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Image result for early sketches Michelangelo

Studies for The Libyan Sibyl, Michelangelo (from Wikipedia)

Isn’t it funny how it’s possible to give yourself a hard time over mistakes you made years ago? I wonder why the brain holds onto what hurts it in that way. Whoever made those decisions doesn’t even exist anymore. The you of today would surely choose a different path.

Rather than beating yourself up, seeing yourself as another person will make it easier to forgive yourself. That wasn’t you at all. It was the you of today in training. When you’re in training, you make mistakes. Good news: you’re not in training anymore. You’ve graduated to become the you of today. One thing is true: you won’t make those same mistakes again, having learned the hard way what doesn’t work. You get to make new mistakes! Lucky you!

But in a way, there are no mistakes if you’re sculpting a life of your own creation. You chip away until the figure forms and you’re satisfied. If you look at all the early versions of his great paintings Michelangelo threw into the scrap pile, you’ll realize those drawings weren’t mistakes. They were practice.

Think of the you of the past as a dusty still life on a shelf. And the you of today? A whole new work of art, in living color.

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I’d like to nominate a horse named Jenny to run for some elective office.

Why? Here are the top five reasons.

  1. Horses run well.
  2. She’s always been a good “neigh”-bor.
  3. She won’t give you some line of BS. (Because she’s not a bull. She is, however, a horse, so there will be a different kind of “S”. Sorry. Here’s a wetnap for your shoe.)
  4. She’s out standing in the field. Most of the day, chewing on grass.
  5. The other candidates are lame. I’m not suggesting we do to them what is (sadly) done to lame horses. I’m saying, let’s get an actual horse to take the victory lap.

When you feel clenched as you think about a problem, that’s actually the time to stop thinking about that problem. Just for now. I know you’ve got to address it, but right now, you’ve reached the point where you’re not doing yourself any good.

So leave the room. Exhale. Focus on something light and pleasant. Think about Jenny, the horse who takes a walk every day by herself in Frankfurt, Germany. Her owner, now 79, is unable to ride anymore, so he attached this note to her: “My name is Jenny. I didn’t run away. I’m just walking.” Neighbors are used to seeing her and treat her like a celebrity. There’s even one picture of Jenny kissing a baby in a stroller, just like any politician would.

Take your mind off of that problem that’s got you feeling clenched like a fist.

Pivot to something pleasant. Later, or tomorrow, or maybe next week, you’ll come back to the situation, fully refreshed, and a solution will present itself like an unexpected gift.

On the one hand, giving labels with letters to conditions like ADHD or OCD helps people. It gives insight on how to manage it.

On the other, it’s limiting. Here’s what you can do, but more tellingly: HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN’T DO.

If it’s ADHD: You can’t sit still. You can’t focus.

OCD: You can’t stop doing repetitive behaviors. You can’t override your wiring.

I’m not an expert in this field, but could that be the thing to focus on?

You can’t override your wiring. Well, you can take a pill. Get counseling. But maybe, if you can’t beat em, should you join ‘em?

When I gave one of my son’s friends with ADHD a project he was interested in, I’ve never seen better focus. He was all in. But when he was without a specific goal, he tended to touch everything. He moved constantly. Once, he put his hand into a pan that was sitting on the stove. “Don’t do that! What if it was hot?”

“It wasn’t,” he said. “Just checking.”

“Don’t check with your hands, son,” I said. But it was too late. He was touching everything else in the house.

I realized that he’s a tactile learner. He takes in the world using his hands. He’s gathering data. Processing it all.

If there were such a job, I think he’d be a great Reverse Inventor. He could tell you how something works by taking it apart, examining it and putting it back together, perhaps in a different configuration.

It’s only fitting you should be who God made you. Work around the aspects of your condition that hold you back. Get help and treatment, if possible. But also, why not write a letter to yourself? A reminder to give yourself a break and your soul some TLC.

Grace the no fault state

 

Sometimes I wonder if self-awareness is actually a gift. Sure, it separates us from the beasts of the field, but it also adds hours of stress that can take years off of your life.

Yesterday, some challenges arose, so I marinated, stewed, and pressure-cooked my psyche about what’s going on in my life. Well the reason my son has that issue – still! – is because I was toofill in the blank, lenient, strict, emotional, sick, pre-occupied – to be a good mother all the time.

I blamed myself in my head for things in general. Finally I realized God is the one who made my son who he is, and there’s no way in the world I would ever, EVER have the gall to blame God for our troubles.

So why do I continue to throw acid at myself in this way? I wouldn’t do it to God, who created me as well, so where do I get off criticizing this child of God? Who just happens to be me.

I read an article about divorce and the fact that certain states are considered “no-fault” when it comes to ending a marriage.

In truth, the only real, bona fide no-fault state is this one:

Grace.

God’s in charge of everything we see, and things we can’t see, like gravity, atoms, uh… Spanx. You know, all of it. Things we hide – and that hide our figure flaws. Our past, secret dreams we harbor but tell no one, “morning face.” These things are no secret to God.

If God decided that your son should have flat feet… poof! Or maybe, splat! It will be so.

If God decided that you should have “child-bearing hips”… poof! (Better give that a double whammy) Poof, poof! Perhaps even, bada-boom, bada-bing! You – like me – will be, shall we say, wide in the ride. (I just made that one up! Hope it becomes a thing. Looking at you, social media!)

If God made you and your children, there is no reason to question why things are so. Of course, you should try to improve the things you can improve. But blame doesn’t make things better.

Give yourself a break. You weren’t put on this planet to obsess over things you can’t change right now, if at all. You were meant to find the joy in the journey. Take a deep breath, step back, and release the Impossible, the Unsolvable, the Ugly-Cry-Dramas into God’s hands. It’s like an instant Disaster Relief Program, coming to your aid. Living in the state of grace is like finding your way back home again.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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