“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Friday, June 18, 2010

49 Things I've Accomplished

Looks like I'm halfway there!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo 
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (not enough patience to wait in that line!)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone Rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep-sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone Whale Watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check 
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Publish a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on NYE
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Gotten a tatoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Summer Of No!

I've noticed a pattern in my CFS life.  I avoid the hard "no."  This would be anything where someone else's needs are in conflict with my own. 

Say I'm determined to get to bed earlier, but my husband is enjoying my company as we sit together on the couch watching TV.  I love sitting on the couch with my husband watching TV.  So, I end up going to bed one or two hours later than I should have.

Or maybe one of the kids comes up to me and says, "Mom, can I _____?" (insert activity that requires me to drive them somewhere.)  I already have so much guilt over all the nos I've already said, so even if I'm tired, I'll probably say yes.

The hardest of all, now that summer is here, are the invitations.  Weekly swim parties.  A Fourth of July barbecue.  Family dinners.  I so badly want to say yes!  Maybe if I pace before and after?  I don't know.  The best thing is for me to Just Say No.  I may be able to tolerate a tiny bit of yes, if I limit it to one hour or less, once in awhile.  But I'm afraid I'm going to have to learn to embrace the hard "no."

So, here it is:  No, I cannot make family functions right now, unless it's a once in a lifetime event, like my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary.  Even that, I'm taking off early.  No, I can't make it to your party.  No, I can't drive you places.  No, I can't stay up any later.  No, I can't.

Embracing the Summer of No!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lessons from Nemo

I love the movie "Finding Nemo."  I think it is one of those rare films that is not only darling and entertaining, but contains tons of hidden nuggets of wisdom.  While watching it the other day, one particular scene struck a chord with me.

After facing such obstacles as sharks, sea monsters, and jelly fish, Marlin and Dorie find themselves very near the end of their journey.  All they have to do is find Sydney, Australia.  Dorie gets the idea to ask for directions, and they end up being swallowed by a whale.

Inside the mouth of the whale, Marlin flings himself repeatedly against the unmoving baleen barrier between him and freedom.  Of course, it is essentially hitting his head against the wall, and he makes absolutely no progress.  Meanwhile, Dorie is riding the swells of water that carry her to and fro with unabashed glee.

Neither of them knows, at that moment, what the intentions of the whale are.  Neither knows what the outcome will be.  They could be safe, or they could be in grave danger.  They just can't know what will happen next until it happens.

Ultimately, the whale turns out to be a friend, and the ride in the whale's mouth is a shortcut to where they were trying to get all along.

I think everyone in life, at some point, finds himself swallowed by a whale.  You are going along just find, living your life in the direction of your choosing, when something unexpected happens.  You are thwarted.  Your life takes an unwanted detour.  Health issues, a lost job, relationship problems, a wayward child -- hey, I didn't ask for this!

I would never want to give up Marlin's determination.  But there is a lot to be said for Dorie's  abandonment, rolling with it, going with the flow, finding joy in a seemingly joyless situation.  I think you have to have a talent of forgetting, like she did.  You have to let go of the pain long enough to be happy.

I think that may be why people with faith find it easier to shoulder such burdens.  We know the whale; we know He is benevolent and good and only wants what's best for us.  I believe that at the end of the journey, we can look back and see that it was a shortcut, after all.  Maybe not a shortcut to where we wanted to go, but certainly a shortcut to whom we wanted to become.