Blog Archives

That’s Who I Used to Be

“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.”  –John Spalding

There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth.  I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged.  However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self.  I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.

A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!”  Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection.  I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.

If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come.  I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection.  There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!

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I Am a Vessel Containing Life

vessel-of-life

“What is the deepest loss you have suffered?  If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine… And if the earthly no longer knows your name, whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.  To the flashing water say: I am.”  — Rilke

It’s not that I want the Universe to change everything about me or remake me to perfection. (OK, maybe I do). It’s not that I wish I was other than who I am, some days I even like who I am.  It’s more that I want to have faith in myself, a deep-down, constant faith that steadies me.  I want to have roots deep in the earth, not fragile roots of glass.

Strong and deep roots are made of self-esteem, hope, love, willingness, humility and faith.  My longing to be grounded in life may take the form of wishing I was not afflicted by defects of character, but that’s a cover-up for the deeper things I truly want.

Working on one’s self by undertaking an effort toward personal growth reorganizes one’s personalities, indeed one’s very soul, around new, spiritual principles.  We stay, to some degree, dysfunctional or defective and always will be, yet that doesn’t prevent us from possessing faith in ourselves and the courage to keep growing.

We are all vessels containing life.  We are vessels that have been shattered and mended, and will endure.

Imperfection Seen Through a Filter of Love

“The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.”  — Arthur Koestler

Many of us like me believed that we should strive for perfection, and often this means imitating someone whose life seems exemplary to us. We take enormously high standards from outside and we soon begin applying them to ourselves. I find that in my mind I obsessively check all the things people in my life may need or expect from me. Many of these thoughts and self-assessments reveal failure(s) on my part. I realize that I then begin to pre-plan the reaction. My pattern is I then start to beat myself up for my failures.

When we fall short, we berate ourselves. We become convinced that because we aren’t saints, we must have fallen from grace; imperfect, we come to despise ourselves. Surely, no one is as worthless as we are! We’ve failed again. Relapsed maybe, or acted out perhaps. Who could love us if they knew who we really were? When we take part in healthy relationships, we are not seen as we see ourselves – the shortfalls, the failures, missed opportunities, or any of the other negative ways we see us. Good and healthy people filter the way they see us and the filter is love.

So why then, do we insist on being judged by impossible standards? Why, oh why would we want to be like someone else? Why should we not search for what makes us original, precious, and worthy of care and love? Then we don’t have to go around with our eyes on the ground; we can look the world in the face because we know who we are. Who? Ourselves!