For close to a year now I have relied solely on public transportation, primarily Marta (train) and Uber/Lyft. I also rely somewhat frequently on the kindness of friends who will give me rides when it is convenient.

I realized yesterday when I was running a little late ( 2 minutes!) and missed the train that I needed to take to make my connection on the other end for a scheduled Lyft ride, that taking public transportation is a really amazing way to learn that you are not in control!

As I stood on the platform, realizing that I was going to be late for my ultimate destination, I sighed. I also reflected how differently I was reacting to this situation than I would have in the not too distant past. Before I realized that my control issues were ruining my relationships.

I had control issues very badly. If someone in my house so much as put a coffee cup away on the wrong shelf, they were going to hear from me about it. I cry in shame now when I remember incidents where my control abused those whom I loved. I will spend the rest of my life making amends!

As I calmly stood there, knowing I would be charged for being late for the connection with Lyft, knowing that I would be late to the jail to teach my class I took a deep breath. I was enjoying this moment of freedom. Freedom comes when you give up control. Having to be in control means you have to control things that are out of your control. This is crazy making. The day I learned that the only thing I have control over in any situation is my reaction to it was the day I began to be free from control.

It has taken some time, it has taken some loss, and it has taken some heartache, but standing on that platform yesterday, feeling nothing but calm despite the cascade of issues I was facing having missed that train, I felt free.

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We stood in a cornfield

As the world grew gray

Crickets and cicadas making a cacophony

Eyes covered in protective lenses

Watching magic happen in the sky

” There it is” he said

I whipped off my glasses and beheld

the wonder of it all

There was a catch in my throat

It was a moment of sheer joy and possibility

 

I always said that I welcomed change. It was something I took pride in, most people abhor change, which had always struck me as a bit silly. After all, it is inevitable.

It wasn’t until a huge life event came along that I truly understood what is meant by change. When circumstances hit you in the face in the most unavoidable way, and change sure is inevitable, you find out your glib attitude about it was wrong. Dead wrong. Well, I did at any rate.

This blog was started five years ago at the start of one of those episodes in my life. The early posts are filled with pain and anger, but not much introspection. The inner journey of the past five years has transformed me slowly, into a new being.  An awakened being. Much has changed about how I think and feel about life in general and mine in particular.

I don’t even agree with most of the early writings, the ones from 2012 and 2013. I leave them because they chronicle where I was, which helps me celebrate where I am.

This journey of awakening has taught me to truly welcome change, and to get excited about whatever the future brings!

It has also brought me back to my love of writing and my desire to tell stories.

So I will write and tell stories.

I sat in the heart of Gaia

and was welcomed by her waves.

The warm sea gurgled as it washed over me

 saying,” Welcome. Welcome Home.”

The cool breeze caressed me between each waves embrace

saying” Welcome. Welcome Home.”

I sat in the heart of Gaia

and was welcomed by her waves.

 

Somehow the moment I caught in the background a snippet of the song, Blue Skies From Now On, somehow I went into a trance that showed me where I was when Willy Nelson was at the top of the charts with the tune.

That moment being more than 30 years ago is one of the reasons it is so profound. As I remembered, it came so clearly to me that this is the same moment as that long ago moment.

The deadly importance of what was happening then, and with whom. The degree to which I believed that I would not live through that time.The suicide attempts during that time, because of how SERIOUSLY I was experiencing those feelings.

So no, it is not just like this moment, but it is, at long last, a moment that teaches me.
That moment meets this one to teach me this;I am the I am that I am, no matter who I currently believe is someone whom I cannot live without.

We as a culture have the concepts of decisions and commitments mixed up. It’s rather like the mix up we have with mistake and bad judgement that Andy Stanley talks about.
Having an affair when you are married isn’t a mistake, it’s bad judgement, a misguided decision.
The same thinking, in our culture, informs the difference between having made a commitment and having made a decision.
We make decisions about where to go to school, or to vacation, or to live, or what to have for dinner.
Commitments are entirely different, especially the commitment of marriage.
Our culture will say, years after you’ve made the commitment to get married, that is was a decision that you made. Well it was, of course, it was a decision to make a commitment.
Now it’s no longer a decision, it’s a commitment.
We all have the right to be happy, and to live in our own truth. It is certainly true that ones truth can change over time. Really, we should hope it would as we change and grow.
But to maintain integrity, commitments must be kept.
Our society is so disposable. Dispose of anything that you think is the reason why you are not happy.
Most often, that involves disposing of a spouse, convincing oneself that it was a bad decision made years ago, and now the decision can just be changed.
It’s such a cowardly way to behave, really. It’s so easy to quit things. Our friends even encourage it. You have a right to be happy, they tell us. Well of course we do, but what does that have to do with our commitments?
Much harder to recognize, in integrity, that a commitment means that when the truth of life changes, you roll up your sleeves and get in there with the person you made the commitment and figure out how it can all be resolved.
We don’t really understand, until it’s too late, that by pulling up stakes and moving to the next bright penny that we think will make us happy that we bring ourselves.
Alcoholics call it “geographical cure” – if I go somewhere else, with someone else everything will be fine.
What they find is that they brought themselves with them, and the new place and person start to look just like the old place and person.
That’s because the old place and person were not the problem.
Andy Stanley says ” guard your heart, because whatever comes out of it is yours”
It’s never the other person’s fault when we are unhappy.
The last place we want to look is at ourselves.
So we decide to make a decision, to view our commitment as a decision.
It’s the easy way out, but only temporarily.
We take ourselves wherever we go.
I read a great blog recently about how we think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Made me think about this commitment thing.
Water the grass you’re on and it will grow and blossom.
Commitments are meant to be kept, not at anyone’s expense of happiness or anything else, but because we must live lives of integrity.
Being happy is a decision. Like Love, it’s an activity, freely chosen. It has nothing to do with the commitments we have made.
It would be a better world if people understood the difference between a decision and a commitment.

Few things hurt more in life than betrayal. When you believe in someone, and you think they have your back, it’s so hard to come to know their betrayal.
Brings to mind that loser Jesse what’s his name who betrayed Sandra Bullock.
One wants to forgive, and give grace. Once,twice, three times; but it comes a time that it’s just too much.
Jesus says to forgive seven times seven times. I want to, but I guess I’m just not that good.
To quote cousin Violet of Downton Abbey, ” it’s the on and on and on of it that’s so hard to deal with”
Is it going to stop, ever?
No one deserves to be betrayed. It’s like running out of gas, there is just no excuse.
If you are behaving in a way that betrays another, you have not done your honest best to deal with something in your life.
When you are behaving in a way that betrays another, your selfishness results in deep hurt and harm to another.
Hurt and harm that becomes at a point, impossible to repair.
There is never an excuse for that.

Your eyes looking into mine make me swoon
Two huge pools of the most amazing hue
So long denied
Your look begins to heal me
To be seen, to be known
Like water on the desert

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We’ve all heard the cliches about this, well they’re truisms actually. How many times Edison failed before he successfully ” discovered” electricity. How many times authors got rejection slips before they had a book published, the list goes on.

I think it’s abstract to us though, we still expect to succeed immediately and become frustrated when we don’t. For me it was even deeper than that. My fear of failure kept me from trying many things in my life. Most worthwhile things take a good bit of failure before you succeed at them.

When you put yourself in a position to fail, you put yourself in a position to grow. I have been too self conscience most of my life to put myself in a position to fail. I stuck to things that I knew I could do well. Fear has stopped me from doing things that take patience and practice to succeed.

I didn’t properly learn how to swim because I was afraid to fail.
I didn’t learn how to water ski, or snow ski for that matter, because of my fear of failing in front of others.
I didn’t learn chemistry because I was afraid to fail.
I didn’t learn gymnastics because of my fear of failing.
The list could go on and on and on.

There are thousands of things in my lifetime not attempted because of my fear of failing.
So many lost opportunities to grow and to experience life.

I’m facing a huge challenge right now as a potter. I became quite successful at pottery pretty quickly. It did not put me in a position of failing in front of others. I wasn’t growing though, and I was aware that I was taking an easy way out, one that would ultimately hinder my growth as a potter.

Then I got a commission for 6 coffee mugs, and this got my feet right into the fire. Now I really had to know what I was doing. I had to learn technique well enough to throw 6 objects the same size and shape.

I had to fail, many times, in order to succeed. I had to expose myself to failure in front of people. This was new and terrifying for me.

Gritting my teeth and going at it once more for hours at a time was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. I was failing to succeed. As uncomfortable as it was, it was also very freeing.

With each failure, I learned something new, not just about the art of throwing, but about me as a person. I was growing as a potter, and as a person all at the same time. As difficult as it was, there was some excitement to it as well.

I was willing to be weak, to fail, to not be perfect. To accept my lack of perfection at long last.

Wow.

I put myself in a position to fail. and therefore put myself in a position to grow.

John Ortberg said, ” Failure does not shape you, how you respond to the process of failure is what shapes you.”

I’ve learned that failure is a process, not an event. I’ve learned that when I am not perfect, I still live. I’ve learned that I can grow so much when I am willing to fail.

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