Thursday, August 8, 2013

Remember the Acorn

I read something the other day that talked about the potentiality held within the tiny acorn. There’s nothing it needs to do to become what it’s intended to become. It just does. Now, every single acorn does not necessarily end up as a towering oak tree. Certain conditions must be met, but with the basic necessities provided, the seed does grow into that which it is here to be.

Let’s suppose for a moment, that the acorn had conscious awareness. Do you think even in its wildest imagination, it would ever be able to envision itself as a towering oak tree? Probably not.

Now humans are another story entirely. Even with the facility of conscious awareness and with untold resources, humans tend to walk blithely through their lives with little insight as to their limitless potentiality.

Humans are a curious species. There are those who are more or less unconscious. Then there are those who might be aware of some potential but “play small.” The vast majority are filled with insecurities, fears and excuses. It’s much safer to not rock their boats … upset their apple carts, even though the status quo might leave them miserable … frustrated … angry …

And far, far away from the magnificence, the joy, the beauty life has in store if only they would open their minds and hearts and allow their potential … their essence to shine through.

It’s common knowledge that we use only a small portion of our brain’s capacity … maybe not even 10%. So what is the remaining 90% doing? Hmmm … maybe we need to remember the acorn.

© Susan Schanerman 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Your Handicap?

What's your handicap?” is a common phrase in the sport of golf or horse racing or any number of other competitive endeavors.

In her book, Journey to the Heart, Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing your Soul, author Melody Beattie talks about it at length. I think the word is most commonly understood as referring to physical limitations placed on the body. But in the same manner, handicaps can just as easily be emotional, burdens of heartache, current issues like facing illness or grieving loss.

After losing a son, Melody explains that she came to the understanding that her sense of loss was a handicap. The pain and heartache would more than likely always exist ... the sense of loss would always be there to some extent. She had two choices, she could accept those facts, treat them as a “handicap,” and within that framework go ahead and live her life ... or she could fumble and stumble through life allowing her “handicap to live her.” Once she made the decision to accept the situation for what it was ... over time, her attitude and perspective changed.

Most of us live with some sort of handicap. It may be physical, emotional, mental, financial. Some are temporary ... some are not. Some of us sit around waiting for the handicap to disappear. Some of us sit around feeling angry and resentful. Some of us allow ourselves to be consumed with self-pity. Some of us become our handicaps and in so doing, live from our CANNOTS instead of our CANS.

My take on the subject is this: "Whatever is, is. What ever is, right here and right now, is what is so." There is always the possibility that things may change. Miracles do happen. However, there really is little point in sitting around and waiting ... doing nothing in the meantime.

Whatever the handicap, we can decide to accept what's so and live with it ... work around it. Maybe even someday go so far as to embrace it and dare I say, be grateful for it.

I’m not saying not to feel and experience all the emotions of your circumstances and the limitations they may present. We must accept them all. We must let them be a part of ourselves ... and begin to see them as an honored part of our experience. Everything that happens and has happened to us adds to the uniqueness and beauty of the fabric of who and what we are.

© Susan Schanerman 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Who's Helping Who?

Many years ago, I embarked on what can only be called “An Amazing Adventure.” Through a series of synchronistic events, I found myself in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a few hours outside of San Francisco, participating in a week-long personal growth workshop.

One day of the program was set aside for an outdoor adventure and the plan was to take a picnic lunch and go to a beautiful setting in the mountains and just enjoy.

So, a bunch of us piled into my rented car and off we went. We arrived at this national forest (or some such place) and we all got out of the car. At that point, I was told that the site where we were to have our picnic was down this small mountain ... across a creek and over some slippery rocks ...

My first reaction was “You have got to be kidding!! There's no way I can do that." Marsha, the workshop leader, calmed me down a bit by saying that she would help me. She would take hold of me and I would lead the way. She told me to take tiny, baby steps ... one at a time ... and that way we would make it, together.

So, I did exactly as she said and held on tightly and took teeny, tiny steps, carefully placing my feet into little cracks and crevices and somehow miraculously we made it to the bottom. Then some of the other group members got on either side of me and helped me across the wet rocks and I made it to the other side.

After our picnic and a beautiful time spent sharing with each other in a magnificent setting, we reversed the whole process and I made it back up the mountain. I don’t remember at what point Marsha and I shared about the experience ... And she told me that she was almost legally blind ... and I just about flipped!!

There I was ... with a pretty severe physical disability and certainly unable to have ever done this thing on my own, being “helped” to succeed by a woman who could barely see and who might very well have been unable to accomplish the task on her own, either.

Moral of the story ... I have spent so much of my life feeling embarrassed and helpless when I have to ask for “help” ... and here was a classic example of allowing myself to ask for and receive “help” and I ended up helping the very person I was receiving help from! So Who Ended Up Helping Who

The idea of giving and receiving being the same action can be a hard one to grasp ... but in this instance, it seems evident that on some level, anything that happens between two people is actually an even exchange. In giving, we are also receiving and when receiving, we are also giving.

© Susan Schanerman 2013