A MOMENT IN TIME

Una_ciudad_a_orillas_de_un_río_con_crepúsculo_JMW_Turner

 

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
John Wooden

 

Yesterday, during my piano practice, I heard a noise and stepped out of the cubicle to see what was going on. The day was fading away and it was already dark inside. I walked towards the door, my mind lost in thoughts and my eyes fixed on the keys hanging on the door. I was about to turn the key in the lock when something made me look up! I stood in awe, completely taken by the scene in front of me.

The walls and door in the small entrance hall of the music school are made of glass. Through them, dark pinks, oranges and purples were contained and framed as one of those glorious watercolor sunsets painted by Turner. This time though, the painter was Nature; the vibrancy of composition arrested my soul and the ephemeral of the moment made me realize how much I forget to notice…

I seem to be living a turning point in life that is not yet clear about where is that it is turning to. It moves restlessly and slowly testing my endurance and faith. I feel like a ball tossed in a box, randomly rolling inside while my invisible carrier firmly walks a destination unknown to me.

I tell myself that I need to focus, to get deliberated and stop the madness, the problem is that I am already focused and have been for so long that has become a habit.

It is not the first time I have noticed, that I have not been noticing but those pieces in my life regarding what needs to be fixed about myself or my reality. Completely absorbed in the many things I have to work out and the how, I have overlooked what is precious, what is worthy of stopping and be grateful for; I have run over the person I already am…

I stand for all that is noble and beautiful, for the greatness in us and the other, for the magic of nature and the mysteries of life and the Universe; and still I have been a bully. I have bullied myself, shaming my weaknesses and lack of results and diminishing the courageous achievements of a little inner girl who has done everything in her power to keep her truth alive.

As many, I am surrounded by “facts and reasons” and navigating the overwhelming waters of comparison pointing its finger towards my enlarged failures while my accomplishments get dwarfed and vanish in the realm of “not important”.

Not anymore! I have decided to lean in on faith and live the chaos and lack of answers as an adventure. I am terrified and move up and down the line of “what-the-heck-do-it-any-way” and “what the-hell-are-you-doing” uncountable times during a day.

Nevertheless, I have experience tiny moments of pure joy, a serene tenderness and confidence, and bit by bit I conquer fear and small successes come across. Yes, I am calling them for what they are; the result of talent, courage, effort and the surrendering to something which I am acknowledging as bigger than me and allowing it to do as it pleases.

I am willing to trust that there will be a time and space when things shall come together and I would see the path ahead. For now I just see myself as a beginner staying with “what is” the best I can, practicing loving and accepting myself no matter what, and focusing on noticing small things. Miracles shall happen!

Refresh!

Be aware,
They are already happening…

 

 

Image Credit: The scarlet sunset, (1833) | Painting | Watercolor and Gouache

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An Ordinary Day Story

“She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay.”
― H. Raven Rose, Shadow Selves

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You are peacefully reading, minding your own business or just waking up a Sunday morning slow and gently. Actively engaged in your “gratitude and appreciation” ongoing process, you do your best to focus on those “grown-up” intentions and changes you have put so much effort into and then, life happens…

Somehow you find yourself in the middle of a freaking out drama that you even did not know was going on and part of your family is there at your room’s door. The happy greeting and surprise turns into the inevitable  face’ expression before dreadful questions as…

What is going on? What is that you have done this time?-

After the shock, it is time for the slow-motion-movie to begin… You see yourself, frame by frame- lost, explaining, justifying, describing what you think the situation might be, confronting versions and trying to remember if there is any proof or alibi of your whereabouts the time in question!

I am sure you know what a terrible place to be this is for all – the accused and those granted as “executors of the will” and judges…

In milliseconds, the pain and anger start building up and you can only hear those dangerous words triggering a long story of powerlessness and loneliness. You are being dragged into that deep black hole of inadequacy and rejection, your eyes fixed in those real and imaginary heads moving one side to another in disapproval.

You want so badly to be the good and assertive person you know you can be, but an impenetrable wall rules against hope and trust, and tears replace the loud and messy allegations for fairness. Giving up seems the only way out…

The clocks moves and it dawns on you…

I inadvertently keep role-playing the little kid who wants to be done with unfairness;  the little kid who wants to be loved and chosen as part of the clan. It is incredible the strength this small thing can cast and how she is able to overrule the intelligent and supposedly mature grown-up I like to think I am.

It is hard to be “mindful and enlighten” when deep feelings of unworthiness kick in and the Orphan archetype shows up in all its overwhelming shadow and aided by the irrepressible verbosity of complaints and grievances of the Victim’ one!

I become so small… submerged in this world of fear and despair, where I am torn apart between fighting the monsters of resentment and victimization and trying to pull up my “boundaries setting tools;” with as much success as the one in the hands of my inner lawyer trying to build the case of self-love, self-compassion and mindfulness.

It all goes south, when the tiny girl in me, makes herself present and snaps. Yes, all becomes a painful and quick death…

At the precise moment when I am able to detach myself and play the scene back; self-loathing and shame get up mocking the entire “self-improvement” program I have voluntarily submitted to for many years.

The search to understand what the heck is going on, has many underlying currents messing around and silently eroding my attempts for better responses to this kind of situations.

In my case, asking others to put themselves in my shoes, becomes a sharp reminder of my failures and current circumstances, which not only does not allow many exits, but thwarts my feeble “self-loving” efforts.

The truth is that nothing someone can say compares to what I can say to myself, and how terrible I feel for not being the person I think I should be – or worse – the person I know I am and have not been able to put in charge of my life.

How much time of my life I have been wasting in this horror play?

How much time spent either depressed or overwhelmed by the circumstances and my poor “actions” or lack of them?

This can continue endlessly, and it will, if I do not assume who I am once and for all; because there are plenty of things in my “nowadays” life, I have no control over.

What then?

I went back to the wise words of the finest people* I have the gift share this time and space:

What is working, what do you have power over?

I have control over my choices.

Only for today, I chose to be compassionate about my lack of saintly-martyr qualifications and past failures. Just for today, I going to acknowledge that I did the best I could, and even if this is so tiny that get lost in the ocean of drama, and madness I find myself in… I am doing the best I can.

Thus, I am going to take thing less seriously. I cannot undo the feelings, thoughts or awful decisions spoken in a moment of pain, I can see them for what they are; a cry to be loved, accepted and feel safe.

I can focus on the kind words spoken, common experiences shared and things I do in my little “cave” upstairs that bring me solace and hope; and use all the energy I can summon to break the chain and build the life I deserve.

I can appreciate the effort and care of well-intentioned kinfolk and huge my little child. I can keep traveling the road of faith and trust in and tell her that I love her and everything is going to be well. We are being taken care of in a way that we might not understand, but surely much better than those we could ever plan.

Thus, I sit here and write and silently connect with all those who wrestle with self-love, unconditional acceptance and faith.

I am looking at the sky with joyful eyes and a trusting heart…
Grateful for this milestone in my journey toward who I am…

 

A Note of Gratitude to Ali Rodriguez, Betty Rae and Joseph Crane…

And to my brother for hugging me back…

 

How to Tame Your Dragons… Or Train Your Adult!

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Edith Wharton

Candle light magic by Donal Zolan

There are times when I feel like no matter what I do, I seem to be glued to my circumstances, habits or moods. I am riding this invisible and “unfair” roller coaster with short high peaks and very long and steep descents. Fear is in charge and I cling to excuses to be able to bare my disappointment and guilt.

Guilty as charge! I know what I am doing, somehow the action button has stopped working and my I my inner charger have completely collapsed. My mind runs wild looking where to hide from the critic witnessing my failure and shouting to get over it and move on.

My heart jumps like a ping pong ball into the fired up field of “I “can do it!” and that of “why bother!” Yes, I am in the middle of an inner war, one in which present, past and future become an explosive blend threatening torn me apart.

Emotions are strong and ready to overpower me. I learned that I need to welcome them and let them do their job; still they remind me about where I am at this moment and it is not easy to accept and forgive myself.

A little bit ago a mentor invited me to register my choices and thoughts for a couple of weeks. Because I have a “narrative” soul smitten by metaphors, I decided to call upon my shadows, dragons and daemon to do so.

Long before my task was over I had discovered my tendency, or I should say “addiction,” to lean upon my faults and worse; a weird pleasure to go over every detail and edge of my shortcomings and disowned selves.

Nobody with that long “criminal record” and “monster-like” personality should be allowed to rise above herself, leave the dungeon and join the pleasant and pure environment of the world and the “others!”

While I share this, the wiser part of me smiles in astonishment, the jester makes jokes about the ridiculous thoughts and the critic gloats- “I told you so”. Faraway though, a little girl hides sad and afraid that I betrayed her secret and she will never be loved or forgiven.

This little girl truly believes that somehow she was born cursed and her task is to atone for the amazing baggage she carries. She has no idea how it came to be, only that she is not worthy of love, success, fulfilling her dreams and so much more. Her life space and time has been devoted to do everything in her power to change and learn to be “good” unaware of the high price she is paying for it.

What did I manage to see the little girl cowering in a corner of my soul?

Tracing back my fear of being exposed…
It is not about being ridiculed or criticized; is about finding out that “they” are right. A part of me is terrified of being a “fake” and as such, it prefers to stay invisible.

Why?
Because behind invisibility there is still hope…

How many of us settle for a small life to protect the halo of light still burning in our souls? How fiercely we hold to the idea that it could be irremediably taken from us?
I know I have…

You surely had heard about limiting beliefs and probably as me; have tried many techniques to get rid of them once for all.

How is that working for you?

Here is something I discovered a little while ago…
My limiting beliefs might suck, but many of my virtues and qualities I own to them. In my need to compensate I have develop strengths and tools that serve me well today.

They are part of me and they were born to protect me, to make sense of what I was experiencing at a time where nothing or nobody else stood up for me.

As well as the external influences, these internal ones have help modelling the person I have become in good ways. Thus, I am willing to update and reframe their utility.

This means finding balance between the lessons learned and the possibilities offered by more supporting beliefs and learning when to rely on the old ones to keep me safe and when to lean into the positive ones.

This, though, is adult work and as such it works in a slow and many times messy ways.

How I am training my adult?

The first step is to be aware of the moments where my old beliefs take over and fly to defend me without asking my permission.

In my case, they spill the beans all over the place. I become reactive, feel pain and see myself acting like the “monster” I am so against and afraid to be! Afterward, I get angry at myself, close my heart and go back to that place of hopelessness and dis-empowerment that started the … “thing.”

The second step: name it. Call upon the habit, “strategy”, behavior and allow the feeling behind to be. Then call upon the strength and breathe.

Disgusting I know! I am so proud of being smart and I so hate to prove myself wrong! Plus, I have to deal with the gloating brat telling me – you failed again! I am still looking for the volume switch to turn it off so I can hear my beautiful qualities signing along!

The third: afford yourself the same compassion you will offer others.

Remember, it is a process where many inner selves need to be listened to and comforted. Even if sometimes it feels like a kindergarten out-of-control-conspiracy or a teenage rebellion; they need to know our adult part is in charge and is taking good care of them.

Last but not least, trust that you are not alone and no matter how difficult things might seem, impermanence rules the Universe and the Sun shall rise again…

For a perfectionist like me, self-compassion and trust are quite a challenge, and as you saw above, I am still working on the other 3 too. Good old life school is resisting graduating me!

For a little kid scared of being exposed and rejected, this is a breaking point, one in which her soul whispers – you are not alone…

There more we dare to face our imperfections, the more our little lights come together and the greater the splendor.

Good to be back.

 

 

Special thanks to Noam Kostucki, for always asking for the best in me.

Image Credit: Candle Light Magic by Donald Zolan in http://abstract.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/563035/