Archive for gift

What Sucks and Saves, Simultaneously?

Apologizing.

Ugh. I so totally hate to have to admit to another person (or persons) that I’ve acted in a way that was, let’s just say, less than becoming. But in my life, I’ve had to apologize to friends, family members, clients, and colleagues for many, various transgressions, some intentional and some innocent and accidental. But while I was I was creating a list of the errors of my ways in order to illustrate my point, it occurred to me that each and all of these offenses, as different as they might seem, fall into one category.

I have offended by not showing up.

Literally.

I’ve not shown up by not calling, writing, or appearing when or where I said I would, or when it was just the right thing to do.

Figuratively.

I’ve not shown up by being there in body, but not in mind. I don’t know about you, but I can be in the same room with someone, supposedly engaged in a conversation, and yet be miles away. I don’t do it all the time, of coure, but I can be thinking of just about anything other than the topic of conversation. Thinking things like:

  • “What’s for lunch?”
  • “Why am I here?”
  • “I wonder how the dogs are reacting to this thunderstorm.”
  • “Wow, look his outfit.”
  • “Ooh. That’s a good topic for a blog post.”
  • “Who’s that over there?”
  • “Oh! I need to talk to her.”
  • “I’ve got to add ink to my office supplies-to-buy list.”
  • “Speaking of lists, I’d better go. Today’s list is so long, and I’m never going to get this time back.”

All of which lead to the next set of thoughts:

  • “Stop that, Laura. You get back here.”
  • “Now, what what was I just thinking about?”
  • “Darn it. How do I get that thought back?”
  • “I should have written it down.”
  • “Was it about something I’m supposed to be doing right now?”
  • “Who was it about someone I was supposed to write or call today?”
  • “Oh, no. Who is it I’m going to let down this time?”
  • “Crap. What is wrong with me?”

Can you relate?

I hope so, because that would mean I’m not alone. I hope not, for your sake and for the sakes of the people in your life.

Today.

This morning I wrote an apology letter to someone I really care about, and yes, it sucked. You know, all that grovelling, explaining my actions (or my inaction, as it was in this case), asking for forgiveness, and hoping beyond hope I’ll get it.

But while writing that letter, I began to experience something else – something in addition to the angst. What was it?

Relief.

I don’t know how this person is going to respond. Certainly, I hope she can find her way to forgiving me. What I didn’t do is kind of a big deal, and so it would be a big gift to get a sincere pardon from her.

But in a way, I’ve already received a gift. A gift from myself.

Apologizing and asking for forgiveness has already saved me. Saved me from having to slip out the back door of our relationship and then avoid her for the rest of my life. Saved me from the debilatating self-hatred that comes from not showing up for the people I care about, including myself. Saved me from all of the self-destructive behaviors I would eventually engage in as a result of that self-hatred.

So yes, apologizing sucks and saves, simultaneously.

Can we do better?

I believe we can. I believe that when we acknowledge what we’ve done, feel the impact of that (on ourselves and others),  and ask for forgiveness (from ourselves and others), then regardless of the other person’s response, we get relief. We can change. We are saved from being who we’d otherwise have become.

We can do better. We don’t have to spend the rest of our lives all twisted up – running, hiding, performing, hustling, and pretending to be someone we’re not, because we hate who we are.

We get to do better.

We get to be with the people who are important to us, really be with them. We get to connect on a level much deeper than we could the other way. We get to see and be seen, hear and be heard. We get to truly be with ourselves, too. We get to have different conversations in our heads. We get to love ourselves.

We get to be realAnd what a gift that is.

Risk, continued

By Guest Blogger, Carolyn Cook.

This month I am taking the risk I’ve written about several times: I’m singing a *recital in just a few short days.

I’ve done so much to prepare for this that it feels like less of a risk than it did. But it’s still challenging, and I’m still nervous. I think I will be jubilant when it’s actually happening. I imagine myself standing in front of my friends, in a space I love, singing music I’ve chosen, and smiling from ear to ear. I can already feel the glow that will fill me when I realize I’m actually doing this.

I want to risk experiencing that glow. I want to let myself relax about everything that’s worrying me.  I want to risk feeling excitement, joy, and freedom as I sing. I want to prepare as much as I can prepare, and then let go.

Simply deciding to do this concert has brought about a change in my life. When you decide to work on your voice, you start poking around a part of yourself that feels very vulnerable.  How we speak is a huge part of who we are, or at least who we think we are. Choosing to release tension in my voice requires admitting that the tension is there. I’ve had to work in two directions:  physically, releasing bodily tension to let my soul sing, and spiritually, releasing soul tension to let my body sing.

One of my voice coaches says that we sing as a gift to others. We take a song and polish it so that we can give it away. I find that to be a beautiful image, because it takes the focus off me, the singer, and puts it on the gift and on the recipient. Self-consciousness, the source of my tension, dissolves as I focus on giving something away.

Here’s what he says about taking a deep breath to sing: “Fill the basket, and then feed the masses.” Isn’t that lovely? If I hadn’t decided to risk a concert, I never would have learned that.

What I’m saying is that risking this concert has turned out to be a gift to me. I’ve learned a great deal, not just about vocal technique, but about speaking the truth and sharing my heart. I think my next risk is simply to keep taking this one, and see where it leads.

This post first appeared on my RiskADay blog project, which has now concluded.

*A note from Laura: Check out this short, delightful video taken right after Carolyn’s recital by clicking here. Enjoy!

Carolyn Cook is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship. She now blogs at http://lifelongmetamorphoses.wordpress.com/

Who Do You Think You Are – God’s Gift to the World?

Hello, my lovely,

Have you ever thought, “God’s Gift to the World? Who? Me?”

Well, I am here to tell you that the answer to that question is “Yes!”

I am the only me that’s ever been and the only me that will ever be.  I have a unique combination of beliefs, talents, quirks and qualities that no one else has ever had or will ever have.  So again, I say, yes – I am God’s Gift to the World!

Now, lest you think I am some sort of ego maniac, let me also say that I believe that you, too, are God’s Gift to the this glorious planet of ours!  We are each one-of-a-kind masterpieces.  And regardless of whether or not I agree with what you believe, or what you do and say, I am still glad you’re here, because it’s only when each of us is being who we’re here to be that our world can function at its best.

I look at our globe as one big puzzle, one in which each of us has our own unique space to fill.  And I know that if you will allow yourself to learn about what truly makes you tick, and love yourself enough to live in integrity with what’s at the core of you, then we’ll all be better off.  Not only will you be living and enjoying life to the fullest, but in the meantime, by example, you’ll be leading others to do the same.  And what might be the result of that?  World Peace, of course!

As outrageous as it sounds, I am actually quite serious about this, and believe in it wholeheartedly.  So I do hope you’ll join me on my crusade.  Take some time to learn about yourself – who you are, deep down inside.  Then love that person you discover yourself to be. Allow yourself to live that unique person’s life, yours, and in that way, truly lead to the world.

Won’t you please, help me “peace” our world together and make it whole?