I struggle with wanting to give in to our society’s endorsement of individualism. My natural tendency is to make life about me and my tidy comfort zone. Maybe you do too.
Expressing love from a distance is oodles easier and less awkward than responding to up-close and personal opportunities to reach out to others. You with me?
Confessions of a (Recovering) Perfectionist came to mind as my initial title for this post. I know something about the dodgy distraction of pursuing perfection.
I’m acquainted with the compulsion to get everything right. To be right. All of the time.
Not long ago I was paralyzed by one version or another of the perfectionist’s creed: “If you can’t do something right, don’t bother to doing it,” or “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”
Yes, well, a perfectionist’s auto response to that kind of pressure includes a hefty dose of procrastination fueled by self-doubt and fear of failure.
There’s more. More often than not, the perfectionist sports a critical spirit, calling herself and others to answer unrealistic and exhausting expectations. Sigh.
Can you relate? We’re not alone.
Never mind that all-around perfect isn’t an option for earth-bound humans, the deceptive path to picture perfect is a crowded dead-end. (more…)
Let me introduce you to my friend, Becky. I’ve not yet met Rebecca Rene Jones in person. But after reading her memoir, Broken for Good: How Grief Awoke My Greatest Hopes, I feel like I’ve sipped coffee with her on the backporch at the lake house and even cast a line with her at the lake’s edge.
As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays fast approach, the reality of an empty chair at the supper table can run us down. Because Becky’s writing is so yummy and her insights are soul satisfying, I asked her to share some refreshing thoughts on grief with us. Follow Becky on Twitter and Facebook.
by Rebecca Rene Jones
People ask how I knew that I wanted to write the book, after Dad died.
“It’s so personal, so raw. How did you know?”
Over the years, I’ve often wondered the same. Why write, and in doing so, re-live? What was there to re-visit? To unearth?
Mine was a garden-variety grief; kids bury parents. Maybe not at 18, but it’s not unnatural. And Dad died of cancer–not exactly a headline there, either.
So why a book? Why tell the story? What was there to say?
The bald truth is this: what I found on the other side of grief surprised me. (more…)
You balance loose envelopes and a package in the crook of one elbow so you can pull the post office door open for a stranger. Only to watch her blithely cross the threshold with nary a glance at you, let alone a “Thank you.”
Ever gone out of your way—or not—to do something nice for a stranger or a friend or a family member without receiving even a glint of gratitude?
Why the tendency to overlook kindness?
Sad to say, I am sometimes that person. Unaware. In my head. Self-absorbed. Consequently, I’ve missed countless opportunities to express thanks for another’s thoughtful gesture or service. And I’ve squandered far too many smile opps.
Being thankful and ready to express appreciation isn’t just a common courtesy or a product of good manners, but also a spiritual practice.
Gratitude is a heart condition commissioned by God. (more…)
Nothing like a lesson in listening during lunch on a Thursday with me, myself, and I.
I ordered my Chili’s menu favorite—Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken. Next, I pulled a file folder from my tote, ready to edit a book chapter while waiting for the greens adorned with pineapple, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, green onions, cilantro, chicken, and more.
Before I got my head into marking up the manuscript, my 30-something waitress greeted her customer and friend seated in the booth in front of mine. A couple minutes later, she slid onto the bench across from her older friend and began recounting a personal saga that involved her troubled teenage son.
I perused the pile of papers in my folder while employing a few techniques I learned as a writer studying people for character research.
Here’s what I observed:
The listening friend’s chin drooped.
Her eyes narrowed in empathy.
A sad sigh lifted her shoulders and dropped them.
Her hand reached across the table to lock fingers with her friend.
Her mouth seldom moved as she listened. What?!
That’s what compassion and sisterhood look like. That’s what we want in a best friend, right? (more…)