I had to give myself a break recently. I had to tell myself that I was not any less woke or carefree or mindful because my bucket list was lame and I don’t always feel at one with a higher level of consciousness.
I actually was late to the bucket list party. I didn’t even know what one was until a few years ago. When I looked up “how to make a bucket list” these are some of the ideas that popped up on the internets:
- Ride camels in the Sahara
- Meet ___________ (insert celebrity here) in real life
- Have a flat stomach
- Visit _____________ (insert exotic location at least 5,000 miles from anywhere here)
- See an Icelandic horse in the wild
Okay, this is just not my reality. When I first read all these bucket lists, I have to admit I felt like I wasn’t living my best life. 🙂
My bucket list was more like:
- Start a new trend in which stretch marks on the stomach are the new washboard abs
- Have some bladder control
- Visit a nice restaurant and not be so tired that I nearly fall asleep waiting for my dinner
- Become a hermit
It’s good to have dreams, and if you want to see an Icelandic horse in the wild, you go, girl. Follow your dream.
But I realized I don’t have to feel compelled to do those kinds of things. My life can be complete and fulfilled with less lofty ambitions. It doesn’t make me less of a person if I would rather stay home with a good book than ride camels in the desert.
I also realized that I was thinking for a moment that if all of my dreams don’t come true, my life is somehow less. But it isn’t.
And fulfilling a dream alone won’t solve my problems with feeling overwhelmed or not living my best life.
Sometimes it can even be like putting a band-aid over something that may need stitches….I know that as soon as I get back from riding the camel or soaking in the sun, life is still there, and reality is still brutally un-tranquil. And everything will hurt worse.
Getting Away Versus Running Away
It took me a long time to figure out “me time” and “getting away.” I never loved it much because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I finally realized that I have to truly plan to refresh and strengthen my body and spirit, instead of just running away.
Before I go away for me “me time”, I try to have an idea on what I’m going to accomplish. Sometimes it’s literally just sleeping. Sometimes I realize I need to take part in nature because I get stuck in the house too much. Sometimes I go see a concert to inspire and lift me, but I always try to have a purpose in my “me time.” And I try to choose things that will make me deeper, stronger, and more able to sustain a peace within myself that will always be there, for when I can’t get away to Iceland to see a wild horse.
And it’s work. But it’s the best, most relaxing (although sometimes tearful) kind of work to try and create peace within myself.
Becoming The Peace I Am Seeking
I love what philosopher William George Jordan has to say on the subject:
Calmness comes from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they penetrate only two or three hundred feet; below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living. Calmness is the crown of self-control….
The man who is calm does not selfishly isolate himself from the world, for he is intensely interested in all the concerns the welfare of humanity. His calmness is but a Holy of Holies into which he can retire from the world to get strength to live in the world. He realizes that the full glory of individuality, the crowning of his self-control is the majesty of calmness.
Do I have a depth of calmness, my own personal Holy of Holies? A trip to Hawaii or a Saharan camels aren’t going to give that to me. It can help me and strengthen me, but I have to become the peace I am seeking, rather than try to go somewhere or do something to find it.
It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but I am beginning to understand it. Maybe this next 50 years I’ll finally get it!
I like a good fairy tale. There are some people who don’t. They don’t want to perpetuate the “myth” of the fairytale and things like Cinderella dreaming about a prince or anyone dreaming to be rescued or swept off their feet. It seems that people don’t want their boys to treat girls like “princesses,” either. Because girls don’t need to be rescued by some guy. I’ve studied a lot of fairy tales and here’s what I found out:
- The princesses didn’t seem to be very well developed characters usually, but most characters are never really developed. Probably because it was a short fairy story, more than likely made up by tired parents who just wanted their little medieval toddlers to go to sleep. Remember, this was before iPads and television and even Gutenberg.
- The princes were always doing a lot of work that I would rather not do and going through all kinds of hoops just based on seeing a portrait of a pretty girl, or the promise of money or power (and a pretty girl). On the other hand, there were seemingly just as many stories where the prince was tested to see if his love was true or just based on appearance. And if he wasn’t true, he suffered. Badly.
- Most of the princesses were portrayed as morally stronger and mentally superior. It appeared to me that in most fairytales, the prince had the most character development because he started out so shallow, and then, through trials to “get the girl,” he came to understand morality and real, true love.
I tell my girls (and sometimes my boys), made up fairytale stories at night before they go to bed.
And they are often filled with unrealistically happy endings, princes, weddings, unicorns, rainbows, sparkles, and lands made entirely of candy. I actually think it’s good to daydream a little.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with sometimes needing to be rescued. Whether it be a fairy godmother or a prince or a genie, sometimes it’s fun to imagine being rescued and being secure enough in your own value that you don’t mind accepting help when it is needed or just offered and not needed.
And sometimes, it’s okay for a boy to pretend that he can conquer monsters for someone he loves all by himself. And he can overcome any challenge simply because someone needs him.
And, just putting this out there–why in the world can’t a fairytale be simply that? A fairy tale. “Fairy” implying whimsical and “tale” implying a flight of fancy?
Couldn’t they just be stories someone made up at the end of a long day, when the sun was turning golden in the sky, and the bees were humming around the cherry blossoms and the stars were first twinkling and–for a moment–everything seemed magical?
Even though I know that there are a lot of monsters out there parading as good guys, I still allow myself to fantasize about a dashing prince who rides in on a beautiful horse and carries me away from more dishes and laundry and cooking and cleaning. I am a very liberated woman, but even in a perfectly equal society, dishes still get dirty and clothes still need washing, and eventually I would have to do it at least some of the time, anyway. It’s good for me to see a similarity to my husband, who sometimes rides in on his valiant Toyota and grabs the dirty cups and knives and spoons and kisses me on the cheek and rescues me.
I think that fairy tales help us to see the magic in ordinary life.
And even if no one ever can truly have the “fairytale” life–and even if some people don’t want it–why do we have to quash fanciful dreams?
Why do we have to put aside our silly girlish or boyish fancies?
I mean, I know I am “man enough” to take out the garbage, but my husband and sons do it and I’m not complaining. It makes my heart turn to butter just thinking that my husband will protect me. I like the feeling of him keeping me safe.
I like feeling warm and cozy in my husband’s arms. There is nothing to me in the world that feels safer or more…happily ever after.
When we alter the story so that the girl would sooner open her own dress shop after working in indentured servitude for years rather than accept help from a prince (and yes, that is an actual plot of a post-modern fairytale I read a few years ago), we’re teaching our girls that even slightly abusive situations are better than accepting help from a man.
And we are teaching our boys that there is no use for them. They are not needed or wanted.
Maybe we might be meddling with something beautiful and innocent about childhood–something beautiful about trusting other people and relying on each other. Because in actual real life, sometimes we do get ourselves into situations where rescue is needed. Are we somehow dispossessing our kids of a place where dreams can come true, even if only in their imaginations? And even if it is just plain silly, don’t we all need a little bit of that now and then? Walt Disney, in “Saving Mr. Banks” expressed it better than I could:
This is what we storytellers do…with imagination. We instill hope again, and again, and again.
And isn’t that what the best fairytales do? They instill hope in the face of a dark, sometimes unfair and often tragic world. Fairy tales offer a glimpse of magic again and again. And that is what we need a lot more of in the world.
I have a confession to make.
I have lots of little secrets.
And I think I should share them. That way you know if you still want to be friends.
My oldest son likes to eat Funfetti cake mix out of the box mixed with water.
I confess that I don’t care. I mean, he’s a full grown adult. I guess if he wants to put that chemically laden pseudo-crack into his system….I guess there are worse things he could be eating.
Like meth candy.
Or car oil.
Or, according to the woke people, anything but quinoa is almost as bad as meth and also causes cancer…maybe. Probably.
Okay, I do care. I just can’t exert myself to care enough to change it right now, so I don’t let it get under my skin.
I used the word “reactionship” (coined by parenting guru Nicholeen Peck), so many times in two days that my family (including my husband!) mutinied. Completely.
I was tied to the mast and threatened with having to walk the plank if I ever use that word in their presence again.
(Literally, I kept saying, “No, you guys, that was a reactionship. We want a relationship.” Over and over and over.
I was hoping they would get the point about reacting rather than relating, but instead they all ended up getting along because they were unified in their undisguised hatred of that phrase. Even their aunt joined them.
So, I guess it was kind of a win-win, because at least they quit fighting amongst themselves.)
I get nervous around authority.
It always comes across the wrong way, like people in authority would look at me and think,
She looks guilty. What did she do? She probably belongs in jail.
I don’t know why. I just don’t like authority figures. Any kind. My palms sweat and I start thinking I am breaking out in hives (although I never have, I just imagine that is what it feels like to almost break out into hives).
I just don’t like people who think they have the power to say “no” to me.
That’s why I don’t speed. Last time I got a ticket, I thought I was speeding. I started crying and I confessed to every time I’ve ever gone five miles over the speed limit, all the times I didn’t follow cars at a three second distance on the highway, and ever single time I have looked down at my phone when I should not have done it.
The police officer was either overwhelmed with all the incriminating honesty, or he may have taken pity on me.
It was just for an expired registration. I stayed at home for a week after that.
I know I’m spoiled. And I don’t care.
And, I like it, kind of. Well, actually, I think I like it. I want to be brave and say I could live in a yurt, or go 24 hours without hot running water, but I am not sure if I could do it without complaining a lot about it. Maybe I could. I want to think that I could.
But, I don’t know. Maybe I would be a giant whiner. Like Max on SpaceCamp.
Jinx and Max. Friends Forever. Or Until You Die In Space.
Gah! I just divulged the most embarrassing one of all! My favorite character was Tish. I watched SpaceCamp about 30,000 times on an allegedly pirated beta tape copy that my dad allegedly made.
In fact, a quote from that movie sums up my personality in less than 140 characters:
There’s a difference between being the boss and being bossy.
Amen, and I don’t know the difference yet. Ask my siblings, they will tell you I NEVER KNEW.
I think we all have little secrets–secrets we think we can’t tell anyone because they are just so embarrassing. Or we think we are the only ones with kids who don’t want to shower, we are the only ones who get in a huge fight with our husband, or sleep in on Sunday, totally unprepared for church, because we stayed up too late on Saturday night watching Netflix.
Whatever our little secrets are, I think it is safe to say that it would surprise you to know that even if your friends knew, they would love you. I mean, you still love me, right? I hope. I hope that my son’s indiscretions with the Pillsbury cake company don’t make you not like me.
I think it would be great if this week, we made a goal to share a little secret with someone. To just be a little more transparent with our friends and family. Sometimes it can be the means of getting help for a problem, like a Funfetti cake mix addiction.
Sometimes you will find that getting it out in the open makes you realize how silly it was to keep it inside and not share it. Sometimes it changes everything. Sometimes you really do need help and it’s something serious and getting it out is the first step toward making it better.
And some little secrets can make people love you more. Like when I told my husband that I secretly wish we had more time alone together on a private beach in the South Pacific.
And all along he thought I was wanting to be with the kids more than him. This secret was shocking, but it sure did make for a great weekend.
So, go ahead and try it. Share a little secret. Something from your heart or your craziness, and see what magic happens.
If you think that Disney songs are too cheesy, and you are too “cool” to like Frozen, you won’t get this.
Frozen’s second installment got me through the first weeks of the pandemic.
As I watched Elsa fight her way to find what she was looking for, I could relate. How many times have I tried to do what I’m supposed to be doing, only to have wave after wave pound me to pieces? And honestly, when she finally got there–she didn’t really know exactly what to expect.
And in the end, what she found was that she couldn’t progress or help anyone, including herself, until she faced her past and accepted it–the good, the bad, all of it. And once she accepted the past, she was finally able to understand that her progress had only ever been hindered by her fear, regret, and lack of confidence in her own worth.
What it took for her to face her past honestly and accept it all was the divine love of a goddess mother, a reassurance that it really was alright. That her past wasn’t anything to be afraid of, or to avoid, but that it should be accepted. That all the heartache and struggle we face can be used to our advantage if we can let it….go. Haha. See what I did there?
Some of my memories are terrible. It has taken me a long time to come to grips with the fact that even these awful memories of things that should never happen to anyone, even those I can accept. I can accept that it happened and it is now my choice what I do with that. Can I remember that I can take that experience and turn it into power? That I can step into that power and finally feel comfortable with all of me–past, present and future me? I don’t know how good I actually am at doing that, but I do know that this song helps.
Go back and listen to it. Tell me you don’t feel something stirring in you when Elsa finally sings, “I am found.” Because you will feel something. And maybe you will find a little of yourself that you’ve been scared of–and maybe you can take that and accept it, and know that it can make you stronger. You are of infinite worth, regardless of what has happened to you or what you’ve done or not done–and that power is just waiting for you once you accept it, and in the case of the bad choices and regrets, let it go. <3
I don't mean forever.
But sometimes we need to stop. Stop trying to forge ahead, just stop.
I am so very, very bad at that because I am a fighter.
To a fault.
Sometimes, I kid you not, I am contrary just for the sake of being contrary.
Being contrary is my one weakness.
Anyway, in my dottering old age I have discovered that not only are there instances were it's okay to stop fighting, it is absolutely necessary to grow and perfect oneself. Quitting is, contrary to popular belief, not always a bad thing.
There are days when I lose ground. Maybe I thought I was doing great recovering from an illness, and then one day it kicks my trash again and I have to be back in bed. Maybe I really was going to try and paint my entire living room by myself and then what was so obvious to everyone else is finally painfully obvious to me--that I am in way over my head.
Some days I realize that it is all I can do to maintain what I have. I mean, I know we are supposed to be reaching a higher level of consciousness, looking 20 years younger than we are, homeschooling our kids, keeping germs away from our homes, keeping our germs away from other people, and also starting a side hustle and learning a new language during "the COVID", but I am kind of at my limit as of right now.
I don't want to reach a higher level of consciousness. At this point, if someone offered to knock me into unconsciousness, I might consider it.
Yes, I have to admit, almost begrudgingly (because I hate to quit anything!) that it is often wiser to maintain what I have rather than bite off more than I can chew and choke on it and then possibly upchuck all of it everywhere.
And sometimes, when it's very dark and very hard and very overwhelming, the battle can't be won. It just can't. Maybe it's not the right time. Maybe it is a kid who just won't listen, no matter what. Maybe it's a diagnosis that feels like a life sentence. Maybe it's a family member whose addiction has gotten the best of them.
In those heartbreaking cases (and they come to all of us), I have learned that there is no shame or failure in falling back. Sometimes losing the battle is the only way to win the war.
Honestly, it use to be that when I was finally forced to admit defeat, I would stumble into my base camp and sink in despair and spiral into a void of self loathing, Netflix and stress eating (or non-eating, depending on the defeat). But I've changed.
Now, I still stumble in, but then I take the time to bind up my wounds, rest, heal, and strengthen myself.
I take the time to get myself to a place where I can genuinely and sincerely be grateful for the ground I've gained and to mourn the losses I've experienced. (And sometimes that does involve a little Netflix and ice cream! )
And then, then--when I've gotten myself together and I'm ready, I put on my armor and get out there, stronger and more skilled to go on to victory. And I know eventually I will win the war.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. --Theodore Roosevelt
I recently realized something.
I didn’t notice before because, generally speaking, I believe I live in a musical wherein I am the lead (with the best voice), and everything is amazing and the so-called “strangers” around me at the gas station or the grocery store are in actuality extras–supporting cast, if you will–just waiting to sing:
“Look there she goes, that girl is strange, no question! Dazed and distracted, can’t you tell?”
I assume people are just as excited as I am to have any part at all in “Misty: THE MUSICAL”.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a piece of that action?
So it is hard for me to understand a pervasive problem sweeping, well, everywhere about now:
Complete strangers feel they are obligated out of some perverse sense of duty to tell others that they are doing it wrong.
And, most of the time, it isn’t “wrong.” It’s just “different.” In this day and age, even science has conflicting differences, thanks, in part to the advent of computer modeling.
And for some reason, our world seems to be headed in some strange wierd place where differentness is treated with a little vitriol–in spite of all those who are shouting for acceptance and inclusivity.
In fact, the more “inclusive” one group of people becomes, the more they exclude those who don’t fit in their definition of “inclusivity”. Instead of trying to build on what we have in common and appreciating the diverging differences, we cast out what we don’t understand and hate and fear the differences, choosing to scream that because “they” believe in something different, they are somehow “wrong.”
Actually, Gaston and the villagers said it best
We don’t like what we don’t understand, in fact it scares us
It comes from a place of fear, just like it did with the villagers.
I find the cure is to be kind and, if that doesn’t work, just act oblivious to the sneers and scoffs, the sighs or the mutterings. Often when I am kind, I end up with a new friend.
Sometimes, it doesn’t work, so then I just take the oblivious route, or I examine myself to see if there is any reason why someone would feel upset or irritable with me. (And often there IS something I can do to make it easier for others to get along with me. I am a handful.)
When I want to get judgy and upset, I need to take a breath and follow my own advice.
“Different” isn’t “wrong.” Different is just different, and most of the time, that’s a good thing. True diversity means accepting everyone–especially the ones with whom we don’t agree.
So I should just accept
I’m simply not like them
They are the common herd
And you should take my word
You are unique: creme de la creme
Actually, I think most of us feel “different” sometimes. Or maybe all the time. That’s okay. I believe we are all “creme de la creme” and I love it!
In the end, we are a rarity. We ARE different. Out of thousands of planetary systems and it appears that human beings are a very different, very rare thing in the universe, so instead of trying to make everyone else become just like us, let’s reach out and celebrate someone who thinks and believes differently than we do today. And everyday.
the doctor and lauren cooper
This is an oldie but a goodie. Catherine Tate is polarizing: either people love her or hate her. I LOVE her. This was me in high school. I once made my Earth Science teacher get so upset with me that she left the classroom. She was not a nice teacher AND she accused me of cheating (which I would never do). I totally pulled a Lauren Cooper. It was one of the highlights of my short lived public high school career (I decided to home school shortly after that so I could graduate early).
I went to the ocean to let go. I have to do that sometimes. I get these layers and they cover me and I forget who I am underneath it all. The ocean strips it away and makes it better.
I was sitting, watching the waves and the storm coming in. I closed my eyes and smelled the rain mixed with the salty air. It is my favorite smell on planet earth.
The storm was still far off and there were lots of families playing, kids laughing with their parents, fishermen, surfers…and they all seemed relaxed and happy. And I was struck by how short life is and how much of it I spend worrying. Because I’ve suffered through death and loss, I too often worry about, well, death and loss. I try in vain to attempt to gain some control over all of it, and it’s an illusion. And then heaven whispered,
“They’re all terminal, Misty. Everyone is, you know. You aren’t the only one who is going to die. Everyone eventually will.”
I felt peace remembering that a Higher Power is in control and in accepting that we are all, indeed, terminal. All of our days are numbered. And that is alright. There is more than death at the end. At the end of this journey there is life, more beautiful than we can comprehend.
And life is eternal and love is immortal, and death is only an horizon, and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.