IF ONLY can become WHAT IF

Do you have any regrets in life?

Is there anything you wish you could do over?

How do you feel about those things today?

I know I’ve had many things over the course of my life – on different occasions – that I have said … if only!

  • If only I’d listened to my gut instincts, I would never have made that mistake.
  • If only I’d said no thank you to a job I really didn’t like, I wouldn’t have got stuck in the day to day grind.
  • If only I’d asked my sisters and friends opinion, I could’ve gained a greater perspective and not dimmed and extinguished my light in several situations.
  • If only I’d left that relationship as soon as I knew it wasn’t healthy for me, I would have suffered less.
  • If only I’d researched that information myself, I would’ve found the Truth sooner and not lost all that time, money and energy.
  • If only I’d listened to the pain in my body earlier in life, I wouldn’t have these body pains or aches, etc.

There are so many things for so many of us as we look back over the ups and downs of our lives – that in hindsight – we’d change or think we’d change.

I wonder though, what if.

  • What if, that awful job you took, taught you about discipline, commitment and organizing skills;
  • What if, that ill-advised relationship taught you about who you really are and what you are worth;
  • What if, that friend who lied to you and betrayed your trust, taught you to find your voice and set healthier boundaries in all your relationships;
  • What if, that wrong turn you took while driving, gave you a chance to slow down and look around you – to pause even momentarily;
  • What if the experiences, situations and circumstances you have had were the best choices you could make while finding your way to something more expansive

As I mature and ponder some of the bigger choices and decisions I’ve made over the years, I find I’m much more compassionate and kinder to myself as I unravel the layers.  I’m able to go into the feel of things and ask myself why or why not and then listen.  I then can begin to shift into a ‘what if’ I needed that experience to heal another part of myself.

I don’t always find the straight forward answers, but at least I can soften into the potential of something different to consider.

To me, the ‘if only’ comments come with so much regret.  If I can shift my perception, while acknowledging and feeling the experience, it may offer me a chance to say ‘what if’ instead of ‘if only’.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts and feelings about the ‘what ifs’ in your life.

Perfection

Perfection in the Making

When I have an expectation about an outcome that I believe would be perfect and it doesn’t end that way, is the ending imperfect or was my expectation perfectly imperfect?  Interesting! 

What is perfection anyway?  As defined, perfection is ‘the condition, state or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects’.  Perfection is a state not a static thing.

As a 20-year old, perfection to me was the job, the house, the car, the boyfriend, the clothes, etc.  It was such a cultural indoctrination of the material world that gave me ‘value’ and thus I believed that in order to be fully happy & prosperous and live a joy-filled perfect life, I needed those things.  Wow, what a wild ride that was…. and so many lessons about myself and life along the way.

When I was 30 or even 40 years old, what I believed to be perfect for me and my life is very different than what I believe now.  As I grow and heal old patterns and beliefs, I have let go of what I thought would make my life perfect.  As I change – my grip on ‘perfection’ has as well.

As I mature, what truly resonates for me in my heart has changed as well.  Perfection is a dynamic ideal for me and I am willing to believe (most of the time) that life is perfectly imperfect – that I am perfectly imperfect and that is more than enough.

My desire to move towards perfection keeps me on my toes and active in my life. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine … Some days, I still ride the roller coaster of perfection. 

What about you and your life?  Are there areas where you struggle to be perfect?  Are there areas where you can accept perfectly imperfect?

Nothing is perfect and everything is – can you accept that both these statements are true? 

“HOW TO” Society

For so many years when I had a problem (real or perceived), I’d look to the ‘experts’ for the answers to solve the challenge.  Most of my life I’ve identified through the physical so I’d invest in the next best idea or program to be healthy, strong, flexible, better! I’d buy the DVDs, the Cds, books or take the course to follow the regimented ‘how to’ program.

Let’s see – HOW TO

  • lose weight – get stronger – get flexible – get in shape – get a tight butt
  • get rich
  • get the perfect partner
  • manage relationships
  • get the perfect job
  • stay young
  • find peace & enlightenment
  • on & on it went… I bet you can name several.

I needed concrete step by step instructions on how to resolve the crisis or improve my life in some way.  Once I had the ‘how to’, I could do it, fix it, move on and be HAPPY – or so I thought.

To paraphrase Brene Brown, ‘if how to programs fully worked, we’d all be happy’.

I chuckle now as I write that.  Yes some avoidance – naivete –  and the attitude of ‘give me something to do’, lead me and through the physical steps I would feel better – for a while.  This way of approaching my life took me down so many rabbit holes but also, taught me so much about myself and my life.

Following many of those paths eventually lead me to yoga, meditation, amazing friends and community which has been a turning point for me.  I’m not saying that practical steps combined with heartfelt resonance can’t work but they must be combined in my opinion. Most of the shift is the inner work – living authentically by developing a relationship with our Self.  Once we begin this work, we can lean in – discern – and use the ‘how to’ advice to improve and enhance those aspects of our lives that we wish to change.

I believe that not one perfect ‘how to’ program exists for any of us if we don’t do the required inner work to compliment the process.  I’d love to hear your thoughts…

 

 

 

 

 

To Forgive is not to Forget

Forgiveness is an easy concept to get mentally but embodying the practice can be quite challenging for many of us.  I believe it’s a process – sometimes a long term process – of letting go, healing and moving on.

In my earlier years playing sports, I was very, very competitive.  If someone gave me an unfair push or shove during a game, I would not forgive nor forget.  I would make it my purpose to ‘pay them back’ in the next game.  I got really good at holding grudges and not letting things go.  It became like a protective armour – fuelling my intensity.  It was exhausting carrying all that unwillingness to forgive.  It definitely affected my performance and my personality.

Over the years, as I have moved through my life, I’ve come face to face with ample opportunity to forgive others that I feel have wronged me (or my friends and family) in some way.   I’d like to say that I ‘nailed it’ and forgave all the time – letting go of the anger and judgement and moved on with my life.  I’d like to say that, but I can’t.  Some deep rooted hurts have stayed with me much of my life affecting my ability to be open, vulnerable and whole-hearted.

How do we forgive others for what they have said or done that has harmed us?  How do we forgive ourselves for things we’ve said or done that have harmed another or ourselves?  Deep reflections – indeed.

Many years ago, I read a book ‘Forgive For Good’ and the one thing I took away was that when I find the ability to forgive someone, it doesn’t mean what they did to me was okay or right, but that I no longer will allow my life to be ruled by the energy of the hurt.  Pretty profound for me.  I was so moved that I gave a copy of this book to several people in my life (including family).

I began in earnest to practice forgiveness and then life happened.  I fell in and out of the conscious  practice most of my adult life.

What I’m learning as I heal and grow is that if I truly know myself, I can find more compassion and understanding to let myself off the hook and forgive.  I can lovingly take responsibility for my life (for what I say, what I do, what I think and feel) and for how I respond to others.  If I have lashed out at someone, I can take responsibility to make amends to resolve it.  I can also believe that what others have said or done to me wasn’t really about me at all – but, about their process of growing and healing.  This in itself gives me a huge opportunity to let things go and stop judging.

This is and continues to be a process of learning, unlearning & relearning for me in my life.

I’m not saying that you have to forgive everyone for everything (that is not mine to decide).  No one except you knows what is right for you or when you are ready.  What I’m asking you to do is consider, where in your life can you forgive yourself to start a deep internal healing process to unlock your hearts’ potential to live a more loving, authentic and joy-filled life.  Isn’t it time?

Are you ready to forgive and heal in any area of your life?