Gratitude Fix

So today I’m in a mood, feeling a little down without good reason.  Like I’ve said before the closest fix I’ve got for a mood like this is to simply count my blessings.  So this will be another one of those gratitude posts!

I am grateful for Mark and how much he loves the girls and me.  It meant so much that he went with me to take them to their first day of school.  I love that he said to me while in Bella’s kindergarten classroom “Let’s just stay until the teacher starts kicking the parents out.”  I reminded him that I was a teacher and I know from experience that the teacher does not want to have to kick us out.  But it felt good that he said it and that leaving his little ones at school on their first days touched his heart in that way.  (I was also the one to pull him away from Callee’s school’s playground.)

I am grateful for spending a few hours with the ladies in my women’s group last weekend.  I am so lucky to know all of them and am just in awe of their talents.  I had been thinking a lot recently about taking a dance class and sure enough we talked a great deal about Jenny’s tremendous dancing skills and the various classes available in town.  I even discovered there is a studio here that offers pole dancing classes (which I totally want to do after reading Lissa Rankin’s post…the one I linked to yesterday).  I am also looking forward to Kamala’s upcoming workshop on healing.  I can’t wait to get a dose of all that she has been learning through her travels and studies this past year.

I am grateful that this first week of school has gone smoothly.  I am so pleased that we live in walking distance to Bella’s school.  I might have had a completely different reaction to the first day if I had had to wait in a car line or put her on a school bus.  It is very comforting to be this close and the exercise I’m getting walking an extra 2 miles a day certainly is appreciated.

Finally, I am grateful for the way my world is expanding.  It is quite amazing how blogging and tweeting has opened up so many doors and invited new people into my life.  I chatted today with a fellow writer in India and bought a book on Tuesday to send to my new friend in Texas.  I connected with someone else in Virginia and may have just gotten my first official writing gig.

Like always, I could go on and on, but I won’t.  It seems this was just enough to get me feeling better.  Life truly is good.  Someone replied to a blog post I wrote today and said “Ain’t it fun to be on this trip?”  When I first read the question I hesitated for a second, but then realized it was just the reminder I needed.  Yes it is fun!

For the sake of fun, laughter, and needing to be cheered up…here’s a pretty funny video but probably NSFW since a thong wearing woman makes an appearance (if you’re at work and can’t watch it, come back later for the laugh.)

Essential Self

This would be post number 2 in the “Finding Your Own North Star” series.  In the book Martha Beck describes two sides of ourselves: the essential self and the social self.  Your essential self is your guidance system (I would also refer to it as your higher self), the part of you that directs you to your path and just seems to know where you are meant to go.  The social self is the side of you that conforms to the “rules” that are put upon you by your family, school, church, peer group, and society in general.  The social self can definitely work in your favor, but it can also hold you back and keep you in fear.  It tends to enjoy the path of least resistance.

For the most part I agreed with Beck’s description of essential self.  She did however lose me for just a bit by listing off a few not so nice things the essential self might want to do.  I can’t remember her exact examples but she included things equal to slapping the tyrannical boss when they criticize you or rear-ending the guy in traffic who cuts you off.  I interpreted those type situations as very negative and I believe that our essential selves are essentially good.  So to give the author the benefit of the doubt I will imagine for a minute that your essential self does scream at you to slap your boss.  (Now remember it is highly unlikely that your social self will let you do this.)  If you follow through on this action maybe it will have positive results for both of you, maybe you discover an amount of courage you never knew you had and maybe your boss learns that he/she cannot push people around.  In the end you are both better people because of it.

Last night I woke up at 2am thinking of more examples of the way our essential selves work.  Here are my two favorites.

Mark and I watched a PBS program about the TV show “60 Minutes” last night.  They interviewed a guy who now works for the program.  He was 12-years-old when he fell in love with “60 Minutes” and knew he wanted to work on the show one day.  He was probably in 7th grade when he had this revelation.  I’m sure his social self went on a rampage telling him he was not supposed to be crazy over a news show…he was supposed to be interested in girls (other than Leslie Stahl), sports, music, and action movies.  Obviously his essential self won in that argument and he is on the path that was meant for him.  He’s making his dreams come true and making news on the best show for interesting news stories.

Your essential self’s role in relationships is another interesting example.  Your essential self falls in love and wants to go dancing, stay up all night talking religion and politics, and spend days having wild sex.  Your social self says wait just a minute here…you don’t know how to dance, talking religion and politics is a no-no, and wild sex: NEVER!  Instead it decides you should take things slooowww, date, and get to know each other.  Your social self sees the other person as a means to living happily ever after, while your essential self realizes they’re purpose might be to simply show you how to happily live in that moment.  Your social self clings to relationships out of fear, while your essential self knows that if one foundation crumbles it is simply clearing the way for a new and stronger one to be built.

So I invite you to search your heart and figure out what your essential self wants you to do.  If it is something little like say taking a pole dancing class, go for it!  If it is something huge and life changing, ask for guidance on the right steps to get you there (I guarantee if you are open it will happen when the time is right).