As I was walking my dogs the other morning, I passed a woman pruning her simple, yet magnificent lawn. I commented on her work. She smiled, and thanked me. I replied that it looked like a lot of work; without missing a beat, she answered – “I love it.”
That is the way it should be.
As much blood, sweat, and perhap even tears, that it must cost her to create a stunning and magnificent yard, she still does it which tells us a truth of the human experience. There’s blood, sweat, and tears that creates beauty; and there’s blood, sweat, and tears that creates a vacuum, a void, a life pinch.
Shortly after waking up that morning, I burst into tears while grinding my coffee beans. Tears streamed down my face at such a rapid pace that they quickly turned into an ugly cry. I was ruminating on publishing my first book as well as the rawness and vulnerability revealed in that story. I was contemplating sharing that with those who are close to me and then – the tears.
I cried because I felt sad and disappointed about all the times I failed. I cried because of the hard lessons I learned. I felt sad that I spent twenty-three years in a dysfunctional relationship and most of that time in denial of the need to accept that he was who he was, he wasn’t changing, people do not change, and we just did not fit. I felt sad that we struggled so much financially that the fear of not being able to provide well for myself or my children led me to tolerate so much disrespect and objectifying I otherwise never would have allowed post-divorce. I cried because that pressure left me so vulnerable and insecure as a female standing on my own two feet supporting myself for the first time ever in my life that I actually believed that taking inappropriate crap and sexual harassment from one female manager and far too many of my clients was necessary. I cried because the woman I used to be allowed so much disrespect for who I am and didn’t even see it at the time. I cried because I believed the lie that is was just the way it is as a woman in business.
It was, like, I kept pinching myself – hurting myself – over and over again as I was running myself through all this that morning.
One of my favorite Buddhist philosophies says this: “If it hurts when you pinch yourself, then why do you keep pinching yourself?”
That morning, I moved on and into gratitude for those life pinches – the blood-sweat-and-tears-tough lessons, the pain, the challenge, the difficulty – that were all, in fact, major life-learnings.
We live in a society that seems to stay stuck in and fascinated by pinching itself. My relationships, two beautiful men, two long-term failed relationships that did not innately bring out the best in me or me them. I look around and I see those all around me. We get close, and we cave and we settle and then, we pinch ourselves so much so that and we cannot even see the pinching. We accept it as normal. It is not normal, y’all. Staying stuck and staying in emotional and physical places that pinch us, that hurt us is not okay. It is complacency at its worst.
Like I said, there are two types of blood-sweat-and-tears pinches – those that leave us empty and unhappy void of kindness, compassion and love; and those that teach us something which we then spin into something beautiful – a well-manicured lawn which reads well loved and unpretentious.
For me, it is an intentional process every damn day to stay awake in my truth and not put myself into situations that hurt me. Far too often still, a client tiptoes up to that line. Far too often, I don’t back them down. The past few weeks, I have made myself clear in saying this behavior is not welcome, please stop.
I have burst into tears far too many times from knowing better and still not doing better. NO more. I am done. If it costs me business, so be it. Better that than my self-respect, my sanity and my soul. I am exhausted and won’t allow any form any longer…. I hope.
Where are you pinching yourself perhaps ever so subtly? Where can you stop hurting yourself? Or where can you put yourself into situations that might pinch you, but – at the same time – create something magnificent and beautiful?
That’s my not so sexy truth.