This is another post for my fellow princess-and-the-pea folks. I'm told that sensitivity is a gift, that it's what allows me to do what I do. But, you know, I have to ask, at what price? Is it worth the guard and the shields, the extra care with EVERYTHING (food, fragrances, cosmetics, household goods, organics), not to mention the cost (monetary, mental, and physical).
I don't know, but I'll be honest--I wish my buffer, my range, were a bit larger. I wish one indulgence didn't result in days of recovery. I wish I had a little more resilience against the electronic and chemical nature of our modern world. I wish I didn't have to worry so much about what a new innovation will mean for my system. I wish I didn't have to find and keep so many practitioners and experts and appointments on speed dial.
We all have a threshold--some of us are just able to encompass more acreage than others, covering more ground during our daytime hours. But it's not a race, even if most days it feels like one.
We have remarkable brains and firm boundaries--both are here for our protection, and when we embrace their daily limits, they serve us well, inspiring us to create, to make connections, to embrace color and change and dynamism.
But when we push too hard, we begin to crack--and that fault-line, once opened, will not only swallow us whole, but everyone else in the pull of our orbit.
We so often forget how strong we are. You know why? Because strength is hard--it's hard-won, and it's hard to maintain for extended periods of time. But it's those marathons of strength--the ones that leave us exhausted and in need of long recovery--that we remember best.
Well, of course we don't want to live those again, and of course we think of them with trepidation, in fear of their recurrence. But what we forget is that we have successfully won every day we've lived through--and life ain't for sissies, man. Every single one of us has what we need to get ourselves up, move through our days (to do so gracefully is optional), and to thank both our guides/gods/powers and ourselves for navigating our course once more.
To do anything more, we must first realize that we can do anything.
I don't think we get to a point when we're "too old" to say yes when we mean no. I think we were born too old for it.
I, for one, was shocked when I realized that, for all my rebellious, anti-authority tendencies, I was a person who said 'yes' against my better judgment, rather then hurt someone. That's not a habit leading to good, honest, and long-standing relationships. And while that hard 'no' is still difficult to articulate--for all of us--compromising yourself in your soul is far harder and will wear you out far more quickly than you realize.
Post-Independence Day seems as good a time as any to declare ourselves free from people-pleasing, free from worrying about others' feelings more than our own (which doesn't mean we don't have to be kind and considerate, just that, if we have to live with our decisions, they'd better be ones that put us right in our soul), free to say no when we mean no, and free never, ever to feel guilty about it before, during, or afterward.
It seems like such an easy concept--knowing where you are now. But if you think about it, it makes all the difference in the world. You don't have to worry about where you're going; you don't even have to know what you're doing. As long as you're in the moment, as long as you know (literally) where you are in space, how it feels to breathe there, how your feet feel in their shoes on this floor, knowing what your eyes see and your ears hear, then you'll be fine. The information you need will always come to you, a solution of some sort will always arrive, if you are present.
But that's a big 'if.' We're so rarely present; our brains love to whip us around, whip us into a frenzy of anticipation, anxiety, what if's, and random worries. But if we can BE present, we could realize we have all the answers, or the ability to learn the skills to find the answers, at our fingertips.
We know this because it's true. We've had moments of absolute clarity, moments of absolute presence, and I'll bet y...
I imagine, unless you're a monk (and even then...) it's almost impossible for us to accept ourselves as we are. Or, even if we could accept ourselves, then to like ourselves. I wonder if it was always like this. I wonder if my grandmother ever sat, frowning, in front of her mirror? I wonder if she was constantly comparing herself to others, worrying about how much she did (or didn't) eat, how much she did (or didn't) move. And I wonder if we've always, always been this exhausted?
Petals, we are like prisms--we can take something relatively straightforward and bend and refract it into something marvelous and extraordinary. We cannot ever forget this. It is this gift, this miraculous quality to create through adaptation, that allows us to see our way over, around, or through any situation. There is always an answer--even if it takes years of tinkering before we stumble upon it.
But the years don't matter--our faith in our own ingenuity and the willingness to keep trying are what does.
We do the best we can in the moment we have with what we're given. Write that on your chalkboard (sheesh--white board?) over and over until you believe it. We can blame ourselves, apologize for ourselves until we leave this earth, but to what end? What's the point? After all, if we can only do the best we can in the moment we have with what we're given, well. What alternative is there? And if there is no alternative, what in blazes are we apologizing for?
What a waste of energy. But worse--what a waste of a life. What an insult to the sweet soul who's only doing the best she can with what she has at any given moment. This is resilience, though we may not label it as such, though we may not feel resilient or robust or strong or any of those things to which we aspire.
Well--hear me now (and I'm talking to myself here as much as anyone)--you are already strong. You are already resilient. You are already brave. You are here--without apology.
We're always running up against sharp edges, whether difficult decisions or the weight of another day's routine. What gets us through, on the healthy days, is mindfulness--finding simple joy in food, fulfilling work, leisure, and good company. All too often, at least in my experience, that kind of mindfulness, that kind of joy, is elusive.
Without easy access to joy, we're left seeking comfort (comfort that supports us rather than numbs us) for the resilience to make it through our days--a skill we've honed over many years and whose means are absolutely necessary and no one's business but our own.