Monthly Archives: February 2014

Allow what is – how stupid is that?

I’ve been coaching myself to more intentionally accept “what is” – what is going on in each moment; what is happening to, around, and inside of me; whatever I’m facing or enjoying or dealing with. Whatever is. And somewhere I read, or heard, the suggestion to allow “what is”, which sounded both great and inspiring, and also really stupid.

Because what other choice do I have than to allow what is? What is is what is, and it will be what is in this moment, no matter what. I really have no control over any of it. It exists – it is – whether or not I like it. And whether or not I allow it.

But I still like the concept. When I think, “Allow what is,” I feel a sense of peace and calm wash over me. I feel my heart lighten and my pulse slow and my mood lift and my smile expand. But it seems somewhat stupid to remind myself to allow what is, because it will be whether I allow it or not. Because not allowing what is is not only impossible, it’s also a false sense of control. It’s a misguided notion that I could prevent what is if I didn’t like it. I can’t. It is.

What is? My husband just left for a week-long trip to Europe. I don’t like it but it is. What is? My son and I will sit down to dinner and Dr. Who – most likely tonight and every night my husband is gone. I do like it and it is. What is? I had a great FaceTime with my daughter today. Again I like it and it is. What is? The water for the pasta is taking forever to boil. Is that why they say a watched pot never boils? And, okay, I was reading about mindfulness and reminding myself to be more mindful, and I mindfully forgot to put the water on to boil in time. It is what is.

I have no choice but to allow what is. That’s true. But when I actively remember to choose to allow what is, even though I really have no choice, I feel better. I feel myself lighten. I feel my resistance to what is, if I don’t like what is, lessen. I feel more at peace and more accepting. I am more in the moment; I am more mindful; I am more likely to enjoy what is and to enjoy what’s in front of me.

Even if it’s stupid – which it may not be – I’m going to allow what is.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Swimming in the Hudson River

I’m sitting on a Metro North train, on my way to Irvington, NY, for a client gig. But my mind is not on my client. My mind is on my past.

Irvington is the station we used when we visited my mother. The Church properties were mostly in Tarrytown, but Irvington was the closest train station. I sit on the train and I remember them all. Belvedere, where Father would speak every Sunday morning at 6am. Watching the sunrise as the Messiah gave direction and guidance. What could be better? Jacob House, the nursery where my mother worked and lived. She cared for the babies of Church members who were out on “missions” around the country and the world. Even then I thought it was a bit ironic that she couldn’t live with and care for us because she had to live with and care for other children…who couldn’t live with and be cared for by their parents. Gracemere, the second nursery my mother worked and lived at – only there she was the cook. The White House, a house that was white, where a Church leader lived. The memories flood through me and it feels good.

I look out the window as the train travels. This track is along the Hudson River, which is partially iced over. I swam in the Hudson River. Not here, near New York City. Not even in Tarrytown. But during our first trip into the heart of the Church, the first time my mother took us with her to Barrytown – a seminary in upstate New York that the Church had bought – so that we could discover the new religion that was inspiring her. That weekend we heard Father speak, sat in lectures and learned the doctrine, ate at the large round tables in the huge dining room, and swam in the Hudson River with all our brothers and sisters. (Church members are referred to as brothers and sisters because we’re all in God’s family, under the guidance of Father and Mother, Rev. and Mrs. Moon.)

I get off the train in Irvington. As I wait for my business partner to come and get me, I flash back to being picked up at the train station on Friday nights, at the bottom of the long hill of Main Street, so excited to get to see my mother, and being dropped off on Sunday afternoons, never wanting to leave. I remember the people and the places. It never depresses me to remember these things. It somehow fills me with love.

We drive to the conference center that we’ll be working at and memories continue to overtake me. I know the conference center is literally right across the street from East Garden. Where Father lived. Where I played with his daughters. Where I sat at his table and swam in his pool and was always in awe.

I’ve come to terms with much of my childhood. I’ve gotten to the point where the triggers that used to set me off, that used to instantly bring up pain or fear, are lessened. Where I often have the space to choose not to be triggered. And I love remembering so many of these moments of my childhood. So many of the people and places.

I wonder why I love remembering this so much. My brother doesn’t. I think it’s my way of continuing to heal. I think it’s my way of finding the good in all that happened to and around me. I think it makes sense because in leaving the Church it was like I erased everything and everyone I ever knew and loved from my life, so remembering it all allows me to know that it was real. It did happen. I didn’t make it up. And I think it’s because I’ve built myself, and my life, around love – giving love, being love, noticing love, and receiving love. And looking back, to Tarrytown, to Barrytown, to swimming in the Hudson River, gives me more reasons to love.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I made it down a mogul studded, black diamond run!

I skied down a black diamond mogul run. My son disagrees. He’s told me that I’m wrong to claim victory, but claim it I do. In my mind, I made it down a black diamond slope. A black diamond slope with moguls. A black diamond slope with moguls out west, in Utah. Something I never thought I’d be capable of.

My son says it doesn’t really count since we only ended up on the black diamond run because we were trying to get off the double blue square mogul run that was too icy. And we didn’t ski the whole black diamond run. But I will tell you that I skied a mogul black diamond, even if there was nothing pretty about how I skied most of it. I didn’t wipe out. I didn’t have a spectacular fall. I did stumble (as much as one can stumble with skis) my way down, the tips of my skis pointing clearly in the wrong directions at times, my legs splitting beneath me as I tried to maneuver something I pretty much had no right to try and maneuver.

And yet I’m proud. If you knew my ski history, you might be proud of me too. Native New Yorker that I am, I never skied in my childhood. When I was first introduced to skiing I was in my early twenties, and I was, back then, as stubborn as I am now. Maybe more so. I hated the fact that I couldn’t easily do this thing that I had never done. I hated learning to do anything new, anything that required a period of time of incompetence.

So on my first ski trip I spent the morning in ski school, embarrassed that I was an adult in ski school, learning something that children who seemed to come up to my knees (or at least my waist) did effortlessly. And then I spent the afternoon skiing and falling, and skiing and falling, and skiing and falling, so that by the time the ski lifts were closing and my friends and I were on the wrong side of the mountain from our car, I prayed for someone to go get the car and come pick me up. But instead I was told we would take the lift up and ski back down to where we were parked. Only I was so tired that when I fell (which I did often in my attempt to ski), I couldn’t seem to get back up. The ski patrol actually came by on their snow mobiles, asking if I wanted a ride down the mountain. But I was too stubborn to give in, so I forced myself to ski (and fall) the rest of the way down.

My second and third and fourth times on skis were never any better. It became something I somewhat tolerated, but slightly hated because I wasn’t good at it. My fifth and sixth and seventh times on skis were probably all the same.

And then my husband started our family skiing. And skiing some more. I began to be a bit okay with the fact that I wasn’t very good. I certainly wasn’t very fast. I was a cautious and nervous skier, and my kids quickly surpassed my abilities. But I still kept going, and allowed myself to find the fun in it.

And then this trip. Just my husband, my son, and myself. I became more willing to try new things, and to try runs that daunted me. I followed my son off of small jumps – and again, wiped out so outrageously that eventually the ski patrol came to try and help me get back up, and I laughed until my sides ached as even they couldn’t seem to get me easily righted – and through tiny moguls. I picked up speed I never had before.

Then we got stuck (at my husband’s suggestion) on the double blue square run that was mostly ice, and my son convinced us to move over to the black diamond to have an “easier” way down. And I went. And I skied it. Or at least I made it to the bottom of the mountain, even if you wouldn’t really call it skiing. Not pretty, but I did it.

So despite my son’s insistence that I didn’t really ski a full black diamond mogul run, I am proud. I’m proud that I’ve learned to be okay with not being very good at something, and doing it anyway. I’m proud that I’ve learned to see the humor when the ski patrol comes over to help me. I’m proud that I’ve realized the beauty in the surroundings, in skiing in fresh fallen snow (nothing like that), in spending amazing time with the people I love the most, and in allowing myself to have fun with it and to try things that are hard for me.

And I’m proud that I skied (at least partly) down a mogul studded, black diamond run.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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