Friday, December 31, 2010

The Requisite New Year Post

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.
~Anaïs Nin

I borrowed the above quote from my friend Connie and of course from Anais Nin. It really speaks to me this year. I keep thinking I need to take stock of the year, and make plans for the next, and I just can't. Or, I already have; all through the year.
I realize that no amount of blank pages in the new year will change anything in my past. Perspective can change the past though. I can either look back and hurl 2010 out on its back-side, or I can walk humbly each day, one foot in front of the other and thank 2010 for all its hard lessons.
If I put so much pressure on January 1 to be my answer to all things that ailed me in 2010, then how will I feel when I flub for the first time? Which, in my life, will be about 15 minutes after I wake up on January 1. I am fallible. I am human. I say things, do things, don't do will take me no time at all to write something on my blank page that I wish I could erase. There is no eraser. And, if there were an eraser, the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind shows me I don't really want an eraser.
I know of someone who wishes very much there was an eraser for all the horrible things she has done and said, and worst of all written and shared, because someone has shared them publicly. I have thought a lot about her terrible situation, and been so happy that there isn't an accounting of all I have said and done for anyone to see. That said, there actually is a public accounting. It is the character we have that people see. No matter how much we try and veil our actions and thoughts, they show up on our face and in our eyes. So, as I look forward to 2011, I know it's really not a blank page. There is already so much written on my face. It is my prayer that throughout this next year, and all the rest of my life I would write love over and over.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Choosing to backtrack

I needed to get gas on my way home tonight. I like to buy the cheapest gas. At $3 something a gallon, cheap is desirable. There's a cheap station a few blocks in the opposite direction from the way I'd go home, and there's another station almost directly on a possible path home. For some reason, I chose the station in the direct path. Seems reasonable, right?
Here's the thing: the direct path isn't the most direct path. It's just one that doesn't entail any backtracking. It does entail going into the heart of downtown, and navigating through several lights, and lots of traffic. The other station, the one out of my way, is just one right on red away, and then right onto the freeway after I've gassed up. It's really quite simple.
So, why am I even talking about this? Because I wondered, as I was traveling through town at a snail's pace, why I hadn't just gone a few blocks out of my way, to the easier station?
And then, as I am wont to do, I wondered how often I push forward, when perhaps a little backtracking is in order? How often do I get mired in what seems like a straightforward position only to wish I'd gone back, or held back?
Why is there such a stigma, (at least to me) on going backwards? Why is it a bad thing? Why always the pressure to be moving forward?
Perhaps what we sometimes need to hear is, it's okay to backtrack a little. Maybe there are places in our life where with one step back we'll actually move forward a lot more efficiently. I probably would have saved myself 10 minutes had I backtracked to the gas station away from home. Where in my life can I save something as valuable as time by taking a step back?
That's my question for today.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Continuing thoughts on seeing the good

I've been pondering the events of a recent yoga class. There were two women in the front row I'd never seen before. Their behavior was so bad, for a moment, I was transported back to Junior High. Never did I think I would hear a grown women mouthing back to a teacher, "but I wasn't the one who was talking," petulant and defiant, when she was asked to move by the teacher. Mind you, this yoga is quiet, no talking, (certainly no moaning or chanting) and really, no whining. I guess she didn't get the memo.
That said, I was extra peeved when the woman moved across the room and stepped on my towel, where in one hour I would be putting my face. I don't care if you think you are the bees knees, keep your dirty germ boat feet off my towel. It's not that difficult. And the final straw was when I went looking for my boots after class, and discovered she had dropped her stinky, sweaty/wet mat right on top of them. It wasn't personal. It was just more of her inconsiderate behavior.
I was so disgusted, I was tempted to go on a jag about how awful people are. Then I thought about how many people were in the class. Out of about 25 people, only a handful were terrible. As I said in my last post, if we look for the good, we will find it. While I think it's very important to look for the good in people; in this case, I had to stretch it out, and look for the good in the group. It was reassuring to remind myself most of the people next to me in yoga are lovely. Most of our classes pass without incident. Most of the time, I am met with a smile, and a heart felt "how are you?" I love my yoga family. Instead of dwelling on how awful this particular woman's behavior was, and feeling pessimistic about society, I'll reflect on the wonderful people that come and share their (positive) energy.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Finding what You are Looking For

I was on a mission. The truth of a person's character became very important to me. I had at my fingertips this person's own words, shared in supposed anonymity.
It was important to me on one hand to vilify this person, and on another hand, it was important to only deal in the truth, and on the third hand, it was important to me to embrace the possibility this person was actually a very nice likable person. (Who knew I had 3 hands!)
Here's what I found. No one is all good, or all bad. Duh, right?
As I waded through the dialogue, I grew to like this person, and to have compassion on her situation. Isn't that crazy? I set out to prove to myself her character is shady, and instead wanted to give her a hug and tell her it would get better. And the third hand is the reason why. I did find terrible things about this person. My suspicions were confirmed. But, I left myself open to the possibility of her goodness, and I found that too.
Last night at yoga, someone mentioned to me that he needed to stop caring so much about what other people do that irritates him. Here here. I need more of that too. How does the saying go? When I point a finger at someone else there are three pointing back at me. I do believe we need to assess people, and not put ourselves in harm's way. Outside of that, we need to see the goodness in people. Even if they've wronged us, be it a minor irritation or a betrayal, they are not all bad. So, I think if we approach people, looking for their goodness, we will find it. And how much more beautiful the world is when instead of reacting in irritation, we bask in goodness.