So, I’m riding my bike home from downtown Toronto the other night, from a fun visit with 2 awesome women friends & our copious quantities of great conversation. Unexpectedly, we talked personal stuff the whole time – not work stuff, as I had sort-of-without-really-thinking-about-it expected.
& I start thinking about the universality of all this human stuff we are all always going through.
These feelings we all feel, the ones that are so overwhelming & often, sadly debilitating & energy-draining.
Alienation / loneliness
Guilt / shame
Fallout from failed marriages / failed relationships / failed …whatever
Feeling left out, misunderstood, like a failure, like not enough, like…
(We’re women, okay? We women are always-always-always struggling with stuff like this. It never ends. Okay?
Well. Does it ever end for any of us??
I guess it doesn’t end for any of us. Not until The End.)
So I’m riding my bike, feeling a bit like a kid with a new toy (riding a bike in Toronto is pretty new to me, & I’m not young anymore, okay? So it’s kind of fun to be doing this unexpected thing at my age, & hey… I have totally loved riding a bike all my life. The feeling of freedom & mobility it brings is just so exhilarating).
And I’m starting to mentally list these human emotions I think we all feel
& feel overwhelmed by, very often
& then I think about my daughters (& my failures as a parent, with divorce right up there at the tippy-top of the list; divorce is just such a supremely galling one...if frequently unavoidable)
& then I think of how I’ve turned out
& my good qualities, or strengths (such as they are)
& what my own parents did right
(& trust me, I could fill a page or three as to all they did wrong)
& I think
“Yeah. Why don’t we all just focus for once on what went right??”
& build on that. Be thankful for that.
Just for a change. Just for something completely different. As it were.
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and social activist, once said that as he grew older he came to understand that it was not ideas that change the world but simple gestures of love given to the people around you, and often to those you feel most at odds with. He said that in order to save the world you must serve the people in your life. ‘You gradually struggle less and less for an idea,’ Merton wrote, ‘and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.’” – from Broken Open – How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser
Others that come to mind:
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, until it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the time and place that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe (quoted in Ms. Magazine, Fall 2012)
“The criteria for success: you are free, you live in the present moment, you are useful to the people around you, and you feel love for all humanity.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (more quotes on success here )
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato, Greek author & philosopher in Athens (427 B.C. – 347 B.C.)
“Your wealth is where your friends are.” – Plato
“Hoard each joyous moment that comes to you. No one knows how it will all end.” – Háfiz
“Just to live is holy. To be is a blessing.” – Rabbi Abraham Heschel
“Each day we are born again to start our life anew. What we do today is what matters most.” ~ Buddha
** Quotes & posts on gratitude