Monthly Archives: December 2016

Don’t struggle. It’s not worth it.

I’m guessing many of us have heard the advice that if you’re caught in a current in the ocean, to not struggle and fight against the current because that only tires you out and actually can pull you farther from shore. I’m not a good swimmer (I’m pretty much not a swimmer at all), so I don’t know if that’s true or not. What I do know is that the counsel to not struggle but to go with the flow (or current) applies to just about everything else in my life.

I am a fighter. It’s maybe taken me years to admit that, and nearly everyone close to me would most likely agree. When I’m hit with a challenge, or I think I’m hit with a challenge, my first impulse is to summon up my strength and take the challenge on headfirst. I give it my all. I dive all in. I metaphorically (and sometimes literally) kick and scream.

I struggle.

Sometimes when things feel even tougher than usual, I just might wallow in the pain and suffering. I just might allow myself to kick up all the old baggage that is similar – or even just a little bit similar. I just might allow myself to stay with the pain, and ache for all my past aches.

I struggle.

But I’ve realized over the years that my struggle is not worth it. It generally doesn’t get me the results I want, and it generally doesn’t get me the sympathy I want. And, when I stop and think about it, I don’t really want sympathy anymore anyway.

My struggle doesn’t bring me any good. It pulls me down. It slows me down. It drags down others around me.

I don’t deny my pain anymore. I don’t pretend it’s not there, like I used to when I was a child. But I also don’t need to stay in it or with it any longer.

I don’t need to struggle. It’s not worth it.

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

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You just keep going….

That’s what my mother said to me this morning. “You face these challenges, and then you reach down deep to an inner strength and you just keep going.”

We had been talking about a situation that happened with a client earlier this year that had been grueling. It had stretched me emotionally and mentally. It had been painful and caused me to question my work overall. It had been tough.

Then there was the end to our Xmas family party today. It had been wonderful and tiring hosting the family, many as overnight guests. But this morning Danny, my father, couldn’t stand up. Chances are his half-paralyzed body was exhausted from the bit of walking he had done over the past 48 hours. When he’s at the joint (the nursing home) they don’t let him out of his wheelchair, so when he’s at my house he tries to walk when and where he can. “Tries” being the fitting word.

By the time he attempted to get up from the daybed he’d slept in in the living room (because he can no longer go up and down the stairs), he couldn’t get up. He couldn’t get his balance and he seemed to be unable to move his left (paralyzed) leg. The more he tried, the more tired and frustrated and scared he became. And the worse things got.

Everything deteriorated from there.

When Danny had his stroke nearly ten years ago, I turned to everyone I loved and said, “may your parents live a really, really, really long time, and then may they die overnight.” It sucks to watch your parents suffer, no matter what your relationship with them. It sucks to watch Danny struggle and cry out in pain and frustration. It sucks to watch him feel so terrified and humiliated.

Someone else commented to me recently that it’s amazing that I take all of this with him in stride. Especially with our past. But it is what it is and it is what I do. I don’t see any other choice, even though I know it’s my choice to try and take care of him as I do. I am graced with compassion for Danny, and my heart breaks at the situation he has created for himself. I yearn to do whatever I can to ease his suffering, however I can.

And I just keep going. Perhaps that inner strength and ability to keep going is something else I’m graced with, and I take it so for granted that I don’t notice it. I breathe through Danny’s suffering, just like I breathed through the recent situation with my client, and I reach down deep for the peace and the ease and the joy and the love and the beauty that I have found and created in my life, and I just keep going.

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

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Tis the season

Each year I joke that we’re going to add one more holiday celebration to our list. We only do Chanukah (because of my husband’s family’s traditions) and Christmas (because of mine), but it feels like we do everything. I happen to love the season, and to find all of it to be an excuse for laughter and friendship and the best part of family.

But it’s also busy.

With the gifts and the parties and the hosting. With the end-of-year wrap-up and my daughter home from school and my extended family about to descend to my house, it’s busy.

I notice it most in my meditation.

I notice my mind going over (and sometimes over) my list of to-do’s, until I realize what I’m doing and call my attention back to my breathing. I remember the bed I need to rent for my dad to sleep in and the three client issues I have to resolve before I end the day. If I’m not careful I find myself itemizing my errands and looking for things to check off as done, while I’m sitting in “quiet” meditation.

Tis the season.

Tis the season, maybe, for joy, and it’s also the season of too much to do and too much to accomplish. Too many details and too many people counting on me for too many things. Did we order the food? Do we have wrapping paper? Do we have coffee? Where will everyone sleep? Did I get back to my client? Did I write the report? My quiet mind of meditation is easily less than quiet these days, as my inner taskmaster tries to make sure I don’t drop any balls. Or at least not too many balls. (If you read my last post, you’d know that I just dropped a doozy.)

And that’s when I, again, turn to “it’s amazing.” The more I meditate, the more I realize that at least when I meditate I’m pretty much able to watch my thinking. Or at least to catch it when it wanders off. And when I’ve caught myself wandering, it’s the time to think “it’s amazing,” and return to my breath.

It’s amazing that I’m learning to watch my thoughts. It’s amazing that I’m catching myself wandering off. It’s amazing that I can return to my breath. And return to my breath. And return to my breath.

If you celebrate – whatever you celebrate – I wish you the happiest and joyful-est of seasons, as well as the ability to stay at least almost somewhat present and to remember that it’s amazing when you realize you’ve wandered off and you come back.

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

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