1. Not only should I not be ashamed of failure, but its important for me to fail!
When Sara Blakely, (billionaire, Founder and owner of Spanx), was growing up, her father would often ask her the same question at dinnertime. "What have you failed at this week?" She said her dad growing up encouraged her and her brother to fail. “The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying, versus the outcome. It's really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”
Couldn’t we all have used that kind of parenting rather than being paralyzed by our own self talk (and the comments of others) after something failed? What if we had been able to observe it, remain unattached to it, and perhaps even grateful for what we learned? What would it have been like to talk about our failures from positive encouragement rather than condescending shame?
Well, like most of us I had very “human” parents that did their best. Now it’s up to me to determine who and what I listen to. I’m choosing to spread my wings in 2017. To be free. To try new things. To be gentle on myself and at the end of each week take a look at what I failed at and smile!
2. Be aware of what breaks my heart, because God is trying to tell me something.
I recently listened to The Robcast
https://robbell.podbean.com #129, with Troy Anderson of speakupforthepoor.org, who lives in Blangladesh.
Troy says he was told early on, “Beware of things that make you cry because God is trying to tell you something.”
What brings on the tears in me? Young girls and women being exploited; human lives ravaged through war; rise in terrorism, child hunger; and a humanity so seeped in stress, tension and defeat, that addictions and suicide are rampant.
Through the tears comes the call. My call is to be a facilitator for spiritual growth. To help others find the Peace that awaits them. It begins with learning to listen to the Voice that resides within us and find so terribly difficult to hear. So I invite others to join me at Prayer and Contemplation Gatherings and I offer Spiritual Direction to individuals in need of spiritual companionship. If all of us knew how to access the Love within us and allow it to flow through us, this world would be a much better place. I find the lyrics, “Let there be Peace on earth and let it begin with me”, profound. Now to live it one breath at a time in 2017.
What brings you tears? For Troy Anderson it was young, exploited girls around the world. He became an attorney and founded “Speak Up for the Poor”. All of our lives matter. We were created for a purpose. You were beautifully and uniquely designed! What is your call? It doesn’t have to be something of grandeur….you are enough!
3. Be grateful for the life I have rather than focusing on the life I thought I should have.
Keeping Christmas simple this year, Larry and I decided to give each other ancestry.com kits. Our results are not back yet but in the meantime I’ve been working on my family tree. I have unleashed a great deal surrounding my biological father whom I never met and is no longer living. For several days I was absorbed by ugly scenarios and broken family stories. What I now know is had my mother been married to this man, my life would have taken a terrifying path of desolation.
I have prided myself over the years in being a survivor and even a thriver of a very dysfunctional early childhood. I’ve had counselors commend me on my ability to do as well as I have. Yet, deep inside me there has been the shadow of the victim, wishing I’d had a more conventional upbringing like other kids of the 50’s & 60’s.
Simultaneously, I am now embarking upon a contemplative study of scripture. This in itself is pretty remarkable. It has taken a few years since my days of the Christian dogma and literal interpretation taught, to trust that God’s holiness could touch me through the written word. But now when I read, “O that today you would listen to my voice! Do not harden your hearts…..” Psalm 95:7-8, the words speak directly to me. They tell me I’m not alone and never have been. They remind me that being grateful for the life I have, keeps my heart soft and pliable. It allows me to glimpse the entire canvas of what might have been had God not held brush. Yes…2017 is about being grateful!