On the Journey toward Self-Acceptance + *SLOW Word video*

 

My holidays were straight up gluttonous.  Baked brie oozing out of its pastry crust.  Chilled mimosas for breakfast with crepes carefully folded over nutella and strawberries. Then later, Balsamic Roasted Beef, smashed potatoes, and peas and pancetta for Christmas dinner. With wine. Always with wine.

And that was just the first 24 hours. My people take feasting seriously.

Then gluttony took on a deeper level. I. DID. NOT. WANT. TO. STOP. for sleep, for exercise, for bathing (it’s getting real people!), for breathing. I wanted to bathe in joy, to seize it and ride it home. I sat Indian style with little ones on the floor, eating imaginary eggs from tiny hands and rolled onto my back to surge a curly headed nephew up into an airplane ride with my feet. I went on every excursion. I watched movies on the couch late into the night my brother reciting the lines of Chariots of Fire before they occurred. Then I stayed up later to journal. Each morning there was more coffee and less of me. Repeat for three more days.

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I tried to remember to stop and inhabit the present moment, to listen, to drink deep.

 

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Two days in, I slid into cruise control and held my breath.

Here’s the problem. I’m an introvert and a four on the enneagram. I only have so much energy, lots to process, and then I crash and push through until I hit a wall. Every year it happens. Every year I forget. In the past, I’ve shamed myself. Why don’t I have more to give? Why can’t I just be like_______ and dance my way through? Shame and I are close acquaintances.

But, it’s time to grow up, to slide into the wider spaces of self-acceptance.

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This quote by Parker Palmer curated by Leanna Tankersley on her Instagram whispered a kind of quiet truth that made me come back…and back to listen again:

“They decide to live “Divided No More.” They decide no longer to act on the outside in a way that contradicts some truth about themselves that they hold deeply on the inside.”

Palmer’s words echo this quote by Fr. Romano Guardini which I’ve come to circle so often these last few years.

“The act of self-acceptance is the root of all things. I must agree to be the person who I am. Agree to the qualifications which I have. Agree to live within my limits…The clarity and the courageousness of this acceptance is the foundation of all existence,” Fr. Romano Guardini.

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If Guardini’s words feel like an invitation to self-acceptance, my one-word for 2014, Parker Palmer’s words feel like a line in the sand. It whispers with a deep magic to this recovering people-pleaser.

Self-acceptance is a choice to be whole, not frayed. And no one else can make that choice for me. I’ve decided it’s time for me to grow up. It’s time to be “divided no more.”

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(Christmas morning selfie by my daughter. Love her.)

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The Key to Savoring Your Life Today and SLOW Word

(SLOW Word attached to the bottom, dear friends. It’s such a privilege to listen to the Word with you right here every Monday and Thursday!)

We’re in the middle of a mini-series on SLOW living right here at AThirstforGod.com.

Find Part 1 and 2 here: Making a Plan for Rest and Your Brilliant Simple Plan to Create Calm in the Chaos.

Here is Part 3:

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I needed a day off. I could feel the rising crankiness, the need to gaze quiet. I had created Monday’s schedule to fill, refresh, to build something worth standing on for another week, a Sabbath.

There was just this one other thing to fit in: the oil change. No problem, I thought. But the voice on the other line said he only had one appointment left…smack dab in the middle of my well-planned day. With annoyance, he grumbled, “Ma’am, is that the time you want, or not?” I had been dreaming of a hike around Slippery Rock River, skipping stones into the current, a slow saunter around a bookstore, even a Target run. Noon? I could feel the whine rising. The car would take at least an hour and a half and the day’s schedule was now smeared.

We would have to be content on our own familiar streets.  No adventures today.

I pushed the button for the garage door to open. “Xavier, we’re going a walk. You lead.” Exercise always clears my head. He swung his thin four-year-old leg over his muddy BMX, still balanced with training wheels. I held onto his black leather bike seat and pushed him up the short hill toward town until he could pedal forward himself.

I had lost the heart to lead: “Left or Right, Xavi?””Left!” he steered down the curb between the two white lines. Again and again he pedaled north taking us beyond our normal boundaries, one block after another, straight down Beaver St. We landed at the bottom of the hill in Edgeworth in a triangle of a park, huge oaks, small brook, inviting child-size stone bridge. Sometimes you don’t need to leave town to see new kingdoms.

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We were in unfamiliar territory in our own town. We scrambled down stone walls and sat next to the creek. He combed through the pebbles with his fingers, then piled them together to build a dam. Running up and down the creek, He tried to stay on the dry sidelines. Every few minutes he looked back to see if I was watching, eyes shining. I watched the magic gather and spread. Under the bridge, he spread out his arms, a strong man holding it up. I sat down in the middle of the joy fully immersed in the present.

My own stuck stream of delight was undammed by entering into NOW, senses alive, scrambling on rocks, listening to water grate over pebbles, breathing in the freshly mown grass. Simple, I know. But I wondered, how often am I truly Here, Now?

Back at home, I took out the dollar-store bottle of bubbles and the “fancy” camera. Just last year he could barely blow a bubble, more soap would spill on the concrete than spin through the air.

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As he blew into the wand, I held my breath. How often do I live life shrouded in a tangle of emotions and lists written long, pounding hard after life, when Life can be blown up full right here in the present?

I’ve always wanted to be one of the fully present people. Available. Paying attention. Listening. An “icon” of Julian of Norwich hangs above my writing desk, she who was cloistered in Norwich’s cathedral, present to the Presence. Anchored.  So often I spin dizzy through life missing the present as I reach out anxiously toward the future.

The present is as temporary as a bubble floating upwards and all we have is the gift of now to enjoy, to taste and see that God is good.

And I know: He is almost five and I want to memorize the surprised giggles, the smell of his sweaty blond head after he plays, the shine of his eyes as he twists around and searches for mine. I want to live thankful in the Now.

In this ordinary, magical life I’ve been given, I want to be marked “present.”

Share with us one of your favorite ways to be fully present. On the back porch with your first cup of coffee? Rocking that little one to sleep? Deep in the arms of your Love?

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