Tag Archives: Rejection

Leaky Eyes, Acceptance (and the New WOW)

Lately my eyes have been tearing up over the simplest things.

Like the photo of my cousin’s daughter, Veronica, who was just inducted into the Junior National Honor Society.  She is so young, and lovely, and smart – with a future full of promise ahead of her.

Hand me the Kleenex.

On the plane ride to California, I finished the book A Man Called Ove to heaving sobs, snot and the quizzical looks of surrounding seatmates.

On the flight home, once again Mark handed me tissues as I whimpered and cried off my makeup through the movie Wonder.

What is going on with me?

As I pondered the word ACCEPTANCE these past two weeks, the common denominator in all of my recent tenderness relates to accepting the fragility; the fleeting and temporal nature of life.

Does this happen to everyone when they hit a certain age?

The creases around my eyes and sagging jowl belie the years gone by.  However, my spirits perk up when a new friend, in her 40’s, says, “I thought we were the same age.”

Still, time IS marching on.

We all have an expiration date unknown to us, but its reality beckons us to make the most of right now.

That closing scene of the Thornton Wilder play Our Town always slays me. Here, let me just play it for you:

By the way, the film Wonder features this scene, making it a double-whammy emotional gut punch.

Could my tenderness relate to the landmarks of time?  This very week would have marked my 15th anniversary.  Instead, in another month I will mark one year since my marriage ended.

I accept the passage of time and that creating a new version of happily-ever-after is up to me.

As I embrace this tender truth, I find myself looking at people directly in their eyes to make a true connection.  Calling people and having long-overdue, hour-long conversations.  Buying Hallmark cards in bulk to let the people I love know that I deeply love them.

For in the final analysis, what will matter?

My answer: How much did I learn, and how much did I love.

At church, we recite the Aramaic “Prayer of Our Father” that touches me deeply, especially:

“…detach the fetters of faults that bind us, like we let go the guilt of others.

Let us not be lost in superficial things, but let us be freed from that which keeps us off our true purpose. 

From You comes all working will; the lively strength to act; the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age. Amen.” 

“Let us not be lost in superficial things” massages my heart.

I gulped down the disappointment when losing what I imagined would be my trek to the International Public Speaking Championship. Just a week later, my heart swelled at this comment from one of the attendees at my Fear Factor workshop in Berkeley last week:

“Brenda was such a wonderful and genuine presenter.  I was moved and will grow and grow as I process her message.  One of the best professional development sessions I’ve ever attended.  Thank you!”

Uncanny!  In the same week, the gift that makes me feel alive to use, both rejected and applauded.  A contest? Superficial.  Impacting a person’s life for good? Deep.

It first hurt, then helped to realize that perhaps my dream of a championship remained rooted in the last vestiges of low self-esteem and ego.

Accepting that my real dream is to encourage hearts and open eyes offers a new level of freedom and fun that I am just beginning to enjoy.

Time marches on.

Though shockingly middle-aged, I feel like a kid just starting out.

I see life through new eyes; accepting the past and ready to embrace an unknown future, but with a daily intent to love the bejeezus out of everything and everyone I encounter.

More on ACCEPTANCE and the new WOW here:

Ah, and of course, after I recorded I was reminded of the scripture:  Faith works by LOVE.  Not by striving, obsessing, hard work or good intentions.

May we each FLOW in FAITH as we grow in love this week.

And are any of you feeling the passage of time and tenderness attached to it as I am these days?  I’d love to hear from you.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Acceptance, Rejection (and the New WOW)

I am on a quest for self-acceptance – warts and all.

Concurrently, I’m becoming more and more clear about what I will NOT accept.

Unkindness.  Disrespect.  A callous disregard for my feelings.  Injustices perpetrated against myself (or those I love.)

I’ve discovered a new fight in me!  Brenda 2.0 is feisty!  She’s not buying what you’re selling (unless it is anti-aging serum, of course!) and she’s not afraid to tell you want she wants.

Which means that some new friendships have a short shelf life.

I have become a careful observer of behaviors that previously slipped under the radar screen.  For instance, I welcomed  a new friend to town and invited her as my guest for lunch.  The second time, knowing she was finding her footing, I took her to lunch again.  The third time was coffee…and she didn’t even attempt to pay her way.  The fourth visit – at her request – was another lunch.  When the bill came, she made no moves to her own pocketbook.

Here’s the thing:  I LOVE being generous.  But I do not love feeling taken advantage of or taken for granted.

And it’s not just about money.  Another new friend started a challenging position and was dealing with a host of nerves.  Each time I saw her, I’d encourage her and ask how it was going.  I delighted to hear about her progress and how what started as a source of angst had become a blessing.

When we recently ran into each other, an impromptu meeting turned into a half-hour conversation.  A completely one-sided conversation; a running diatribe about her position, her boss and her sales.

Not once did she ask how I was.  I don’t even think she knows what I do for a living!

I took a careful mental note.

Is it me, or is everyone completely self-consumed these days?

I used to be perfect fodder for narcissists because I was a captive audience with such self-esteem and acceptance issues, it never occurred to me that I was being bamboozled.

No more.

Now, we all fall into the trap of selfishness sometimes.  I love my other new friend, who admitted that in a recent conversation I wasn’t allowed to get a word in edge-wise.

Yes, I left the conversation considering if we would ever have another – after all, this is NOT the phase of my life where I’m going to waste time on one-sided friendships.

Then he called to apologize for running away with the conversation.

The point isn’t being perfect, but it is being humble enough to see how our behavior affects each other.

What are YOU accepting that is beneath you?  More on this (and the new WOW):

Oh, well let me praise my SISTERS and BROTHERS, because I am RICH with their love and kindness.

My real friends?  We FIGHT over who will pay the bill.  We always check in to see how each other is doing and usually have to be FORCED to talk about ourselves.  These precious gems are fail -safe cheerleaders, humorists, supporters, confidants…and truly the family God has given me.

This week, I will not retreat into my ever-ready shell.  I’m callin’ on you, sisters and brothers!  I can’t do this life without you, nor would I want to try.

Who comes to mind when YOU think of a sister or brother of the heart?

xoxoxox

Brenda

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A Serious Nudge from the Universe (the WOW for 2.14.16)

I have so many thoughts about our new WOW, let’s just jump right into it.  And please forgive my momentary bursts into song.

It was just that kind of day:

Seriously gang, we’ve gotten the word RISK THREE TIMES since I started pulling a word of the week!

I have to say, too, that I always put the cards back in the bag sort of strategically (around the edges) because truthfully, I like getting NEW words.

So we make plans and God laughs.

And the universe is nudging.

I remember back in the 70’s I was hugely into roller skating. Every Saturday my Dad would drop me off for my beginner lesson followed by a “free skate” matinee.  After the matinee an intermediate-level class was scheduled (They jumped!  And spun!) that I LONGED to go to.  My best friend, Chrissy Johnson was in that class, and on this particular Saturday I was staying through her super-cool kids class so I could go home with her for a sleepover that night.

I sat in one of the benches in the perimeter just WISHING I could be in the class with her.

After a few minutes passed, I got the brilliant idea that if the teachers could only see how Dorothy Hamill-ish I was (on wheels, not blades) they would surely stop everything, roll over to me and invite me to join in.

While those in the rink were practicing their turns and leaps, I began trying to do the same outside of the railing.  I even had the hand movements down, flailing my arms in what I thought were artistic and inspired ways.

Nothing.

So I did a few jumps (a bit loudly) to show I wasn’t afraid of being airborne.

Nada.

I positioned myself right in front of the windowed booth where the “DJ” and management were stationed and did a thrilling demonstration of an arched-back stop, directly blocking their entire view and ending with a head toss and blinding smile in their direction.

All that was missing was a “ta-da!” and wild applause.

As I waited for the inevitable “Where have you BEEN all our lives?” instead it was announced over the loudspeaker that if you were not a student in the intermediate class to please be seated as the perimeter was not intended for performances, which were distracting to the REAL skaters.

Okay, they didn’t say it exactly like that, but I got the point.

By now, how many of you are saying to yourself, “Where the heck is she going with this story?”

Well, I’ll tell ya.

It has occurred to me that much of my life I have been waiting to be DISCOVERED.  Maybe you have, too.

Surely if we perform well enough, some benevolent soul will see what the world has been missing and give us a platform (or rink…or a stage with spotlights..or a raise…or permission to move…or a  – well, fill in the blank for whatever you’ve been longing for).

What has struck me is that this is a very passive (aggressive), but weak approach to getting what you want out of life.

I don’t want OTHER people to hold the power for my destiny.  Why should my sense of happiness and fulfillment be contingent on someone other than me believing in me?!

Instead of the theatrics or exhausting performances (which never got me much, how about you?) perhaps this RISK word is saying, “Um, why don’t YOU just go for what you want out of life?” Or (shockingly) just ask for it!

We fear putting ourselves out there because of the chance of rejection.  But hearing the word no, last time I checked, wasn’t a fatal blow.

Had that nine-year-old girl risked it and just ASKED if she could participate in the class, who knows, they might have let me!

Or, they might have said no because of a very good reason.

Instead, my takeaway was that I just wasn’t good enough.  Because in my little girl mind, had I been good enough they would have made an exception for me.

My 52-year old self knows how ridiculous that sounds. But if I transpose that experience into the  present-day, I consider that some of my takeaways in life have been based on faulty premises; premises born of dancing around my desires because I was too afraid to claim them for my own and head squarely in their direction.

Even with this blogging venture, there has been this little part of me that has thought, “Maybe if Elizabeth Gilbert or Oprah would somehow see and like something I’ve written and share it with their respective 5 billion followers, I can…”

…I can what?

Hmmm…good question!  After a moment’s fear about the answer, here goes:

I can fulfill my dream of encouraging people full-time, writing a book, speaking around the country about life lessons, helping people give themselves a break, make them laugh and in the process bring some joy into their lives.

Yep.  That’s my dream. But I can’t pin my hopes on Liz or Oprah (though hey, ladies, if you’re out there…) riding in on a white Mercedes to make my dreams come true.

Here’s one thing I believe – our dreams are planted in our hearts from the time we are born. They are Divine.  They were never deposited in our hearts to be a thorn or to frustrate us through life.

Your dreams, my dreams – they were meant to bloom.

So I say to all of us this week, don’t abdicate your dreams. Let’s not dance around our life’s vision.

Oh!  And for some of you, please give yourselves permission to HAVE a dream…to want something. Whether it is your health, a husband, a new car or an artistic outlet…let it breathe this week.

Take the risk of admitting what you want. And with risk as our nudging WOW, maybe even ask for it. 

One reader at a time, one day at a time, I’m practicing what I’m preaching.

And I’m cheering you on all the way.

xoxoxox

Brenda

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