Saturday, September 14, 2013

Connection, Myths, Ordinary People, & Our Hearts


Truth.

There are no ordinary people. Period.

Why do any of us want to be ordinary anyway? Fit in?

Yesterday, I gave a speech/presentation/training on Connection ~ Being A Connector. Wowsa! It is the first time I have ever spoken in a group setting about my theory/passion regarding connection. Now I have spoken a lot about it one-on-one, but this was terrifying....what if they laughed OR worse...were bored.

Well, I am pretty animated, speaking with my hands, big arms, big voice, big smile....I was figuring at the worst, it would be an hour of comedy.

Oh...and they were filming it. Kill. Me. Now.

So, I am in a coffee shop a few weeks back, and my theory on connection comes up...which is why I even had the wild idea about using it in the presentation yesterday....I mean, it wasn't what the group putting it on were planning for or expecting....but this new "connection" said, you should talk about this idea of yours. Huh? Really? Nah.

Hmmmm.....

So I did.

I have another gig to talk about it again to a different group next month.

Hmmmm.....

I. Have. Lost. My. Mind.

Lost. It.

So, I am sitting here on this absolutely beautiful morning, wrapped up in a shawl, my third cup of coffee, on my deck, laptop, highlighters, books, journals, newspaper, food wrappers, converse, pens, sunglasses, and lip gloss surrounding me.....

Yeah...I am not sure about that lip gloss thing either; I am addicted to it. I can't wear lipstick. I like to look pretty for myself? Pick one. :))))

I digress....

So, I am sitting out here reading, writing, and highlighting (not in any particular order), and I am buried in shame, vulnerability, and wholeheartedness....and I am sighing (loudly) wondering if I am ever going to be able to get away from this stuff?! Why is it haunting me? Okay...it isn't haunting me (it just feels like it is), but it is unnerving me and rocking every area of my life. Read that as Every. Area. Of. My. Life.

Suddenly it hits me....maybe it was something that came out of my mouth yesterday....or something I read this morning, but suddenly I realize.....connection and shame/vulnerability are completely inter-connected. Completely.

Why don't we connect more, better, period? Yup....don't worry....it took me a minute too.

So when I saw the picture above, I said (to myself) that is it. That's it!!!!  Until we embrace the fact that there are no ordinary people (including us....especially US), and that we don't want to be "normal" anyway...and we start looking at people's hearts which is where you see their inner-amazingness...which is so often hidden by the guardedness, shame, stress, etc....well, we won't have true connection.

Hmmmm....

I believe we live in a world craving connection. We have a connection deficit.  In fact, the social media generation (young-ins (is that a word?)) are actually better connected than some of the rest of us...they are all "hooked" up, and are at least reaching out (I found myself defending teenagers yesterday...Yikes!). The truth is that we exchange business cards and digits, but are we exchanging our hearts? I just started shaking my head as I typed that...No...we are NOT.

Brene Brown writes that we cannot show others what we do not show ourselves...

*Ouch*

Nobody took my joy. I gave it away. Did you give yours?

You are not going to be able to truly connect and be a connector if you don't give a damn about people....and to give a damn about others, you first have to give a damn about yourself.

Let that sink in.

This morning I slipped on a pair of pants I haven't had on in three years. In fact, my wardrobe that has been hanging in my closet patiently waiting on me to take care of myself again, is now giddy as they see my eyes and hands headed towards them once again....after a long winter.

If we give everything we have, everything we are, without personal regard to ourselves or our own needs, we will wither and die...or blow up like a balloon, suddenly have major health issues, lose our joy, piss away our money, hibernate in a cave, lose relationships we treasure, lose the relationship we treasure with ourselves. A reservoir or a canal. How are you choosing to live your life??? Really ask the question.

Connection is all about heart. Connection starts with your own heart. Connection is the invisible red string of yarn that connects all of our hearts.

Yesterday as I criss-crossed the state, I had my entire iPod on shuffle. Suddenly Francesca Battistelli's Beautiful, Beautiful came on....and before I realized it, I was singing it at the top of my lungs. I hit reply...twice.  I was going to quote them, but here are all of the lyrics....


"Beautiful, Beautiful"

Don't know how it is you looked at me
and saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking throughout the dark
Suddenly your grace

Like sunlight burning at midnight
making my life something so
Beautiful, Beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All I need
you are so
Beautiful, Beautiful

Now there's a joy inside I can't contain
But even perfect days can end in rain
And though it's pouring down
I'll see you through clouds
Shining on my face

Like sunlight burning at midnight
making my life something so
Beautiful, Beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All I need
you are so
Beautiful, Beautiful

I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by your grace

Like sunlight burning at midnight
making my life something so
Beautiful, Beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All I need
you are so
Beautiful, Beautiful

Like sunlight burning at midnight
making my life something so
Beautiful, Beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All I need
you are so
Beautiful, Beautiful

"...Like sunlight burning at midnight making my life something so Beautiful, Beautiful..." There are no ordinary people...we are all amazing, we all have something amazing about us, in us. Believe that. Live that. Love that. About. Yourself. Then, then...you can find true connection with others....because you have truly connected who you ARE with the truest thing about you....your heart.

I love this life. It is so nice to be finding my joy again. I smile knowingly...it was with me all along...and if you have lost yours...know it is waiting for you giddy, awaiting your return...to yourself.
 
"Authenticity is having the courage to let others see you as you really are." ~ Charlie Efford

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What Cancer Has Taught Me About Love

 



My friend has cancer.

It sucks.

You know what else sucks? Feeling helpless.

This isn't about that though....it is about those times when the cancer patient is acting a little...well, unlovable....and you love them anyway...and maybe even more....because dadgum...they are facing cancer, straight up, and fighting...For. Their. Life.

Love.

So here is what I have discovered about loving someone as they face (for the fourth time) the evil that is cancer.

When they are tense....you learn to pray through the moment, relax your shoulders (maybe your eyes), take a deep breath, and see their heart...not their tone (or even their words sometime), but look at...Their. Heart.

You chuckle through their pensive text messages when you know that making dinner plans with you is not the "fun" that it once was...in fact, it is probably down right annoying to them, but they do it...for you and them....because they need to spend time with you as much as you do them...and getting out of the house is more "necessary" than fun.

When you try and help, and it is not needed or wanted, you hurt for a moment, but then you put yourself in their shoes...and you are grateful once again...that so many love them and are also trying to help....and realize them not needing you THIS time...is okay. Oh...and it isn't all about you. Note to self. They are the one with cancer. Duh.

You learn that your daily drama, while important, can't be compared to what they are facing...and so you find other outlets with which to share, knowing that a day will come when you will mesh back in sync sharing all of the silly dramas of the day...today isn't that day....and that is okay....because they are fighting for their very life, and that is where you want their efforts to be...so that the silly days with them can be there in the future.

You learn that the depth of your love has no real end...you get misty-eyed just talking about your brave friend...and you realize that a glimpse of them at there worst is worth it because they are fighting to be here. Here.

Sometimes friendship is lopsided.....and that is okay. I have learned more about what true love, real love, everlasting love looks like from my friend's battle with cancer than I learned from an entire childhood. She is strong, brave, and beautiful...and that doesn't begin to note the half of it.

I have also learned more about myself...my weaknesses and my strengths.

I am selfish. I am impatient. I am needy. I have a short temper.

I have learned that I can change. I have learned that my capacity for patience is greater than I imagined. I am learning that in loving others, you learn unselfishness....you create a greater capacity for empathy in your heart...I have learned that your temper can evaporate almost instantaneously when you look at someone through the lens of your heart versus the lens of your pride. I have learned that love hurts, but that it also provides the greatest joy you can imagine...and the latter makes the former worth it. Worth. It.

Cancer sucks.

I pray for my friend and healing Every. Day. I also pray for the will of God...not just for her, but for myself that through her trials, I will learn, grow, and Be a true helper to her and others.

So...it isn't about me, but it is changing me. I hope for the better.

*I find it striking that this post came out of me on September 11th. A day that has deep meaning for me for a variety of very private reasons. There are moments in all of our lives where switches flip on (or off) due to a shift in the universe. I am learning, the older I get, that the stories that make up our lives change us, mold us, and give depth to the very choices we make...Every. Day. Should I live to be an old woman, I imagine I will sit around and share the stories that made up the quilt of my life. I will note with deep love and admiration, E's valiant battle against cancer...a battle I can only imagine will have shaped all of us that love her nearly as much as it shaped her. I will note the shift in her universe and mine that came with that very first diagnosis...and every one since...and I will talk about the growth like a proud mother displays the height markings of her children on a kitchen wall. I will note how my view of health care, women's rights, patient rights, unconditional love in a marriage, and a myriad of beliefs changed/shifted/grew out of observing her battle.  It matters. Our stories matter. That is the lesson. Sharing our stories is dangerous, scary, and yet the most important thing each of us will ever do. The truth to who we are and what we believe is weaved into the very stories of our lives. We are no longer a name or a number to others, we are a face and a heart...and that my sweet, loving, tribe of readers....is where the rubber meets the road. Our heart must lead us....and to allow that to be so is to sign up for the most dangerous ride of our life. I have bought my ticket, with trembling hands, and I am jumping on...for now that I know better...I must change how I see the world and those that live in it...they are hearts...millions of them...and they beat...just like mine.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)