Monday, December 15, 2008

Burn Out, the Wall, and Forgiveness

Not a lot of time to post with so much time on the road. In Winston Salem this week, was in Charlotte last week, helping a very sick friend, and in Atlanta the week before to consult for a small startup in my field.

It's all good, but looks like end of January before we settle into a house, and frankly, as much as I love seeing everyone, it will be good to be Home.

Today I hit the Wall - burn out big time and prowling snarling swipes at people around me. I'd like to think I was getting it out of my system, but I'm not at all sure that I'm in the clear.

It was an effort to get myself centered, even after yoga. I had to take a walk then get spring rolls and wonton soup with G to regain my ability to walk on two legs, upright, mostly.

Blogging can also help, since I usually have a list of topics I'd like to tackle. For a few days I've had this story on my mind, and it got the attention off of my b-tchy self :

The story of the F18 that went down in a San Diego neighborhood, killing a mother, two small children and their grandmother caught my attention last week, as it did for many of us. The thought of losing everything material is hard enough to fathom, much less your entire family. What moved me to tears was that the husband immediately forgave the pilot, who survived by ejecting, and called him "one of our national treasures".

What an amazing reaction to so much tragedy.

I also found today a new site via NPR, Interesting premise that we can actively promote healing, and life changing decisions with a campaign.

Forgiveness, is after all, a decision.

Not necessarily an easy decision, but like walking thru a door that once seemed entirely stuck, if you put your mind to it, anything can be forgiven.

Even the gal in Atlanta who sold her husband's collector boxing glove - with Muhammad Ali's signature! ... to her ex boyfriend's brother. Ouch. Still makes me cringe to think of it.

Somehow forgiving others seems directly linked to our ability to find compassion for ourselves. Also, not always easy. This has been a challenge of mine for years. Only recently have I gotten better at letting go of my own often harsh standards for myself.

Years ago I read that the Greeks "discovered" the Perfect Circle in ancient times, and that was when the idea of perfectionism was added to philosophy, religion, etc.

The downside is that we limit ourselves, and others, if we expect more than is reasonable. And isn't that the beginning of hurt, disappointment, resentment and anger? Next thing you know we have something to forgive. Or worse, ask forgiveness for!

So this year I've worked on both being gentle with myself, and my mistakes. I especially work on this because I firmly believe that making mistakes is a sign of growth. When I used to train software classes I once had an advance Excel class that terrified me, simply because I had never taught it before, and the material was difficult.

But worse than my own shaky command of advanced formulas and pivot tables, was the very timid class I was addressing. They followed my every instruction perfectly, lockstep and it made me nearly hyperventilate with stress.

By the end of the first break, I had to make some mistakes (not hard) to convince them this was good! I reminded them that one of the primary reasons to get into a group for instruction, in my view, was to have a "free ride" to stumble, and without a deadline or boss hanging over you!

As for others, yeah, I do try to practice forgiveness, even for those close to me (funny how that can be harder than forgiving a complete stranger). I work to see the world through their eyes, and try to consider them with as much compassion as possible. Especially for my ex and his wife. When we disagree, as we are now over holiday visitation, and I get those too familiar nasty emails, I at least work to sidestep the aggression. Doesn't mean I get what I want, necessarily, but I'm certainly more peaceful, and a better parent than I would have been otherwise.

So too I have to be patient with my transition right now. I'm homeschooling Gwyneth for a few weeks, and visiting friends and family while I can, before we settle in St. Louis next month. Gwyneth will have regular time with her dad again, and I hope to see more of Patrick and Madeleine, who miss their friends.

Most of all I have to trust that even tho the move to Atlanta didn't work out, and the hoped-for move back to Charlotte didn't end up the best choice for my family, that it is all Good.

What the hell, even if it isn't I'm going to have fun - most days - on the way.

Send blessings and prayers for the young husband in San Diego who lost everything in a matter of seconds. His family, his home, his world. May our friends with serious illnesses also be wrapped in comfort and love every day - Cindy in Charlotte, Anne in St. Louis, and my substantially pregnant sister, who almost went into labor a few weeks ago, at the end of her second trimester, Lura Katherine.

And please remember the homeless, especially the teens and children.


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