After a muggy, steamy mid Spring day in beautiful Bucks County, PA, the heavens opened and rain poured down. Rumbling thunder, a wee bit of lightning and then sunshine prevailed. I went outside in search of a rainbow, and even though I didn’t see one, I stuck around to weed out some discontent in the form of wrangling the overgrown area around my backyard fire pit. Since the soil was wet, they were easier to remove. Prior to the mini-deluge, my friend Tracy Grammer who is a talented singer songwriter made a comment about loving the “weeds that are happy to let go.” Beyond thinking that they would make great song lyrics, it occurred to me that so often, I have my own overgrowth that might choke out the flowers I have planted and am waiting, sometimes quite impatiently, to blossom.
It set me to wondering how often and for how long I had struggled to dislodge those that just didn’t wanna surrender. They might look like worn out beliefs about who I want to be, rather than the person others might expect me to embody. They could appear in the guise of selling my soul for love, or fearing speaking my mind, so that I don’t risk rejection. They could present themselves as hanging on to relationships for far too long, so I don’t feel like the bad guy. When I allow the weeds to grow rampantly, I miss out on so much beauty. What has stopped me from doing the sweat work is frustration that they don’t stay pulled. It’s like making my bed. If I want it to look neat, I need to do it every day. It takes maintenance in both the soil bed and the garden of my life.
What are YOUR weeds that you want to remove? What flowers or crops have they been symbolically choking out? What will make them easier to clear away?
“You’ve got to learn to get up from the table when love’s no longer being served.”– Nina Simone
If you are the only one cooking, serving, clearing the table, washing the dishes and putting the leftovers away, it’s time to invite better dinner companions. I have learned that over the years as I had often been the one in the role of chief cook and bottle washer, as well as clean up crew. I had believed that in order to maintain connection with partners and friends, I needed to take that on, thus making myself indispensable. It became exhausting and then return on investment of my time and energy was not commensurate.
These days, I welcome those who are willing to assist in each of those tasks, bringing their best selves to the table. I am moved by the story that I think of as ‘feeding each other in heaven.’ A person dies and is met by St. Peter. She asks the guardian at the gate to show her the difference between heaven and hell. She is first ushered in to a room that had a long table filled with the most luscious foods imaginable. The aroma was intoxicating and she found herself salivating wildly. She noticed that the people were moaning in pain; starving in the midst of plenty. She asked how that could happen and St. Peter pointed out that each person had a spoon or fork attached to their arms that were too long to be able to scoop up the food and get it into their mouths. “This is hell,” said her guide. “Show me heaven,” she begged. They walked into the next room where she beheld the same kind of table, food and utensils. These folks were in a celebratory mood, laughing, smiling and well nourished. “How could this be?,” she queried. He replied. “Don’t you notice that these people had learn to feed each other across the table?”
Who would you want at your table? It could be someone from your past, that may have pushed their chair away and excused him or herself politely or it might be another whose absence is due to moving on to the heavenly dining hall. What would you speak about with these folks? At the end of the ‘meal,’ would you feel body, heart and soul satisfied?
This morning, I heard this Jackson Browne classic called The Fuse that was the perfect prelude to an interview I had with Beth Long who is the editor of Doylestown Hospital’s news letter. She and I had last had a sit down conversation right before Thanksgiving. The topic back then was my feeling of gratitude that I had experienced a heart attack, since it turned my life around in as yet unimaginable ways. Today, as I approach the one year ‘cardio-versary’ on June 12th, she wanted to do a follow up to see how I was progressing.
What came to me so powerfully is that I make conscious choices each day about my heart health. It isn’t just about diet and fitness routines, although I do adhere to them. It is more connected with the emotional heart stuff that had me offering care for others when I wanted it myself. It is about deciding how and with whom I will invest my time and energy. Instead of doing things because I am expected to, I do them when they serve me as well. Ongoing self sacrifice can be depleting.
One of my favorite lines from the song I referenced is “Forget what life used to be. You are what you choose to be.” It is another way of saying that your history is not your destiny. We are always presented with options to consider. I am no longer on auto pilot. I ask myself sometimes moment by moment, what it is I want to do and how it will be of benefit to myself and those I encounter.
Are you living from the past? Do you see yourself as being simply a product of your experiences, rather than your conscious choices of which way to turn on the path on which you are walking?
“It’s whatever it is you see that life will become.”
Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. which commemorates those whose lives have been taken on the battlefield. It has become a harbinger of summer, although the season doesn’t officially begin until the solstice on June 21st at 12:38pm. Cookouts, parties and parades are part and parcel of the extension of the weekend. People sometimes use the greeting of Happy Memorial Day, which pushes buttons, since there really is nothing happy about war and the toll it extracts on many generations of families. My father was a veteran of the Korean War and WWII and loved watching military shows like Combat, McHales’ Navy, Hogan’s Hero’s and my favorite M*A*S*H. I joined him, as we sprawled out on the living room floor. Three out of the four injected humor into a deadly serious subject. The final episode of M*A*S*H on February 28, 1983 was the most watched and highest rated episode of a television show of all time with 125 million viewers. I was glad to be one of them. What I particularly enjoyed about the series was the ways in which it managed to bring heart and soul to a dismal environment that the characters found themselves in. With ironic laughter and a clear anti-war message, it got itself heard.
I consider myself a peacemonger who knows that there are ways to break through the blocks that have people going head to head at each other, rather than heart to heart for/with each other. There are those who will be reading this who may believe that war will always exist and that it is justified. I know that my father would have been one of them. That was one of the few subjects about which we disagreed; tree hugging hippie that his daughter turned out to be. He didn’t glorify war, but thought that there were some things worth fighting for. He had been a Golden Gloves boxer in the Navy and had learned to be a tough guy while growing up in South Philadelphia. He did, however, have the heart of a marshmallow, who could cry easily and embraced family, friends and strangers alike. I guess I would call him a peaceful warrior. Perhaps I would call myself that too, since I have causes for which I take stands, but with my words and not weapons or fists.
I think of the line from Star Wars that is uttered by Yoda when he and Luke Skywalker meet for the first time when Luke tells this little green sage that he is looking for a great warrior. Yoda responds “Wars not make one great.”
It is in that spirit, that I offer peace to the souls of those who are no longer in body and healing to the hearts of those whose loved ones have died as a result of war.
After a muggy, steamy mid Spring day in beautiful Bucks County, PA, the heavens opened and rain poured down. Rumbling thunder, a wee bit of lightning and then sunshine prevailed. I went outside in search of a ...
Is Love Being Served? "You've got to learn to get up from the table when love's no longer being served."- Nina Simone
If you are the only one cooking, serving, clearing the table, washing the dishes and putting the leftovers away, it's time to invite better ...
You Are What You Choose To Be This morning, I heard this Jackson Browne classic called The Fuse that was the perfect prelude to an interview I had with Beth Long who is the editor of Doylestown Hospital's news letter. She and I had last had a sit down conversation right ...
Wars Not Make One Great Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. which commemorates those whose lives have been taken on the battlefield. It has become a harbinger of summer, although the season doesn't officially begin until the solstice on June 21st at 12:38pm. Cookouts, ...
On My Way Back Home Packed and ready to return home following a week in Hilton Head, SC with my friends Barb and Glenn. Feeling refreshed and revitalized. Like most vacations, it began ages ago and was over in the blink of an eye. In a seven day span, I swam in ...
The Bliss Blog is a delicious nibble of ideas that can help you transform your life from ordinary into truly extraordinary. You’ll find 'portable life skills' that can be put to use immediately in all aspects life--enhancing relationships, improving communication, elevating self esteem, loving the man or woman in the mirror, taking more responsibility for life choices and experiencing more pleasure. The dictionary says bliss is “extreme happiness, ecstasy, spiritual joy” It is “seventh heaven” and “walking on air.” This blog will help you have a bliss-filled life and function in a grounded way.
About the Author
Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW
Rev. Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW is a Renaissance Woman and Bliss Mistress who delights in inviting people to live rich, full, juicy lives. Edie is the host of the Blog Talk Radio show called It's All About Relationships each Thursday night from 8-9 pm on Vivid Life Radio www.vividlife.me. » Posts by Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW