What I’m Reminding Myself This Morning

I don’t usually do this. Impromptu blog posts. In fact, I can’t name another time in my entire blogging life I have done this. But here I am. Doing it.

I’ll get to this more in a minute, but the fact that I am writing this is made doubly ridiculous by the fact that I have never in my whole life wanted to quit blogging as much as I have in the past few weeks. Just quit everything and sign off the Internet for good. I told a friend on the phone the other day, “I’m not doing it. I’m out. I give up” to which he suggested I should probably go eat dinner and get a good night’s sleep.

But I woke up this morning, and I don’t know, I guess I just felt like I had some things I needed to say.

This is for me. And, well, if it helps you, all the better.

This morning, I’m reminding myself of a few things.

First, I’m reminding myself of what Marianne Williamson says about miracles—that they are sometimes a shift in circumstance, but more often they are a shift in perspective. And that when circumstances don’t turn out exactly how we wish they would, how we think they should, our only option left is to change our perspective.

And look, I am not talking just about politics here. Please, dear Lord, I need a break from talking about politics.

I’m talking about life and the world as it stands. The fact that things don’t always turn out exactly how we wish they would. The devastations, big and small. The fact that people all over the world are struggling and hurting. How it feels to be a woman in a world that is violent toward the softest part of who I am. That’s what I’m talking about.

About how many things feel wrong and how I wish they would change.

But of course it is at exactly at this point—when the things we want to change don’t change—that we discover changing perspective is actually harder, in ways, than changing our circumstance. More miraculous. Sure, curing Cancer or re-routing a wayward lover or restoring a relationship between a mother and a child—that would be miraculous. But choosing joy and peace and hope and gratitude in the face of not getting these things?

Well, that’s just crazy.

It’s a task of epic proportions. One for which we are not prepared. One we do not even really desire to undertake. Everything in our biology resists when we ask ourselves to change, when we ask our minds to change.

It seems absurd and impossible.

And of course, that is why it is called a miracle.

So I reminding myself of that this morning, that when things in my life and in this world are not going the way I wish they would, when I am not getting exactly what I want exactly when I think I should have it, when I can imagine a thousand better outcomes to any situation, a thousand outcomes that would seem more miraculous…

It is time to change my mind.

I change my mind from fear to love. I change my mind from chaos to peace. I do whatever I have to do. Sign off of social media. Pray without ceasing. Repeat mantras to myself over and over. Write them out a hundred times on a white board—like a high school kid in detention, “I am safe and protected in the world, my heart is in perfect harmony, my heart is in perfect harmony, my heart is in perfect harmony, I am safe and protected in the world, I am a force of love and peace, I am a force of love and peace.…”

Whatever I need to do—I just do it. Because if I’m not a miracle-worker in this world, then what am I? If I am an amazing writer, a successful business owner, a brilliant thinker, the most spiritually and physically disciplined of anyone I know, but have not LOVE, what the hell am I? That’s what I am reminding myself of this morning—how we can do all the right stuff, but without love, we are like a clanging symbol.

Just noise without meaning.

Without love, we make no sense and neither does the life we are leading.

So I am focusing on love this morning. Loving the marginalized and forgotten. Loving the arrogant and absurd. Loving the hateful and dishonest and despising. Loving myself, being gentle with this soft hurting creature that I am, loving my own arrogance and bitterness, because love is the only way to heal these wounds, and trusting that somewhere deep inside we are all that same soft hurting creature that I am. We are not alone.

Second, I reminding myself I really have two choices.

My two choices go like this, so simply: to give up or not to give up.

I mentioned earlier that I have wanted to give up on blogging and writing more in the past weeks of my life than ever before. I don’t say that to get sympathy. I’m not asking for compliments or affirmations. I’m only saying it because I think, when we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit we all struggle with this sensation more often than we’d like to admit. The sense that we’re just going through the motions of this life and that nothing we do really matters.

Especially when things don’t turn out how we plan, or when life seems cloudy and dark, this is the time when it’s hardest to get up and keep doing our lives day after day.

And I guess the realization I’m having lately is that we really have two choices about this. The choices are so simple, it’s almost dumb. It’s just this: we can give up or not give up. We can keep going or not keep going. There is no middle ground. I’d like to think that there is a middle ground. That I can just sort of go through the motions of my life until I decide if I really want to be in it 100{9ac618bfda39dd0c8c9a0232963cb9a2adfe54a7367c2d4954ad9e847b2e5305}.

But the truth is life is asking us this question, every day: are you going to show up—or not? Are you going to keep going, or not?

Are you going bring your whole self to the world, or are you going to hide?
Are you going to choose the pain of changing, or settle for the pain of staying the same?

The time we need hope the most is when it is most tempting to let it go. Hope is dangerous. It threatens to make fools out of us. It threatens to make a mockery of the life we choose for ourselves. Will anything we’re doing ever matter? Will our circumstances ever change? Well, there is really no way of knowing. So are you going to do it anyway?

That’s hope.

And that’s what life is asking of us today. Are you going to keep hoping, or are you going to quit?

Third, I’m reminding myself that the way up is down.

This is the way Richard Rohr’s says it, and I love that. I’ve been repeating it to myself a dozen times a day lately: the way up is down.

But translated, into my language, it would go like this:

The way to be strong is to be soft. Just so, so soft.

I just recently spent a week at the beach working on a book, and as always, I was struck by how amazing the ocean is. I kept thinking about how water is literally one of the softest things on planet earth. So forgiving. You can fall into it, and it gives way to you. You become weightless when you’re surrounded by it, just so carried by it’s suppleness. If you took a drop of water and put it on the most tender part of your skin, you would hardly feel it.

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It’s just so gentle.

Our bodies are made of 85{9ac618bfda39dd0c8c9a0232963cb9a2adfe54a7367c2d4954ad9e847b2e5305} water. We use water to heal us, to nourish. It is literally our survival.

And yet when you look out at the ocean, there is no question: it is a force to be reckoned with. You can swim out into the ocean, if you want, thinking in all your arrogance, “Look at me! I’m a great swimmer, I’m fine, I’ve got this, I’m in control!” and you might be right… until the rip tide pulls you under and sucks you into itself and you become a part of it.

The ocean will make no apology for this.

It’s whole job is to still your arrogance.

And when you stand there, and realize your place in everything, all the fear and the bitterness and hatred and heaviness… it all just sort of melts away.

How can you stand at the edge of the ocean and not be in awe?

Anyway, I kept thinking about this as I stared out at the ocean—as I watched it do what it does everyday, just in and out, in and out, in and out. I thought about what happens when gentle, soft, healing, holy people come together like an ocean and agree to just move together. I thought about how we might just be able to be a force to be reckoned with. Not a violent force. Not an evil force. But a soft, gentle, consistent, in-and-out, showing up everyday kind of force.

An organism who’s entire existence serves to call people unto itself, to still our hearts and calm our minds and clean out all the arrogance.

Awe. Just so much awe.

I’m thinking so much lately about how to stay soft in the face of disappointments, in the face of fears and uncertainties and injustices—real fears and real uncertainties and real injustices. How on earth do we stay soft in light of all of these things? How on earth are we not suppose to just armor up and try to survive this crazy ride? That is the question I think life is asking us, right now. How?

Are you in? Or out?

Are you going to give up? Or are you going to keep going?

Are you going to keep hoping, even though you don’t know for sure?

Are you going to stay soft, even though it hurts?

I want to keep going. I want to choose hope. I want stay soft. I don’t want to give up. But some mornings, I don’t know how. I just don’t know how I can possibly make that happen. How I can change my mind about these things. How I can stay soft in this world and still survive.

I guess that’s why it’s called miracle.

22 comments on “What I’m Reminding Myself This Morning

  1. Me too. I just deleted oodles of my tweets. I am contemplating getting rid of the blog. But then I remember why I started this, to connect with just one person going through the same thing we have been through. Do I want to show the love of Jesus or dig a hole? So, I get back at it.

  2. This is beautiful Allison! I’d like to share a text I received this morning from my inspiring friend Lovey Bradley who voiced a similar sentiment. It is:

    Dear Change-makers,
    There are still the same number of good people on our planet today as there was yesterday. Most people only want what’s best and our views on that may be different and that’s OK. The world is shifting from darkness to light, into a new era, whether this president stands for love or not, there are more and more people each day in our world that do. Find those people, keep learning how to shine your authentic light more brightly and support others that are doing the same. There’s no room for competition. With every decision you make, make it based on love. Let’s move forward now with more passion and energy than before. Maybe this is just the push we needed to actually rise up and do what we’re here to do. If the polls turned out differently, we may have gotten too comfortable and relied on others. Let’s do this. With love. Rise Up.

  3. Hi Allison,
    Thank you for this article – love your totally honesty!
    Love reading your writings.
    Never give up – there is always love and hope.
    Regards,
    Nicolette

  4. Allison,

    I’m so glad you decided to write anyway, because this is said so well. I’ve been mulling over the idea of being all in, even when things don’t go my way. And they haven’t on so many fronts! But I’m continually reminded that we are part of a bigger story–a story that spans generations, from the beginning of time to now. We are called to live our inch of life to the best of our ability with the hope, grace and love God provides. And by some miracle accomplished by Him and for Him, we make a difference.

    I’m praying that you writing this will help you take the leap into that ocean once again and let it’s power and softness soothe your weariness.

    Blessings,
    Debi

  5. I was recently at a place of wanting to give up but I choose to keep going.

    I stand with you, my sister whom I never met, and choose to be a miracle.

    Be well!

    SH

  6. Allison. I hope you keep doing what you do, because you are following your own path. So thank you. But may I offer something to you today? I am soft too. I am kind and decent and giving and loving. I am fair and compassionate and I love this planet. I recycle and volunteer and embrace everyone. Period. I have opinions and I speak them. I work hard. I forgive and make peace. I do my best to follow God. Or…at the very least I try really, really hard to be all of the things I’ve listed here. But I DID get what I wanted this morning. And I ask you and your readers to show up with an open mind and heart. Because if you don’t then you are also part of the problem. So please…do what you have suggested and be willing to listen to another perspective. And show up and be willing to be surprised. Thank you. God bless.

  7. This is great. What you have written here is what I know I need to do and think. And I probably will, though not perfectly and not real soon. It’s going to take some time. I still went out and volunteered at the mission tonight, and then I went to choir practice. I’m not going to stop doing good. But it’s going to take a little time to feel the love and the hope I felt before Wednesday morning. Thanks for being part of that process and nudging me.

  8. Hi Allison,
    Thank you for writing this today. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and I always appreciate receiving a new post from you in my inbox. Somehow your email updates seem to come at the “right” time, like I read them, and it’s what I needed to hear most at that moment. Or it’s something I’ve already been mulling over, and then it shows up in your words in my inbox. I think perhaps it’s time I write something in response, as my own way of expressing my gratitude for the work you’ve been doing, and to remind myself of certain things this morning as well.

    I don’t know what your situation is that makes you want to give up blogging and writing, and I certainly don’t have answers nor do I want to offer you sympathy or say that “everything is going to be alright”, or try to encourage you to keep going. Honestly if you really want to give up, it’s your decision, and I respect it either way. There’s always another blog out there to follow, another writer to gain inspiration and wisdom from. Life will still continue, with or without your writing.

    I just felt like sharing.. that as an artist like yourself, and one with less of a following (that I’m aware of), I normally want to give up because I feel that my work isn’t reaching people, nobody seems to be inspired or impacted by it the way I would like them to be, I’m not getting to the places I want to get to with my art, I don’t know what I want to say with my art, I need to find another way to pay the bills etc. etc. (my list of justifications are never ending haha…)

    Then I remember something an artist friend once shared at the opening of his first solo exhibition: these works that he created, they weren’t just his. They were ours. They were ours because something bigger than himself was “speaking” through him, moving his hands and getting translated onto the canvas in paint. He realized it wasn’t about him at all, but something greater, something for all of us to share. I’m a naturally selfish person, always wanting to protect what I’ve got, for fear that someone steals it from me, manipulates me, uses me up. And then I realize I’ve got it all backwards. I’m the one who made it about me. I got myself stuck in my own arrogance and fears and my world shrank as a result. And even when I know better, I do that over and over again, simply because most of the time, it’s easier to stay hidden and safe, than to express who we really are in whatever form we do best.

    I don’t know if what I’m saying makes any sense to your situation. I decided to share it anyway because perhaps after all, it isn’t only meant for me to hear.

    What I really want to express though (and this is where my words fall short) is how much I appreciate you for showing up to write (for however long you’ve been writing this blog and other things), despite of the many obstacles you’ve dealt with, the ups and downs – everything that you’ve gone through in your life that lead you to write, the prompted you to keep writing, that shaped the theme of your writing. I appreciate you for everything you’ve been through that led to the moments where I read what you wrote and it inspired and encouraged me to keep going, including today’s impromptu post where you’ve been wanting to give up.

    So whether you give up or not, I just really wanted you to know how your words have been important to me, and that no matter what you choose and how your path unfolds, I am grateful for ours having crossed through your writing, and I wish you the very best.

    With love from Singapore,
    MaryAnn

  9. Allison,

    I love your words and whether it seems like it or not, what you say matters. It matters to me. It makes a difference to me and even if you don’t see a hundred comments on something you have written, it doesn’t mean that your words didn’t effect someone somewhere. You are bravely putting your soft beautiful self out into this great big scary world, how can it not make a difference? You give people courage to put their soft beautiful selves out there too. Eventually there will be enough of those voices out in this world that they will collectively drown out the voices of fear and hatred. Keep doing what you are doing. You are an inspiration to all of us who follow you and remember that you are making a difference and what you say matters……always. Love you Allison!!

    Terry

  10. So needed to read this right now. Dealing with a newborn and trying to be a good wife, biz owner, mama, etc. etc. and feeling like I’m failing at everything and nothing is worth it. I absolutely loved this post and resonated with it 100{9ac618bfda39dd0c8c9a0232963cb9a2adfe54a7367c2d4954ad9e847b2e5305}. I’ll be focusing on staying soft in spite of a crazy, scary, uncertain world, and I do know I matter. Everyday. 🙂 (and so do you) XO

  11. Allison,

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for continuing to share your heart with the world in such a brave and honest way. Your vulnerability, realness and rawness are incredibly refreshing and also challenging.

    Thank you for being who you are and for releasing bits of who you are through your words, sentences, paragraphs and blogs. You are so valuable and so seen. Our creator is so pleased with you.

    Every Blessing,
    Rebecca

  12. Just wondering if you are okay? It has been awhile since you last posted and you, like many of us, were dealing with post election shock. I hope you’ve found a way to keeping moving. We’d like to think we are moving forward but maybe just awareness and listening is all we can accomplish now. Be safe.

  13. Ally, thank you for being the type of writer that does not put on a show. You are real. You are whole. And that’s what makes following your writing so incredibly refreshing. This post is about how you almost don’t want to write anymore, and you shared that with anyone willing to listen. That’s rawness and wholeness and I thank you for that.

  14. For so long I chose to give up. I chose armor over softness and dark over light and hiding instead of living. That place benefits no one. Be light. Be soft. Be you.

  15. Your struggle reminds me so much of my recent struggle at work. I wanted the people to change and I hate the way my boss controls me. I wanted to escape. But then, I realized that it was all a matter of perspective. That I must also change for the world to change around me.

  16. I love this! This post is honestly so poetic! I agree that we should keep being soft and gentle in a world that’s hard and rough because that’s the only way to show people who don’t know God that we belong to HIM also that we’ll be a shining light to people all around and be a difference! 😀 ^_^ 😀 <3 <3 I honestly pray that I can write posts like these because this was just honestly amazing! 😀 ^_^ 😀

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