Things Happen for a Reason

It’s so tempting, Melissa, to look at your present life situation, at whom you’re with, at where you work, at what you have and have not, and think to yourself, “This was obviously meant to be… I’m here for a reason.” And to a degree, you’d be right. But you are where you are because of the thoughts you used to (and may still) think, and so you are where you are to learn that this is how life works — NOT because it was meant to be.

Don’t give away your power to vague or mysterious logic. Tomorrow is a blank slate in terms of people, work, and play, because it, too, will be of your making. You will again have that sense that it was meant to be, no matter who or what you’ve drawn into your life. Nothing is meant to be, Melissa, except for your freedom to choose and your power to create.

Ungawa,
The Universe

I’ve never liked when people say “things happen for a reason” or “it was meant to be” because 95 percent of the time, the speaker is implying faith in the divine or fate or both, and I believe in neither.

However, I DO believe “things happen for a reason,” for all kinds of reasons, and have never been able to articulate what I meant by that. Until today. Thanks, Notes from the Universe. You nailed it.

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No More Numbers

I have stopped counting calories. I have not logged my daily intake since February 19 and I have deleted my Excel sheet both at work and at home. I am trying to stop myself from doing it in my head from habit/memory and am succeeding about 50% of the time right now. I’m sure that will improve with time.

I made a goal at the beginning of the year to:

“Care less about calories and about my weight. Fully accept that I am beautiful and perfect just as I am, even if I never lose that other ten pounds again. Steve has already been helping me with this one. So much.”

At the time, I mentioned to a couple of people that it was part of a bigger year or two-year long goal to stop counting calories. I didn’t think I was ready to do it yet. But, a few things changed my mind:

  1. Vacation in California. The inference here is that I was so content and happy that counting calories seemed insignificant. That was a small part of it. A bigger part of it was that I decided not to count calories while I was there because I was eating so much damn great food that I didn’t even want to know. Regardless of the reason, I went that week of not doing the counting and it was a decent kickstart to the process.
  2. Right at the end of my vacation, I got this Daily Om called “Throw Away Your Scale.” I actually threw away my scale years ago, but I read the entry with “counting calories” in place of “weighing yourself” and it was like a lightbulb went off. The fundamental truth is that I can determine how healthy I am by my own instincts, by how I nourish myself, my energy level, my mental clarity, my strength and agility. I do not need a scale or a calorie log to tell me what I already know inside.
  3. A reminder from the universe about what matters: my feelings about my body and appearance have been all over the place since my vacation. Not running doesn’t help, but I have been so exhausted this week that I have barely gotten out of bed to go to work, much less run most days. Then on Wednesday morning, as I struggled with whether or not to put on my running shoes and get out the door, I got this Note from the Universe: “Good looks, Melissa, have little to do with one’s body and everything to do with one’s mind. Here’s looking at you, The Universe. P.S. It also helps to get enough sleep, Melissa.” I swear that site reads my mind sometimes. I went back to bed.
  4. A gift from Steve: on Wednesday afternoon, we were having one of our after work cuddle and talk times and he was staring at my face for a second and suddenly said “you really are SO beautiful.” And I just went silent and smiled… aaaand then started crying. It was like, for a brief intense moment, I saw myself as he sees me – truly beautiful, just as I am, right now. And that is how I want to see myself.

Counting calories, worrying about my weight and appearance, berating myself for not running or for eating too much – these are all tied together and they are nothing but a big pile of meaningless garbage. This is no way to spend a life. My worth to myself and to others has nothing to do with any of that. I used to know this when I was young. It’s time I start living that way again.

 

Real Friendship

Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

“Hang out with people who are capable of making a commitment to you and your life, and who require that you make a commitment to theirs. Hang out with people who care about you, with people who need you to develop and who say so. Make such a commitment and don’t break that bond until you and all beings are perfect.”

This is something I’ve learned the hard way. But I have finally learned. I took some steps to that end in 2015; today’s daily dharma email was a good reminder to take the rest of those steps in 2016, as I have promised myself I would.

Life is too short to choose to spend it in the company of people who do not commit to me or propel me forward, or, on the flip side of that, for me to commit to people who do not want to receive that from me.

Give and take, love and be loved, and help each other be the best we can be. That is real friendship.

The Perfect Body

Capture

This is what I meant in my Goals for 2016 post. This is where I am trying to get my head at.

“I overheard a woman wondering aloud in disgust to her friend when she would, if ever, have “a yoga body.”
My heart paused.
I wanted to lift her hand to my soft middle & say, “This is a yoga body,” and to my strong arms, “and so is this,” and to my injuries, “and so is this.”
I wanted to ask her to close her eyes, place her hand over her own heart and take a deep breath… “and most importantly THIS,” I would say to her.
Your “yoga body” has nothing to do with its shape, but everything to do with the space you hold for it to be human and imperfect.
Your “yoga body” is not the body you will have “someday,” but the one that is breathing in and out for you right now.
It will never match your expectation if you expect it to look like someone else’s. And you may never feel at home in it if your expectations revolve around its shape and weight. Bodies change, break, heal. Constantly.
When you see images that promise static perfection, close your eyes to it & open them to yourself in all your present, messy, imperfect glory.
You cannot self-loathe your way into self-love, nor hate your way into happiness.
The path to peace is not an impossible journey.
You simply have to stand still.
In your own body.
Now.”

Source (with thanks to Ultra Chelsea)

Too Much

do you remember the first time you were called annoying?
how your breath stopped short in your chest
the way the light drained from your eyes, though you knew your cheeks were ablaze
the way your throat tightened as you tried to form an argument that got lost on your tongue?
your eyes never left the floor that day.
you were 13.
you’re 20 now, and i still see the light fade from your eyes when you talk about your interests for “too long,”
apologies littering every other sentence,
words trailing off a cliff you haven’t jumped from in 7 years.
i could listen to you forever, though i know speaking for more than 3 uninterrupted minutes makes you anxious.
all i want you to know is that you deserve to be heard
for 3 minutes
for 10 minutes
for 2 hours
forever.
there will be people who cannot handle your grace, your beauty, your wisdom, your heart;
mostly because they can’t handle their own. but you will never be
and have never been
“too much.”

Anti-War

 

(speech from Doctor Who S09E08 – The Zygon Inversion)

The Doctor: You just want cruelty to beget cruelty. You’re not superior to people who were cruel to you. You’re just a whole bunch of new cruel people. A whole bunch of new cruel people, being cruel to some other people, who’ll end up being cruel to you. The only way anyone can live in peace is if they’re prepared to forgive. Why don’t you break the cycle?

Bonnie: Why should we?

The Doctor: What is it that you actually want?

Bonnie: War.

The Doctor: Ah. And when this war is over, when – when you have the homeland free from humans, what do you think it’s going to be like? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Have you given it any consideration? Because you’re very close to getting what you want. What’s it going to be like? Paint me a picture. Are you going to live in houses? Do you want people to go to work? What’ll be holidays? Oh! Will there be music? Do you think people will be allowed to play violins? Who will make the violins? Well? Oh, You don’t actually know, do you? Because, just like every other tantruming child in history, Bonnie, you don’t actually know what you want. So, let me ask you a question about this brave new world of yours. When you’ve killed all the bad guys, and it’s all perfect and just and fair, when you have finally got it exactly the way you want it, what are you going to do with the people like you? The troublemakers. How are you going to protect your glorious revolution from the next one?

Bonnie: We’ll win.

Doctor: Oh, will you? Well maybe – maybe you will win. But nobody wins for long. The wheel just keepts turning. So, come on. Break the cycle.

Bonnie: Then why are you still talking?

The Doctor: Because I’m trying to get you to see. And I’m almost there.

Bonnie: Do you know what I see, Doctor? A box. A box with everything I need. A 50% chance.

Kate: For us, too.

[The Doctor sighs.]

The Doctor: And we’re off! Fingers on buzzers! Are you feeling lucky? Are you ready to play the game? Who’s going to be quickest? Who’s going to be the luckiest?

Kate: This is not a game!

The Doctor: No, it’s not a game, sweetheart, and I mean that most sincerely.

Bonnie: Why are you doing this?

Kate: Yes, I’d like to know that too. You set this up – why?

The Doctor: Because it’s not a game, Kate. This is a scale model of war. Every war ever fought right there in front of you. Because it’s always the same. When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die. You don’t know whose children are going to scream and burn. How many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does what they’re always going to have to do from the very beginning – sit down and talk! Listen to me, listen. I just – I just want you to think. Do you know what thinking is? It’s just a fancy word for changing your mind.

Bonnie: I will not change my mind.

The Doctor: Then you will die stupid. Alternatively, you could step away from that box. You could walk right out of that door, and you could stand your revolution down.

Bonnie: No, I’m not stopping this, Doctor. I started it. I will not stop it. You think they’ll let me go after what I’ve done?

The Doctor: You’re all the same, you screaming kids, you know that? “Look at me, I’m unforgivable.” Well here’s the unforeseeable, I forgive you. After all you’ve done. I forgive you.

Bonnie: You don’t understand. You will never understand.

The Doctor: I don’t understand? Are you kidding? Me? Of course I understand. I mean, do you call this a war, this funny little thing? This is not a war. I fought in a bigger war than you will ever know. I did worse things than you could ever imagine, and when I close my eyes… I hear more screams than anyone could ever be able to count! And do you know what you do with all that pain? Shall I tell you where you put it? You hold it tight… Til it burns your hand. And you say this – no one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will ever have to feel this pain. Not on my watch.

I’ve been wanting to post that speech since the episode aired in the hopes that someone, anyone, even a single person would read it and it would make an impact. I still hope that, but I will post for myself regardless.

This speech was everything: insightful, powerful, relevant – and if it wasn’t relevant enough already, consider this: it aired six days before the attacks on Paris. I mean. If I was even slightly unsure before about my position on war and peace, revenge and forgiveness, this episode of Doctor Who solidified it for me.

The same thing happened to me in regards to the Syrian refugee crisis. Doctor Who dictated my morality. I remember Steve and I were driving to East Texas in the middle of the night one Saturday in October and we were discussing the matter. Specifically, we were discussing the idea that people who wish harm upon us might be using the refugee crisis to sneak their way into America only to exact some amount of violence on us later. I told him I had seen/heard people say that and I realized… I didn’t care. Because what would The Doctor do? If he was faced with the choice to save 100,000 people, with the risk that 10 of them might be evil, what would he do? He would fucking save them, that’s what. Because it’s the right thing to do – without exception.

I know. It’s Doctor Who. It seems funny to those who don’t watch. But isn’t this the best thing that a piece of art – television, movies, books, all of it – can be to someone? Isn’t that the point? To make us think? To make us change our hearts and minds? It’s beautiful.

I have more to say on these subjects, but I will let the lovely influence of Doctor Who stand alone. To be continued.

(cc: @thatsminethankyou)