Epilogue ~ Me in the Middle Remembering the Loving Time

 

Writing about my life over the last 70 plus years, I’m at peace with the memory of the loving times.  I lived my life with an open and loving heart doing the best I could with the awareness and knowledge I had available at the time.  As I move forward into this last chapter of my life I can let go and continue to love this world with an open and loving heart, leaving it with faith that there is a loving force weaving through all our lives and leading us home to our true selves.

It’s only been recently that I’ve embarked on the journey of looking back, with the intention of moving forward.  Writing about our life story, the good parts and the not-so-good parts, pulls together a pattern that reminds us of who we are; a pattern of strength and courage through our struggles that becomes clearer when we become an observer from the present time and allow ourselves to look back.  We can do this at any time and at any age.  The insights we gain and the freedom we experience keep us rising strong.

The only way being strong can truly be considered courageous is when we come to that point where there’s no other choice; those times where we’re forced to act boldly, and when every part of us is resisting and wanting to run away.  Not always is the warrior someone on the battlefield.  More often than not, it’s the person who is obscure and unrecognized.  It’s that determination not to ever give up and to persevere to the end.  After facing that choice enough times over our lives, we know that feeling of courage and we recognize it as a force that brought us through.  We know our spirit can survive anything!

There’s nothing more empowering to a person than having another person walking by your side during difficult times. Empathy and compassion don’t mean you take away the struggle and challenge from another person’s life.  It’s just being there and fully grasping the reality of that struggle and challenge.  There’s nothing like finding the courage and strength within yourself to bring you through what seemed insurmountable.  This needs to come from within.  The difference between feeling alone during that time vs having others willing to listen and encourage makes all the difference in the world.

At times our own light goes out

and is rekindled by a spark from another person.

Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude

of those who have lit the flame within us.

~ Albert Schweitzer ~

 

When I speak of Faith in my life, I’m thinking more of that inner conviction that life is good and no matter what we face we’ve got what it takes to make it through.  Each person’s individual belief in how to come to this inner conviction is unique to them.  I respect whatever religion or way of life that helps a person move along their path to find this place of Faith, Hope and Love.  We’re all so much alike when it comes to these strivings.

It’s amazing how your attitude turns around when you make a conscious effort to focus on the good things in your life. Sure, your life might not be what you see as perfect in someone else’s life.  The only way to put good things in our own life is through keeping the good enough things front and center in our vision, each step moving us closer to the life we’re meant to have. 

When I think about my life in terms of a journey, it helps me to let go and not worry so much about outcomes, and observe myself in the present moment.  Where was I on this journey? What steps could I take that would move me along on this journey?  Thinking of my life as a journey, and not a destination, helped me look more within instead of seeking the answers from others.  It also helped me let go of the need for perfection and control, allowing myself to live in the here and now instead of the past and the future.

Trying to be perfect keeps us from really finding joy in our lives.  Whether it comes from the way we’ve been raised as a child or from our expectations of ourselves now as adults, perfectionism holds us back from spontaneity and being more emotionally responsive to others.

 “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never achieve it.”  Salvador Dali

I’ve come to the conclusion that we can only do the best we can with what we’ve got so get out there and do the things we still have the time to do.  Depending on our circumstances in life we can only work on ourselves and try to create a life that is our true selves.  I’m grateful to have reached this time in my life where I can say, in my own way, I did it my way, and God was with me through it all.

Clearly, there’s no going back and changing what happened or what I might have done differently in my life if I’d known what I know now after lessons learned. 

My way of dealing with pain and vulnerability was to stuff it down and leave it unexpressed until I had to take the time to bring it all into the open and talk about it and deal with the pain.  We need to tell our stories and to share them with others who might be inspired to do the same and begin the road to healing..

“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal someone else.”  ~ Iyana Vanzant

I’ve consistently found myself gravitating to the middle ground when faced with a dilemma and making difficult decisions.  As long as I can remember, my inclination is to step back and observe before jumping on the band wagon.  Sometimes I’d envy those ‘take charge’ people who could step up at those times of drama and ‘just do it’ when it was necessary.  I still admire them.  For me though, I operate better through finding my middle ground.  I have a need to see the process before I can find my place in the highs and lows of life.

Writing has been a path to my middle ground.  It’s there at the center of my thoughts that I’m able to find that thread of continuity of my own self.  It surprises me when, after procrastinating on getting started, I find a joy and freedom that begins to awaken and I wonder why I waited to begin.  It’s an awakening that points to the whole ‘me’.

The Sacred Middle

Jeff Foster

 

Don’t hold on.
Don’t let go.
Stay right in the middle.

When sorrow visits.
When melancholy erupts.
When loneliness and disappointment burn.

Stay right in the middle.
Don’t hold on.
Don’t let go.

The middle is the place
where alchemy happens.

The middle is the place
where you can saturate your ‘uninvited guest’
with a loving awareness,
with a deep, generous breath,
with slowness,
with understanding.

Not holding on,
not letting go,
just being fully present to ‘what is’.

In this soft, raging fire of presence,
in this sacred middle place called Now,
even your deepest pain
can transmute.

So don’t hold on.
Don’t let go.

Just breathe into the Mystery.

For my children and grandchildren ~ Lessons Learned from A to Z