This message slams me in the face again and again. Five steps forward, ten steps backward. Good example — horrible warning — good example of a horrible warning.
Don’t be like this. . . hear me well.
On my porch this morning I felt the sun’s heat warm one side of my face while the other sat in shadow. I thought about the trip that Jenny Rosen and I will be taking on Friday, and the sweetness of my friend Catherine Kenyon who has agreed to house-sit for me. I know our silly little dog will not be afraid with Catherine watching her, nor will the flowers on my porch wilt. Vacation planned; new attitude claimed. But still — the panic happened. Yesterday I learned that the person who normally stays at my house if I am out of town will herself be gone. I nearly cancelled the trip. I knew that I couldn’t find a replacement at the last minute.
That’s how it is, still, after all this time of stretching myself to grow. I can solve the gnarliest client problem but a small hiccup such as the unexpected unavailability of my normal house-sitter throws me. When it comes to my own life, unexpected stutters easily derail my orbit.
Don’t be like this. Don’t emulate me in this. Good example of a horrible warning.
Heed me well.
I understand my state of mind. I strain against my natural tendency to expect the worst for myself. It’s not envy of other’s good fortunes. It’s worse than that. It’s a clear conviction that others deserve everything wonderful, magical, rich, and glorious while at the same time, I deserve nothing. My dear friend Pat Reynolds told me once that she wants me to stop complaining about myself. Complain about everything else but stop knocking yourself!
I’m trying. Do that: TRY.
The last two and a half years have taught me a lot, but the keenest lessons reveal my own low opinion of myself. I seek out validation of that denigration. I embrace depths that will insure such validation. I think that’s why small obstacles to my own success cause me to collapse yet I deftly hoist huge boulders from the paths of others. Quite simply put: I don’t believe that I deserve goodness, so I invite the worst and shrug with resignation when it comes.
Embrace yourself; welcome success. Invite joy. Take this lesson for yourself.
Ah, life. It continues, life does, and I begin to think that perhaps I can see an easy path to navigate its contours. I have not yet set my foot on that path. But I can see it.
On the twenty-second day of the twenty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining, I’m standing in the doorway, watching the play of light on the porch plants and thinking about going outside.
For you, Mr. Senter.