Daily Inspirations

Pulling Back the Curtain

 

Lately, thanks to some time under my belt doing meditation, I have been aware of how many times a day, an hour actually, I think that somehow my life is different or I’m different than anyone else. When I get up in the morning and don’t bound out of bed, pain-free and with the same  smooth face and skin I had 20 years ago, I have these insane questions…like, “Why does my _____ ache like this?”

 

Fast-forward to the credit union. I look at my balance, and think “”How could that possibly be right? By now, I ought to be wading through those bonds, and give a damn that the stock market just dropped 800 points. What in the world did I do wrong to have THIS balance?”

 

I realized those questions leave me feeling completely alone, as if I am the only one who hurts, doesn’t have enough money, hasn’t found the love of my life, can’t drink wine any more. Then, it really hits me ! I start listing every friend and family member I have. Every single one of them has been sick, has parents who are aging, are afraid of a diagnosis, or sad about some loss in their life.   They too are confused and ashamed about something they “should have done”, thinking they “wouldn’t be in this predicament”, if only.

 

My friends aren’t unusual or unique.  It’s just that when I pull back the curtain that isolates me and makes  me feel ashamed, embarrassed and believing it must be about me, what I see is the sea of humanity. All of us swimming in the same waters of life.

 

From now on when you feel alone in your struggle, whatever it is…pull back the curtain. I hope you’ll see that we’re all swimming and thrashing about in that same ocean. What makes me feel better is when I reach out to my friends and those I love and offer something, anything that might help them see they’re not alone. You never are, ya know.

 

Donna Bailey, MS

Life Changing Coaching

Donna’s Big RED Chair

510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love

 

 

Who Can You Count on These Days??

 

It hit me one day last week. I’d been feeling lonely that day. My head knew why. “For goodness sake, Donna. Who wouldn’t feel lonely today? All your new friends are out of town…all four of them, and your family is spending the day with friends of their own”, my sweet little parent voice reminded me. Then I realized that not only was I lonely, but resentful and a little angry (am I supposed to admit that?), that my son and his family weren’t more sensitive to my needs. They should _____. Complete this sentence with anything that sounds like “poor me” and you have it!

 

I made it through that day and a few days later while in therapy, which is what I call walking, it came to me! “You’ve put all your well-being eggs into one basket and you know what happens when you do that.”

 

Do you know what happens when you do that in your life? Perhaps, you do it in your marriage or partnership with someone you really love, but he/she is always disappointing you when they don’t understand what you want, don’t listen so well that they take away all your pain or have the answer that makes you happy. Aren’t people we love supposed to “care” i.e. “fix what makes us unhappy”? Do we  believe that if they really love us they wouldn’t or would _____. That’s what love is, right? Not to burst your bubble or break you eggs, but in fact, that’s not what love is at all. True love is when we take good care of ourselves, discovering what makes us happy and DOING it. And, it’s  listening to our partners when they are struggling and believing that they will find the answers they seek. There is no greater gift to someone we love than listening, really listening.

 

Beware of where your eggs reside. Your partner should have some of them in their basket for sure. That’s what makes it a relationship. And your own basket should, at all times, hold about 80% of your eggs and 20% of theirs.  Truly, that’s what a healthy relationship looks like.

 

As for my own pity party about my son and his “insensitivity”, he and his wife are some of the sweetest, most sensitive, caring people I know. And, in fairness to my sweet self…I have only been here a year and not knowing a soul last April and through a long winter that was too cold to mingle much, I have needed and leaned on them pretty heavily. I’ve had to put my eggs in their basket while I was filling my own, one friend at a time. They’ve been pretty darned gracious in carrying that heavy basket.

 

Donna Bailey, MS

Life Changing Coaching and Speaking

Donna’s Big Red Chair

510-817-4242

donna@donnasbigredchair.love

Big Red ChairGetting you from where you are to where you want to be!

 

Museum Wisdom

 

Yesterday I took my grandson to a new museum. It was one of those crazy, Chicago-style windy days that would blow him off his bike, so even though we both have spring fever, being inside was the smart choice.

 

Some friends here who’ve already spent winters in every possible museum or bouncy house told me this SciTech Museum might be a little advanced for a four-year old, but of course I smiled, knowing that “MY grandson” was exceptionally bright and it would be just fine. So off we went, steering my car back onto the road, fighting hurricane-force winds.

 

After taking our jackets off, and my pulling out a small rake to restore my hair to something other than a the “Back to the  Future” look, he headed straight for the chase car on the first level. Yep, they really do chase tornadoes out here in the Midwest.

 

Then I spotted the large pool-like table with two holes and a ball about the size of a tennis ball resting in one of the holes. Instructions asked, “Which hole will the ball roll into?  “Me first!”, he said as he dropped the ball into the bowl of the table. Seemed pretty obvious to his 4-year old mind and pretty obvious to me (my age shall remain with me) which hole the ball would drop into. As it rolled down and around the curved terrain, it looked as if it were going to settle right into the logical  hole. Our mouths dropped open as it then moved back up a few inches, toward the second hole. Surely, that’s where it would end up. No dice! In and out and back to hole number 1, where it finally found some peace. Wow! He’s four, and wonder was enough to make him happy. Not Grammie. She just had to make sense out of it. It was “supposed to” land where I thought it would. There was some part of me that felt a little out of control, wanting the outcome to match what I thought I knew to be true.

 

We moved on to watch a machine that replicated a tornado, a skeleton that talked, and trying to dodge 85 kids there on a field trip. My mind was still thinking about that table. It didn’t make sense.

 

So often we go through our lives thinking things will end up a certain way, that people will behave in just the way we think they should. That our bodies will always act and be the way we want them to be. That our friends and partners will be who we want them to be. That life should be what we were led to believe… ordered, predictable and understandable, if we just put our minds to it.

 

It’s taken most of my life to finally get it. Life, bodies, relationships, plans, goals, expectations are completely unpredictable. Our need to control, to be perfect, and to hope beyond hope that we will avoid pain, disappointment, sadness and heartbreak if we just do the “right thing”. That success will come, money will remain in our retirement accounts, and we will be happy if we only work hard. It only takes living long enough, watching those myths dissolve and finally knowing that life is, as the Buddhists have been saying for thousands of years, unpredictable and filled with mystery.

 

We headed out of the first floor exhibits a few hours later. Walking by that curvy bowl of a table, I couldn’t resist picking up that ball and dropping it into the bowl again . As I let it go, I saw the title of that exhibit…”CHAOS”.  Yep, that’s life. Make the best of every moment and enjoy the ride!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

www.donnasbigredchair.love

510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love

Big Red Chair

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