Sunday, August 09, 2009

rough around the edges

Teitur sings that we are “rough around the edges.”

Even though this is a very familiar concept to most people, I would argue that the majority of us feel uncomfortable with the notion of being rough around the edges. Our natural inclination with rough things is to smooth them out. Think about how we sand wood or hem seams. We don't like to leave things looking messy, especially when it comes to our personalities and our presentation. When we have a piece of ourselves left out of the lines or jagged, it seems our flaws are vulnerable for others to see.

I often wonder what the harm is in letting others see our "roughness." If we show our flaws, will we not be loved? If we make errors, will we not be forgiven? In truth, asking for forgiveness offers other the chance to give the gift of forgiveness.

Why is being messy and rough so difficult for people? Are you striving for perfection without even knowing it? The bigger questions to think about are: What is perfection? Can you ever attain it? How can you stay in a state of perfection? I am still trying to figure these answers out, just as you are. But, I do know that being rough around the edges is where I'd like to be. It is a place where I know myself and can embrace my own place in this world.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

take a risk

If you had the chance to be vulnerable, would you? Is it something you enjoy? Is it a state of being that is imposed upon you or do you have a role? In moments of vulnerability, I have felt exposed and wide open. When I am in that space, I need one thing - to be supported. However, the hardest part about putting yourself out there is that you don't know the response you will get or if you will indeed receive the support that you need. It is a risk we take.

I think that being vulnerable scares us and therefore when we see it in others it can lead to fear as well. And when we sense fear we have the tendency to want to flee. I wonder if that fear may be the reason people have a difficult time being with those who are vulnerable and even supporting them in their time of need.

In our society, vulnerability tends to be seen as a weakness. I would argue that to be vulnerable is to be one's authentic self and therefore is to be strong. Being vulnerable in front of another person takes courage. The thing about being vulnerable is that you are naturally showing up. You are being unbelievably present.

If you are weighing the benefits and risks of being vulnerable in front of someone else, think about the relief and goodness of being supported. And even if you don't get the support you need, you still know that you have been your true authentic self and that counts for a lot.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

asking how

I am often fixated on why. Why are we here? Why do people act the way they do? Why is there love? Why is there hate? Why are we curious? Why do we fight in wars? The list goes on and on. I could ask "why" questions forever. But maybe a better way to go about it is to ask how. How do we love each other? How does one person affect another? How can we find peace with one another? How do the pieces fit together? How can we sense that there is something beyond us? The question of how leads us to more concrete answers. It leads us to a place we can hold on to, a place we can spend some time in.

If we can get to a point where we ask how instead of why, we may be closer to getting out of our heads for a while. I find that I dwell in the why questions which can lead to unnecessary worrying and circular thinking. When I think of people who are doers and motivated to get things done, my impression is that they spend some time thinking about the whys, but then quickly move on to the hows. The how answers are more solid and help us move forward. I want to practice this way of thinking.

Are you searching for concrete answers in your life, but asking "why" questions? I am not minimizing the importance of why. I am merely suggesting that moving towards "how" might get you a little bit closer toward the solid answers you are looking for.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

falling in

Do you know the feeling you get when you fall into bed at night and just sink in? The one where you let your body become one with the mattress? That feeling right there is the exact opposite of anxiety. When we are anxious, our bodies tense up, even when we don't realize it. But, in that moment when we get into bed, we fall into relaxation. We get a sense of our physical presence and let our breath go into every crevice and part.

Whenever I have been feeling anxious, instead of tensing up, I have been trying to fall into my body. When I do it, the feeling is wondrous. It brings me to a serene and calm place where I can think with a clear head and not let fear or anxiety lead the way. This is such a hard challenge for me. For some reason, lately my natural inclination seems to be to clench, hold my breath, and let my thoughts swirl. By feeling the sensation of falling into my body, I remember how to be present in each moment.

If you take a deep breath right now and let it out slowly, you can get a small sense of the feeling. Even though letting go may be what we fight against, in some cases, falling in might be exactly what we need.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

big unknowns

A friend told me recently that she would rather know little things than big things. Sometimes when I think about the big unknowns in my life, I get caught up in the what ifs and the worries. What is it about the big unknowns that really gets me? The fear? The unsteadiness? The lack of control? All of these aspects are present but big unknowns also leave room for exploring, space, messiness and especially newness. When I think about the big unknowns of my past, yes they have been scary, but they have been filled with far more potentiality than when life gets routinized and structured (not that we don't need that too).

One thing that I need to remember when I get overwhelmed are the things that I am sure of. When it comes down to it, I know who I am. I know what I love. I know who my community and my family are. I also need to remember that we are never truly in control of anything. We must bring our skills and tools with us as we navigate through life, but we need to surrender to every unknown that comes our way.

Are you up for the challenge? Are you ready to enter your big unknowns through a lens of curiosity, possibility, and surrender?

Saturday, February 16, 2008


It can be hard to truly believe that we are enough in this world- to believe that we are exactly who we are supposed to be. Can you begin to trust that this is true? Another person may have told you or tried to convince you of this. Even if someone has attempted to do so, it is not someone else's job to say or believe it. The reality is, it is your job.

To believe that we are enough means that we accept that we are lovable. Why is that so very hard for us? Why do we resist the idea that we too deserve what is good and kind in this world?

What is stopping you from accepting yourself for exactly who are? If you don't already believe it, think about what it would take to truly love yourself and believe that you are enough. Take a moment to really be with this- because this truth really does lie within you.

Monday, December 31, 2007

transfer grace

The idea that we all hold grace is a beautiful one. The far more splendid notion is that we realize this and bring it to all of our interactions with one another.

The word grace derives from the Latin root 'gratia' meaning 'pleasing quality, good will, gratitude and effortless beauty.' Even with high ambitions, it is unrealistic to think that we can relate to others with these qualities all the time.

This is where transferring grace enters the picture. If we can bring kindness and gratitude to interactions, then we must be able to receive them as well. Therefore we can consider grace to be contagious. By giving and accepting grace through our connections with others, we do not have to carry the burden of constantly remembering to deliver goodness, nor do we have the right to blame others for their seeming lack of good will. We can have faith in the cycle of grace, both acknowledged and unseen.

As we embark on a new year, let us become more conscious of the grace that lies within us and welcome this cycle with openness and intention.