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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
You are perfect and you are good, right where you are today. You made mistakes back when, but you were a different person then. Now you are more lived and learned, and you’re allowed to choose again. Right where you are tomorrow will be a different place; that’s how it is, it can’t be helped. It’s something we call time.
We’re only stuck when we think we are; we’re only stuck in our minds. Even in shackles, even in prison, no one controls our thoughts. Unless we let them, as often we do, when we listen to their judgments and wonder if they’re true: Maybe they do know me better than I know myself, I’ve often heard them say it – “you don’t mean that, you can’t believe, you should, you ought, you’re wrong, I’m right, if only you were different”. But you’re not.
You are you, perfect and good, right where you are today. If others choose to judge you, that’s their mistake, not yours. They, too, will soon be different, time moves for them, as well. They’ll choose again, be somewhere else, more lived and learned – like you.
You are perfect where you are, you’re good and getting better. Love yourself now, and as you were then, back when you made those mistakes. They might have been for someone else, they might have been for me. To help me learn to be better: understanding, forgiving, compassionate, brave - we’re all in this together.
I thank you now for who you are, and for who you will be; the things you’ve lived and done and thought – it’s all alright by me. Your part of the human family, a part we can’t do without. Hang in there, do your best, as i will too, we'll get there yet - the better. ©Melissa Falls 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
The ground gives with every step I take, like at the Fontain Ferry Fun House, where I spent as much of my childhood summers as possible. On my first walks across the sinking plank boardwalk, my parents each held a hand, swinging me up above the moving ground when I lost my balance. By the time I was six, I felt ready for a solo stroll, and with my cousins, I stumbled and scrabbled my way to the solid ground at the other end, glad to have the long pants and sleeves mom made me wear. I picked myself up and did it again, and again and again, until I learned to run across the moving planks with confidence and balance.
Not holding on to the metal hand rails, no matter what mom was hollering at me, was the key to not falling. A tight grip on those handles kept my feet from feeling what was going on beneath them, and I invariably ended up on the floor. Using my arms for balance, keeping my knees loose and ready to absorb the surprise of the fall, and not listening to the well meaning advice of those watching – that’s what got me safely to the other side. Not holding on was essential for the three story slide ride, also, which we were sent down with our legs and bottoms wrapped in burlap. “Keep your hands in your lap,” the attendant told us. “Don’t touch the slide.”
We were kids. Of course we touched the slide. Thinking we might control our race downhill, or our fall on moving ground, we reached out to steady ourselves. Instead, we were thrown off balance, fell and rolled and tumbled and then tried it again until we learned to let go and find our own center of balance.
The ground gives with every step I take, and there is nowhere to stand in this world that is stable, there is nothing I can do to control the movement around me. No matter how hard I’ve tried, I have been unable to make my ride through life be still while I find my balance. There are surprises around every corner, and I’ve found it necessary to be ever alert. There are no reliable handles that won’t eventually throw us off course and make us fall. There are no handles that won’t eventually make me stumble and fall.
Although I secretly believe myself to be smartest, I have been unable to control hardly anything and certainly not any of the people any of the time; not the ones in my own household or the ones far away. Not what they think or do, not the choices they make or the beliefs they hold, not what they consume or how they raise their children, none of it. Neither can I control opinions people might have about me, personal advice they might give me, or malicious rumors. I cannot control the economy or political climate, the air I breathe, the extinction of amphibians, or the new, night-shattering light that blinks through my window from the top of the cell phone tower.
We can’t control the way life unfolds around us. There are just too many variables. Now, with world wide communication – this very net we’re on - there’s more to know, more to keep up with, more to break down, more variables than ever before. The more there is for us to keep up with, the less control we have over any of it. Progress is going to keep happening. Evolution is happening. It’s bigger than a Fun House ride; and – given the numbers of clinically depressed adults and children – it must be blowing our minds.
So. What are we going to do?
It’s possible for each of us to find a personal balance so sure that will carry us through to the end. We do this by learning to control our thoughts about any situation that arises. We can’t control how life is unfolding, either in our personal worlds or on the planet; but we can control our thoughts about it, no matter how far-fetched that seems during those middle of the night worry marathons.
It takes some practice, but it’s entirely possible to unlearn worry, to skip anxiety, and get straight to balance and peace of mind. No matter how unstable things seem, no matter what the situation.
Letting go may be the best first step to reaching personal balance: let go of the idea that you ever had any kind of control, let go of every should-would- could in your speaking and in your thinking, let go of cherished outcomes and even deeply held beliefs. Let go of the secret belief that you’re smartest.
When we begin to control ourselves and our thinking, it doesn’t seem so all-fired important to control the situations and people around us. If we can learn to participate in life without getting emotionally bound up every time the ground gives, our contributions to life are genuinely helpful to ourselves and others.
©Melissa Falls 2014