Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Zest Of Life

Oh perfectionism. I know thee well. You are the character trait that says, “I don’t want to make any mistakes at all. Ever. I want to do things right the first time, all the time.” You are the character trait I displayed the most while in school because you were frequently rewarded. Every time I did something “perfectly” I got an A, which got me attention, love, respect, validation. I got pats on the head and encouragement every time I trotted you out. I’ve attributed the successes of my life to you, thinking you were the reason, you were my motivator. And even though I graduated years ago I’ve carried you with me ever since.

For instance, last night I had a business coaching session with a friend of mine. (Have I mentioned another friend and I are starting a business?) And because I had no idea what I was doing, I felt really uptight about the whole thing. Because I don’t want to make any mistakes at all. Ever.

Even though I’ve written about mistakes, and perfectionism, and becoming a master, I have not cleaned up my past regarding perfectionism. So every time something comes up that resembles my past, perfectionism turns up like an eager puppy ready and willing to perform its tricks.

In thinking about all this, I’ve realized I’ve been portraying mistakes as something negative to be avoided at all costs. Yes, yes, there are no such things as mistakes, only choices, but tell that to the school girl who brought home a D on her math test. You know what mistakes really are? They’re the zest of life.

“Mistakes” are what life is made of. Closing the gap between a “mistake” and true alignment is the thrill of life. It’s that act, that feeling of, “Ah, now I understand this,” that is what life is all about. It’s coming into perfect alignment with who and what we are. The forward movement, the progression, the expansion, is the essence of life. Mistakes are the physical manifestation of that move toward expansion. If I started at the finish line every time I began a race, I wouldn’t have anywhere to run. It’s the journey from the beginning to the end where joy happens. Truly. We are growing, expansive creatures. So mistakes are awesome. Mistakes are beautiful. They are an opportunity for us to move forward, to become one with what we want. Closing that gap is the zest of life.

When I look at it that way, why on earth would I want to start doing things perfectly? I miss the whole point of forward movement and growth. I miss the whole point of expansion. I miss out on the thrill of finally getting what my teacher is instructing. The joy in learning comes not from acing a test but from starting something new and then having the “aha” moment where it all clicks. That’s where the pleasure lies. Right there.   

So instead of lamenting my “mistakes” and beating myself up for not knowing all the answers to everything, I sigh in relief and look forward in anticipation to where I’m going. I’m on a thrilling ride where I continually close the gap between what I don’t know and what I do. I love that process because that’s where life happens. That’s what I came on this earth to experience – the process of continual expansion. And expansion is a thrill that cannot be matched.

I dream of a world where we cherish our mistakes because that means when we finally “get it” the resulting feeling will be magnificent. I dream of a world where we love where we are and look forward to where we’re going. A world where we recognize the expansion that takes place in us is the most thrilling aspect life has to offer. A world where we recognize love holds no bounds and we are a part of all that is.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who You Are Is Good Enough

During a conversation with a friend this week I kept hearing the refrain, “Why aren’t you more like her? She is better than you are. Change yourself. Why aren’t you more like her? She is better than you are. . .” It was on a loop in my head.

Sometimes I wish I could shop for personality traits like I shop for food. “Oooh, let’s pick up some patience, perhaps a dash of charisma, and yes, I think humor will be quite nice as well.”

I get into “compare and despair” and that’s really not fun. You know why? Because I was created this way for a reason. My creator didn’t make any mistakes on me. There is a place for me here in this world as there is for everyone else. My curiosity is the reason I’m a good journalist. My seriousness means I stay on task and get stuff done. I am not a cookie made from a mold. I am a person who adds to the flavor of life. Food doesn’t taste nearly as good if you leave out the spices. And that’s what we are – the spices. Who I am is good enough. Who you are is good enough.

I’ve written this before I think it warrants mentioning again: We are made to be different. We are made to shine in our own ways. We are made to be who we are. Ok, yes, there are certain traits I don’t care for, like impatience. But let’s look at impatience. Why do I hold onto it? Because I thought I needed it to keep moving toward my goals. Well actually, that’s what drive and ambition are for, which means I can let go of impatience.

I guess I’m saying who we are is awesome and at the same time we can let go of our character traits that do not serve us. I can let go of fear, impatience, criticism, perfectionism, controlling. I can let those go and become the person that’s in alignment with my higher power. As Abraham Hicks says, “The only way of getting into the vortex is making peace with where you are,” and that means self-acceptance as well as self-love.

I dream of a world where we all know we were created for a specific purpose. A world where we know who we are is awesome. A world where we recognize we add spice to life. Where we know and feel we are all equal in the eyes of God. That we are all loved unconditionally already. A world where we really feel we are enough.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.  

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Love Is My Motivator

This post is an extension of last week’s topic on shame. Last week I realized shame is not seeing myself the way Source sees me. Not viewing myself through the eyes of unconditional love. I also realized guilt is judging myself for doing or not doing something I think I “should.” I started thinking about why guilt and shame come up for me in the first place because if they didn’t serve a purpose, they wouldn’t keep appearing. Then it hit me: I’ve been thinking guilt and shame are my motivators. If I feel badly enough about something then I’ll stop (or start) whatever it is. If I feel badly enough about eating 10 cookies then I’ll stop. If I feel badly enough about my mom making dinner every night I'll start cooking instead.

So not true.

It’s not true. Feeling bad doesn’t do anything but make me feel bad. I am never motivated to do (or not do) something based on guilt or shame. I change my behavior because I decided to change. The end. It has nothing to do with how badly I feel. It has nothing to do with guilt trips and shameful feelings. I only thought it did. I thought I needed to feel guilty or ashamed in order to change. 

Last week I realized I kept doing the things I was ashamed of, or felt guilty about, until I said, “Hey you know, I don’t like this so I want to stop.” And then I did. Guilt and shame had nothing to do with it. They acted as cloud cover, because ultimately I stopped when I decided I wanted to do things differently.  

This is me saying I don’t need guilt and shame to act as my motivators. I don’t need guilt and shame to tell me when or how to do something. I don’t need guilt and shame to dictate my behavior. You know why? Because I have a better motivator.

My new motivation is love. I do things now because I feel inspired to do so. I change my behavior because I want to feel good. I help other people because I love them, not because I feel guilty if I don’t. I take care of myself and my body because I love it and therefore want to treat it with love. I let go of negative thoughts and behaviors because I want to feel happy and at peace. I change my behavior because I’d rather feel love. Love is my motivation.

I dream of a world where people let go of their feelings of guilt and shame. A world where people do things because they are inspired to do so. A world where people are motivated by love and feeling good. A world where people realize the point of change always starts in their own minds. A world where people use love as their primary motivator.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shame, Shame, Shame

Does anyone else think of that kid’s song when they hear, “Shame, shame, shame?” Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, right. Shame. It’s my issue du jour this week. There’s a whole lot of, “Oh my god I can’t believe I did that,” and “What would people think if they found out?!?”

Ding, ding, ding! What would people think if they found out? Since I’m on an Abraham Hicks kick lately, I came across this YouTube video where she talks about embarrassment:

To paraphrase: embarrassment is seeing yourself through the eyes of someone else. It’s seeing yourself as something other than how Source sees you. Because if you saw yourself the way Source sees you it would only be with love.

I think shame is a bit deeper than embarrassment. Embarrassment involves an audience, shame is in isolation. Shame for me is thinking, “It would be so embarrassing if anyone knew I did this.” Shame is judging myself, but more specifically, judging how I think others will respond to my actions. Did you catch that?

In December I wrote about how I lost my temper as a child and pounded my brother’s head into the grass. I felt shame because, “Other people must think I’m horrible! They must love me a little less because I’m not perfect!” Well no, actually. My brother didn’t even remember the incident. And people loved me anyway. The truth is, there is nothing I can do that will make God stop loving me. My higher power only ever sees me as love in human form no matter what I do. The love Source has for me will never go away even if I do 10 million “shameful” things. Even if I rob a bank. Even if I eat 10 cookies. Even if I beat my brother up. That’s what unconditional love is.

When I feel shame, I look upon myself with judgment. I stop seeing myself as a divine being navigating the world, making choices, and instead see myself in black and white. I start thinking there is a “right” way and a “wrong” way, when in actuality there is only a “way.”

Nonetheless, shame is an indicator I’m moving away from Source energy, either by trying to exert my self-will and not succeeding, thus causing shameful feelings, or because I’m not seeing my true essence. Sometimes both. With unconditional love though, you can do no wrong. I think that’s what I’m here for, to learn to love myself unconditionally.

I dream of a world where all love ourselves unconditionally. A world where we see ourselves through the eyes of Source. Where we see ourselves as love incarnate. I dream of a world where we remain neutral observers of our actions remembering love is all there is.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.