Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
A big theme in my life lately has been living in the here and now. Not the past - it's over. Not the future - it's uncertain. But here. Now. Being alive in this moment, right now, is such a gift. But it's a gift I've often squandered over the years, as I dwelled on occurrences of the past, choices I'd made, or the looming fear of future events.
I've lost a fair share of my life by being parked, stopped, anchored...my feet firmly planted (rooted even) in the moment, with my head and heart stuck somewhere in the past.
I've often likened living-in-the-here-and-now vs living-in-the-past to garbage. Once I've collected all the garbage in the house - and bagged it all up - gone to all that effort to lug those bags out to the curb, why oh why would I ever want to go out there and bring it back in the house again?!?!?! That would be insane, right? But we do it every day. We say that we're going to let things go, but then invariably find ourselves recanting past events to our friends, co-workers and loved ones. In essence, bringing the garbage back into the house, opening it up, and going through the contents, no matter how much it stinks. What's the point in that? How does that serve us?
Now, don't get me wrong. When events are fresh or new, we usually need to talk about them - vent - get some advice - so that we can have some insight into ourselves and learn. But once the event is over, and we find ourselves telling the story for the sheer entertainment value, I have to wonder if that does more harm than good. We're taking precious moments from "now" to talk about "then" when we could be LIVING!
So, it was like seeing my name on a billboard when I read Dooce (www.dooce.com) today and saw this: "No matter what horrible thing you're going through, when it's all over it only takes three seconds to sum it up. Remember that." That was Leona's advice to Dooce.
So, Here's my list of horrible events in life that now take only three seconds to sum up:
* My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. I couldn't imagine ever going through the potential heartbreak of getting pregnant again. I now have four lovely children and four amazing soon-to-be stepchildren.
* I was married to an abusive man, and I never thought my kids and I would be safe or free. But we are.
* I was fired from a job once. It sucked. I survived.
* Having two failed marriages felt awful, until I (re)met the man of my dreams.
* When all the kids were younger and living at home, there were times I thought I would lose my mind. I'm still sane.
And a prediction of a future three-second sum-up:
* Jack and I and the kids are sitting around talking about how much we missed each other when he was gone, how proud we are of him and how happy we are to have him home!
I think the key is to disconnect the emotion from past events, and give them their proper place in history. With a bit of distance and perspective, we detach ourselves from our stories, stop living in the past and live in the here and now.
What kind of experiences and opportunities can you create if you turn down the volume on the past and turn up the volume on the present?
I had lunch with Paula and Penny today, and Paula mentioned Do-Overs. Her reference was to the current two politicians running for the office of President of the United States of America. Can we just have a Do-Over? I tend to agree...
But I started thinking about Do-Overs in a different context. I always say that I have no regrets in life, and for the most part, that's true. But the concept of a Do-Over is actually quite appealing to me.
In school, kids scream for a Do-Over when there's interference, they don't understand the rules, or someone cheated. Or sometimes, just because they're losing.
So, in Life, if there were Do-Overs, here's what I would do over:
Interference. Now, that's a good idea. I would totally have called for a Do-Over when (1) that idiot ran the red light and totalled my car and (2) during my single days, my girlfriend spotted the cute guy before I did. Do-Over!
Not understanding the rules. Okay. This happens a lot. I would totally go back and call a Do-Over on these occasions: (1) agreeing to bake cookies for school without asking questions first - WHAT? 400 COOKIES BY TOMORROW MORNING?!?!, (2) chaperoning field trips without knowing where the class is going. The animal control facility? Uh, no. Wait, I didn't mean to sign that volunteer form. I thought it was a permission slip!, (3) marriage before the age of 40. Enough said. Do-Over.
Someone cheated. Um, hello husband number one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BING BING BING. We have a winner! BIG DO-OVER!
I'm losing. Oh, man. This could be a long list. I'm not a good loser. I'd call a Do-Over when: (1) I see that the ball is not going to drop on my number on the roulette table, (2) speeding up (just a little) to make it through a yellow light and the nice police officer turns his pretty lights on just for me (see "interference" above - i know. karma, huh?), (3) negotiations with my credit card company when I want my rate lowered and they won't do what I want them to. It's only 5% - what do they care? and (4) I'm playing video games with Mikey - he's so good at them! I would love to say, "Do-Over" and then restart the game. I'd love to win just once! Do-Over.
So, I still have no regrets.
Just a teensy little list of Do-Overs.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
So, here are a few of them. They're completely random...no real rational thought involved:
* fear leads to over-protection. fear also leads to a compulsion to control. i think the concept of control is illusory. and temporary.
* i believe in giving myself away. so what if i get hurt? it's so completely worth it! that means i'm alive! i want to live freely, expansively and experientially, and with great love!
* is there any purpose or meaning in a life not shared with others? an experience, unshared...does it have value? what is to be gained by keeping experiences to ourselves? wasn't life intended to be shared? how does anyone derive any satisfaction or joy from a life unshared? if we don't share, then what is the point of existing at all? i shudder to think how unsatisfying and lonely i would be without people with whom i can share all of me.
They're random and disconnected, but I thought that if I was thinking things like this, maybe some of you are, too. And maybe if you find something we have in common, you might want to talk about them...or share your thoughts...
I tend to be a "leap before you look" kind of person. In life, I jump in with both feet before testing the water. Literally.
When I was 10, my family went on vacation to Florida, and along the way we stopped at a little motel for the night so my parents could rest. I'm sure the beds were comfy and all, but the only thing I could think of as we pulled in was, "Do they have a pool? Do they have a pool?" YES! They did!
I couldn't move fast enough to get my swimming suit on and get out to that pool. It was a fairly small pool, and if my memory serves me right, there was only one other person there (an older lady?) besides my mommy and me. I remember my mom walking around the edge, checking it out. And me? I jumped right in, of course!
I expected to plunge into the pool, feeling the shock of the cold water as I sank like a stone to the bottom. And then I would push off the bottom and rocket up to the top, breaking the surface in a spray of water, gasping for breath. That was my plan, anyway. WRONG. I jumped in, and bzrt! (by the way, that's the sound of a record player needle being scratched across the tracks of a record) I was stunned to find myself standing in water that only came halfway up my thighs. I remember the feeling in my feet and legs - that jarring, this-is-going-to-hurt-later feeling. But more than the physical, I was disappointed. I can only imagine what I must have looked like to the lady who was sitting there. I kind of remember her saying something like, "Not as deep as you thought it was, huh?" or something like that. Of course, my mommy and I went on to have lots of fun. (My mom knows how to make ANYTHING fun - ask me about getting my tonsils out when I was 5. LOL). Anyway, the shallow water was just perfect for us to splash around in and cool down. And we went on to have a wonderful vacation at Disney World.
But, the profound disappointment of that moment and the fun we had afterward, has stayed with me through the years. I suppose it was a defining moment of sorts.
Over the next 30 years of my life, the lesson wasn't lost. And if you know me, you know that what I learned was not "look before you leap." More, it was to continue to live my life with wild abandon, high hopes, rose-colored glasses and always believing the glass is not only half full, but all the way full. To leap fully and eagerly into whatever good I find in life. And that if my expectations fall short of reality, to assess the situation, pull out the good, appreciate what I have, and be happy.
So, I will continue to love without fear or regret, laugh with ease, smile at everyone I meet, make new friends, and keep both of my feet moving forward in this beautiful world.
I love ya, and thanks for reading me!
Mrs. Tina Lynn Hignite