Okay, so I let another day or two merge together into one final hurrah. This is it. The 40 Days of Giving Up are done. Good Friday has passed. It is Holy Saturday, the day of mourning, of waiting for the resurrection, the rebirth, the coming of spring. It is all that rolled into one. And as I wait for the glory of Easter and its promise of eternal life, it hits me: the epiphany I was looking for. It is not really "giving up" per se, It is surrender.
This has been a time for me of going inward and contemplating all the things that hinder me along life's journey. Procrastination, avoidance, trying (not doing), foolishness, tiredness, yesterday, pipe dreams, impatience, uncertainty, certainty...on and on. Aging, fear, patience, stuff and nonsense. It all adds up to roadblocks of my own creation.
Giving up is letting go. It is not hanging on to the madness that has paralyzed me time and time again. Surrender, sweet and simple. Just going with the flow. Perhaps that is the lesson for me to have learned in this Lenten exercise. Just giving in and knowing that there is nothing I have to do to make things happen other than to make things happen by letting them happen. Naturally and organically. Turning it over to the Higher Power and letting it work in me and through.
That is the ultimate challenge and the ultimate delight in letting go and giving up on the faderal. Just let it be. Amen
Happy Easter. I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me. It has been, as they used to say back in the late 1960's, real.
Here's where I fumble. What next? What do I give up next? Its been a lot of giving up, which, for me, really meant being introspective, going within, and finding the truth of my and my life such as it is. And I have to say I have given up something 'most every day...but some I probably have been better at letting go of than others.
So what now? Only two more days left. At least if I am counting correctly. I could just give up this whole thing, but that seems rather silly after all this entries. So I will finish it. But that does not tell me what to give up today. So, ummm, what do I give up?
I could give up ice cream. That would be a good thing, but since there are only a few days left of lent, what kind of sacrifice would that be? No, not ice cream. Anyway.
I knew this would get difficult toward the end. Giving up is not easy, (he said with a slight ironic grin). so maybe I will be satisfied to give up "ummmm". Kinda like a "have to". Its a choice. To do or not to do, that is the question here. I can choose either. Ummmm, well, there you have it.
I give up, for today/tonight.
Tomorrow is another day.
Stop avoiding. Reality is going to get you sooner or later anyway, so facing facts is where's its at. And dealing with them as they are, as they appear, as, in the words of those old cowboy saloon poker players would say, play the cards you were dealt.
So what is this reality I speak of? Well, it is the fact that I am not always completely honest with folks. I often say "yes" when what I really want to say is "no." I did it just tonight. I agreed to take a position in an organization I believe in, but don't really want to be immersed in. Why? Fear? Probably. Fear of not being liked? Guilt? All of the above? Probably.
And another thing I avoid is the frank talk. I have feelings. I just don't always feel comfortable telling people what I feel, what I want, what I don't want. I have boundaries; but sometimes those boundaries are not easy to find and if someone crosses them, I curse, but in silence and to myself. And plus that could lead to real feelings. Real feelings can lead to intimacy...not sex...but intimate feelings that can cause pain and suffering. Avoiding on the face of it is the easier road to take. But in the long run, well, you end up in isolation, alone with your feelings. And not much more.
Today I give up avoidance.
Only a few days left in this 40 Days of Giving up. It has been a journey so far. But its not over.
I've been into this for over a month now. Giving up is not that easy. FInding something everyday to "give up" is a challenge. Yet I seem to be doing just that. And I think over all I have been moderately successful. If nothing else, it has insprired me to take a moment each day and meditate on those things that hold me back and keep me from living a life of fullness.
Well, I say so because I say so. It has been an interesting journey so far. Six more days (not counting Sundays) and I will have completed the goal. But I think I shall have completed some more than that. And I will be beginning something new: a life free of several anchors. It will be interesting. And I will need to remain mindful and conscious. I will need to maintain a certain level of discipline, too.
I can do it. I don't need to give up. I can soldier on. I can see the light ahead. It will be good.
So? So it is good. I say so. So what am I giving up today? Sayng "So what?" as if it doesn't matter. It does matter. And this forty day exercise has helped me realize that. Now maybe tommorrow I can think about "Who cares?" and real
If you give up the answer, are you required to give up the question? If you no longer are seeking The Answer, why would you ever ask The Question? What is The Question anyway? Is it something to do with the meaning of life? The existence of God? Life after death? Is love worth all the struggle? Doesn't love mean never having to say you're sorry?
What was the question?
I find myself going to the refrigerator quite often, opening the door and just standing there looking. I appreciate that the light comes on automatically as if to guide my way. I stare and wonder what to eat or drink. Sometimes I am not even hungry. The answer. I think I am looking for the answer to something. Is it the meaning of life? Is it my quest to feel fulfilled? Is it just plain boredom? Or am I really hungry?
Questions of my life. Opening the door, letting the cool air wash over me. So many temptations yet so little I want at that particular moment. Choices to make: whether to indulge or adhere to my disciplined diet. Sometimes I close the door and walk away only to find myself going back and looking again. It can be an endless cycle sometimes. And sometimes I just drink water, sometimes I make a sandwich, sometimes I take inventory and sometimes I just do nothing again.
Today as I found myself doing this, I realized this is how I live my life: looking for answers. Often, like the in the fridge, I don't find the answer I am looking for...probably because it is not there. Where is it? What will fill this empty feeling? Well, I expect the answer is within myself. The answer lies within. It's not in the fridge or anywhere else outside myself. There may be clues outside, or even in the fridge, but The Answer is inside me, waiting for me to find it. So today I give up looking outside myself for The Answer. There's no place, you know, like home.
I have trouble accepting gifts. When someone gives me a gift, I feel, well, undeserving...is that it? I'm not sure. I sometimes feel obligated...obligated to give something in return. Sometimes I have to admit something else that occasionally happens. I look a gift horse in the mouth. Why is this person giving me a gift in the first place? What do they want? Of course this is not true when the gift is given in gratitude. In that case, gratitude is the real gift. Whatever is given is the token of that gratitude. I need to remember that. I need to give up feeling "weird" about accepting gifts.
And while I'm on the subject, something else I need to wrap my head around is how I feel about giving gifts. Yes, it can be a dilemma. Christmas, birthdays, housewarmings, anniversaries, business, etc and so forth. A gift should be a "want to", not a "feel I have to." Yet, I want to give gifts where gifts are to be given. I struggle, though, over what to give, will it represent my feelings adequately, will it be cherished or end up at Goodwill? (I've had that happen). And what are these strings I'm attaching: like my gift, like me, recognize that I fulfilled my social obligation or that I really, really like you.
So many messages, mixed and subliminal, direct and clear, in every gift. Sometimes there are expectations of reciprocation, sometimes not. I tell myself that a gift is given and that is that. If there are strings attached, cut them. A gift is just that, a gift. It is token of someone's feelings and should be accepted as such. Ain't easy, but I'm giving up looking for meaning beyond. It's a gift, for heavens' sake.
And this is my gift to you. Do with it what you will, but remember, its from the heart.
I'm gonna stop trying. It never gets me anywhere. I try and I try and in the end, I find I am doing just that, trying. I know what you're thinking, but it isn't that. I'm not giving up giving up. I'm giving up trying. Instead, I'm going to stop trying and start living as if. Now I can almost hear you thinking, what the heck is he talking about. But I think some of you get it. As long as I keep trying, I'll never do or be whatever it is I keep trying to do or be. Let me try to explain.
When I say I am trying to do something, it means I am stuck in that...trying. Trying to do something means not ever succeeding at doing it. I try to understand this idea, but I don't until I accept the fact that it not something to be understood. It is something to be accepted. It is was it is. Most things just are. There may not be any explanation. That's where faith comes in. Trust too. Believing in yourself. That is more than trying. That is knowing...knowing that it is what it is and accepting the fact that we may never know more than that. Ultimately, what would it change to know the why of things?
So that is what I mean by giving up trying. Just doing. That's the ticket. Surrendering into the mystery and accepting the wonder as part of the condition of life. Without it, it would probably get awfully boring.
So maybe like in that old commercial said about Life cereal back in the '70s, we can be like Mikey and try it, we'll like it.
Give up foolishness? Heck no! Foolishness is what makes life worthwhile sometimes. Being serious all the time, now there is the buzz killer. But to be foolish, well, to me it means being willing to take a chance on something, like luck or love. Being willing to appear the fool means you are willing to take a risk. I don't think I would ever want to give that up.
Sometimes life is much too serious. Play it safe. Don't take any chances. Be cool. But putting yourself out there, now that takes some courage. Oftentimes it is courage that I lack, yet I still believe it is better to have risked being laughed at than to sit all the dances of life out.
There is also the foolishness of dancing in the rain and kootchie cooing with your dog. It may appear foolish to some, but it is oh so good for the soul and the spirit. Your face my burn crimson red when you realize you've waved at someone who wasn't waving at you, but foolishly maybe, I still think it's better to wave.
No, on this April Fool's Day, I won't be giving up foolishness. Being willing to be child-like, not child-ish, is how to experience life in all its multi-faceted glory. Being serious? Well, I can give that up quite easily, even though I know there is a time and place for everything. But you don't have to be foolish about it.
Happy April Fool's Day.