Category Archives: Success

Perspective Knocking at the Door of My Heart

After I finished the “Dinner Theatre” post yesterday, sitting at a little oak table in the corner of the coffee shop, watching the rain gently misting down, I picked up a copy of one of our local weeklies.  I turned to Rob Brezsny’s column and read because 1) he is a metaphor god 2) he has something to say, whether you buy his brand of spirituality or not.

Okay, to the point, I read “Taurus”, and Rob quotes W. Somerset Maugham, “The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous.” In interpretive mode, Rob goes on to say that people born under this sign had a great 09. At this point, I look at “Ares” because Phil was born on the cusp, and perhaps this “reading” will have some resemblance to reality, because “Taurus” was soooo off.

Philip, my husband, who is technically a Taurus, has had a stripping-the-flesh-off-bones year in almost every way possible. He sold one painting, healed from a serious injury, and our marriage was, at best, thread bare. This gifted painter has shoveled dirt, repaired mail boxes, fixed all manner of house related ailments, all to bring in a tiny wage, that like manna, covered the just day’s needs. His life as an artist, well, let’s say, has shriveled back to just a seed of promise.

So Brezsny got it wrong, right?

That brings me to this morning. I am padding around the living room, tidying. It was my oldest son’s eighteenth birthday on January 15th, and we have had kids in the house ever since. Guitars, shoes, and water bottles are everywhere. Then my eye falls upon my middle son’s journal. I had seen it yesterday, and without my glasses, I thought it was just a school related tome or perhaps a place for his newly honed songs.

But no, it was none of those things. Upon closer inspection, it was a book of prayers.

Okay. It’s perspective knocking at the door of my heart, once again.

How many parents would wish that their children would have some guiding force in their lives? And here, we had it, without any effort on our part. We haven’t pushed faith on the kids, but they all believe. We haven’t pushed fiscal responsibility on them, yet they all are extremely careful with the little pocket change they have in their position. We have not pummeled them with rules about being kind to others, yet they are true to their diverse cadre of friends. We haven’t even pressed them to love us, but they do. The 18 year old wanted us to stay at his beach birthday party, because it “wouldn’t be the same without family.”

I could go on, but I won’t.

It just the simple fact that there no real success in life, unless the invisible kind is present.

So maybe what Rob said was true…

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Filed under "The Journey", Children, Perspective, Success

Resolution Revolution

Every day for the last 10 days or so, a few simple exercises have been added to my morning routine. They take me all of 10 to 15 minutes–leg lifts, toe ups, squats, crunches, and push-ups–and best of all, I can see results.

Okay, let’s let those two words from those two sentences sink in: simple and results.

So my question is this, why have I not done this before?

The answer is easy, but rather esoteric. It is behind  all the things I have wanted to do and have yet to do. I can pretty much guarantee, also, that it will not show up in any  January resolution topic’d magazine article.

So what is this secret?

It is found in an old African proverb:

If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.

Are there a few quizzical looks? Raised eye brows?

What would be an enemy within? All I can say is that it is different for each person, but the origin of the enemy, the first cause, is always the same: it starts with a wound that has not healed, and no, I am not talking about a physical wound, I am talking about an emotional one.

And those unattended, invisible wounds have a life of their own. They operate in all sorts of scenarios, exacting their pound of flesh. They are behind every type of failure, in every type of circumstance possible.

So how do you find your wound? I know it sounds lame, but look within. The wound is inside, but so is the guide. Get quiet. Notice pain. Ask, what is this about?

In The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd, via her narrator, Lily, says this:

“Every human being on the face of the earth has a steel plate in his head, but if you lie down now and then and get still as you can, it will slide open like elevator doors, letting in all the secret thoughts that have been standing around so patiently, pushing the button for a ride to the top. The real troubles in life happen when those hidden doors stay closed for too long. But that’s just my opinion.”

About two years ago, I made a slight, but significant alteration in my habit of journaling. I began to transcribe the anatomy of my personal “fall.” That is, I recorded my digression into the hole of  fill-in-the-blank. I wrote down the hurt and the embarrassment as precisely as I could. Then I noticed something, the fill-in-the-blank didn’t have the power it once had over me. I felt a new robust strength that I had not had before: the power to say NO to something that did not have any of my best interest in mind, and YES to something that was good for me…something that would move me forward in my life.

The enemy within was having its cover blown.

So that’s how I have been able to do my calisthenics each morning…but it’s just my opinion.

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Filed under "Looking within", Healing, Resolutions, Success