Monday, December 28, 2015

Perfect Compassion

A few years ago, I started playing Solitaire on my phone, when I had a few minutes I needed, or wanted, to kill. I'm not that great at it, but it's fun to win. It's fun to see your time and number of moves decrease. It's fun to think you've lost, then discover there's a way to win. A couple of months ago, I was playing and won. I hadn't done anything fancy or different, I didn't think, but a banner came across the game saying, "You played a perfect game!"

Up until that time, I didn't know a banner like that was even possible - if you won without cheating, that was good enough for me, but "perfect?"

It's messed me up ever since. I can't enjoy the game anymore. Now, every time I "screw up," I think, there goes my perfect game. It's totally ruined the joy of the game for me - the message that anything less than perfect, is losing.

I'm a big fan of Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday" series, and have read many of the books by authors she's had featured. She recently featured Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. I read the book, but I must say, I felt it missed the mark. In my opinion, we don't need any more books telling us how to makeover our lives, we don't need to be told that if we take on four to five big goals a month, and add them to the ones we're already taking on from the previous month(s), that we will be "happy."

I don't think we get "to" happy through perfection, through goals, through addition, through accomplishment, through complicated and involved processes. I agree with the Dalai Lama, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." In other words, pull your head out. If you want perfection, and you want happiness, practice perfect compassion. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


The cover for our under-cabinet lighting cracked and fell, and needing replacing. I went on a search to find a new one, that landed me at a nearby lighting store, where they very helpfully found me a new one. The process gave me quite a bit of time with the woman helping me, and I learned a great deal from her:

1) She was moving
2) They (she and her husband) had found a great deal on a house
3) They had purchased it from the parents of a hoarder, who were selling the house "as is," complete with all the contents
4) The owner was a single woman with no children
5) The contents included, but were not limited to: a crib, toys, a full nursery, gifts for an imaginary fiancé, three truck loads of unopened packages that had arrived in the mail, eight truckloads of trash

Long after I replaced the light cover and moved on, in body, to other tasks, my heart stayed with this poor suffering soul, whose parents had moved her to a psychiatric facility many states away, and sold her house and everything she cared about, out from under her.

I have known my fair share of hoarders and perhaps that is why the story touched me in the ways that it did. Although my need to have bare spaces and no clutter surpasses my need to purchase and save, that doesn't mean I don't hold onto things that don't serve me well. One can hoard memories, fears, resentments, expectations, disappointments, all kinds of things we once thought we needed, and really don't.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cut Free

Years and years ago, when the kids were very young (15 years ago, at least), I dressed the kids up, stood in line to see Santa, and fitfully got through the ordeal. Santa handed each kid a seedling, and me being me, I came home and planted each in a small pot and nursed them until they were big and strong enough to transfer to a bigger pot. And so on. Months turned to years, we moved, and the small trees came with us. Eventually, we planted them in the ground, and they grew too big for that space, too, and required another transplanting.

The trees have been growing in our backyard ever since, not quite "making sense" there, but meaningful and significant to our family story, none-the-less.

Woohoo didn't come home for Thanksgiving this year, and that meant our annual tradition of going out and cutting down a Christmas tree, the day after Thanksgiving, would be different. We decided this would be the year we'd cut down one of the backyard Santa trees, and use it for Christmas. It's crowded where it is, it's grown too big to fit where once it did.

This was Woohoo's tree, and much the same way, she has grown beyond the limiting space she had in the home, and it is time to be cut loose. In five short months she will graduate from college and be on her own. She is not the little girl that got the seedling from Santa, nor is she the grown woman she will one day be, but she is ready to stand on her own, light her own way, and shine.

Sorry Not Sorry

I'm sorry I keep pointing you towards BrenĂ© Brown's podcast,  Unlocking Us , but I'm not that  sorry.* I've appreciated ever...