Monday, March 19, 2012

Simple Divinity

Today I am grateful for simplicity, and I am grateful for divinity.  I don't mean just the idea that God is out there somewhere--although I do believe that.  What I mean is that I'm so impressed with the tokens and symbols of godliness around us, whether they are found in the beauty of nature or in the complexity of freckles on my arm or in the opportunity I knew would never be possible without heavenly intervention.  It is astounding to me that so many packages of divinity are out there to be found, and yet it is when I live most simply that I experience that divinity best.

Some days I feel a drive, invisible to my eyes but entirely perceptible, pull my vision upward.  It's like I'm seeking for a different source of confidence.  On those days, I feel a stirring in my heart to grow and to change and to leave behind all the things that have only burdened and chained me down.  These are the days my prayers seem to be the longest.  The days when my pleading is most sincere.  When my heart strings ache the most.  When I'm longing for something so unreachable without the help I'm begging for.

It's funny how we let ourselves go through all the motions of so many things we are expected to do, even when we know we are unhappy.  Maybe I only feel this tug-of-war because I'm a people-pleaser.  It's such a curse to feel like you have to make decisions based on how other people want you to act and feel and think.  Logically, I can think through this and see that it is clearly ridiculous.  But when I'm in the moment, I can never put my own needs in front of other people's.  I've realized, though, that this must be a big part of my "life test."  

Without question, I know that desires and dreams of mine are God-given.  They are so innate in me that I can't remember a time when these were not the things I wanted most...and these are good, righteous, divine dreams.  But every time I set out to fulfill those dreams, someone or something pops up and I feel this need make them the most important thing(s) in my life.  I try so hard to please everyone around me, and it's too late before I realize that I'm just pulling myself down further and further.  Luckily, I've been blessed with good people that help me pick myself back up and refine myself again.  But it often takes a long time before I start moving back in that direction.  

It's sad that I've done this to myself, but over and over again, I've let myself remain friends--and co-workers and associates--with some people who just drag me down.  I feel like the best thing for me to do is to "be there" for them and to "be a good influence."  But really, if I'm just being pulled down, how can I possibly expect to be confident and happy with myself, much less "be a good influence" on anyone else?  My point?  We have got to understand ourselves first, long before we try to please the people around us.  We have got to plant ourselves in our own garden.  We have got to refuse to do all those things the world and our elders and our peers and all those negative influences tell us we have to do to be better.  Life is much more enjoyable when it is simple.

So I made a decision this weekend to get back to simplicity.  After attempting to make everyone else happy with my decisions, I am focusing only on what my heart tells me...which brings me back to the beginning.  When I push aside the world and all the voices I'm hearing around me, I feel this pulling force that directs my eyes and my heart heavenward, and I see more clearly all those blessings and gifts and pieces of divinity I've been given.  And feeling divine sure does a lot for your confidence.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Patience is a Virtue, right?

Today I am grateful for patience.  Not that I have much of it, mind you.  But I am indeed amazed all the time with how patient other people are with me.  Co-workers have been patient while I've come to them crying or freaking out about lessons, unit plans, and students I just can't seem to reach.  Students have been patient with me as I try so hard to be part of their world and apply what we're doing to what they're interested in: and then I fumble and fail.  Friends have been patient with me as I have come to them with stresses and anxiety, with questions and a serious need for a hug.  Family members have been patient as I bug them to death through long Facebook conversations or late-night phone calls just because I need to hear that they're okay.  Jordan has been unfailingly patient as I nit-pick-ily clean the house and as I try--but fail--to make delicious food every night for dinner and as I beg him to watch Lost with me every single night because it gives me a story to follow and as I cry to him because I'm so overwhelmed with the hundred to-do-lists I have created for myself.  And I am grateful for the patience of my Heavenly Father, who not only smiles and reassures me when I don't make time to do the things I've promised to do, but who shows me every day that I am loved and I am important to Him.  

I feel like all my short-comings have been so magnified this last year, and I sometimes feel like I just can't take failure any more.  But still, through it all, I can sense that someone is watching me, someone is guiding me with tender mercy.  With each new day, I am given the chance to get up and try it all again.  I am given the opportunity to fix what I messed up yesterday and to create something beautiful today.  I am given hope.  Each day offers challenges and yes, it offers failures--ok, more like it shoves failure down my throat.  But still, with every new morning, there is something good to be sought after.  There is something quite powerful in it--the morning--and I think I figured it out today.  The sunrise this morning was stunning.  Breath-taking.  Miraculous.  And despite the rush I was in and the weight I felt on my shoulder, those few moments of looking at the beauty around me reminded me that my Heavenly Father is eternally patient with me.  He is continually giving me day after day, opportunity after opportunity to learn, to grow, and to change.

So I've always had this dream of owning my own business.  Not that I'm a real business-woman.  That thought kind of makes me gag.  But I have always wanted to own my own bookstore and stationary shop.  Over the years, this idea has developed quite a bit, and I've gotten really serious about it the last few months.  Maybe it's just because I'm feeling like a major change, but maybe it's because this is what would really make me happy.  Maybe it's what could help me feel like I'm contributing to the world.  I have so many ideas and so many cool things I want to do with the shop, it's just unbelievable.  My problem is that I don't want to get a business degree.  I really just want to take a few classes so I learn what I need to know to get started.  But is it that simple?  I'm thinking about buying a "Starting a Business: for Dummies" book.  But then that supports the competitors!  Ah!  Don't worry, I'm not that crazy...I think I still need to buy the book.  Has anyone out there started a business?  Opened your own store?  How did you go about it?  Where do you go first?  How do you get all the books you want?  How do I figure out--and buy--all the kitchen equipment I need for the cafe?  How do I get ceramic ramekins made especially for my shop?  Should I start looking at shelving costs and tables and chairs?  What about a lovesac?  Or two or three? What colors would I paint it?  Oh my gosh, my thoughts go on and on forever!  I laid awake thinking about this for two hours the other night.  And I constantly wake up in the morning planning and running things over in my mind.  And I know I can't do this for at least another 4 years.  But seriously, people.  I have a dream!  I'm just so darn anxious to get rollin' with it!

And in case you're wondering: yes, this idea spawned the creation of 6 separate to-do lists.  This can't be good for my blood pressure.