Jan 21, 2011

glass half what?

While writing my morning pages the other day a familiar metaphor surfaced. Are you a glass half full or half empty kind of person? Remember that one? I discovered I was 'seeing' it (actually more like feeling it) from a totally different perspective.

The 'half empty' folks I saw as being pessimistic, indulging in scarcity thinking, and viewing life from a victim stance. Most times I identify with the 'half full' folks and perhaps am somewhat smug about it. For me half full means optimistic, abundant thinking, and engaged in life. That's the right way to be, right?

But it all seems upside now right now. I feel myself craving and coveting the empty portion of the glass - it seems to represent openness, possibility, a place to rest and let be. The full part of the glass seems to harbour a sense of heaviness, of expectations, needs, and loads of 'shoulds'. Talk about mixed messages!

What I'm starting to get is that all perspectives hold a blend of fear and hope...it just depends on the context of the day and how I want to view it. Life is full of  tensions or perhaps paradoxes. I'm trying to find a relaxed place between the many competing desires:  "do vs. be", engage vs. relax, action vs. trust, let go vs. let come.

While on this creative sabbatical I'm in the process of making peace with those tensions. That means acceptance and integration, not judgment and rejection. There must be a new way for me to hold them so that they intertwine and compliment each other instead of competing. Yin and yang, shadow and light, yes and no - one helps to define the other. It is not about right or wrong, it's about being open to seeing and experiencing differently. 

I suspect that you are also familiar with some brand of paradox in your own life...perhaps within your team, perhaps in your personal life. May we all trust our way into a new way to dance with them. I invite you to share what you're noticing in this moment.

Jan 12, 2011


My Mom has always had the softest hands in the world despite having been a cleaning lady a good chunk of her adult life. She always said it was her consistent application of hand cream. The other day I brought her some and put a dab on her hands. A second later she had scooped it up with her tongue... a surprising and new experience for my Dad and I.

We laughed as I tried to wipe the cream off her tongue before she swallowed...and gave her a drink of milk. She did not show any signs of the taste being unpleasant...but the fact that she showed it to me makes me think some part of her knew it wasn't something she was meant to do. Mischievous? Perhaps. All I know is that there was joy between us and no harm done.

As I related this story to some friends I noticed their strained smile, some sadness in their eyes. I realize that I'm not there right now. I seem to be experiencing this thing called 'acceptance', understanding a bit more what that means and what it feels like. It truly does make the painful aspect of whatever is going on just a little bit easier.

I'm sure my grieving for the Mom I once knew will come again, a different level of loss each time. But right now I am content that we are finding ways to enjoy each other, living in the moment. I try to find ways to meet her where I think she is at...bringing coloured markers, sweet treats, and games like a Barrel of Monkey's. Some things seem to connect for her more than others but it's been fun trying to imagine what she would enjoy.

May this ability to live with what is follow me into some other painful areas of my life. I suspect peace is waiting for me there.

Jan 5, 2011

identity crisis

It has not been a terrible few weeks...but neither have I felt my usual vigor and excitement about life. I suppose holiday periods are expected to be a bit off when relationships and traditions change. I find myself caught in the desire to be grateful for all that I am and have...and feeling somewhat melancholy because of what is not the way I wish it to be. Guess that's what being human, this human at any rate, is all about.

I have a hunch that part of what I'm feeling is related to all this open space and time, all this permission I've given myself to not do. I'm not used to it and it's a bit disconcerting.  Who am I really if I'm not busy,  productive or helping someone? Really, who am I?

Yup that's nailed it:  an identity crisis in the midst of all this delicious opportunity. And that feels wrong somehow, like I'm wasting it or being ungrateful. More judgment. Interesting to notice that my discomfort is primarily my feelings about my feelings. Go figure. If I let that go ... maybe things would improve. Worth a try.

Time to just let myself be where I am and how I am. I am in the process of discovering who I am when work and my relationship are not the key defining agents. I am in the process of allowing myself to simply feel what I feel. I trust that joy and that warm sense of contentment will come again. I do believe that.

May you also be where you are...trusting and allowing things to unfold.
2011, here we come!

Optimistically yours,