What’s Happening in Your Space?

Almost finished a triathlon today.  If it wasn’t for that chafing because I forgot my biking shorts, I think I would have.  I was wearing surfer shorts.  I will never poke at people who whine about chafing.  They’re right!  It hurts!  Enough for me to cut my run in half twice.  And I walked.   People I saw afterward kept saying “At least you finished!”  I felt like I had to confess but then I’d want to explain so I left it all out which I know in itself is a little lie if there is any such thing as a little lie, so I’m atoning by confessing to you.  There.  (Breath.)

The truth is, even though I cut across lawn, and walked the cross walk, and broke all sorts of athlete-codes of honor, I had such a wonderful time.  With all my abbreviating, I caught up with my brother, Vance Johnson, and his 10% body fat.  He’s always been sensitive, so he kindly slowed to walk me down the last stretch.  We don’t get to spend enough time together and even a few moments like that are golden!  We were laughing and strolling and probably looking too pleased to be appropriate for the last 40 yards of a long race.  So, of course it took us both a few extra seconds to realize what the woman had yelled as her large frame thundered by.  “If you aren’t going to race, get off the road!”  It was extra shocking because it was like a parallel universe suddenly collided ours.  We were happy.  I with my swollen inner thigh, and Vance with his little sister as audience.  It was over-cast, perfect weather for the day.  The beach was a few yards to our right.  Everything else was San Diego green.  Then, Pow!  “Get off the road!”

At first, I was ticked.  “Listen …,” I said in my mind.  Not nice.  But then I saw my brother.  How could I be angry?

There were many scenarios of this woman’s life that a carousel flashed on the screen in my mind.  Maybe none of them were true. Maybe she was simply an avid committed athlete who found us people soiling her turf.  Whatever the situation was, she was finishing the race and looked like she’d done well for her potential.  She hadn’t cut lawn and street.  She wasn’t walking.  She was running or galloping or something.  But she wasn’t happy about any of it.  Looking back, she might see us as the reason her mood soured.  Regardless the reason or the date and time of onset, she was sour.

It was only a few moments really that my thoughts stayed on her.  Vance had moved on to another subject and I didn’t want to miss it.  Reflecting now though, of course I’m struck by the perspective of success and failure.  A race is a perfect stage for demonstrating something with a beginning, middle and ending.  Sounds like a shortened version of life.

I’m not sure who first said that there is only one beginning and one ending to life.  “It’s the journey that matters.”  Probably God.  Someone who is timeless and infinite would get that.  Today He blessed us with that.  I can’t count on myself to have it the next time.  God knows I’ve been the one screaming something like, “Get off the road!” enough times before.  But next time, I hope I remember what God gave Vance and me today.  I hope I will succeed as happily as I did today when I lost the race.

Self Care Tip #65 – Get into the in-between spaces in your life and go for the joy!  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What have you been finding in your own space?  What do you think?

If you’d like to read more blog posts on the journey, read here.

Bringing Your Worst or Your Best – Family

When I go to work, I feel my spirit get up off the floor, onto its knees and then it’s feet, and then fly into skies of happiness and inner congruence.  Work is where people are respectful to others.  If not they disappear.  (i.e. They’re fired.)  They do their chores and sometimes even with pleasure.  I am less often reminded of the fine line between success and failure, and I can always find my scissors, tape and stapler.  I’m sitting at home now, letting out a dreamy sigh.  Ah.

Why do we treat strangers so well and our family not so well?  Why do we give our best where our best is valued only as much as the going rate of gold and

silver?

John Tauer, Ph.D. states that coöperation and competition are not an either or.  He tells us from 4 years of research at basketball summer camps that the effects of combining coöperation with competition (intergroup competition) is much more powerful than either one alone.   In other words, individuals competing isn’t as fun or successful as a group of people competing against another group of people (i.e. teams.)  I propose that this might be part of the play in the difference between home and out of home behaviors.

In the home, we tend to see ourselves as individuals maybe even competing against each other.  Out of the home, we ally with others whom we can work with to compete against others.  We bring our best to the playing field perhaps.

In The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss, we see a family who is marooned, cooperating as a team against dangerous elements (intergroup competition) to survive.  They have so much fun doing it that when rescue finally comes, nothing could entice them to leave their happy treehouse.

We see other examples of this (intergroup competition) when a family member gets sick and everyone rally’s to fight the disease together.  I wonder how we can do that good stuff without having to wreck a ship or fight cancer.  I’d like to give my best to my husband and kids every day.  The fraternities, the gangs, the undying lure of neighborhood rivalries, reality TV show Survivor – all show us that this intergroup competition is pleasurable and effective.

Question:  Have you experienced this kind of success in your own home?  Please tell me your story.

Self Care Tip #57 – Bring your best to the people you love.  Be a friend to yourself.

Sunshine

My daughter came out of her room. “I can’t sleep Mommy. I feel lonely.” Part of me wanted to run the shadows down, throttle them and take revenge. Another part of me, stopped at what I saw in her eyes. It was as if she was saying, “Am I ok?” And I felt happy with the question. I knew there was my sunshine.

Am I ok? Am I the only one who feels this way?

My husband and I went to hear Rob Bell talk about suffering. He had us all write down on cards “I am not alone.” Then he asked us questions about suffering. “If you have loved someone who has died, please stand.” “If you or someone you know has had cancer, please stand.” “Who here is struggling with their finances?” “If you…,” and the questions went on. Pretty soon, there wasn’t anyone in the many hundreds of people attendance not standing. We looked at each other, exposed and awkward. Our crusty’s and defenses barely in place. Then Rob Bell asked us to give our card to someone we didn’t know. He did this over and over until we realized materially, that none of us were alone. I don’t know who’s writing is on my card but it reminds me that someone(s) out there share my suffering and I theirs.

For now, my daughter is small. For now, I hold her card. I knew what to say, and it felt like sunshine.

You are not alone. Many people feel that way all the time and feeling that way is normal. But you can’t trust your feelings. When you feel lonely, remember what you know to be true. You are not alone.

My daughter, looked at me and I saw that I got it right for once! We connected through something like a sliver of magic. I was so glad. She nodded, hugged and kissed and went to bed. It was dark outside but there was light in my heart.

Self Care Tip #19 – Share your card and take one – You are not alone! Be a friend to yourself.