Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Story of Our Journey, Part One

How could I not be grateful to the whole of my life?
Nietzsche

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I got to be the person I am today. Even my dullish life has included a few adventures, some tragedies, and some joys—all of which have shaped the current Michelle.

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Treebeard:

…I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.

“…I do not know what the word is in the outside languages [for] the thing we are on, where I stand and look out on fine mornings, and think about the Sun, and the grass beyond the wood, and the horses, and the clouds, and the unfolding of the world.”

“…Hill?” suggested Pippin. “Shelf? Step?” suggested Merry.

Treebeard repeated the worlds thoughtfully. “Hill. Yes, that was it. But it is a hasty word for a thing that has stood here ever since this part of the world was shaped.” (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien)

When I think about my journey through life, my story more easily, more quickly bogs down on the struggles than happy memories—and that in itself is going to influence how I now feel about myself.

Besides standard role names like parent and child, sister and friend, poet and painter, I might also latch onto spiritual and sweet-tempered. Or caring Cancer, Chinese dragon, psychic empath. But more often echoes coming out of the past evoke short and shy. Note-taker and nerd. Raped and robbed. Passive pooh.

Not too encouraging, huh? How I define my past self continually affects my present self-image! What if, instead, I consider my triumphs and treasures, like appearing in Chicken Soup or having a fortune of friends? What about new names, like “strong woman?” “Spiritual power?” “Beneficial presence?”

How cool that just a slight change in characterization helps me feel empowered.

I hope you stop and notice how you are thinking about yourself this week, and how your focus on your whole storyline strengthens or weakens your Self-in-the-present.

blessing you, My Friend,
with love,
chelle

Got Milk?

There are no limitations to the self except those you believe in.
~ Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality

When I was in school, one of my chores was to make 30 bologna sandwiches each week for Jay, Nancy, David, and my lunches. (I hated this task, and the soggy-by-Friday bread.)  Perhaps because of our non-cafeteria lunches, when my children were in school, my mom gave me money each month for the hot lunch program. This was a generous, ongoing gift that I really appreciated.

At the end of one school year, the kids’ cafeteria refunded six dollars, which had not been needed in May. I, in turn, gave the money back to Mom, telling her I’d struggled over that six dollars, for it would have bought three gallons of milk, and our family was going through five gallons of milk every week.

The next Thursday (on our Ladies Night Out), Mom handed me an envelope containing the money and a note: “Michelle,” she wrote, “I’m proud of you for being honest. You’re a good girl.”

The next day I bought milk, which was quickly used up, but kept the note because—well, because my mom was proud of me and said so.

We won’t always have someone to build us up, though. When all else fails, we must be our own cheerleaders.  What do cheerleaders do? They are in the business of liking and encouraging the home team.

Be a light unto yourself, said the gentle Jesuit Anthony De Mello. We cannot love ourselves without self-respect, and one of the ways we earn our own respect is by keeping our word. I promised I wouldn’t let my grandma live in a nursing home, but four times she landed in a convalescent center, and four times I brought her home again. That is one of the things I’m most proud of in my life. I like myself. (Quantum God, Part Two/3. “We maintain our own self-esteem.)

MarcThiryShine-short
We need to celebrate our small victories, ever mindful of our own self-worth. This week I hope you make it your business to celebrate yourself…and if you need encouragement, just talk with me — I can see the light streaming out from you that illuminates everything around us. We’ll cheerlead together.

I’ve got you, babe.
love, chelle

A Change in Pattern

If you don’t change the way you think about yourself
and the world around you, you’ll be bound to repeat
the same old patterns, and the fabric of your life
will be the same tomorrow as it is today
.
~ Richard Dupuis, From the Mouth of God

 

I learned how to knit when I was in college; I wanted something to show for all the time I spent watching television, which was a new and wonderful freedom. My first project was a floor-length dress (which my mom thereafter graciously wore as a nightgown). No one told me that I shouldn’t start with a floor-length dress instead of, say, a potholder.

At any rate, I’ve been knitting a long time and I love it, though I’ve not tried many projects since Vanguard Airlines lost my expert-level Vogue pattern Sunday sweater in 2003.

VogueCrossSweaterCropped

Recently I did begin knitting a sweater to give my daughter, Merrie Kate, for Christmas. With the back piece finished, I started the left front…and stopped. A change in the pattern had me stymied.

This week I picked up the pieces again, after realizing that Christmas is not that far away. With the instructions in mind, the knitting needles and two colors of yarn in hand, I started knitting, and do you know what? Zip, zip! My experienced hands knew what to do, even down to hiding the changes in color (old strand over new strand), and I wondered, Why had I let the change in pattern stop me? 

Why had I let fear paralyze me? 

Silly me! The answer was not to give up on the project, but to let go of the fear. Life has been trying to teach me this all my—well, all my life—and I think I’m finally getting a grip on letting go. (That’s a “ha ha.”)

God created you, and you have all power, but you have forgotten this…(A Course in Miracles)

Changes in patterns are okay! That’s how we grow. We grow stronger, wiser, more confident. This week, I am going to notice when I feel afraid and, because I know that we, dear heart, are all in this together, encouraging one another, I shall remember “It’s going to be all right.”

love and blessings,
chelle

The English group, Free, singing “All Right Now”: