Category Archives: Keep It Simple

Perspective

I know I’ve written about this before. Maybe several times. And I’m pretty sure I’ll write about it a million more times. Because it’s incredibly easy to get lost in my own life, my own problems, my own family, my own relationships, etc., etc., etc.

It’s too easy to lose perspective.

Maybe I need to constantly remind myself of this in order to keep my new-found clarity. Maybe this is how I allow myself to be happy.

By stepping outside of myself and becoming connected to the rest of the world.

By simply just appreciating what is.

By not getting caught up in everything else.

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Yes, it’s extremely easy to say. It’s extremely easy to even believe I’m doing it. But I’m usually not. And there are several moments today that have made that very clear to me how important it is for me to be here and not anywhere else…

This morning a friend of mine accidentally ran over his dog as he was leaving his driveway. They rushed the dog to the vet and were told that he has a broken femur. And that the cost of surgery (which would need to take place an hour+ away) would cost 3-4 thousand dollars. I immediately paused what I was doing and just… cried. I can’t imagine having my beloved pet in critical condition and dealing with what I’m sure are immense emotions knowing that I was the one who accidentally ran him over.

The dog is in surgery now. They are trying to raise money to pay for his surgery. But it’s not about the money. There will always be more money. And more money to owe. My heart breaks for them and I have hope that their precious dog will make a full recovery.

Just a few moments ago I looked at facebook and saw this blog post: I Decided to Give my Paycheck to a Facebook Friend with Breast Cancer.

This women lives in my area. Her daughter is a year older than my oldest daughter. Again, as I read this I just cried.

Then there is Humans of New York (HONY). If you haven’t seen any of this, it’s beautiful. Brandon, a photographer, walks around NYC and takes portraits of people he comes across. He also adds quotes and short stories from the people he meets. I honestly can’t even put into words the emotion and depth that these portraits and stories capture. I follow HONY on facebook as well, and daily I find myself crying when his posts come up in my feed.

I cry a lot actually.

I used to view it as weakness and I hated crying but now I embrace it. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m sad.

If anything, it means that I’m alive. And that my capacity to feel empathy and compassion for others is not something I should stifle.

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I could spend every day for the rest of my life wishing my life was different, complaining about how unfair it is, being miserable. I know there are changes that I could make that might very well lead to happiness for me. I also know change is scary as hell.

I’m not ready to make those changes. But I don’t have to allow myself to wallow in things I’ve chosen not to do anything about.

I’ll continue to put myself out there emotionally. I’ll continue to have empathy and compassion for everyone – including myself. I’ll continue to do everything within my capabilities to help those around me. And to help myself as much as I am capable to.

Life is tough. For me. For everyone.

If I can stay outside of my own head and look around me, I can see that. And, in seeing that, I can gain some perspective and acceptance.

There are no guarantees. There are no promises. As much as we want them.

All we have is now.

And, if I really look, now is pretty great.

Why Bother to Live An Unhappy Life?

Another rough day. I’m pretty sick and tired of these. Trying to turn my day, week, month, year, etc around by keeping it simple, focusing on taking care of myself and my kids, taking responsibility for my thoughts and actions and enjoying the people and wonderful things I have right now. I struggle with putting this into practice every day but every day I get up and I try again, hopefully making better or at least different choices.

This life is too short to get hung up and stuck in all the things we have no control over. This life is too short to hold ourselves back from becoming the people we dreamed of as kids. This life is too short to not be happy. This life is just too short and there’s no guarantees on anything. All we have is right now and right here, so why waste it worrying?

Life is for the living. I don’t want to continually be stalled in “survival mode.” I don’t want to just be getting by, moving through life half-alive. It’s not an easy thing to make changes, it’s not an easy thing to really live the beliefs you believe. It’s not easy to do anything you haven’t done before.

But why bother to live an unhappy life? However you live your life, whatever you do, say, think, behave, believe…it is always your choice and you can change your choices whenever you’d like. Why choose to be unhappy?

The Best I Can

I’ve been putting off writing a blog entry. Actually, I’ve been putting off a lot of things. Not because I don’t want or need to do them. Or because I’m actively avoiding them. I just have entirely too much to do. I seem to always have too much to do.

I’m overwhelmed.

I like to think of myself as strong, independent, a “super” person, if you will. I like to believe that I can do everything. By myself. Perfectly. On time (early if possible).

I like to think that I alone can be the person to do everything. For everyone. All the time.

It’s a lie.

Most days I have no idea how I even managed to drag myself out of bed, let alone put one foot in front of the other to make it out the door.

Most days I do. I somehow manage to get the kids off to school and daycare, dressed and fed. I manage to make it to my classes, taking notes and tests, writing papers and getting good grades. Somehow I manage to get children to activities, dinner on the table, my house fairly clean and still standing.

Most days, after everyone is in bed, sleeping and looking ever so peaceful, I sit awake worrying. My mind races running over all the things I still need to do. Picking apart my day and criticizing how I, “should have gotten more done,” or, “could have done that better.”

I struggle to fall asleep against the thoughts that I’m not good enough. That I’m not doing enough. That I should be doing better. That I’m failing.

I don’t honestly believe that there is a level where would feel like I was doing enough. My perception of “good enough” knows no ceiling. I see those around me beating themselves up for not being good enough, for not being where they’d like to be.

I see them continue to work towards their goals, despite significant struggles and barriers. I see them become frustrated with their perceived lack of progress, when I see that they are moving forward, though likely not at the pace they had hoped.

I see those around me doing the best they can. I see them dealing with sick children, failing relationships, insufficient incomes, lack of transportation, health issues… I see them at class. I see them in the halls of our children’s school and in the waiting rooms of dance lessons, doctor’s offices and counseling centers.

I see them continuing to try.

They could give up. They could let themselves be swallowed by the brokenness of our society and the systems within it. But every day they get up and they continue to try.

They are doing the best they can. And even if they don’t believe it themselves, I see they are good enough. I see they aren’t failing. I see that, however tiny the steps, they are moving forward.

I’m not failing by anyone’s standards but my own. I’m doing the best I can.

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The Art of Letting Go

I can’t seem to get P!nk’s new song “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” out of my head and I think it’s for good reason. The lyrics are incredibly pertinent to my life-long struggle of knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

White knuckles and sweaty palms from hanging on too tight
Clench of jaw, I’ve got another headache again tonight
Eyes on fire, eyes on fire, and they burn from all the tears
I’ve been crying, I’ve been crying, I’ve been dying over you
Tie a knot in the rope, trying to hold, trying to hold,
But there’s nothing to grab so I let go

Letting go is certainly an art form. Maybe one of these days I’ll finally perfect it. Or, at least, learn when I’ve finally had enough

Fear

Tomorrow I will be having a Tonsillectomy, a surgery to have my tonsils removed. I have never had surgery or general anesthesia before.

I am, quite honestly, SO very afraid, scared, fearful.

However, I do not want to let the fear engulf me. I do not want to let the fear become endless worry. Both fear and worry aren’t productive in this situation. They do not assist or benefit me in any way.

There is nothing I can do about the tonsillectomy. I need it. In fact, I have been putting the surgery off as a result of my fear, to the detriment of my health.

Because there is nothing I can do about it, I am trying to let myself accept that it is what it is.

In this acceptance there is no need for worries and no space for fear to take hold.

Sorrow

I’m feeling sad today. My first response is always to try to push it away, to keep it at a distance and just try to go on with my day.

You can only push sorrow away for so long though and the longer you do, the more intense it seems to feel.

This quote by Rumi really touches me and helps me realize that while I may not want sadness, it has a purpose.

Adjusting the Sails

There are some things in life that we have control over, that we can change, that we can influence. There are also many things that we have no ability to alter.

How very often there is difficulty distinguishing between the two.

Sometimes, we just need to go with the wind. To accept that, in this moment, this is what we have.

And make the best of it – “adusting the sails”.

We may not end up with what we were hoping for, what we imagined, what we had planned and set sail for…

But, if we stop struggling against the wind – complaining and expecting it to change – we may find that where the wind takes us is just as nice or even better than where we had imagined we would go.