June 11, 2013

Taking in the Good


For years I deflected compliments; I didn't feel worthy. Now I've (mostly) learned to graciously accept kind words--indeed, they are a gift. My external behavior has changed, but part of me still doubts; wonders if I'm a fraud. As with many things in life, it's a work in progress. Recently I've had opportunity to explore my internal process of deflection. During my end-of-career festivities, I've tried to stay mindful. Part of my intention: allow for the appreciation, honors, and kindnesses; do not downplay myself. As a teacher, I've positively affected many students. I take this into my heart (carried with me always). I feel great affection and gratitude for my students and colleagues, why not allow them to express the same? 


On Sunday afternoon, my friends Andrew & Jen hosted a potluck in my honor. It was a gathering of best friends; it was a gathering of love, laughter, and delicious food. Mid-evening, Mark turned to me and said, "you are surrounded by such love and joy." I took in the view and smiled. I agreed, of course, as these are special people who bring with them acceptance, wisdom, compassion, and a willingness to have fun. But Mark's point was a different one: I am surrounded by this circle because of who I am, because of my own large heart. That was a tougher compliment to accept. The resistance came from some mixture of humility, doubt, and fear (what if Mark's right, but then I do something that jeopardizes everything?).


Yet it's vitally important (for all of us) to take in the good. To see the love and generosity around us and know we're a part of it; to let it sink into our bones. We are all worthy of love, just as we are. The circle of love includes others--important others--but it also includes ourselves. We are part of that good. It's okay to sit back and enjoy the ride. It's okay to take in the good. (No lightning strike will come from the sky.) I write these words mostly as a reminder to myself. I am blessed by friendship, love, generosity, and kindness. I am thankful, yet I'm also worthy. And this is an important balance.

10 comments:

  1. YES!! I was thinking this exact thing this weekend, when I hosted a day of birthday celebrations for my daughter. What a wonderful reminder for you to share, both for us, as well as yourself. Much love and luck to you as you close this chapter and begin another, Colleen (fellow NOW YOUer)

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    1. Colleen: the photos you took at your daughter's party are so filled with happiness and love. in that way, you completely took in the good. so glad to be on this life path with you.

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  2. Thanks for sharing, Joy! I often catch myself in the throes of "foreboding joy," too. What a thief, hey?? It seems to me these feelings come from our perception that there's something we must be able to do to control things like this. When I tune in and realize this is happening, I think about "letting go" of my need to be in control and "letting in" all of the love and joy that's around me. Hugs to you today!

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    1. And a hug right back to you, Jamie!

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  3. just a beautiful reminder, joy, to fully embrace everything and everyone around us.

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  4. thanks for this, Joy. Beautiful words. Once again your vulnerability is creating community. You are a powerful person.

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  5. And the dog represents ....? ? ?

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    1. dogs are such wonderful role models--they always take in the good.

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    2. Yes, but I was thinking of the position of the dog. It was the lowest being present. Under the table. I thought perhaps the position of the dog represented some kind of perspective from below - not from above.

      Maybe I am trying to see too much symbolism in your pictures.

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  6. I feel just the same way! I host a lot of dinners, and it happens to me too! Thanks!

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