Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monthly Reflection

A lot has happened since my last post on self reflection; nothing earth shattering or life changing, just a lot of living. I have shared many of these moments with you here in the past weeks. During this time, however, I have struggled with my commitment to embrace the ordinary and live each day to the fullest. I have spent the past month battling myself and my family, and allowing myself to get bogged down by the everyday tasks that need to be accomplished. Several times during this past month I have heard my husband ask me, “What happened to simplifying your life an accepting each day as it comes?”

Yeah…what happened?

I have been contemplating this question for several days now, trying to figure where I’ve gone wrong. Where is the contentment and peace I should be feeling? Why do I feel so overwhelmed? Where is my balance? Maybe I’m not trying hard enough?

Then a couple of days ago I received and email from a blog I follow written by one of my favorite authors, Katrina Kenison. You will find her books listed on my blog under “Books That Inspire Me” and I have also mentioned her in past posts. In her newest blog she talks about the challenge of being the moment. There is a particular line in her post that especially hit home. She is walking on the beach with her husband, contemplating the loss of her children’s childhoods while desperately trying to enjoying the moment with her husband. Reflecting back on this moment in her post, she writes:

“I might have held my husband’s hand and shared my feelings with him, and allowed him to comfort me a little instead of trudging along in silence as I did, convinced that I should somehow be doing a ‘better’ job of walking on the beach.”

 When I read this, it was like a puzzle piece locked into place and I realized that I have been doing the same thing! Instead of really embracing simplicity and bringing balance into my life, I spend the majority of my time thinking, “This should be easier. I can do this better. Try harder.”

So now I felt that I had zeroed in on the problem, but how to go about fixing it? Stop trying. Easier said than done…and what does that mean anyway? When people say “don’t try so hard” are they saying that this is a level of trying that is ok and more than that will tip the scale? If so, what’s the magic number?

The answer to all my questions was sitting in my mailbox yesterday. I subscribe to Yoga Journal (great magazine, by the way) and I just received the May issue. Twenty or so pages in I’m reading an article written by the cover model, who did an entire cover shoot underwater for this issue which is related to water; pollution, conservation, and so forth. The author is describing the challenges she was faced with during the shoot and she writes, “After a few difficult tries, I realized that as I juggled all of these elements, I was missing the most important one: surrender.” Another puzzle piece clicked into place. That’s the answer. Surrender.

Now, you may say, “Well isn’t that the same thing as not trying so hard?” and I would say no, at least not to me. Not trying is giving up. Surrendering is giving in. In my quest to embrace life, I have lost sight of the fact that in order to truly savor each moment of everyday I need to let go and give myself completely and unselfishly to the moment. Instead of actively trying to embrace the moment, I need to surrender; to give in to the experience. AND…I need to surrender to those moments that bring me pain, sadness, and anger as much as to those that bring me laughter and joy, because it is at the difficult times that I will learn most about myself and grow as a human being.

Putting this all into context, my resolve is unwavering. I am still committed to living my very best day every day. However, I have learned two things this past month: as I travel on this journey I will inevitably encounter obstacles, but if I keep an open mind and an open heart, the answers will come to me at the time I need them most. Trust and surrender.

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