Monday, March 28, 2011

BtVS and Sarah McLachlan's "Prayer of St Francis"

Reposting this

Instead of just the lyrics this Monday, let’s talk about the first time I heard this song by Sarah McLachlan. This might not make sense if you’re not familiar with Buffy the Vampire Slayer though.

Each season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ends with Buffy battling the Big Bad – in Season 1 it was the Master, in Season 2 it was Angelus and so on.

In Season 6 (or was that Season 7? I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to fact-check) of the series the writers change the direction for the season finale. They made three losers the “villains” of the season. They were pathetic, all their dastardly plans failed, and they were often the clowns of the series – until one of them came after Buffy with a gun. Buffy was shot, and a second stray bullet killed Tara.

The death of Tara was the trigger that took Willow over the edge. This was what the entire season arc was really leading up to – our favourite red-headed geek-witch as the Big Bad of Season 6: the Dark Willow. She was out to kill the three losers responsible and she will crush anyone who gets in her way. But before that, she went to the emergency room and pulled the bullet out of Buffy with her powers; Dark Willow could save Buffy, but not Tara. No magic in the world can bring Tara back, because she died by normal means – an ordinary bullet, from a gun, fired by a human. That is the way nature works, and Willow could not accept that.

When Dark Willow went after the three losers, Buffy ran after her. Buffy wasn’t that concern about the losers – one of them did try to kill her afterall. But Buffy loved her friend: dear, sweet mousy Willow who was smart and cute and kind. Buffy was trying to prevent Willow from committing murder – because once she crossed that line, she will never be the same.

But Buffy was too late. Dark Willow found the loser responsible for Tara’s death. She tied him up in the woods, drove a bullet into his flesh to make him feel the excruciating pain. The loser whined, begged, cursed, and Dark Willow, with a sigh: “Bored now” – flayed him.

Flayed – as in tore the whole skin from his body. It was graphic and horrific, and that deed told Buffy that Willow was lost to them. She understood her duty now is to stop the Dark Willow that used to be her friend, who has decided she would try to end the world.

Towards the end, when Dark Willow was raising a satanic cathedral that would end the world, it was not Buffy who came to the rescue. It was Xander who arrived. He told Willow he was sorry about Tara, he told Willow he loves her. He let her know that he still sees his best friend from kindergarten, who cried when she broke the yellow crayons. Xander, the loser with no power, saved the day. It could have been cheesy, but the scene was genuinely touching. Willow couldn’t kill her best friend, and she started pounding at him with her fists furiously, before finally allowing herself to break down. The source of Willow’s rage and hatred has been her deep, inconsolable grief. When she could finally cry, the dark magic lost their possession of Willow.

Where was Buffy? She was stuck in a pit with her sister, with monsters that kept coming at them. When the dark magic lost control of Willow, the monsters in the pit stopped coming. Buffy climbed out of the pit with her sister. As the sisters stood in the daylight, wondering why the world did not end, nevertheless glad to be alive here and now with each other – Sarah McLachlan’s "Prayer of St. Francis" played as the closing theme of the season.

It wasn’t strength, or supernatural power that saved the day. Buffy, the strongest of them all, was trapped with her sister, Dawn, in a deep pit full of monsters that kept coming at them. In the end she despaired. She knew her strength would eventually fail her, and Dawn will die with her; she wasn’t strong enough to protect them both.

Willow was the most powerful witch in the western hemisphere (or was that the northern hemisphere? If I had my Buffy DVDs with me, I would check) – but she couldn’t save Tara.

What Xander did was he looked beneath the violence and all that has come to pass. He put himself in harm’s way and spoke to the part of Willow that was grieving. He offered compassion and love in place of violence, because in the greater scheme of things, strength does not resolve violence or hatred. Only love and compassion can do that.

Sarah McLachlan adapted the Prayer of St. Francis into a song. It is a simple but profound prayer, and when we combine it with the beauty of Sarah McLachlan’s vocals, it is sublime.


The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.

O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive-
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen

As a song it is a short one, about 2 minutes. Nevertheless, I have played it over and over and never tired of it. Its message is universal: It is about humility: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace” – a plea to serve, to be a vessel of love to the world. It asks of us to go against our lesser impulses, to return hatred with love, where there is injury, to offer pardon. For me, Prayer of St. Francis is yoga music.

NOTE: “The Prayer of St. Francis” is available on Sarah McLachlan’s Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff: Vol. 2 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Soundtrack.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

QUOTE | Friends

"Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day."

— Dalai Lama XIV

"the worst part is there's no-one else to blame"

Sia's "Breathe Me" is one of those songs I replay on my iPod from time to time. There is something poignantly true in the lyrics. As much as we would like to believe people learn from their mistakes -- we don't always do. All of us are 'hooked' in our own ways, all of us have our neuroses, our insecurities and vulnerabilities. When it hurts, we react defensively -- some of us lash out in anger, we blame, we turn cold and cutting with our words, while some of use just retreat into ourselves, we become silent and distant.

We are conditioned to deal with pain from an early age, and they are familiar recurring habits throughout our lives. That is one of the conditions of being human.

Recently I found myself playing out my habitual defensive drama. It has been a difficult few months, culminating in a birthday month where I was overwhelmed by a sense of loss, grief and groundlessness. I ended up behaving in a self-destructive manner that alienated a few friends.

Sia's song could be the theme song to everything that happened:

"Help, I have done it again/I have been here many times before/Hurt myself again today/And, the worst part is there's no-one else to blame"

I keep a wall between myself and the world on most days. But occasionally I slip and allow people to get close. When the inevitable conflict and difficulties arises, I get confused, stressed out. , When relationships start to slip away, I react. I wanted to kill my heart a little so that it would stop hurting. I did what I felt I had to do then, because the pain was just too much to bear.



Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And, the worst part is there's no-one else to blame

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
I'm needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
I've lost myself again and I feel unsafe

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
I'm needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
I'm needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

It came to a point when I just felt numb. Sort of like a disorientation after a car-crash. People that cared about me wrote to tell me how my actions have hurt them. While a part of me is numb, there is still a small part that can still feel. I know what I did. It was self-centred of me to punish others for my own pain.

Now the dust has settled, I am looking back and I see actions have consequences. Now that I can see where I am headed, it is time to back-track and move on in the right direction.

In life, we are always going to slip a little from sanity occasionally.It is not excusable, or right or wrong. It is the way things are. Just get up and move on in the right direction. You are human. You are vulnerable. Don't let your mistakes define you. Take responsibility for your mistakes.

For friends that are gone, if they are meant to be, they may return. Otherwise, goodbye.

Minimalism as a State of Mind

Minimalism is sort of a romantic ideal for me. As much as I admire the notion of living life simply, with as little possession as possible, some how I would often unconsciously end up buying things and accumulating stuff. It's something that takes consistent effort. But it is possible. A lot of people who found themselves suddenly jobless in the midst of an economic crisis somehow learned to adapt to having every little.

When I was jobless - with no income, I bought very little. I used the library often, I spent mainly on food and necessities. I don't even buy CDs anymore, and I bought no new clothes. Now that I am with an income again, I look around, and I see how much I have been spending, buying, consuming - it's a vicious cycle.

I just found this 100 Thing Challenge. Dave Bruno basically outlines the minimalistic effort in 3 steps:

Reduce (get rid of some of your stuff)

Refuse (to get more new stuff)

Rejigger (your priorities)


Our possession is somehow tied to our state of mind. I know whenever I feel overwhelmed by emotions, clearing the clutter around me helps. Maybe it's a psychological thing - what happens within manifest itself without. Just that when I look seriously at the things around me, I often wonder: "Is this something I need, or something I would like to have?"

That is a question for the heart too: "Do I need this, or I am just holding on because I think I cannot be happy without it."

Going to explore http://www.becomingminimalist.com.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday is over

So my birthday is over.

I had only one birthday wish this year. It did not come to pass, because it isn't something I can only ask for, but whether it comes or not, that's an act of grace. I can work towards making the conditions right for things to unfold - but everything is karma.

I have been reading about hopelessness as a spiritual practice lately. Hope is defined as looking for something in the future to change. Faith is trusting what is happening here and now is what we need to do, where we need to be. You stop looking for something in the future to make you happy.

I have to admit it is difficult. So difficult.

I wish the people I love would stop leaving me.
“There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happiness

I asked a friend once if he gambles. He replied in the negative. He told me, "I never put my money on anything where I cannot control the outcome."

This advice works as well for life. Never place your happiness on anything where you do not control the outcome.

“Ten Suggestions for Having a Regular Daily Practice Even if You Would Rather Be Thrown into a Shark-Infested Ocean”

Birthday notes:


By Diane Winston, excerpted from Shambhala Sun:

1. Be gentle on yourself. If you think you’re a failure and berate yourself for missing a day or a week, meditation then becomes another excuse for self-hatred. Look, meditation training is like swimming upstream, doable, but takes some effort. Be forgiving, yet keep at it.

2. Allow it to become a habit. Try to do it at the same time in the same place everyday. The way to cultivate a habit is to actually do it. The more consistent you can be, the easier it is for the new grooves to be worn into your brain.

3. Review your day and pick a time to do it that makes sense. If you are not a morning person, in fact can’t even look at yourself in the mirror until after you’ve had your coffee, wait till later in the day. If you come home exhausted every night, try the mornings.

4. Be willing to be flexible. If you miss your morning session, be creative. Take a mindful, silent walk at work; sit before you fall asleep. Don’t throw in the towel just because your daily routine got upended.

5. Prioritize. You need to somehow insert into your brain that meditation is just as important as brushing your teeth, showering, eating, Friends reruns, whatever it is. I think it’s amazing how much time we find to answer email but how strikingly little time there is to sit daily. Hmmmm.

6. Set your intention. Ask yourself as you sit down, why am I meditating today? See what emerges. Then ask yourself, what are my deepest reasons for practice? Return to these motivations when the going gets tough. A liberated mind takes work and reminders.

7. Pick a doable amount of time. Don’t strive for an hour unless it seems easy to you. Twenty minutes to a half hour can work fine. Up it, if that seems easy and fits in with your schedule. Even five minutes will activate those neural pathways, keep it going. And get a new groove forming.

8. If all else fails, get your sweet self on your cushion and take three breaths.

9. Sometimes sitting truly feels impossible. Then use your designated time for some kind of spiritually supportive practice: read a dharma book, listen to a tape, write in your journal.

10. When you screw up, be gentle on yourself. I already said this, but I’ll say it again, it’s key for developing a regular practice.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Empathic Civilisation

RSA Animate - The Empathic Civilisation

An animated exposition on human empathy. To empathize is to civilize.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Never Doubt

A friend and I haven't spoken for a while. I contacted her last night about our mutual friend, the one that passed away on Sunday. She said this to me:
"... but i never doubt that you will be there for me"

Sometimes when you just need a reminder of love, you get it.

Do Not Grieve

I found out last night that a friend passed away last Sunday. I thought about how I didn't keep in touch with her, because I was so caught up with my own self-centered life. And now she's gone, and I can't make it up to her.

I think I am on the verge of losing another good friend because of an argument.

I ended up crying last night; it was an emotional day. Sometimes all you have left are regrets and loss. I'm trying to remind myself not all relationships are gone forever. But sometimes, I wonder.

I'm trying to comfort myself right now.

Song by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Do not grieve.
Do not grieve
This pain will cease.
Friends will return
Wounds will heal

Do not grieve.
Do not grieve.
Day will dawn.
Night will end.
Clouds will burst.

Do not Grieve.
Do not grieve.
Times will change.
Birds will sing.
Spring will come.

Do not grieve.
Do not grieve.

~ Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Translated by Daud Kamal

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

STOP

I have enough deaths around lately. Will people stop dying?

Monday, March 14, 2011

QUOTE | Our job is to love ...

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.”

~Thomas Merton

Sunday, March 13, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 13: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter)

Thank you Sarah McLachlan, for your music. I cannot count the number of times when things feel down for me, and just listening to your songs made me feel just that little bit better. "Fallen" became my theme song during a really bad break-up and I found myself losing friends along the way because I could not deal with it maturely.

"Hold On" reminds me of how it feels to lose someone you lose, the way it feels like a part of you is dying.

Thank you for articulating heartache so beautifully.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 12: Something you never get compliments on

No one has ever complimented me on my culinary skills.

They don't compliment me for my sewing skills either.

Friday, March 11, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 11: Something people seem to compliment you the most on

People often compliment me on my strength.

Being strong-willed is not always strength. Real strength of character requires flexibility. One of the things I learned from yoga is that strength supports flexibility. If you are flexible but without the muscles to support your body, you can literally over-stretch and injure yourself. This principles work in real life situations too. Being too strong-willed, to the point that you are unable to yield, unwilling to listen - and in the process causing conflict and pain to someone else - that is not strength.

Real strength comes from the heart. The heart is the source of compassion, and it does not mean you are never insecure or afraid. It just means you do what is necessary anyway, even when it forces you out of your comfort zone.

In this regard, I am just an ordinary human being trying to be strong.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let Us All Be Thankful

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

~ Buddha

30 Days of Truth | Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know

There really isn't anyone that I wish I never knew. If they ever made an impact in my life, they are worth it, even if there's pain.

I do wonder at the letting go part. Letting go is not the same as giving up. If we interprete "letting go" as non-attachment (and as difficult as it is, it is possible to love someone deeply without attachment) - then, yes. There are a few people in this universe that I need to let go.

I need to let go to love them better.

"Never put anyone out of your heart... " ~Neem Karoli Baba

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 9: Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted

A friend and I ceased communication recently. We have drifted apart for some time now, and I knew it. It was an awful feeling - to love someone deeply, but you could only watch them slipping further and further away from you.

My mistake was to struggle to hold on when I should have let go. I should have respected the natural flow of these things. I made things worse.

Soon after my friend and I stopped speaking, I was reminded of my friend, Bunny. It was her death anniversary (she passed away last year on 19th January), and it made me re-examine a lot of things.

Bunny had been dead for over a year, but her husband continues to miss her. He still posts on her Facebook wall on special occasions - her birthday, Valentine's Day, Christmas, New Year's Day, their wedding anniversary. It was heartbreaking to read the posts by Bunny's husband; I feel for him. It is terrible to love someone, to miss them, and not be able to hold them ever again, not to be able to hear them laugh anymore. Most of all, it reminded me of how badly I ended things with my friend. I miss her. I regret the last things I said to her, the things I have done - I did all of those things because I was hurt and angry, and I wanted to hurt her. I regret all of them.

I could have ended things a lot better. I owed my friend better respect.

Life is precious. Relationship is precious. Never let the last thing you say to someone be words you will regret.

Several years ago, I put up a passage from the Dhammapada at my work-desk:
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.

“Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate.

“Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Abandon such thoughts, and live in love.

In this world
Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.

You too shall pass away.
Knowing this, how can you quarrel?

My friend and I are estranged - but we are both still alive. I still have a chance to try to make amends.

However, being sorry does not mean we get to side-step the consequences of our choices. Saying sorry does not alway mean everything will go back to the way things were.

Forgiveness is an act of grace. I can try to make amends - but I have no control over the outcome.

I wrote to my friend. We did not reconcile. Around the same time, I saw the Facebook profile link for an old friend, Cara.

Cara and I stopped speaking back in 2004. We quarreled a long time ago, because I felt I wasn't accepted for who I am. I said a lot of hurtful things to her right before we stopped communicating. I was the one who chose to walk away - yet I know without a doubt that I love Cara. I missed her a lot all these years, but something stubborn within me would not allow me to mend bridges with Cara. Last I heard from mutual friends, Cara had moved to Holland. She was doing her Masters, and she was married. A part of me lied to myself, that Cara was too far away - there was no point trying to contact her.

So here we are, January 2011. It was a day of miracle. The synchronicity of events: Bunny's death anniversary, her husband's posts, the sadness of missing Bunny who is dead, and the sadness of missing my friend who is alive - it all led to something softening inside me.

I ended up sending Cara a Facebook Friend Request. She accepted. We wrote each other. I found out Cara and her husband moved to Singapore last year. She is pregnant with their first child, due this May. Most of all, Cara works really close to my office, so we meet up for lunch when we can.

The universe works in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

QUOTE | Don't wish me happiness

Don't wish me happiness - I don't expect to be happy it's gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor - I will need them all.

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

30 Days of Truth | Day 8: Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit

Well, I can honestly say, the only people who have tried to make my life difficult are co-workers who have some inferiority issues, or they are playing some politics for their own interest and I just got caught in the way.

But no one can make my life hell unless I allow them. Yes, often I am challenged emotionally, and I get frustrated and angry - but no - as long as I can compartmentalize and keep myself sane - no one can drag me into hell with them.

Just because they unsettle my mind briefly does not mean they control it.

Just because they suck, doesn't mean I have to be like them.

I am awesome that way.

"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?"
— Rumi

Monday, March 07, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 7: Someone Who Has Made Your Life Worth Living For

I feel like one of those winners during the Oscars that has to thank everyone from their scriptwriters to their pet hamsters. But -- my life is rich and full because of all the people in my life -- even the ones that I no longer talk to.

If there is only one person in your entire life that has made it worth living for -- I would recommend examining your life right now. We owe our lives to everyone who has crossed our path. If you only acknowledge one person who made your life worth living - then you need to learn to open your heart, and learn more gratitude.

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival."
— C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

I am the sum of all my experiences and the people who crossed my paths, and left their mark on my heart. Each of them contributed to my life. My life is worth living because my heart is so full.

Moleskine for The Little Prince

QUOTE | To love is to be vulnerable

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

— C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 6: Something You Hope You Never Have to Do.

It is something that has been on my mind for some time. My mom's mental health has been gradually declining. It has caused a lot of stress at home, for my family and myself.

Things may come to a point where we are not able to care for her at home. It was a drain on our emotional resources trying to cope with things as they are now. I can't imagine going through another bout of depression trying to deal with things.

I don't want to consider sending my mom to a nursing home. This would mean things have come to such a point that we desperately need help.

It scares me to think about this - but it is a very real possibility in the future.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 5: Something You Hope to Do in Your Life.

A lot of my friends will probably be surprised by this - because it's not something that I talk about a lot. Or at all.

I hope one day to start a family; I would like to have a child, and raise my child with someone who loves me. I don't talk about it a lot with my friends. The circumstances of my life do not really allow this at this time, so I have chose to keep things quiet.

Why talk about things that will probably never come to pass?

But, I hope one day to have a little girl. Maybe it's my own difficulties with my mother that led me to want a daughter. But I hope to raise a daughter who will be good and kind. I hope she will be courageous, and adventurous. I hope she will learn that it is okay to make mistakes - our mistakes are rich learning experience. I want my daughter to know how to love herself, even as she learns to love and protect other people.

I have even picked the name for her.

I am not the most patient person in the world, but I know I will love with all my heart. I know I will be a good mom, because I really, truly care - and that's what's really important

Friday, March 04, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 4: Something You Have to Forgive Someone For

I had my heart broken late last year. I never really had a chance to heal from that before the other party asked if we could "remain friends."

On hindsight, it was a terrible mistake. There was a huge gaping wound between us and every time we argue, it was as though we tear at the stitches. We stab at the wound before it ever had a chance to heal.

Now we are no longer friends.

I never really forgave that person for breaking my heart. I did my fair share of the damage. It's rarely just someone else's fault.

Which is a shame - because I learned a lot from that relationship, especially after it ended. It was ironically, an opportunity for spiritual awakening.

That's the terrible thing about falling in love. You let yourself be vulnerable to someone else, and it is beyond your control what the other person do with the power they have over your heart. They can choose to listen to you, and look after your heart - or they can ignore it, neglect it. Part of why it is so hard to forgive the other person, is because you find it difficult to forgive yourself for putting yourself in such a vulnerable state in the first place.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 3: Something You Have to Forgive Yourself For

I never set out to be hurtful or unkind. If I do treat people unkindly, it's usually more out of impatience or a bad temper than ill-will.

But there are some people who seem to push my buttons in the worse possible way. They are always the people that I care about, because only the ones you love have the power to get under your skin so badly.

I love her, in a complicated sort of way. And I know my mom is the person who loves me the most in the world.

But I spent so many years of my being angry at her, that I haven't been kind to my mom. I get reactive around her. I have less patience with her than I do with most people. It's as though I forgot how to be kind with my mom.

My mom's health has been declining for some time now. And I still haven't figured out how to get along with her. I don't know if I will ever be able to reconcile our differences. I know I have not told her I love her for more than 20 years.

Every time I raise my voice at her, or I lose my temper - I feel bad afterwards.

I don't know why I find it so difficult to be kind to my mom. For the major part of my life, I defined myself AGAINST my mom. I see her as weak, so I want to strong. In a way, she represented everything I despise, because I don't want to be like her. I don't want to be so weak that I allow people to walk all over me and not fight back.

I think it's the saddest thing in the world for a daughter to feel that way about her mom.

I am not the daughter my mom hopes for.

Maybe I just don't have enough love in me to be a better daughter.

Maybe I am not meant to forgive myself for being this way with my mom.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

30 Days of Truth | Day 2: Something You Love About Yourself

So, let's talk about what I love about myself.

Somehow it isn't as easy as I thought it might be. Afterall, who would think I would have trouble talking about myself?

But it is.

Because when I really stop to think about it, I don't know what I can say without a doubt that I love about myself. I have a lot of good traits: I am kind, helpful, generous, decent and I have a dry, sardonic sense of humour - but I don't know if I love these traits about myself, or I accept that as the things that comes with the package of "me-ness".

So I have to take this from another point of view - if I was friends with myself, what is it that I love about myself?

So, to myself, I would say:

I love you for being the Care Bear that you are. If Grumpy Bear and Friend Bear had a love-child, you would be it. Which probably makes you a Frumpy Bear. Oh well.

I love you because you are kind as an instinct. You care when other people are hurting, even if you don't like them very much - because the fact that someone else is hurting matters to you more than how you feel about them personally.

You are kind, because you genuinely care about people - not because you want people to like you. That's why you are not nice - because you don't really make any effort to make people like you.

I love you because your heart is generous and true. Don't armour your heart when it hurts, because your pain, the fact that your heart is tender and vulnerable is the source of your compassion. You understand pain, which is why you care and you reach out when you see someone else suffering.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

QUOTE | I want first of all

I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.

I want, in fact—to borrow from the language of the saints—to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible.

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

30 Days of Truth | Day 1: Something You Hate About Yourself

So with this 30 Days of Truth meme, I'm supposed to write something about a chosen theme every day for 30 days. I have a couple of friends who said they wanted to do this with me, so we will be comparing notes later.

30 Days of Truth: Day 1: Something You Hate About Yourself

That is a somewhat negative way to begin this writing meme.

But...

I hate being afraid.

I hate feeling powerless in situations which are unfair to myself and others. I hate feeling powerless over my emotions.

I hate the sense of a loss of control over the circumstances in my life, which is often, because of fear.

I hate being weak.

My whole life I fought against the perceived weakness within myself. I am a fighter - it has become my instinct against fear. I fight when I am afraid, because I rather go down fighting than give up. Surrender is not an option. The only way to combat fear is to face it head-on. Those of you who are into astrology, you should not be surprised when I tell you I am an Aries Sun sign.

Then the last few years threw me against my assumptions. Time and time again I am thrown into situations that terrify me, where I have limited or absolutely no control; Surgery, unfair work situations bordering on exploitation, elderly parent with mental health issues, a pretty long term unemployment - I dealt with them all with differing success.

But lately I have began to reconsider my reactive approach to the things that scare me. Perhaps, what I really hate is feeling vulnerable. Perhaps real strength is not in fighting against weakness, but in being able to lean into vulnerability. Perhaps the really courageous people are not those that rage against the dying of the night - but those that accept the uncertainties, that accept the grounds falling apart from beneath our feet.

Perhaps real courage is the grace to surrender, to be willing to embrace the things that scare you.

Perhaps my whole life up to now has been about running away, and maybe I am not the fighter in life that I thought I was. Perhaps all the drama of my fighting is just a strategy for distraction and numbing the fear of opening my heart to vulnerability.

I want to change this. I want to open my heart to vulnerability.