Monday, November 20, 2017

Gratitude for the YES.

It has long been a part of me.  It fills me.  Centers me. Rights my soul.  Yet now, a couple years from 70, I don’t do it much anymore.  Except at the occasional wedding reception or with my granddaughter when she visits.  

So, when a friend called two months ago asking me  to choreograph and perform a solo in a production she was putting together, I hesitated on my way to NO.   She seized my moment of pause  …. "How about if I just send the song so you can listen to it?".  
Wise woman. 
The haunting words and soothing melody reached in and touched my heart ….and I said Yes.  

A week after that YES, I departed on a three week vacation to Greece and Crete and quickly forgot all about it….exactly what vacations are designed to do. 

Upon returning, after the jet lag abated,  and some sort of normal returned,  a reminder email popped into view ...the production is two weeks away - hope you have been practicing - here is the rehearsal schedule.  
Wait - what?  Did I really say yes to this?  To dancing in this production ?   What was I thinking?  My body is older and thicker and weaker ... AND .... I just spent three weeks eating baklava and moussaka! 

All of that, followed by …. I gotta get OUT of this.
Then, as I can be prone to do when faced with hard stuff (and the potential of disappointing someone), I got busy with minutia and  avoided even thinking about it ....for days.
When more emails arrived about shifting rehearsal times, an unexpected surgery requiring that a cast member step away ….  my angst built... and did battle with my inner compass....READ ..... “when you commit to something, follow through”.  

It was poop or get off the pot time.    

Unenthusiastically, I scrolled through old emails to find the music....all the while plotting a well-crafted exit. 

I've heard science folk say that music speaks to our body's molecules. I believe them now. I listened to this beautiful song again …. and my molecules started to move. 

IF this were a Disney blog, the most beautiful and flowing movements would have lifted my aging body along with the words of this song right on up into the starry heavens.  But this isn't Disney .....and while I felt joy in the movement,  I hit  wall after wall when my creativity got stuck or my body wobbled .  At one point,  I even wished to suddenly require surgery myself.

 But each time I thought, "BAIL. Get out now!"...... "TAKE THIS RISK" was a little louder.  It out-shouted you’re older and thicker and weaker, and this choreography looks older and thicker and weaker too.

And then the best thing of all happened …. I asked my eleven year old grand-daughter - who studies dance three times each week -for guidance and help. 

Her suggestions were gentle ... with clear explanations behind them.  She  was encouraging and kind. And, I think perhaps, she was even a wee bit proud of me.

I am a wee bit proud of me too. I danced to that beautiful music - written by a beautiful woman and sung by her lovely daughter.  No starry heavens were reached.  Wobbles happened.  But the YES gave me gifts I didn't know I was seeking.

And for that I am grateful.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Give. Grow. Receive.

A wise friend wrote me last month about a minister who told her that the mission statement for his church is Give.  Grow.  Receive.  Spot on,  I thought.  So complete.

 I want to adopt that mission statement as my own.  Give.  Grow.  Receive.  What more is there really?

He also told her that his church finds that last one ....  the Receive part ....  the hardest.

And when I lay those words beside my life ....I think it's that third one that is out of balance for me too.  Possibly, many of us could say the same.

This past month, when a Monday commitment I had made to another got cancelled, I tucked myself into the big cozy chair beside the window with an afghan and a charming novel.... ALL morning long.  It was deliciously indulgent.  Not undeserved.  And I loved every minute of it.
BUT .... that is rare.

Now that I am retired, I do have entire days where I can give myself those delightful breaks....but other than trips away,  I rarely schedule them into my calendar like I do the lessons or the volunteering or, or, or!  Even when I know how important that is to do.

As excuses, I have a litany of blather....
             I still want to contribute... to make a difference .....
             The needs are so huge, after all ....  
             It's important to keep learning and growing and not stagnate...
Blah dee blah.  But I venture there is something unsaid here.

I simply think it is dang hard to receive. I struggle mightily to give myself permission to receive... even from myself.  Growing up, when I'd wrestle with a decision, my Mother would weigh options with me, but often say, "Well, you don't want to be Selfish!"

And then there's that whole other level ....  ASKING to receive from others.

Talk about being vulnerable. To say.....I am really struggling, could we go to coffee and could you simply listen to me?  Or.... I have a rotten cold,  could you make a meal and deliver it this week,  or pick up the kids, or the groceries, or walk the dog?  My head says,  How presumptuous of me!

Am I saving the ASK for when I truly have a need ..... am hospitalized with a terminal illness or lose a loved one?  And while I wait for that day, do I miss out on the authenticity and community that comes when we ask and receive on a more regular basis?   Do I lose out on the fullness... the wholeness perhaps, of my relationships ... am I limiting their depth and richness when I make this choice?

It's a good thing it's the dead of winter.  I have lots of time to wonder about this.  I am putting myself on Time-Out.