On my last mad dash through Northern California I made a pit stop in The City for some coffee and of course couldn’t pass up the chance to stop and shoot a picture of San Francicso as the sun went down and the lights began to glisten on The Bay. Unfortunately I didn’t have my tripod with me so it didn’t turn out as crisp as I would have liked. Mr. Shaky Hands here couldn’t hold still long enough in the wind. Regardless, it’s still just a beautiful thing to see.
Sometimes I need reminders to let my mind know that running a marathon when the race is only a few hundred meters is not exactly efficient. I woke up with the scenes from the story below playing repeatedly in my head this morning. After a few disturbing dreams last night, which are a friendly reminder for me to sleep less, it was odd that this story is what I woke up seeing in my mind because I’ve been doing a lot of letting go in the past couple of weeks.
Expectations of what I want in life don’t always pan out as planned but when I cut out the “stuff” and stick to the core of what makes me happy, I’m very blessed. Maybe not with the societal norms of material goods, fancy cars and jewelry, but people, love, and the energy that those people share with me is enough to keep a smile on my face and laughter in my heart during the toughest of times.
As I continue soul searching for the chapters in my real life “choose your own adventure” book, the story below, and the mandala above are helping to create the next path. Ironically, they both come from my past, or previous chapters, where I may have chosen a different path to get to where I am today. The two key points that I’ve come to after this morning are:
1. The right thing to do isn’t always the same as what the societal rules would suggest. (Story below)
2. Just because I put in the effort to create something beautiful, something I can be proud of, doesn’t mean it has to remain in the physical sense but rather it remains in my heart. Seeing the Buddhist Monks create the mandala in person and knowing that it is such a short lived entity before being blown away, makes me realize that the work I put into things is minimally significant compared to the joy its results may bring myself and others.
Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.
As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”
“Brother,” the second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”
No, I don’t suck at giving up. That’s actually something I’d consider myself above average at. I’ll hold on to hope and possibility well past all reasonableness.
I suck at hiding my emotions. I’d never be a good poker player because I wear my heart on my sleeve. The closer someone is to me or the better they know me, the easier it is for them to see every last thought written on my face.
It’s not often that I mind that someone can tell that something is on my mind, or whether something makes me happy or sad. It pretty much never bothers me actually, it’s just how I am. However, the last thing I want to do is make someone feel as if their efforts aren’t good enough. This is the only time I wish I could hide the emotions written boldly across my face because I think the interpretation of my emotions is actually exponentially multiplied when translated by someone other than myself. Weird, I know, but it’s similar to my expectations of myself compared to my expectations in others.
I expect perfection from myself, nothing less. I realize that’s unattainable but as long as I’m alive, it will be what I strive for. However, when it comes to my expectations from those around me, their best efforts are always good enough, I don’t expect perfection. I do believe in their ability to accomplish absolutely anything they desire in this world but I don’t expect them to be as hard on themselves as I would be on myself.
Two people I cherish having in my life, told me today that I’m too hard on myself and now I’m laying in bed trying to wrap my head around it because my heart surely can’t understand it.
And the thing that came to mind when they each said it to me was this bumper sticker. I guess I need to figure out for myself what the difference between giving up and giving in to reality is in my life.
Perhaps it’s time for me to start wearing my Guy Fawkes mask. 🙂