For the longest time
I told myself the same story
that had been told to me as a child:
There is something wrong with you
that needs to be fixed.
Don’t make mistakes.
Don’t make messes.
If others don’t like you
it’s because there is
something wrong with you.
Today I decided to rewrite the story.
It goes like this:
There is nothing wrong with me.
I can make mistakes.
I can make messes.
As long as I like myself
I’ll know true belonging.
If the story you’ve been told
doesn’t bring you joy,
rewrite the story.
You might go to the ends of the earth
and still never find the answer.
You could ask the wisest teacher
and still not know who you are.
Stop all this frantic searching
outside of yourself.
The answers are within.
Get still, close your eyes,
There now, isn’t that better?
Could it be
you simply cannot see
the whole picture?
Could it be
that you are getting caught
in mental stories?
Before you fly off the handle
try to find a safe place to land.
what we most fear
is what we most deeply need
The mechanisms we use
to cover our true feelings
only serve to prolong the agony
of imagined loneliness.
Set down your burdens
for just one moment
and see how truly loved you are.
In that loving place
awaken to the connectedness
of all beings, you included.
Love is all there is.
why dost thou elude me?
Why, when I need you the most,
do you seem to be in such short supply?
that’s how it is.
While learning how to be patient with life,
you need to be patient with yourself.
Patience with Self
is a sure sign that you’re ready
to be patient with others.
I never thought it would be like this.
That’s because life doesn’t stop
to check in with my little ideas
about how things should be.
It just goes on being what it is,
regardless of my thoughts.
If I want to be happy,
I need to be aware of my thinking,
and ask some questions
when my thoughts create shadows
in place of the light.
May I have the strength to see the truth
when my thoughts have blinded me.
May I have the patience to endure
the challenges life has in store for me,
and may these challenges
make me stronger.
I wanted to learn about surrender
so life gave me some challenges
to see if I was serious.
And these weren’t the sorts of challenges
where effort, reason, persistence and a plan
would bear fruit,
no, these were challenges that showed me
that I have absolutely no control
over anything at all
except for the way I relate to my experience.
Was I going to fight to hold on
to old constructs, to stay in the same place,
to be seduced by familiarity,
even though it was hurting me?
Or could I let everything go,
and watch my empty hands
open and ready to receive
what was next?
I’m waiting to feel motivated
and then I remember
that motivation comes
as I begin to do what needs to be done.
Feelings follow behavior.
If I were to wait
to feel like I wanted to exercise,
I might never step outside my house.
But if I put my shoes on
and walk out into the sunshine
(the wind, the rain, the hot, the cold),
then my body feels good
and my mind says,
Exercise! What a great idea.
Don’t wait to feel like you’re in the mood
to do what needs to be done.
Just begin. Take one small step.
Put one dish away.
Put one shoe on.
(Then the other.)
Once you begin,
the good feelings come.
Now go and do what needs to be done.
You can do it!