers, I choked.

Then Verizon called, and I was once again able to utilize the only skill set that had ever earned me a living.  A skill set that I knew I had perfected ... THREE YEARS ago.  Now... I'm older, and apparently not a damn bit wiser.  It's hard to work at the top of telephone poles when the heat index is hovering at 111 !  It's harder to be corrected by people who are half your age.  Even with almost forty years of experience, there is no money in the budget for equipment ~ tools and a truck for "Working Retirees"... so I have to beg or borrow, which for three months has felt for all the world like grovelling, each and every day, to be able to do my job.

So... the idea that I was going to feel confident and successful going back to cable splicing was a bit of a fantasy... a fantasy with a weekly paycheck though, and you can do a lot of grovelling when there is a financial reward for your hard work !

Okay... so hang in there with me because there is a point to all of this rambling.  I joined Weight Watchers  AGAIN !  I purchased a skin care regimen guaranteed to erase the lines of time spreading across my face.  I started reading more articles and books on self improvement... and got more and more anxious.  All I was able to see were my shortfalls.  Once again, perfection eluding me at every turn.

THEN... the epiphany !~   I will never be perfect.  Honestly, I don't want to be perfect.  The best at anything only means that at least one other well meaning, hard working, disappointed over achiever is NOT AS GOOD AS... and I don't want to be the reason for that sad face !

It's amazing how much better I started to feel as I realized that I am a good wife, a good Mom, a good neighbor, a good friend, a good splicer, a good photographer, a good writer, a good cook, a good daughter, a good sister,  a good person.  I have good health, a good job, a good heart and a good outlook (most days).  I have good skin that reflects a life that has been filled to overflowing with love and laughter and a sorrow that I continue to learn to live with.  As I embraced my "good"ness, I had one of Oprah's "light bulb" moments and as if the universe was rewarding me for finally 'getting it', the radio was announcing that someone on Capitol Hill had just said, with regard to the Debt Ceiling Bill, "Don't let perfection be the enemy of good" !  I couldn't believe it.  I was on the same page as a politician !  How scarey is that?  Truth is, the quote is Voltaire's but even so the timing was beyond belief.

So here I am, and this morning, in this moment, I'm good.

Thanks for letting me share.  I had to have these thoughts in writing because I'm relatively certain that I will allow life to make me think, probably more than once in the days to come, that good enough isn't really good enough....but I'll revisit this Saturday morning epiphany, breathe a sigh of relief at not having to try so very hard, and smile  !


Where does time go?

It's hard to believe that it's already the middle of July. 

Working again appears to be draining me of every ounce of creativity.  Today marks three months and I'm still searching for some shred of balance. 

Reston 

I carry a notebook and pen in my purse at all times.  I have one of those little calendars that looks like a checkbook, with blonde cherubs on the cover.  I have an on line calendar that I try to record all upcoming appointments... and yet, this week, I missed my Tuesday afternoon doctor's appointment, showing up instead on Thursday !  How did that happen!

Mornings on the front porch with a cup of coffee and a Woman's World crossword puzzle seem like such a distant pleasure.  Traded for traipsing through utility "right of ways" pulling cable through muddy ducts when the heat index exceeds 107.  What was I thinking?

Oh, I remember... routine.  Familiarity.  Skill set.  No need to sell talents that I'm not totally sold on myself.  Work done, pay received.  Simple concept, that I know and trust !

There is something to be said for the cellular memory that comes from thirty five years of experience.  I don't necessarily like being dirty and sweaty all day, or so tired that I can't think.  I don't like spider bites or the kind of dirt under my nubby fingernails that refuses to come clean.  I worry that my yard has become a jungle and I'm losing the battle with the indoor clutter, but I have had some revelations that I am incredibly grateful for.

My brother and mother are doing amazingly well adjusting to their new electrical implantable heart healing devices.  Melissa is optimistically holding her own as she endures dialysis once again.  Sue posts messages on Facebook that let me know that she is okay.  My sister and I have actually talked on the phone despite the fact that I now have an iphone and can both send and receive text messages.  Jules' bee sting didn't turn into an ER visit.  Jane celebrated another birthday.  Patricia is following her path.  Friends and family all around me are embracing life one moment  at a time and as I wiped the mud from my forehead this week as I slid down a pebbly embankment, I thought about how lucky I am. 

Lucky to be healthy enough to do my job.  Lucky to have the "jungle" to tame.  Lucky to wake to another day with purpose.  Maybe not the purpose I fantasize about, but purpose none the less.  Lucky to know that life doesn't ask questions without offering solutions. 

There are more new babies coming to Earth in the next few months.... What a gift.... and those that are here are walking and talking,  allowing us to see through their eyes with the wonder and curiosity that is so easily forgotten with age.

Through another series of "coincidences", I'm reading a book by Byron Katie.  She has a teaching that she calls "The Work".  Simply put, she teaches that we can learn to see what's real if we recognize that our thoughts can hold us captive to something that isn't. 

As I was driving home from Culpeper on Friday afternoon I was listening to one of her lectures on CD.  The first part of the process is to capture one of the thoughts that is causing you to be miserable.  Her example was "No one hears me."   The next step is to ask, "Is that really true?"   Immediately the mind starts screaming that of course it's true, but when pressed to find proof, we miraculously realize that it's not.  If we are willing to be honest, we find more examples that prove we are heard.  Next we turn the statement around, to see it from an alternate perspective.  "I hear no one."  That's when it hit me. 

It was ridiculous to think that I hear NO One.  Or was it?  How often do I look into someone's eyes as they talk, writing mental grocery lists, imagining a new hairstyle, worrying that my tummy is rolling over my waistband or fuming that once again 'it's all about them'.

I don't want to be that person.  I want you to know you have my undivided attention.  I want you to know that in our shared moment, you are all that matters.  I want to trust that for every thought that makes me miserable there is an equal and opposite thought that will fill me with joy if I take the time to acknowledge it. 

So here I am once again.  A new day, a new week, a new plan, a new promise, a new intent.  Sometimes, that's all we can hope for.... and then see what unfolds.