I was listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert when she said something that stopped me in my tracks.
“Anytime I get a chance to talk to people on the subject of mercy, I just want to put in a word for it. Because I believe that we live in a merciless culture, and I believe that we are merciless to ourselves and I believe that we are very often merciless to each other. But most merciless to ourselves because we’ve been taught to be.”
I heard her say the words “…I believe that we live in a merciless culture…”and I stopped in my tracks because she is right. Being in the healing industry, I’m always hearing talk of compassion. In fact, right now I’m taking an online workshop about self-compassion.
But mercy? Mercy seems like a more powerful word, an active word. And I started to wonder, what is the difference between compassion and mercy?
I figured I’d lighten things up this week, give ourselves a little break from information and news about the “Virus that Shall Not be Named.”
I’m a big fan of podcasts. I love listening to them when I’m cooking or cleaning. They are especially helpful when I’m doing a project like organizing a closet or when driving around town.
Most of the podcasts I listen to are set up like a talk show with guests. Some are like “60 mins” or “20/20” where they’re true life or investigative stories.
My favorite type of podcast is the “Series,” a pod cast story that has a beginning and an end. All the ones I’ve listened to have been true stories. Some were fantastic. Some were okay. But there are a few series podcasts that were so memorable I often think back on them and even re-listen to them.
I hear about new podcasts either by word of mouth or they are recommended on another podcast I listen to. I’ll always check out a recommended podcast. Some I enjoy and listen to for a while. Other I give it a couple episodes and then I drop it. Most I get tired of and move on to something different.
But there are a handful of podcasts that I never tire of. I find myself going back to them again and again when I want to listen to something. And I thought, maybe you would enjoy them too.
I’ve put a link with each description that takes you to the website. But you can easily go onto your podcast app on your phone and search the title of the podcast and check it out from there.
Return – The Hero returns to their world with a reward for conquering their challenge. The hero is transformed and has gained wisdom and spiritual power over their world and the adventure world they survived.
The hero learns new things about themselves while on their adventure. They learn their strengths and weaknesses. They learn new skills. And the heroes in all the stories always learn a vital lesson: they can handle anything that comes their way.
These are the wisdom and rewards the hero receives at the end of their journey.
It was difficult to write this blog because I don’t believe we have reached this part of our Hero’s Journey, yet. We don’t know what the end looks like.
Everyone is going through a trying time right now. As I’ve been sitting in my home, under a self-imposed lockdown due to the COVID-19 danger posed by my history of asthma, I have pondered how to take advantage of this opportunity. I’ve always said to myself, as many of you probably have, “If I only had the space and time to do the things I want to do.”
Well, my wish has been granted, and it is a bit terrifying.
This wonderful and terrifying opportunity brought to my mind the Hero’s Journey. What is the Hero’s Journey?
The Hero’s Journey is a pattern that many stories old and new seem to follow. The theory of the Hero’s Journey was made popular by Joseph Campbell. In Campbell’s theory, the hero of the story is taken from his ordinary day-to-day life to face challenges and return back to ordinary life victorious and with new wisdom. It is the pattern of departure, initiation, and return. Examples of this story pattern are Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Harry Potter, Paul Atreides in Dune, Bilbo in The Hobbit, and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings.
Do you have people in your life that annoy you? Maybe they have a personality tick, or a habit, or a way of speaking that annoys you.
Or maybe it isn’t a person. Maybe it’s just a pet peeve that anybody can do and it sets your teeth on edge.
For me, it is humming. I can’t stand it if I’m at, for example, the grocery store and someone is humming while they are shopping. I know it seems ridiculous. What harm is there in people humming? The harm is I want to grab them and say, “Stop it!”
But these people humming aren’t doing it with the purpose to get a rise out of me. Neither is the person that annoys you with their personality tick. These people, the Pet Peeve People, are just going about their lives.
In 2003, I was engaged to a very nice man we will call Allen. I have talked about this engagement before. As a recap, Allen had a six year old daughter. He also had a mother that considered the daughter her daughter. So, in his mother’s eyes, I was taking away her only son and her “daughter” she had a “special relationship” with. Furthermore, the daughter had ADD, and I was trying my best to create a healthy lifestyle for her to help with her ADD.
I was trying to force my will against something that, frankly, wasn’t going to change.
One morning, the mother/grandmother came by to pick up the daughter/granddaughter. I was still in bed. It is funny how you know the sounds and routines in your house. I could tell by the pause from when the front door opened and when it closed that the mother/grandmother had a “little conversation” with Allen. And my intuition knew exactly what the conversation was: she was upset at how I had “treated her” the night before at a family function.
And inside, something broke.
I realized that I was striving for acceptance in a family that didn’t like me. I was trying not to act like a mother while doing all the “mom” work. I was twisted in knots and not being myself. That break was me surrendering. I surrendered to the reality that I was sacrificing who I was in order to be with him…and it wasn’t working.
With reality of the situation hitting me, I realized I had two choices. If I stayed in this situation, I would not be who I was in 5 years. I would be someone completely different. And if I left, I would be breaking off an engagement and hurting someone I truly cared for, but I would be saving myself from destruction. Continue reading Surrender and Heal
Many people are stubborn. I had never thought of myself as stubborn until I learned I was an Enneagram 9. Only then was able to see that I’m easy going, but don’t ever tell me what to do. I will turn around and do the opposite thing so fast I don’t even realize I’m being stubborn.
Being stubborn can cause us to not read our situation correctly. It can cause us to be blind. And the more we are blind, the less we are able to see that whatever method we are using to solve a problem just isn’t working.
Hopefully, we eventually realize that we are acting insane. Well, maybe not that extreme, but you understand what I mean.
But what if you are doing the same thing over and over again because you don’t know what else to do?
“Vacation, all I ever wanted! Vacation, have to get away!” ~ The Go-Go’s
Hello from Grand Lake!
Every year, my husband and I take a week vacation in Grand Lake.
In the calm of Grand Lake, I use the week to do nothing and decompress. It is only then that I feel like I have the space to recharge, reflect, and find a reset. I feel like the fog can lift and I can get in touch with who I am again and what is truly important to me. I can remember what it is that makes me happy and begin to see a way forward toward the life I want. I feel like I have the space to energize and get motivated again to move forward toward my goals. I feel like I can refocus my healing path.
I did a little searching around ye ole internet and discovered that the healing benefits of vacation are not just in my head. Vacations are extremely beneficial to health. Continue reading Vacation!
“Nothing can so pierce the soul as the uttermost sigh of the body.” ~ George Santayana
During a yoga class, a teacher said, “The body loves a good sigh.”
I did a big sigh and realized she was absolutely, 100% correct. I felt pretty good after that sigh.
When a yogi sighs in class, I can almost see the stress drain away from their body. They look a little lighter. And when I sigh in class, I, too, feel lighter.
When I’m teaching, I can always tell the pro yogis because they sigh. And those pro yogis aren’t always the ones getting into advanced poses. To me, pro yoga means that person gets the whole enchilada when it comes to yoga. They aren’t just there for exercise, or because they’ve been told it is a good thing to do for the body. Pro yogis understand they are there to release and heal.
And here’s the other important part. When these pro yogi’s sigh in class, it isn’t a quiet, dainty sigh. It is a sigh that starts as a huge inhale from the lungs and then asks the gut, “Hey, you want in on this action?” The sigh then releases as a full-throat, loud primal sound.
My new thing is paddle boarding, otherwise known as Stand Up Paddleboard, or SUP if you are one of the cool kids.
I was paddle boarding for the second time when I started observing how happy I was. Obviously, paddle boarding makes me happy or I wouldn’t have bought one. But, have you ever sat and asked yourself “why” something makes you so happy?
My logical brain says that paddle boarding should be a pain in the ass, especially for a girl under 5’ tall. Getting the 10’ board on the car and strapping it down, driving to the lake, getting the board off the car, carrying the 10’ board/paddle/sometimes with the dog to the water, getting it into the water, stepping into the water and getting dirty and wet…
But I’ve noticed that when I step into the water with my bare feet before I hop on the paddle board, I feel this surge of thrill. A feeling that reminds me of being a child runs through me. I’m excited.
And then I get on the board and I’m off.
Despite the other people in the water paddle boarding and kayaking, it is very calm and peaceful to be on the water. And when you do encounter people, everyone is very nice. It’s a very casual, brief conversation. A brief hello, or a comment on the weather or how cute your dog looks paddle boarding with you, and then they respectfully move on, giving you your space to enjoy your time on the paddle board.