Wednesday, 27 June 2012

You don't have to do to be ... please explain

I am reading about the idea that you don’t have to do to be in Emily P. Freeman’s book Grace for the Good Girl.  The book covers a lot of topics and I have not finished it yet but the idea that I don’t have to do to be is challenging my whole identity and I must say it is freaking me out a little bit.

From my earliest memories I have always felt it has been necessary to justify my existence.  I don’t think this is due to any one thing or experience, we just seem to live in a world that wants to know how many words we can spell, how many smiley faces we have on our rewards chart, how many friends we have, whether we have a boyfriend/girlfriend, how many degrees we have, how many friends we have on Facebook, how many committees we are on, how many times we are in the newspaper, how many children we have, how often our phone rings etc.

Being able to justify my existence is challenging for me  because I can’t really do anything well, I can’t run fast, I was never the smartest in my class, I  have never had loads of friends (always gone with quality over quantity), I don’t think I can dance or sing, I can’t really sew and I am not a great cook.  I could go on but I will end up getting depressed if I list everything I can’t do well.  So I got my approval by being busy, being involved in a lot of things all the time, giving people the impression I was a very capable, talented human being who has every right to be alive.

Now, it is being suggested that I don’t have to do to be.  If I don’t do who will I be?  My worth and identity does not come from what I do, I don’t have to spend any more time trying to prove that I deserve to be here, I don’t have to justify how I spend my time or what I prioritise as important. My head is literally aching, a lifetime of what I thought was important is being challenged and I am confused.

The other side of the coin is I should not judge other people based on what they do, I should not label them or assess them based on their qualifications, achievements, commitments, dress sense or usefulness (as determined by me).  Again, my whole life has been spent categorising people based on these, and many other, criteria.  Now, if I truly embrace the idea that you don’t have to do to be I have no idea how I will make sense of the world or the people in it.

Anyway, I must keep reading and hopefully this concept will start to make more sense.  I’m not usually a fan of the whole self-help genre but this idea really excites me, and scares me at the same time.  It sounds great in theory, I just don’t know how it will work in real-life. 

What do you think?  Does this idea that you don’t have to do to be mess with your mind a little bit?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Is time your friend or enemy?

As seen in the 100th edition of Maranoa Town and Country Mail
Time, ticking, constant, limited, time.   What do you consider a good use of time? Do you think you should fill each minute with activities, work, hobbies, commitments, chores and engagements?  It sure is easy enough to do.  All I hope for is to use my time to live a good and purposeful life, a life that will tell a nice story.  This seems more difficult than it appears; right now time seems to be robbing me of my good intentions and dreams.  Time is passing and my list of things to do grows ever longer.  Emily P. Freeman, one of my most favourite bloggers, wrote “Poke a hole in the bucket of time and let the minutes spill on to your lap and know you are loved”. Oh the serenity.

I am guilty of fighting with time, I try and get more out of it sometimes than is physically possible and I am the one left feeling exhausted, time keeps rhythmically ticking by.  William Faulkner, American writer and Nobel Prize laureate , who passed away in 1962 said  “Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.”  I love this idea, it makes me think time could be my friend, it does not have to be the enemy, time could be beautiful, it could be enjoyed.

At the ‘Thrive Not Just Survive’ Workshop delivered by Christine Coop  in Roma last year she gave the analogy that time is like a flowing river and the only way to live a good, happy, healthy and meaningful life is to jump in the boat of life and flow with it, enjoy all the sights and adventures along the way, embrace it.  To try and paddle against it is exhausting, to try and stop it is impossible, to sit on the shore and just watch it go by is silly, to spend your whole life trying to paddle to a certain spot in the river is meaningless.  The idea of being at one with time brings peace to my soul, to be riding along with time, in a natural, organic way seems truly lovely when compared to how most of us chew up and spit out time constantly craving for more but wasting the time we already have. 

I think time is intended to be a gift.  Time gives us the opportunity to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us each day, time is what enables us to grow wise, to raise a family, to make friends to be gloriously and wonderfully alive.  Time does not rob us of our dreams and our hopes, time gives us the chance to realise them, if we know how to embrace the true majesty of it.

 Is time your enemy or your friend?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Ordinary ... the worst insult of all

What insult offends you the most?  If someone called you ugly, would you cry?  If people said you were boring, would it hurt your feelings?  If a group of friends had a party and didn’t invite you would you feel rejected?  What if someone called you a loser, or fat, or untidy, or lazy or stupid or useless, none of these would make you feel great but I think I could survive these insults.  Something I would find very hard to cope with, the very worst insult for me, would be if someone said “Argh, she is just so, so ... I don’t know, um ORDINARY”.   That one word, right there, feels like a knife in my heart. 

I am not saying I am extraordinary, absolutely not.  I’m just saying half-heartedness and indifference, being ordinary, for me is like dead grass, stray cats or easy listening music, seriously what is the point.  I live a very simple life, I am sure a vast majority of people who would observe my life would say it is the absolute epitome, the very definition of ordinary, and it is, I just hope the way I live it isn’t ordinary.

When I talk about not being ordinary I don’t mean being famous, or building an empire, or creating a masterpiece that will be admired for centuries.  Nope, it is none of that, it is just making the most of every day, doing the things that make you feel joyful, letting your soul breath and your heart sing, not doing what everybody else is just because everybody else is doing it or just because it will please people, not thinking near enough is good enough. 

American self-help guru Jim Rohn says “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”  So true, we cannot experience anything greater than the ordinary if we do not question the norms, if we don’t push the boundaries a little bit, if we don’t get worked up and passionate about anything, if we don’t take a little risk.  Most of us deeply desire to fit in, this is ingrained in us the minute we start school, to be the same, not draw attention to ourselves, go with the flow and I know this has to happen to make educating the majority possible but oh the ordinariness of it all is exhausting.

The challenge is to be wholehearted, enthusiastic and totally committed to each day.  Depending on who you are this might mean staying in your pjs until lunch, reading your favourite magazine, riding your motorbike, other days it might be finding a cure for cancer, hosting an awesome fundraiser to release people from poverty, representing the innocent in court, spending hours of quality time with your family, learning a new recipe, designing a new outfit, going on a trip to somewhere you have never been before, writing a beautiful poem, sitting in the warm winter sun.  It could be anything at all, just let’s hope whatever it is, it isn’t ordinary.

What do you consider the worst insult of all?