Have a Little Faith in Me

A photo by Priscilla Westra. unsplash.com/photos/5LzlDVR3QpA

That’s my theme song this week. A love song. From me, to me.

I fucked up. I hate when that happens. Really really hate it. Thinking about my theme song and what it means when I screw up.

I was doing the best I could when I booked flights during winter break based on past experience vs. this year’s event calendar. Whoops.

Shit happens.

I am human.

I really am doing the best I can.

As I write this I’m sitting on hold with the airline to change my tickets, my penance, thirty minutes of Christmas music elevator style. It’s gonna cost you, a voice is saying. Maybe, another replies. You don’t have it (the money), says the first voice. Maybe, the second replies. You should have known better. That’s an old favorite ego/conditioning likes to pull out.

I’m reminded of the Zen tale I used to read to my kids:

The Farmers Luck.  

An old farmer worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Johnny Cash is playing now. Wondering what kind of sign that might be. He’s singing the blues. Folsom Prison. Kinda fits. I’m bummed. Before the stories start (the ones that will try to make me feel better or the ones that will try to make me feel worse), I’m taking a moment to feel bummed out, cause that’s what I feel. No stories required. This sucks.

Whoa, here come the stories though, and they create a whole new reality:

I’m spending money I don’t have, but at least I have my health. That’s what’s really important. (The flip side, money is not important – that’s a story I just created) I’m so scatterbrained—it’s because of perimenopause (Aging is causing my brain to decompose). I practice mindfulness! That was not a mindful thing to do, relying on a past experience for information (Forget all the ways I am present and mindful; this one lapse overrides all of that).

Can you see what’s happening with my stories and immediate counterpoints? Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate my good health. Perimenopause has left my brain a bit foggy. I am bummed about the money.

All are true. And not true. It’s a matter of perspective. The story I want to tell. The story I am unconsciously creating in a moment of frustration. The focus of my attention.

The quality of your life depends on the focus of your attention. Ah, yes it does. And trickster ego can step in and on the merry-go-round we go. Happy/Sad, Good/Bad, or in the words of the adults in Charlie Brown’s world, wah wah wah wah. What to do, when my brain is about to explode! What to do, when my brain isn’t about to explode. Same answer. Like the farmer.

Breathe. Embrace. Remember. Trust.

Breathe and drop the stories.

Embrace what’s happening. This sucks. Take some time to feel (if possible, without the stories) how much it sucks. Feel it in your body. The vulnerability, the disappointment, the scared young part of you who maybe got in trouble for screwing up. Feel it and let it move through you like a wave. This is a healing opportunity.

Remember. You are an irresistible force of nature. Shit’s gonna get stirred up sometimes. Things will not always go according to plan. Winds will wail, chunks of ice will fall from the sky, brilliant color will burst forth daily, stillness will hold you in gentle arms.

Trust in the farmer’s luck. Yes. Maybe. Maybe this is a bad thing. Maybe. I won’t know until the future, even then, the knowing will only be temporary. In the meantime, have a little faith in me.

“When your secret heart

Cannot speak so easily

Come here darlin’

From a whisper start

To have a little faith in me”

—John Hiatt

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