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What I Believe

I attended the Westport Writer’s Workshop this past Saturday. I wrote this during one of the intriguing exercises and thought you might like to read it. Jeanne

What I Believe

I believe we are built for wholeness

Even if we spend our whole lives getting there

Born whole – staying whole

That seems like it would be simpler

But then the journey. We’d miss the journey

Coming back from being far flung

The experience of returning again and again

To me

How can I help?

I dropped an apple at the grocery store earlier today. Those thin plastics bags are really slippery, no? I felt the momentary temptation to put the apple back in the pile and select another. Yes, but then somebody else might take home a bruised apple. I didn’t like the feeling of that. So, I studied the apple in question for a moment, noticing several unique aspects of coloring and shape so I could recognize it and popped it in my slippy bag with the others. I’ll eat that one first. It felt good to not contribute to a stranger’s distress.

As I drove home, I thought about a workshop I’d conducted a couple of weeks ago. I was startled when putting out afternoon snacks to find that a package of cookies was actually a package of crumbs. Who dropped it? Did they even know? Did they put it back on the shelf and take another not caring? We’ll never know. Maybe.

What I do know is that kindness is an antidote to indifference. Each time I manage to be mindful enough to choose kindness, I hope I’m cancelling a moment of thoughtlessness (sometimes my own in a less mindful moment). I can interrupt the constant trail of “proof” that someone else is going through the world registering that “no one cares”. I interrupt, for one brief moment, the chain of broken cookies. I’m leaving little energetic, anonymous notes that say “I care. You’re not alone. Not everyone is trying to get you.”.

What if, the next time you bring home a perfect apple or big, round, whole cookies, you stop for a second a wonder if someone else kept the flawed one so you wouldn’t be disappointed? Isn’t perspective wonderful?


logo dove0001“We all make mistakes.  It’s what happens why you try.”    Barack Obama

This is my favorite quote of a turbulent week.  It rises above all politics and prose.  It, for me, is simply the truth.  The first sentence of Mr. Obama’s statement is hardly news.  His opine on the fact that we all make mistakes, however, is the crux of the matter for me.  It’s what hit home.   The fly in the ointment.

There is a sometimes troublesome mathematics to life.  The more we do one thing, the more another thing is likely to happen.  Yes, if I’m trying all the time; attempting, experimenting, engaging, I’ll sometimes be failing, stumbling, miscalculating.

I guess the big question is, is it worth the mistakes in order to try?  Is there an aspect of trying that is a process of elimination and learning?  And can that be okay?  Can I live with that?  Can I weather those storms?  Do I want to?

When I think about the many many times in my life when I’ve felt parallelized, I also think about my fears – fears of being judged or criticized or misunderstood or just plain wrong. My hands are getting sweaty as I write this so I know it’s true.   Staying still so that I don’t make a mistake has it’s virtues.  If I don’t move, I can’t make a mistake.  I’m a fan of safety!

I’m also a fan of meaning and purpose, however, and I’m not of fan of boredom.  So the ultimate question seems to be, how do I manage the risks of trying?  Step one: I decide if it’s worth it.  Yes.  Step two: Do I have a plan if my trying heads south? Yup. I’ll breathe and tap and pray and trust and learn from my mistakes so I can adjust my course for next time.  Step three: When I make a mistake, I’m prepared to sometimes be parallelized while I build the courage to try again.  Thus, I know I’m not a bad person when I get stuck (at least most of the time :”).  I know I was brave enough to move.

Okay.  Good to go.  Onward if not always upward.  But onward with a heart that tries.

Too Busy to Journal

Every once in a while someone will tell me that they really like keeping a journal.  Many of these same people also tell me that they haven’t made a journal entry in a while.  I suggested to one person recently that for now she might be building new experiences to write about later.  Sometimes we can be so busy capturing the moment with camera or pen that we’re not fully living that present, meaningful experience.  Maybe she just wants to flow in the moment.

Remember the great athlete and activist, Jackie Robinson?  He offered a useful observation, “Life is not a spectator sport.  If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grand stand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”

Now sometimes, flowing with camera or pen (or keyboard :”) is the experience of the moment.  Reflection, private introspection and reaching out to the world to share are all full fledged experiences in their own right.  Just remember that you can only be immersed in one experience at a time.  If camera or pen is part of the experience – helping you be present, all to the good.  If it’s splitting your attention – diluting the intensity of experience you’re having, then put your journal away.  It will be there waiting for you, ready to hear all about your latest insight, pilgrimage or great adventure.

Do It With Love


        “Whatever you do, do it with love.  If you can’t do it with love it will be a dead end.”

                                             ∼ Jeanne

Trusting Healing

It can take a long time for some emotional wounds to form.  It can also be surprisingly hard to know for sure when a wound is healing, especially at the beginning.

Let’s think for a moment how these many wounds happen. Frequently they’re cumulative.  A number of similar experiences or habits repeating over and over.  Chronic criticism over many years can evolve into you then continuing now to remind yourself your needs don’t matter or admitting defeat after you’ve just barely started something bold and new, to name just a few.

Think about it physically, one action, word or thought, like one quick swipe of sandpaper across your skin, it wouldn’t feel good, but it also probably wouldn’t do much damage.  If you keep rubbing the same place with the sandpaper over and over, after a while, the wound will be very big and painful.  So, I think you’d agree that step one would be “ditch the sandpaper”.  Good idea, but the wound still looks awful.  Some people might think “the sandpaper wasn’t the problem, look at this terrible wound!”  True, but you only stopped rubbing a minuet ago.  What might happen to the wound after a day, a week, a month with no new wounding?  It could be profoundly better (especially with a little TLC thrown in like keeping it clean and a nice, soft bandage).

I can be touch to ditch the sandpaper.  We might now know it IS sandpaper and/or it might feel so familiar that it’s strangely hard to stop rubbing. Maybe it’s always using the word “should” instead of “could”.  Maybe it’s looking at the world with a critical eye, seeing what’s wrong rather than what’s right, or a hundred other possibilities that leave us with wounds of  discouragement, fear or defeat.   It’s a leap of faith to allow time for healing to show – to give it time to prove it was the sandpaper after all and that healing can happen.

Someone I knew a long time ago always used to say, “It’s a great life as long as you don’t weaken!”    He had big wounds of disappointment and discouragement with life that never seemed to diminish.  There had been a lot of sandpaper moments in his childhood, but he kept the sandpaper and kept using it on himself long after he could have thrown it away and let his woulds heal.  Far longer than it needed to be, life continued to feel like a battle to him.

What’s your sandpaper?  Be on lookout for it.  A common thought.  A frequent phrase you use.  It’s entirely possible that it’s unconscious, swiping away at a wound that’s never had the chance to heal.  Find it the sandpaper, let go of it, add a little TLC (mindfulness, loving kindness meditation, tapping, etc.) and trust the healing will happen as you return to your true, unwounded self.

This meditation may help (remember that “home” is your own deepest true self).