Moving Forward

Stepping back
taking a moment
to savor and celebrate
the seemingly small
but utterly transformative
changes I have made

Silencing the voice
in my head that says
not good enough
long enough to recognize
that at least now
I can hear it

I cannot ask for more
in this very moment
than the subtle awareness
I've taken years to cultivate
the bliss that breaks over me
as I reflect on my progress

The first step has been achieved
I've made the space to witness
chain reactions that were once
overwhelmingly automatic
I watch them with interest
and deep curiosity

I cannot always stop myself
but just to see is a greater gift
than I've ever expected to receive
knowing what I need to do
visualizing the path to peace
is more than I had before

I cannot expect to rush this process
of compassion, patience, and healing
I have a lifetime to play with, ponder,
and polish this gentle, loving practice
as it continues to unravel and reveal
new complexities and insights each day

I am so excited to see where this 
ancient knowledge of spiritual wellness
will lead me as I stumble faithfully
forward into my own mysterious future
my heart overflows with gratitude
for the lessons I have gathered

So thankful for the wisdom passed down
from strangers in foreign lands
and long forgotten times 
for the outstretched hands of spirits
guiding me from beyond the grave
I will not squander their selfless generosity

I will make my ancestors proud
as I continue onward through the unknown
with a recklessly radiant open heart
and the fervent intention to heal
not only myself, but the wounds left open
by those who came before 

Something Worth Giving

Every being on this earth is truly unique. No two people think, feel, or experience the world the same. Therefore it stands to reason that each person in the world also has something unique to offer, whether that be in the smaller scale of people in their lives, or society at large. Each form of giving is equally valuable and fulfilling. I think it comes naturally for us to want to give back to our family, friends, and community. There is an inherent satisfaction in being helpful to other beings. Giving of ourselves is not the hard part. The hard part is knowing what our own special offering is.

Creativity and inspiration come from the deeply held belief that we have something worthwhile to offer to the universe. Artists can often feel compelled beyond all reason to express this powerful urge from within. Even in my darkest hours, a part of my intensified creative energy in this state is a deep longing to reach out and share my personal suffering with others. The idea that my suffering could be a comfort to someone else or an acknowledgment that they are not alone, that someone else understands, is a beautiful driving force.

I think one of the many reasons I’ve been feeling so stuck and unmotivated is that deep down, I really don’t believe that I have anything worthwhile to give. This feeling hanging in the background of all I do makes me want to be as small as possible. I shrink away from the world, trying to get out of everyone’s way. The bitter taste of conceit turns my stomach when I contemplate creative efforts. Who am I to create? Who am I to take up space? Lately everything I do, everything I am, feels like an affront to the world rather than a gift. I am filled with shame by the perceived presumption that what I say, do, feel, or create should or even could matter to anyone else.

Somehow I’ve always been able to hold two contradictory believes in my heart simultaneously: Everyone matters. I do not matter. Everyone has a unique and valuable gift to offer. I have nothing to offer. Everyone deserves to be loved. I do not deserve love. Even though logically I realize both of these statements cannot be true, that doesn’t seem to affect my conviction toward either one.

Perhaps I still just haven’t determined what my unique gift is. Despite all of my varied talents and skills, there are always a lot of people that out perform me in any arena. Once again, I would never proclaim that you have to be “the best” at something in order for your work to be worthwhile, somehow I hold myself to a very different and unrealistic standard. Maybe it would behoove me to get some outside perspectives on this matter. I wonder what those closest to me would say is my special gift. What is my unique value in this world? What I am able to offer in a way that no one else can?

Then again, despite the value you perceive personally, there is beauty in the idea of giving regardless of the “worth” of whatever that may be. Sometimes it is even more moving when someone with little or nothing of value shares the small amount they do have. Part of me believes that it is only our role to give, not to determine the value of that gift. After all we can never truly tell how something may affect or benefit another person. It’s the thought that counts, right?

I may never be able to determine for what reason I matter in this world. But I have faith that there is a reason for all of this despite my limited ability to understand. Maybe it’s not my place to know but to learn how to continue being without that knowing. Maybe it’s my place to give what I have and not worry about whether or not anyone else “wants” it. It’s the intention that matters. It’s the energy behind our actions that determine their worth, not the physical manifestation of those actions. No matter what I have, I can choose to give it with love, and that’s more than enough. And if others happen to think it’s not enough, that is their obstacle to overcome, not mine.

This Gift

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When I was only a few years old, I can remember one particular instance on Christmas day very clearly. My older sister and I were gleefully opening piles of presents from my parents under the tree. It was early in the morning. My parents were in their bathrobes, gazing at us sleepily, but happily, from over their steaming cups of coffee.

As my sister begins unwrapping one gift, her face falls. In her hands she holds the board game Operation. I hear her shout angrily, “I didn’t want this!” To be fair, neither did I. We were both fairly timid and anxious children. The idea of a loud buzzer going off if you make a mistake in a game seemed quite upsetting. However, I can still feel how absolutely mortified I was by her reaction.

I think I must have been too young to really articulate my feelings at the time. I genuinely may have not been able to talk. (I have memories from far earlier on in life than most people I’ve learned.) But even being so young, I knew how terribly rude and ungrateful my sister was being. How could someone complain about a gift! Even if it is something you hate. It is still a gift. And gifts should be met with gratitude.

I think back on this memory a lot. Today it came to mind because I have been struggling with my anger once again. I have a tendency to get angry at the smallest inconveniences and keep that anger with me all day. Some days are worse than others in this regard. In order to quell that anger this morning, I meditated on the fact that this life, this entire existence, is a gift. Every moment of it.

How silly it is to let such small moments make me ungrateful for this gift. This unimaginably wonderful gift! I got to wake up this morning. I got to see the sun rise. I got to listen to music. I got to feel soft sensations against my skin. I got to snuggle and kiss my sweet fur children. I got to sip amazing coffee with pumpkin spice almond milk creamer!

It can be so easy to let our minds ruminate on the things that displease us. It can be so easy to forget to be thankful. The next time I find myself pouting about something, or getting upset, I am going to silently whisper thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you, universe, sweet mother earth, for giving me this existence, this consciousness! How could I ever be so selfish to ask for anything more? It is perfect in every way. Because I wasn’t owed any of it. Yet all of this was given to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am so grateful.

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com