I graduated from law school eleven years ago. At the time, it was the biggest accomplishment of my life. I was twenty-four years old. I’d set my sights on a goal and marched towards it. There were times I thought I might quit. When I was fighting and arguing with other women, when my friends excluded me, and made fun of me, and that had nothing to do with my school work- which was grueling, challenging, and mind-altering.
I made it through. And purchased a pair of mulberry stilleto heels to celebrate my graduation. I’ll never forget meeting a lady during a reception after graduation and she looked at me and said, “You are the one with the shoes!” . . . I loved those shoes. I finished law school, walking across the stage to shake the hand of our speaker and the dean, my family watching proudly as I became the first attorney in our family in those shoes. (More to come about life and law after graduation. . .)
Fast forward eleven years later. I had an early miscarriage a few weeks ago. I was down. After the miscarriage, I was struggling with my blog. . . how do I encourage when I need it all for myself. My cup was empty. I was grieving. My husband had planned a photo shoot, and between work and healing up, I just hadn’t had much time to put into coordinating outfits, or really anything. So, the night before we ran to Macy’s and I bought a dress. But the day of, I still didn’t have my footwear together. On my way out the door to the shoot, I grabbed my graduation shoes. I’d worn them a lot in private practice. But heels and yoga don’t mix, and heels and toddlers are a joke, so I RARELY wear heels anymore.
It’s our fifth anniversary tomorrow. It has not been easy. Marriage is really hard y’all. But we made it. Just like me, limping from the brand new heels on graduation day, (ummm so there was this tradition that involved walking with our walking sticks across the damn campus. . . and the heels were not broken in. . . ) bruised, battered, but victorious, I thought it wasn’t inappropriate to limp through this photo shoot in those same silly shoes. We have been through so much- lay-offs, illness, miscarriage, a baby, new home, new jobs, there’s more. . . but we’re still here. We made it through. So, we celebrate this moment. And we appreciate what we have. And we love. . .
Lady in yellow
A Woman Speaks
If i can’t do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don’t want
It’s not the same thing
but it’s the best i can
If i can’t have
what i want . . . then
my job is to want
what i’ve got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more to want
Since i can’t go
where i need
to go . . . then i must . . . go
where the signs point
through always understanding
When i can’t express
what i really feel
i practice feeling
what i can express
and none of it is equal
but that’s why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry
Do you think your baby cares if the dishes are done?
Mine doesn’t although she’s generally a neater soul than I. My sweet girl comes behind me and fully closes the refrigerator door, and savagely clears clutter from her belongings and her bedroom. Do not place your purse in my two year old’s chair. It will not go well for you. . . But anway,
I was ill. I’ll tell you about it later, but I was down. Like, “in- bed” down for days. I’m not the type of person to really take time off of work or yoga for my illness, unless I don’t have a choice. After work, I would come home and lay down. On the weekend, I could barely get up. I wound up taking a few days off. I’m better now that I’ve given myself time to rest and rejuvenate. But through it all, I felt so much guilt.
I felt guilt over the time I didn’t spend with my daughter painting, or playing or cooking, or enjoying the beautiful weather. I felt guilt about turning around and going to work, dropping my girl off at pre-school, only to have her come home to a mommy who was drained-with no energy to play or go on adventures. I worried aloud to the Mr. that I was not fulfilling my duties as a mommy, that Naomi would feel unloved and abandoned, that I was messing this whole motherhood thing up. . .and it wasn’t even my fault! I couldn’t help that I was sick.
But, it was all in my head. My sweet girl may have noticed mommy was not okay for a while, but it changed nothing, save a few extra heartwarming, “Mommy, are you okay?” questions throughout the day. You see, my baby doesn’t mind spending an evening in bed with mommy. In fact, she thinks it’s fun. She plays in the covers, jumps all over me, and ultimately falls asleep in her favorite place, mommy’s arms. She doesn’t mind when mommy orders a pizza for dinner, lacking the energy to prepare a home-cooked meal. She’s thrilled about the pizza. And she doesn’t care about whether the dishes are done. She would much rather mommy use the rest of her energy to play a game, or practice yoga poses, or do a mini dance a thon around the living room.
Our expectations, are just that- OURS. And regardless of the reason that we fail to meet our own standards, that doesn’t mean we have to feel guilt. It just means that life is happening. LIFE IS HAPPENING. And by now we should know that it is unpredictable, and uncontrollable.
So, be the best mommy you can be and screw the haters, even if the hater is you. Push through your own difficulties with your head held high. Show your children that life may not always be perfect, but the love you have for them remains the same. It’s really all that matters. I’m sure you guys don’t have this problem,:-) but if you do, share the strategies you use to combat it.
Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.
What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?
Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:
I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.
So, last time we talked about turning your thoughts regarding your haters inward, and using the technique of loving your way through. . . But how. . .
When someone goes out of their way to sprinkle hate my way, I stop to think to myself, “What was it that caused this person to go out of their way to treat me this way.?” I used to stop there, and then commence throw a pity party . . . “Oh, it’s just me, they just don’t like me”, or, I’d get angry and kind of defiant, “Who do they think they are? Why are they doing that?” But that line of thinking really didn’t get me anywhere. Chances are, it doesn’t get you anywhere either.
I recently had a friend crap all over a project I was really excited about. It seemed that with everything I said, my friend became more and more negative. At one point, I was told that I was speaking to her like a child, (although I’m pretty sure the opposite was true), and that she would speak to me like one in kind. I honestly had no idea where the negativity came from. The ferocity with which this “friend” spoke to me blew my mind. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has turned to a friend in excitement only to have that same “friend” act like anything but. However, this occasion presented to me the perfect opportunity to flex my ho’oponopono muscles.
I stopped my fretting and took responsibility for the situation- Was there something I said that hit a nerve with this friend? It’s been a while since we communicated and we have both been through a lot, could she be feeling neglected as a friend? Have I been the best friend to her that I could be? My answer was, “There is a lot that I could have personally done differently, that may have prevented this overwhelmingly negative response from my friend.” Of course, sometimes there isn’t anything you really could have done differently, but the point is to take responsibility for what is done. So, I took a deep breath, rolled my eyes up to the sky and said, I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. And I did this over and over whenever I got upset. See, unfortunately, when I encounter haters, I have an inner mean girl who likes to repeat what they say, and get me discouraged. So, anytime I felt my friend’s words echo in my head over the next week or so,(and for me, it’s like that sometimes I get mad for weeks. . . I’m sure you guys let everything go right away. . . I’m working to be like you!) I would take note and say to myself, I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. And you know what? My energy changed. I found motivation to keep moving forward on my project. After taking responsibility for my part of my friend’s negative reaction, I was able to free myself from the conflict and move toward my goal. Bonus- I learned something. Ho’oponopono is helpful. . . and don’t work with this negative-ass friend. See! So much growth. (And another post topic- let the haters go. . . )
Ho’oponopono harnesses an ages old way of thought, that isn’t just relegated to ancient Hawaiian healing techniques. In Phillipians in the bible, Paul says to the church, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” This is kind of what we do with Ho’oponopono. We think lovely thoughts toward those things that trouble us, and take responsibility. The technique is so simple:
1.) I love you
2.) I’m sorry
3.) Please forgive me
4.) Thank you.
I know, right. Revolutionary. I think we think that we need to work through hours of therapy, and years of a mindfulness practice, and lots and lots and lots of Jesus, to get ourselves to a place where others don’t bother us.
But with this simple technique, you can take responsibility for the feelings of others, and treat them gently, with love. I was reading James Altucher, and he said that getting angry with other people is dishonest. He said something like, who are we to expect other people to be perfect? To not fail us? It is dishonest and unfair to do so, and that’s where our anger comes from. (That alone could be a post by itself 🙂
So, when someone gets you upset through their craziness, hating on you and yours and what you’re trying to do, rather than get angry. . . take responsibility for the other person’s pain. Love them, as you would want to be loved. Repeat to yourself, I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.
You don’t even have to engage your haters with this method. For me that’s the best part, because I really can’t stand dealing with haters. From a distance, in your own quiet space you can lend love and light, and watch. . . your haters won’t really bother you anymore. Your focus is inward, you start to concern yourself with your reactions, your behavior, your motivations. This takes the energy away from the hater, and brings it into what will hopefully be a realm you can control. Yourself. Now if only that self control thing were as easy. . . this whole enlightenment game would be a wrap.
If you want to learn more about ho’oponopono, Joe Vitale and Dr. Len wrote an entire book, Zero Limits. You can find out more about it here: http://www.zerolimits.info/
Until next time,
Lady in Yellow