I should have eaten more veggies today and stuck to my weight watcher’s points better.
I should be a mother and a wife.
I should wipe my shoes off every time I wear them.
Stop judging myself?
It’s so easy to should ourselves, judge ourselves out of the joy life holds. We are not called to judge ourselves. We are called to accept and allow ourselves to become who we will become. Everytime the word should slides out of our mouths we undermind our own personal authority in our lives and give that athourity to insecurity.
Friends, “should” is a damning word. The Christian scriptures say that by the measure you judge, or “should”, by that measure will you be judged. You are your own judge in so many areas of life. You are also your own jury and the executioner of your innate potential.
I challenge you to a small, yet life changing, challenge. Drop the word “should” from your vocabulary with yourself and with others, especially your family and lover. Just experiment with it, and see what happens in your heart and mind.
One of my favorite summertime activities is to sit down at the creek in the evenings and skip stones across the water. Sometimes when I can’t find a good skipping stone I’ll just toss in pebbles. What can I say? I’m easily amused. Oh who am I kidding? I’m a philosopher by nature and I do some pretty good thinking about life and the nature of the universe down by the creek.
Every time I toss a stone in the water ripples. The creek is changed in a minute way. Over time those minute changes can have a dramatic impact on the creek bank and the flow of the water. I can make a hole on the bank, make the creek wider, make the creek more shallow in a spot, encourage erosion along the bank, and even bring down a mighty tall tree that will lead to flooding in my pasture. A small action can cause chaos over time without the intention of anything malicious.
That’s the way every action and inaction we take in life operates. Every sip of liquid, every bite of food, every needless trip into town in our petrol powered automobiles as entertainment, every unkind word, every polymer encapsulated item, every touch, every missed moment for appreciating your spouse, every tiny selfish act over time leads to chaos.
Intention is not enough. True, if you start with good intentions then the possibility of a good future increases. But thinking through the ramifications of those actions from a moral and ethical perspective is ultimately what improves or decimates a family, a county, a state, a country, a nation, or our planet.
You have two powerful allies in creating a good future for yourself and others: rational thought and good intention. Use them with a kind heart and the world just might become a better place.
I’ve heard the phrase “when my ship comes in” my whole life. In fact, I’ve used that phrase more than one when talking about my future. It basically means to hit the big score, to cash in all your chips, a life changing event filled with nothing but good things.
So often we wait for our ships to come in. However, we don’t often think about where that phrase comes from. In the old days merchant investors sent out ships to trade in far flung places. It was risky business. However, when the ship came in there was wealth to be made. Sometimes an investor might wait years for his ship to come in.
And that brings me to today’s thought. Unless you send a ship out, you’ll never have a ship come in. Actions beget consequences both good and bad. You are the master of your risks. If you want your ship to come in, invest, wait, and watch.
Being positive is good. We need to look on the brighter side in a gloomy situation. It’s something that can be a valuable survival skill in stressful times. However, I’ve noticed something dark and sinister lurking in the cult of positivity. It looks like an angel, like hope, like a way out of negative emotions.
Wait, are emotions negative or positive? Doesn’t that denote a “right” and a “wrong” with emotions? Hum…. No. The answer is no. The great poet Gibran said,
“your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the self same well from which your laughter rises was often time filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy it can contain.”
There are no right or wrong emotions. So often when we have a difficult or unpleasant emotion arise we fight it. We send it away. We tell ourselves certain feelings are invalid. That’s invalidating your core self, you soul, your emotional well being, and ultimately the human experience.
The challenge in today’s society is to sit with our negative emotions, to recognize them, and to accept those feelings without being consumed by those feelings or passing judgment. If you are feeling grief, then feel your grief so that when you remerge into life the joy of living fills your cup fuller. When you are feeling anger, accept that part of you that feels violated and indignant so that when peace comes you recognize her sweetness. When you are worried or concerned explore the reasons and rationality so that you may prepare in balance for the future.
When we allow our emotions to simply be we experience the breathe and depth of living. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling or “positive” than that.
As most folks State side know, the weather this year has been grueling. Our typical harvest schedule begins in March and April with peas, kale, radishes, and lettuce. Lettuce and vegetables in general are the staple in our diet here at Serenity. But not this spring. Most years we’re planning for a hay harvest the first week of May, figuring out what to do with the old hay, and have all the animals out on pasture. Not this year. This year is the year of cutting bamboo leaves for our animals, driving near and far weekly to find scarce hay, and praying for warm weather. Game is still scarce. We are awakened many nights by coyotes and coy dogs on the porches or even trying to get into the barns with the geese and sheep. We are running on empty many days balancing a weak spring planting with repairs to the houses and barns, long trips for food for all of us, major cash outlays for hay and truck repairs, shearing, gathering herbs, jobs, etc. It’s only April and I’m feeling weary on the edges by the time Saturday’s rest rolls around. That’s usually an August feeling.
This week I checked out our pear tree. We’ll have no pears this year. Our pears are the old variety that Elizabeth of England loved. This is the second year of no pears and ancient trees nearing the end of their lives. I saw the dead fruit buds and felt like crying. But I didn’t.
Instead I took a deep breath and let it go. I chose instead to concentrate on the good goings on. The wool business is growing. Some of my fleeces are already completely sold out. The workshops, while lots of work, are coming up soon. That means a little money, but more importantly educated shepherds and another step towards my life goal of greater animal welfare on small farms and homesteads. Momma and I are launching an herbal tea and remedy business this year. We already have people wanting to place orders. The rains and warmer weather are finally here. The grass is growing. The hardwoods are budding. We found a plum tree and a friend told us were pawpaws grow in our woods. Last year’s black berry canes are putting out leaves. A sacred Elder tree has decided to grace my garden with her presence and strong medicine. Much needed hay came to us. It’s enough to last until a June hay harvest.
Did I choose to look at the positive instead of the negative? Yes. But that’s just the surface. When I saw those dead fruit buds two Proverbs popped into my head. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil there of” and “worry does not empty today of its sorrow, it empties today of its strengths”. That second one was said by my personal role model Corrie ten Boon. I chose to trust in the goodness and wellbeing of life. I chose to trust in the strength of today.
The worry of just today is enough to deal with without thinking about tomorrow and the hits that will come. The hits will keep on coming. The strength of today will keep coming as well.