Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dichotomy Isn't a Dirty Word

We all have images in our heads of other people ... who they are based on how they act, what they say, and now, what they post on various social media outlets.

A lot of people know things about me without really knowing me. Sometimes they use those things they know to comment on who they think I am. For instance, some people say I’m fake because I used to go to church, but I also drink beer, say fuck, and support marriage equality and reproductive freedom. Some person said I favor my daughters over my son because I never post pictures of him on social media. The simple truth of that is: My girls like pictures; my boy does not. But, I am busy trying to make my little space in the universe happy, so people can talk. What they say about me isn’t my business.
Conversely, I think I know stuff about others based on the same things. I really do try to get to know people though. I like to listen to their stories, find out what makes them tick. I think people are fascinating, actually. Cats too. In fact, I like cats more than most people.

But I find it is hard to know people because many of us don’t even really know ourselves that well. I feel like we begin to know who we are when we question the limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in a cycle of self-recrimination. Each time we peel back  a layer of who our family of origin, teachers, or society told us we were or should be, we get closer to knowing our true self. Pushing past what we were told we ought to do, couldn’t be or would never amount to and seeing what untapped potential rests in our core waiting to be acknowledged and unleashed is a wonderful and challenging journey.

Whoever we are and whatever our reason for being, life is a precious and fulfilling gift. We get to love and be loved, inspire and be inspired, encourage and be encouraged. Each moment brings opportunities to choose love, compassion, kindness, patience, forgiveness. Lots of times, I don't make the best choice. But with each breath, each moment, each day, we get another chance to make a better choice.

I read a quote the other day that said: Don’t start today with the broken pieces of yesterday. Of course, I couldn’t find the author, but what a great sentiment. I have carried so much baggage around for so long. And while I could have just chosen to put it down long ago, that isn't what I do. I have to unpack everything and examine it all before choosing to find a place for it in my life or throw it in the trash. 
And a lot of it goes right in the trash. Like that one box...the one you keep moving from apartment, to condo, to house, to house. You keep bringing it with you, but you never unpack it. You don’t really even know what’s in it because the sharpie writing wore off years ago. Then one day you open it, and it’s a bunch of unwanted items you'd planned to donate years ago, but you got sidetracked. At this point, I want to kick myself wondering Why have I been carrying this box around all these years? It’s useless. I don’t want any of it. I could have gotten rid of it years ago.
It’s the same with so much crap from our past. Sometimes, we just have to open up the box and look at the crazy stuff in there to realize how preposterous it is to keep carrying it around. But then we can throw it in the trash and move on.
My box was pretty full. It’s taken lots of years, and I’m still unpacking things. It’s getting lighter.