Thursday, October 27, 2011

All the world has mud.

"Then again white scuts themselves were piss poor now they must walk, I could observe. Just mud was some puzzle to confound them, and always they were moaning and cursing it with magic words, or stepping some long way around, getting hot and angry so they smelled sour like old roots gone bad. Didn't they know that all the world has mud, and you shouldn't fuss but must just stride on in your quick feet, splash and away?" --Peevay, Tasmanian Aboriginal, English Passengers

I read this last night before I went to sleep and mentally flagged it to keep. That is rather like us, isn't it?  We come to an obstacle, find ourselves in some unpleasant situation.  And instead of pushing through it as quickly as we can, we spend so much time complaining about it, trying to find a way around it, getting mad and railing at something that couldn't care less that we're yelling at it.  We could save so much time and energy by just moving forward as quickly as we can to get through it.

There will be mud.  In each of our lives, there will be mud. There will be things to get through.  Always.  We can choose do it the long and hard way, or we can choose to do it the fast and easy way.  Either way, we're probably going to get muddy... either way, the mud will have to be dealt with.  So why do we so often choose to do it the long way?

My daughter is in the school play right now.  She's in rehearsal till 6pm every evening, and then comes home to do her homework.  Being the 5th grade, she has a lot more homework that she has in past years, so this will often take her right up to bedtime.  Now, please hear me.  She does not have 3 1/2 hours worth of homework.  She just spends half the time moaning about how long it's taking and how much she doesn't want to do it.  She's not quite figured out yet that if she'd just sit down and DO it without all the moaning, she'd be done FAR earlier.

And sure, my motherly grownup wisdom looks at her and shakes its head. But, I know in my heart that sometimes I'm not a lot better. I've certainly spent my fair share of time moaning about the mud in my life, instead of just dealing with the mud and getting it over with.

Country singer Rodney Atkins has a song about this that I've always loved... I always think of my friend, Cathie Jo, when I hear it.  She's got the funniest musical repertoire... I'm just as likely to hear her talking about dancing to P Diddy as I am to hear her gabbing about Debbie Gibson.  But, for some reason, I always remember her talking about listening to this song a few years ago during a time when she was walking about 4700 miles a day.

So...  you got anything you're moaning about?  Just get muddy and get out.  :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Unpacking: Pleasing everyone

12. You also can't please everyone. It can't be done with honesty. Look around... worry about your relationship with those you are in close relationship with. The rest... let it go.

Until getting involved with CT, I didn't really realize how deep was my desire to be liked... by everyone.  And so, this is a lesson I've had to learn and relearn, a little bit more each time.  It's been a little like carving a figure out of a large piece of wood.  You start by hacking away at it... and then your shavings become a little more refined.  A piece here, a thin slice there...  With each pass at it, you get a little closer to finding the image that lies inside the wood.  Does that analogy work?  Perhaps not.

Initially, I wanted to make everyone happy.... cast, creatives, fans.  I laugh now to look back and think of the fervor with which I threw myself into attempting such. But, no one is on the same side as anyone else, and you can't make everyone happy.  There is an inevitable backlash, and it caught me by surprise.  I remember confiding in someone about it, and they told me I had to learn to let those things roll off my back... that I would drown in it if I didn't. Let's just say I wasn't very good at that. But, it was the first pass at learning the lesson, and that's okay.

I took several more passes at the lesson over the ensuing three years...  each time, I learned a little bit more about understanding that I couldn't please everyone, and more importantly, that not everyone needed to be pleased.  I learned to identify friends, and to focus my energies and emotions on those relationships instead of trying to make everyone happy.

I will never forget something my husband once said to me.  I was worked up about something that now seems silly...  but I was trying to explain the situation, and the backstories, and why I was upset over it.  I so clearly remember him shaking his head at me and saying, "I guess I just don't understand.  Why would you let people who are clearly bitter and unhappy change who you are?" That has stuck with me ever since. It was the comment that helped the most to wash away everything that was unimportant, and has helped me to focus energies on things that are.  Because, truly.... why would I do that??

I know I've talked a lot about this in relation to the CT fan community, as indeed I've learned some really important lessons from being involved there.  Sometimes, I've thought to myself, "If I could just go back and NOT hit the 'up' arrow, I could have saved myself so much hurt..."  But, I don't think I'd do it.  I've learned REALLY good lessons that I may not have learned otherwise, and I don't think I'd give that up.  But the great thing about the lessons is that you may learn them in one place, but you can apply them in other places, too.  This is one of those.

I'm actually delighted to find that this topic was the next one on the list.  I was just thinking yesterday about the people who are my friends.  I was laughing with Stacey and feeling blessed and delighted in our friendship. I was chatting with Diana and Lisa, and feeling grateful and full of love. I was at Weight Watchers this morning, and sharing in comfortable camaraderie with the friends I've made there.

It is these friendships, plus a few others too, that I've come to realize are important to me.  It is these relationships that I want to devote energy to, that I want to see grow and mature and come alive.  But the rest?  The rest I can let go. The rest I can let roll off my back.  I couldn't do that before.  But, I can now.