There are days when I feel like the universe has my number.
No, this isn't some first-world complaint, an FML whinge.
I don't mean that the universe has it out for me. I mean that there are days when providentially I read things that are just what I needed to hear on that day.
For example, on March 26, Glennon Melton, who writes the blog Momastery (which I follow sporadically), posted this on Facebook.
YOU GUYS! I am knowing amazing things right now and they are the following: EVERYONE DOESN'T NEED TO LIKE US! If someone doesn't like us - it doesn't mean we need to FIX them OR FIX OURSELVES. It doesn't mean anything needs to change at all, necessarily! Sometimes it just means that everybody orders something different from the menu! Burgers can stay burgers and tacos can stay tacos! No problem, tacos! THIS IS GOOD NEWS! I only ever know this for a few minutes at a time, so I thought I should share before I unknow it again.
You will never find your perfect life “balance” on the path for the same reason you will never find a unicorn on the path – because these things don’t exist. Forget unicorns and balance. ... There is no solid ground on the path – so don’t hold your breath till [sic] you find it. Breathe deeply and keep moving forward ....I have a life-long history of second-guessing myself. I wonder if what I'm doing is what I'm supposed to be doing.
I wonder whether I should be selling beads on Facebook, when every time I sell a bead at auction for a lower price than I'd hoped for, every time someone else sells a bead that doesn't impress me for an inflated value, every time one of my auctions closes without a bid, I feel bad.
To add insult to injury, I sold a bead set quickly at at BIN (buy-it-now) price, and while I was still feeling mildly elated, another bead maker posted that my BIN price was too low. I briefly considered a response along the lines that pricing is a very personal decision, but elected instead to just delete the listing and move on to the next one, which also sold for my BIN price. However the one after that got no bids, and I was right back to questioning and doubting - and feeling bad.
Then I read this conversation with someone else whose beads cycled through an auction without a bid.
Jane: What? These lovelies didnt sell?Ellen is a hero in my esteem.
Ellen: No Jane. But that's okay. They just weren't what someone needed that day.
I want to cultivate her attitude. If I list a bead in a 24-hour auction, and it doesn't sell, it doesn't mean it's not a good bead. It just means that it wasn't what someone was looking for on that day.
Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post is credited with saying that we need to redefine success, that failure itself is a stepping stone to success.
Which reminds of Steve Jobs' remarkable 2005 Stanford commencement speech, where he said this.
Because I had dropped out [of college] and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class.... If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college.... you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.Jobs had a second chance to connect the dots after he was forced out of the company he had created 10 years earlier.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.As much as I believe this, or want to believe it, I have to be constantly reminded. No, I have to remind myself.
The universe - or possibly Facebook - wasn't done whacking me upside the head with wisdom.
I know exactly what Dame Agatha means. Even at my lowest low, even at the nadir of my clinical crisis a dozen years ago, I felt gratitude for what I had, gratitude for family and health insurance and friends. gratitude even that I had depression and not cancer or some other crippling, terminal illness.
I was typing this on my new MacBook while watching Doc Martin. Martin and Louisa have been having predictable problems, given that she's a more-or-less normal, extroverted, upbeat person and the good doc falls squarely on the autism spectrum, lacking social skills, challenged by non-verbal communication, and being all-in-all an obsessive compulsive lunatic. Despite all that, we find ourselves wanting things to work out for them, but Louisa, quite justifiably, has reached the end of her rope and tells Martin she is leaving. Martin is utterly baffled, dumbfounded. This poignant exchange hit home.
Louisa: I'm not happy. I'm not making you happy. Am I?He really doesn't get it, and the situation between them is clearly over the top, but what he says is true. It's OK not to be happy all the time.
Martin: Happy? Why does everybody have to be happy all the time?
So when I find myself beating myself yet again over something as arbitrary and capricious as why one of my beads didn't find a buyer, I'll try to take this bit of advise from an anonymous Facebook poster.
"Tonight the moon came up, it was nearly full
Way down here on earth I could feel its pull
The weight of gravity or just the lure of life
Made me want to leave my only home tonight
Now I'm just wondering how we know where we belong
Is it in a photograph or a dashboard poet's song
Will I have missed my chance to right some ancient wrong
Should I find myself between here and gone
Now I could grab my keys and peel out in my truck
With every cent on board bringing me their luck
And I could drive too fast, like a midnight thief
As if there was a way to outrun the grief
Now I'm just wondering how we know where we belong
In a song that's left behind, in the dream I couldn't wake from
Could I have felt the brush of a soul that's passing on
Somewhere in between here and gone
Up above me, wayward angels
A blur of wings and grace
One for courage, one for safety
One for just in case
I thought a light went out, but now a candle shines
I thought my tears wouldn't stop, then I dried my eyes
And after all of this, the truth that holds me here
Is that this emptiness is something not to fear
Yeah, I'll keep wondering how we know where we belong
After all the journeys made, and the journeys yet to come
When I feel like giving up instead of going on
Somewhere in between
Yeah, I'm just wondering how we know where we belong
Is it in the arc of the moon leaving shadows on the lawn
In the path of fireflies and a single bird at dawn
Singing in between here and gone."
(Mary Chapin Carpenter)