Susan's Thursday morning note March 10, 2011 - Embracing Imperfection in Self
and March 29, 2007 - Coexisting Gracefully with the Unresolved
Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran
God Calling Journal. By AJ Russell
Good morning! Maybe we’re looking at our final blanket of still whiteness outside for the season…it’s so still and quiet this morning. Except for the amazingly off-key music from the geese flying over in such an unorganized fashion. Why do I seem to appreciate their struggle for organization? Last night after a large mob passed over there were three strugglers trying to keep up.. I’m sure I’d have been in that final little group – trying to once again make it on time, but just a few minutes behind…year after year I relate with those final three stragglers! I figure, at least they’re trying!! I find them to be instant friends I’d love to have camp out on my lawn when they need rest. (grin).
With a cup of coffee that looks and tastes like tar I want to write for you out of two books that I treasure. One is a daily devotional written by two anonymous women, God Calling, put into a book by AJ Russell. This entire book is written as if God were speaking to us directly. The second is a small daily thoughts book, Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran. I’ve had this book for years and read through her thoughts often…she simplifies so much for me and almost entirely looks forward with her writing, whether dealing with petty details of our daily life, situations we deal with that can easily take over our thoughts instead of what really matters, leaving behind what we no longer have, and giving advice for being a woman that looks completely unfrazzled as she tries to do a million things. I love this little book & is one that shows a lot of dirt on the outside from handling often. One of my treasures. I hope you benefit as I did on these thoughts of looking constantly forward, not on past situations, but on what will is possible in our future.
(May 29, God Calling Journal by AJ Russell)
Regret nothing. Not even the sins and failures. When a man views Earth’s wonders from some mountain height he does not spend his time in dwelling on the stones and stumbles, the faints and failures, that marked his upward path.
So with you. Breathe in the rich blessings of each new day – forget all that lies behind you.
Man is so made that he can carry the weight of twenty-four hours, no more. Directly he weighs down with the years behind, and the days ahead, his back breaks. I have promised to help you with the burden of today only, the past I have taken from you and if you, foolish hearts, choose to gather again that burden and bear it, then, indeed, you mock Me to expect Me to share it.
For weal or woe each day is ended. What remains to be lived, the coming twenty-four hours, you must face as you awake.
A man on a march on Earth carries only what he needs for that march. Would you pity him if you saw him bearing too the overwhelming weight of the worn-out shoes and uniforms of past marches and years? And yet, in the mental and spiritual life, man does these things. Small wonder My poor world is heartsick and warty. Not so must you act.
(Final Entry from daily readings in Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran)
Embrace Imperfection: Working on yourself is one thing. Working yourself over is something else.
When you can accept your imperfections and be kind to yourself whenever you feel you haven’t done something right, you’ll feel a peace that incessant strivers seldom do. Far from making you a terrible person, having imperfections you admit to and work on can endear you to those who love you. Having imperfections also gives you a reason to hang around on earth and learn some more. Of course you’ll take responsibility for yourself and your actions, but when it comes to the high drama of wallowing in remorse, pass.
We all have times when we disregard our needs, misuse our time, fall short of our goals, offend someone who passes through our lives, or even hurt someone close to us. We have to be humble enough to learn from our transgressions as well as our transformations. A reasonable response to missing the mark is to repair any damage done as best we can and go forward on a different path.
Working on yourself is one thing. Working yourself over is something else…”Women today want to have fun, be happy, and still be in charge of their lives,” (quote by her previous editor, Karen Kelly). We get that through a healthy commitment to our values, accepting life on its own terms, and taking a rain check on perfection…What you can have is a genuine sense of the divine in your life and a dependable feeling of peace because of it. You can find as much magic in a snowfall or a starry night as any five-year-old on the block. You can legitimately expect to establish a routine that provides adequate time for people and projects that identify your life. You can eliminate imaginary limitations and use your energy to overcome real ones, which are much easier to deal with.
You can think and live so that your thoughts and actions attract serendipity the way putting out a bird feeder attracts robins and cardinals. You will never look again at some woman who seems to have everything an think, wistfully or enviously, “She leads a charmed life.” You’ll be too involved in living a charmed life of your own.
And, with that – let’s look today at some small details as our small children would. Even the formation of the ice coming out of the spout yesterday stopped Camden and showed me a beauty I’d have overlooked because of thoughts that didn’t even matter in the scope of my life. Beauty. Almost always related to something in creation. When I think of solitude, beauty in awesomeness or detail, wonder, the thought almost invariably turns to creation. So accessible to any of us, no matter what the detail of our day – birth or death….the littlest gifts of creation keep us in an eternal perspective. I loved the analogy of a backpacker above. If he tried to carry in his backpack all of the past the load would be too heavy to enjoy the rest of his hike. How we only are given the ability to handle the weight of today. The rest is just rocks that are hurting us. Our choices to what we put in that backpack. Do we want to move forward or continually analyze what happened before? If we’re thinking along these lines then we still have the gift of life. No matter the age – will we make part of our day beautiful? And, if life hurts badly right now, can we learn from authors before us, examples before us, that the best way to feel better is to think of someone else?
Thank you for letting me write again for you. Have a great Thursday – enjoy the melting of the snow! Maybe we won’t have to see the beautiful white any more for eight months!!!! Cross your fingers! Tonight let’s try to have something worth writing on our epitaph in stone tonight for the moments we won’t get back today. Setting goals for the future, noticing the purr of our cat or the eyes of our dogs, noticing the curtains we like in our homes, noticing the little knick-knacks that are what we should carry with us from the past that give us good thoughts. Noticing. Maybe our word on the stone will be silence. That will be our gift to ourselves of the moments today. Silence. Thank you for your continual business and encouragement. Let’s go make today worthy of the gift given to us of life. There is a reason we are here. Maybe someone’s today will be affected because of our kindness. Susan
Latin for this week:
Nunquam desiderium - never regret
quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere - Do not ask what tomorrow brings. (Horace)
Experientia docet - Experience teaches. (Tacitus)
Dum vita est, spes est - While there's life, there's hope.
Errare est humanum. - To err is human. (Seneca the Younger, an ancient Roman philosopher)
Knox, Goerge H.. Thoughts that Inspire, Vol. II. Des Moines. Personal Help Publishing Co. 1906.
Moran, Victoria. Creating a Charmed Life. New York. HarperCollins. 1999.
Russell, A.J. God Calling Journal. Ohio. Barbour Publishing. 1989.
Susan's Thursday morning note March 29, 2007
Good morning! A beautiful cup of coffee is next to me in my favorite yellow mug – I’m ready to take on this day! There is a little book that I’ve kept by my bed for the last 12 years called Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran. I was reading last night – a practical book of strategies that seem so easy upon reading, but important to keep in mind on a day-to-day dealing with our busy lives. I would like to just write for you an entry entitled Coexist Gracefully with the Unresolved, for I believe that you will all find some wisdom in her advice.
“…The ability to coexist with the unresolved has immense practical value. Without it, we can function at our best only when everything is perfect (in other words, never). Most of the unresolved irritations we have to live with are simply that: irritations. Occasionally we have to coexist with something serious. A suspicious mammogram, for instance, means waiting for a biopsy, then waiting for the results. It can be agonizing to live in the limbo of not knowing about our own health or safety or that of someone we love. We build courage to get through the substantial trials by learning to cohabit serenely with the trivial. To help do this, remember:
1. There will always be something to work on, something that could be better.
If you wake up one morning and there is nothing to deal with, you will probably not be here!
2. You are not “in denial” when you recognize a problem and behave normally in spite of it.
That’s the difference between having a problem in your life and making a problem of your life.
3. Dilemmas need fences to prevent them from migrating.
Fencing in an obstacle means keeping it contained so it doesn’t affect the rest of your life. An example might mean keeping a job problem at the office instead of bringing it to dinner & bed.
When you have well-tended fences, one or two or a dozen things going wrong won’t negate the 147 that are going right.
When you’re met with a situation that can’t be solved – talk with someone you trust, write in your journal, “This isn’t fair!”, give yourself 10 minutes or half an hour to be actively angry, frightened, or both.
** Then take whatever action toward resolution you reasonably can, and give each action session a definitive ending, the way dessert ends a meal or a period ends a sentence. This can be as simple as telling another person, “I’ve done all I can do on this for now.”
Then stop. Read. Take a walk. Take a shower. It’s no small thing to attend to your life in general when everything in you wants to obsess over a problem. But as Rudolph Nureyev once said of ballet, “It never becomes easy. It does become possible.”
What I especially liked that she wrote was, “You are not “in denial” when you recognize a problem and behave normally in spite of it.” Throughout my life I have had many say they think I fake it. That’s always bothered me. I work daily on realizing how much I do have, not just concentrating on what I do not have. That does not mean that we do not ache, hurt, want to cry, want to scream, want to hit (and cry in the shower!)! But I do believe maturity (or privacy?!?) is a better word that faking it for those of us that try and try and try and try to still LIVE regardless of what is not in our control, but part of our life. This is a daily commitment – to take on the day. To LIVE. To not let our entire lives and minds be controlled with what is not in our control. If you are really upset by some serious unresolved issues in your life, please do not think I am making light of your situation, I am just trying to pass the advice of what I underlined above. Stop. Continue living. Take a barefoot walk. Go buy an Oreo blizzard. Give yourself five minutes of something that gives you feeling. That helps you to breathe. That helps you find YOU. We are all so blessed. We all hurt. We all have many things out of our control. But we DO have a God that hears us on our knees. We do have a fantastic sky to lay on our backs and behold in the evening when we can’t sleep. We do have time – time to help others when we can not help our own situations or help those we deeply love go through theirs.
So with that – let’s go & take on our days! Do what we can with what we have coming our way, and not let what we can not control affect all we come in contact with. May we hear the birds singing – they love us!! Thank you so much for your notes, your business, and your ideas for the store. The construction is about to begin on our sidewalks (I’d better read the above paragraph again and not panic – out of my control if you will all still come & shop here!!!) Breathe, Susan, breathe!!! (smile!) See – I have to work on the above advice all the time!! Enjoy your spring! God’s gift to you! Susan
Moran, Victoria. Creating a Charmed Life : Sensible, Spiritual Secrets Every Busy Woman Should Know. New York: Harper San Francisco, 1999.