Sunday, December 30, 2012

Let us live like the wild geese.

 Hi Mom,
I really don't believe much needs to be said today. This poem was one I read several times a day when you were sick. I read it to myself in the car before embracing yet another day at school. I saved it in my phone and read it as I walked across the parking lot to your nursing home in Carmichael.
The other day I passed Winding Way and Garfield and I smiled at the memory of this poem, knowing I always opened it on my phone at around that time in the drive.
This poem reminds me that we are a part of something so much larger than ourselves. We may know suffering. We may at points be weighed down by poor decisions, or even decisions we didn't know would lead us into hardship, but we need not despair. Live in the opportunities of the world. Live free. Wild. Live knowing you have a chance to make things right, to start anew, to take life one step at a time.
We are apart of something larger. And we are also always being called home-into rest. into peace. Into a new beginning.
As I start this new year I look forward to a new beginning and many more steps into life, love, and relationship.
Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~ Mary Oliver ~
Love Always and Forever
Your Daughter,

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Risking the small steps to create the picture, the big picture.

Hi Mom,
I know it’s been quite some time since my last post and honestly, that usually that means my brain was so overwhelmed that I became hyper critical of my writing... ultimately leading me not write much at all.

Alas! My more balanced self has returned from the depths of paper writing, emotional rollercoasters, and just plain life-stress.  What really makes me feel comforted in this whirlwind of a semester though, is that whenever I do get the time to inhale and… wait for it…exhale, I realize how much I have been growing. I realized tonight that I am in a healthy, yet completely confusing place.

I have begun now, (thanks to lots of processing time)  to grasp a better sense of how my brain works and  how in turn that has created the sense of confusion I have.

I see everything as a part of the big picture. I always have, it’s my first instinct. If I get an extension on a paper for school, my initial response is not: “Well now I can relax because I have more time”. It’s actually: “Does this mean I will get the paper back later than everyone else? How will this affect my overall grade? How can I be productive with my time now to make the most of this extension?”
  Everything I do I see in terms of what it means for my life, and the lives of others around me, overall.

I’m not interested in temporary fixes, Band-Aids.  I’m interested in the betterment of the whole situation—everything in context. I’m interested in finding ways to be able to look down the road and know that I will still agree that my decisions/emotions/actions were: valid, honest, and the best I could have given…even if I made mistakes.

Someone the other day gave me this scenario: If one of your closest friends came up to you, on one of the hardest days of your life to date, and could only respond with one action and one phrase what would you ask of them? What would help you heal the most? If they could only say one thing and do one action for you that entire day what would you hope it to be?

Besides being taken off guard by the complexity of the question, my response was actually quite simple. If one of my closest friends came up to me in such a state as the one described and were only allowed to do one thing for me and say one phrase in response to all I had to say I would want it to be just this:

1. Give me a true hug; a longer than average, honest hug

2. Say something that gives me the impression that what happens in my life matters to them.

What followed next was the question: based on this answer, describe how you receive love the best or in other words, what is your love language?

To which I said:

Mom, sometimes I want answers to why things are happening in the manner that they are. A bunch of questions are always floating around in my head:

 Are my priorities what I want them to be? Do my actions reflect and point towards those priorities?  Why do I have such AMAZING people in my life?

What does this next semester at Jessup look like for me—where do I see struggles and successes arising and how can I be more prepared for both?

 How can I be more intentional with my time? How can I better communicate to those in my life that their life counts? That they are thought about and loved in every moment of the day? What areas do I need to improve on and what will be my steps to get there?

It is a great thing that I often see the experiences in my life as a part of the bigger picture because... well, they are. This mindset of the bigger picture has allowed me to find encouragement and joy in the littlest of moments. It has helped me see the purpose of pain, struggles, and momentary setbacks. However, sometimes, this big picture mindset can cause me to become more confused, always wanting answers--which ultimately derive from the human desire for security.

Like I’ve been told several times before there is a time for big picture thinking and there is a time for the step by step mentality. Now, I truly believe, is a time for the latter. If you don’t act or react to situations because you are afraid, how will you move forward?

 Again, I catch myself saying that it is okay to give up control; all the details of life are not mine to decide anyways. It’s okay to take things day by day. It’s okay to react in what way I feel I need to. You can’t learn from mistakes if you’re too afraid to make them. You can’t get to the finish line without taking a step. You can’t see the big picture unless you’re willing to risk taking the small steps to create a picture in the first place.

Tonight has been just what I’ve needed. I will never know why everything is happening or why I react to things the way I do, but I can see growth. I can see honesty. I can see a step…and another step…and… look! It’s now Saturday.
Love Always and Forever
Your Daughter,