Heard a stunningly simplistic bit of wisdom on Sunday morning, offered by Rev. Kenneth White who was speaking at Circle of Miracles. An interfaith minister, AIDS Activist/ Educator and playwrite (I will be interviewing Kenny shortly and you will learn more about this multi-talented Renaissance Man). His style is to the point and laced with humor, so as to bring any audience to rolls of laughter and tears as he did for us on this crisp, cold Southeastern Pennsylvania day. We were warmed by his tales about the generations of his family, from his grandmother Aggie, to his wise mother who shared her beliefs in spirituality, to his grandkids who amaze him and drive him wonderfully crazy, by his admission.
So, the wisdom…he expressed that we always have the choice in any situation to:
Dress it up– embellishing the story so it is exaggerated beyond its actual boundaries. Some people feel as if they are not enough as is, so they make themselves appear to be something that they are not, out of a sense of insecurity. By dressing it up, we become inauthentic and out of integrity.
Mess it up-making the story worse than it needs to be, catastrophizing and awfulizing, with the intention of garnering sympathy, blaming, finger pointing and refraining from taking responsibility for our choices.
Bless it up-turn it over to a Higher Power, whatever that is for you. It doesn’t mean accepting abuse in any way. It is about reframing challenges into exercise equipment that strengthen us and make us more flexible.
Throughout my life, I have been in all three places. As a consummate Type A -overachiever-recovering-co-dependent whose inner critic has a field day at times and whose ‘savior behavior’ kicks in when I sense someone in need, I have come to recognize when I am about to tumble into the first two realms. When I am temped to dress things up, I notice that ‘imposter sydrome’ has kicked in and what it takes to remedy it is to list my accomplishments that day, week, month, year and sometimes lifetime. The pull can be that strong requiring heavy duty remedy. When messing it up rears its snarly head, I throw a brief pity party, whining in my head “how come, it’s not fair, they get to, I don’t…” When I realize that I am the only guest there, I leave, although recently my dear zen-friend Peggy has joined what she called my “poutin’ self” and gave me space to complain for a bit. Blessing it up is my true delight and I have been able to reframe even the most painful and challenging situations, turning lemons into the best lemon merengue pie, I have ever had. Yum~