doing vs. being

Do you think that many of us base our self-worth on what we can produce?  We get trapped in the cyclone of ‘work harder’, ‘produce more’, ‘gather more’.  And the cycle continues.  Are we teaching this to our children?  It appears as though the competition gets younger and younger.  The sports become more intense and competitive, the intellect is more challenged, the playfulness of childhood is stripped away.  We must do, become and acquire.

When was the last time that you truly wasted time…..and afterwards, how did you feel about it?  Did you beat yourself up for a ‘wasted’ day?  Did you think, “I could have accomplished so much today but instead I wasted it.”  Allow yourself some wasted time….time to be…..Open your eyes and see what else is ‘being’ at that moment.  All of nature is…..You are more than the sum of your ‘doings’.  Just be…..and appreciate those around you who have also discovered the secret of ‘being’.

The worst case scenario outlook

For most of my life I have adopted this strategy….always be prepared for the worst case scenario and then you will either be prepared, or you will be pleasantly surprised when something better happens.  I thought that it was a way to protect myself and to be ready and not be caught off-guard or worse.  It was practical and logical and very, very protective.  But it has only recently occured to me that it is also a ‘glass half empty’ mentality.  What began as a ‘be prepared’ changed to a ‘what if’ and that progressed into fear, sometimes even paralyzing fear.

Living with the ‘worst case scenario’ strategy forces you to look at all the possiblities, negative possibilities and think about them, perhaps even dwell upon them.  No good!  It is not a strategy to ‘be prepared,’ really, it is quite the opposite.  It leads to many sleepless nights and fear-filled days.  How silly, thinking that I could be prepared (control? —-another blog entry) for whatever life throws at me.

As of late, I am trying something new and the few times that I have been aware enough to catch myself spiraling downward, this new ‘thinking’ has brought me great peace and joy.  When I find myself beginning to think of the ‘worst case’ or even a ‘what if,’ I simply refuse to think of it and instead, think…..what if that doesn’t happen?  It’s that simple……and that difficult.    What if the ‘best case scenario’ is indeed what the future holds for a particular situation.  I force myself to think positively instead. To stop at that first ‘what if that happens?’ and not to continue through the litany of fearful ‘what ifs’.

What I thought that I was being prepared for was not preparation after all.  It was not living and enjoying my life at that moment.  It was transforming a positive moment into a ‘what if’ negative moment.  It was removing me from the present moment and projecting me into some future moment that doesn’t even exist and probably won’t ever be. 

Sometimes the simplest and most obvious life-lessons are the most elusive.  If I can remain aware enough to the present than I can live in the ‘glass half full’ prospective.  Today is another day…and the learning continues.

Our Two Faces

I found a rock when I was taking a walk a while back.  This rock had been broken apart and the inside looked quite different than the outside.  The interior was rough while the outside was smooth, and even the coloring was different.  The outside was a dark brown while the inside had more of a speckled look.  I picked it up and thought, ‘how much like me…..’

How many times have we heard, ‘if people only knew the real me’.  We all have two faces, the one that we present to the world, and the one we hold deep inside of ourselves.  At least that is what we think, but are we  fooling ourselves?  Do others really see a different face?

I’m not sure that any of us are that good at hiding our true selves from others.  Think about the energy that would take.  Perhaps the only person that we can hide our true selves from is our own selves. 

As I gaze upon that rock, which now sits on top of my desk, I realize, that the inside really isn’t that different after all.  Sure, the outside is smoother from being exposed to the world, but the two textures make the one rock. 

I suppose that it will be my life’s work, to know the real me and to love the real me.  To be free enough to remove the face that I think that I present to the world.  After all, that face is one that I created…..why not work on the one that I was gifted with?

Welcome Autumn

The vibrant green of the summer leaves is slowly dulling.  Some trees have  already let go of their leaves and have watched as they have floated to the ground.  There is something to be learned, watching as the autumn wind picks up and forces the trees to ‘let go’. 

So much of nature parallels our lives.  In the spring, the trees gift us with leaves appearing as buds, beginning to make their presence known.  Slowly and gently, with the help and support of the sun and nutrients, they open to the world.    Each has a place, is unique and yet connected, as our we, to each other.  It is their time to be, to be open, to be alive, to be receiving of all the world offers to them. 

And then, the seasons change.  What once nourished them no longer does.  Changes surround them, they change.  Their bright green supple nature turns vibrant and then dry.  It is time for the trees to  let go…to let go of the leaves which defined them.  It is time to trust that in letting  them go, they will find new life.  Continuing to hold tight will mean death.  And so, with a little help from the fall winds, they let go and watch as the leaves begin their dance to the earth. 

The trees then stand naked, undressed of their beauty.  What once gave them identity and purpose is now gone.  And so they wait, they patiently wait to see what lies ahead for them as their branches point upwards.

And then, one morning the snow begins to fall.  The white, crystalline flakes find rest in the nooks of the limbs.  The snow continues and the trees are asked to bear the weight of the beautiful snow.  And then it occurs to the trees that if they didn’t ‘let go’ of their leaves, they could never hold the burden of the snow.  Now they don’t generate their own beauty, they hold the beauty of the gift given to them from above.  And they realize that ‘holding on’ would have meant their death.  The weight would have been too much. 

Now they are beautiful in a new way.  They proudly lift their branches upward and hold the gift of the snow.  And when the sun appears, the tree glistens with new life…..the snow relflects light back to the sun and the tree humbly gives thanks.