Thursday, September 8, 2016

When the student is ready...

Wisdom comes from lots of places. I feel like most of my life has been in pursuit of some kind of wisdom. I think I own every single self help book known to man. I'm a sucker for all the social media articles titled, "5 steps to this" or "6 steps to that"

I aspire to be better. Do better. Make sense of my past. Make sense of her past. Fix my future. Fix your future.

No bueno.

I do all of this knowing in my heart I can't really fix anyone. It's my need for control playing dress up in good intentions and it distracts me from dealing with the only thing I really have any control over. Myself.

Recently I've been thinking on where wisdom comes from. It can certainly come from a book or an article. Both can teach you new skills to improve yourself. You can also read about another person's experience and it can spark reflection into your own life. Which, by the way, is the purpose of my blog. My hope is that anyone who reads my stuff can identify with the feelings I share. I try not to focus on my circumstances a lot because really, my details don't matter so much. We're all on the same journey. We all laugh. We all cry. We all struggle. We all experience triumph, loss, love, anger, grief. It just manifests itself in different ways for different people. I try to write in such a way that regardless of my specific details, it connects me to you.

It's funny though. My most meaningful lessons and wisdom always come from the least expected places.

They come from my old friend John with schizophrenia who I visited every week many years ago, who taught me the power of kindness and that we are all connected, regardless of our illness, negative behaviors, or quirky ways. Underneath it all, we are more alike than we are different.

They come from the pain of training for and finishing a marathon. When I realized the power in one step at a time. I got comfortable being uncomfortable. I stopped running away from the pain and stopped looking back so much and eventually realized I'd stopped running from my past....And instead, had started running toward my future.

They come from 3 trips to the West Coast, when I had finally gotten myself to the furthest place, both physically and emotionally, that I had ever dreamed of as a kid.

They come from Mary, my sister with a developmental disability, who inspires me every day to choose happy in spite of all the challenging circumstances life continually tosses at her.

They come from the guy I met on my run with a traumatic brain injury trying to get himself up Main St hill with one leg in a wheelchair. I stopped & pushed him home, thinking I was helping him. When we got there he looked at me and said, "You. Are. Awesome." Little did he know, at that moment I had happened to be at one of the lowest points I have ever been & him saying that made a huge difference in my life.

Maybe I am good enough?

My most recent wisdom came while sitting under a tree drinking an ice cold beer. My life has been challenging lately in more ways than one. I'm in brand new territory and I often find myself questioning my strength to pursue my own happiness and dreams and stand on my own two feet for the first time in my life.

A couple weeks ago, I ran a 5K Brewery series race.  And ahem, I'm excited (and shocked) to say I took second place in my age group!!!! 

It was a crazy hot day and after the race I was sitting under a tree listening to the awards & having a very cold beer with a friend. We got chatting about our lives & something he said stuck with me all week. He raised up his hand in the air & said that now that he's independent and happy with himself, the bar is up here. Whatever comes next in life has to meet or exceed that.

It got me thinking about my own circumstance. I started thinking about how I'm finally starting to figure out what makes me happy. How I'm finally starting to raise my own bar. How I placed in a 5K race even though I had to stop for a bloody heel and even though it wasn't my best time. Imperfect. And yet somehow, I was still good enough.

It's funny how wisdom sneaks up quietly and taps you on the shoulder even when you're a hot sweaty mess drinking a beer under a tree.

"When the student is ready the teacher appears"

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