But first let me say that yes... yes, we absolutely are whole, perfect and complete. There is a spirit in us, an essence, that is pure, unconditional love... and unconditionally loving and lovable. One with God. One with the Universe. This is the deep down Truth that I believe and hold dear. My song lyrics reflect this: that "it's enough"... that all you need to do is "come back to your heart... to all that you are"... and that "love will provide". I believe all of these things. Yet, I kind of think there is a danger in how we interpret this. Yes, grace is essential in this thing we call "being human"... allowing grace for ourselves and others along life's journey. But maybe... just maybe... we sometimes use "I am perfect just the way I am" to justify certain things... and maybe we let ourselves off the hook a little too easily when we know we can be doing better. And by "doing better", I mean loving better. Loving our bodies better by taking better care of them. Loving each other better. Loving our planet better. Loving by taking loving action.
I have gotten to a place of real peace in my life. I feel "comfortable"... comfortable in my skin and comfortable in my surroundings. And this is good! But at the same time, I'm not sure we are meant to always be comfortable... that our ultimate goal is to necessarily make ourselves comfortable or to push away discomfort in the name of "being true to ourselves".
I've been trying to be a little more mindful lately about where I can stretch beyond my comfort zone... in both large and small ways. These past couple of weeks have presented some opportunities... seemingly uncomfortable situations that, instead of reacting out of habit, or just avoiding them, I chose to ask myself instead, "what is the most loving thing to do here?" Even small steps can make a difference, leading to bigger ones that not only affect our own lives, but the world we are a part of.
The first notable opportunity was a routine medical screening that I had been putting off (because it seemed so very... uncomfortable!). Instead of fighting and cursing it, I finally chose to see it as a gift. I decided to dive into it as an opportunity to love my body. The hardest part, it seemed, was the prep. I had to fast from solid foods... clear liquids only for 36 hours... which also included drinking a ton of a "not so pleasant" prescription cocktail. Ugh. Initially, this felt like torture to me, the girl who loves substantial meals and gets low blood sugar if she doesn't eat. But, choosing to see this screening as a gift (because it really was), I made the whole thing a mission of love. I became sort of a geek about it, stocking up on all of the quality, delicious, nutritious, energy-giving clear liquids I could think of and researching tips and tricks to make the whole process as positive as possible. I ended up breezing through it all, really... and I know it was because I focused on loving my body and on gratitude for a potentially life-saving procedure.
Shortly after that experience, I was presented with another opportunity to stretch. Eric is a regular blood donor with Red Cross. While I have always admired people for donating without a thought, I have to admit, I had let my squeamishness prevent me from giving blood. It made me feel weak just thinking about it. So I'd justified that it "just wasn't my thing". Well, Eric got a call reminding him he was scheduled to give blood that day (he had forgotten) and on a whim he asked me if I might want to join him... to give blood. My immediate reaction was "ummm... no... I don't think I can do that...", but I stopped myself and decided to at least fill out the donor screening questionnaire. As I was reading and answering the questions, I realized not everyone can give blood and that I was a perfect candidate. I suddenly "got" that I had an important gift to give that would far outweigh any potential discomfort. So, with my heart and mind focused on the loving thing to do, I jumped in the car and headed to the donor site with Eric. Again, I breezed through it. And, again, I know it was because of my focus on love.
I may still want to wimp out at times, but I am hereby committing myself to ask what the most loving thing to do is when I'm presented with something that doesn't initially feel comfortable. Challenging what's "usual"... or "well, this is just who I am". It's not about forcing myself to do something I don't want to do... it's about recognizing where I might just be caught in habitual reacting and maybe thinking too small. All I know is that when I stretch in the name of higher love and greater good, it always ends up feeling right. And so worth any discomfort. And... honestly... the actual doing usually ends up to be far less uncomfortable than the thinking about the doing anyway. ;-)