Monday, February 13, 2017

Showing up to the curriculum

6 months.
It's been 6 months since I last posted.
If I keep this up, I only need to post 7 more times before Jason's done with medical school!
Life has been, well,
Too busy for a while.
But now, after family picture season has ended and the holidays are over,
it's back to a manageable busy.
Every week I think,
okay NEXT week will be relaxing,
NEXT week I'll get to the things I've been putting off,
NEXT week I'll go get that gym membership I've wanted since October.
Next week.

But next week comes and things get scheduled,
and it's ever as busy as the week before.
But with 3 kids,
a husband in medical school,
two part times jobs,
a church calling,
and a house to keep up with,
I don't think my hoped for "NEXT week"
will ever come.
And that's okay.

The ebbs and flows of this medical school journey have been...
Maybe that's not the right word.
Maybe... Unexpected?
I wrote before how I was struggling to find my new normal in our new life.
I thought, 
once I can get myself to an emotional space where I've accepted this life,
and even find happiness in it,
then I'll be okay and we can all move forward together.
And for a while,
I thought I was there.
Things were better.
I was happier.

But then a hard week of school would come,
or expectations wouldn't be met,
or schedules would change last minute and leave me scrambling.
And I'd have to re-adjust.
Then re-adjust again.

And so it goes.
Some weeks are great,
some weeks are hard.
The hard weeks are where self-pity starts to creep in.
And most of the time, I don't notice it lingering in my thoughts.
But it's there.
Festering and growing.
Usually, until things look up and life feels more positive. 
And it quiets down for a time. 

Recently, I started listening to podcasts.
And have found a few that I really like and listen to weekly.
There's one that's been especially helpful to me. 
The host is Brooke Castillo.
She's relatable and honest. 
Last week, her podcast was titled "Self-Pity"
Just what I needed.

The definition of self-pity is excessive self absorbed unhappiness over one’s own troubles.
Self-pity is one of those emotions that is not useful to spend any time feeling. 
It robs me of my accomplishment of taking action. 
It thrives on claimed helplessness.  
It whines and complains. 

Sometimes I hear myself whining (mostly in my head) and I feel sorry myself, 
thinking I’m entitled to more, 
yet I don’t want to take the action to get more. 
But I can’t feel sorry for myself and indulge in self pity 
and also take effective action at the same time. 
I’m either doing one or the other.    

Brooke Castillo said, “Instead of thinking that someone or something should give you more, you have to start owning that everything you have is your own creation. No matter what happens in the world, it’s supposed to be happening. When I tell myself, ‘These things shouldn’t be happening in the world, or these things shouldn’t be happening in my life, or these things shouldn’t be happening in my business’, then I all of the sudden feel powerless and feel sorry for myself. But when I understand ‘No, it’s all happening for me, this is part of the deal. This is all part of our curriculum in the world’, then I show up in a very different way.”

If I signed up for a class at Yale or Harvard University, she says,
I probably wouldn’t expect that class to be a breeze. 
Probably not an “Easy A”. 
I’d probably plan on going to work. 
Showing up, 
paying attention, 
using my own mind, 
being creative, 
applying it. 
I’d plan on it being challenging. 
And then when it was, I could think, 
Bring it
I want to earn my degree. 
I want earn my A in this class. 
The harder it is, the harder I’m going to work. 

I could choose to indulge in the opposite side of this scenario. 
The harder it is, the more I want to quit, 
the more I want to go to a different school, 
the more I want to stop going to school all together. 
So, am I believing that I’ve signed up for this medical life and that the harder it is, 
the more I can grow, 
the stronger I can become, 
the more I can evolve? 
The harder this journey is, the more I’m going to learn and apply myself?  

And sometimes I think, 
"Well can’t I just have an easy life?” 
And that would be great, except I don’t think our lives should be easy-
 I don’t think that’s the point. 
So, I can either feel sorry for myself that my class at Yale is so difficult, 
or I could think, 
Of course my class at Yale is difficult! 
That’s what I signed up for. 
I’m ready! 
I’m capable of this.
 I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t capable of it.

Instead of thinking of all the things I don’t have, 
or things that should be different, 
or thinking I’m the victim in it all, 
I can think 
“No, no- this is exactly what I should have, 
based on who I am 
and how I’m showing up in the world.” 
And then I feel more complete which in turns helps me create more abundance. 
I can love owning what I’ve created for myself. 
And that includes all of the abundance that I’ve created for myself, 
and all the things that aren’t as good as I want them to be. 
But if I’ve created them, I can create more. 
There’s nothing to feel sorry about. 
What’s meant to happen, does. 
So instead of thinking, 
“This shouldn’t be happening!” 
I think, “Of course this is happening. 
This is my assignment today. 
This is what my ‘professor’ of my life has assigned.
 I’m in. 
Let’s do this. 
Look at what a good student I am. 
Look at what I’ll create. 
Look at how much I will learn. 

While taking my class at Yale, 
I could sit and complain about how hard it is, 
“There’s SO much work, it’s SO ridiculous, what we’re expected to do is unreasonable!”

Or I could say 
Bring. It. On.
Things are supposed to be hard and challenging. 
There’s supposed to be discord. 
That’s what the world is about. 
That’s why we come here. 
There’s supposed to be contrast. 
There’s supposed to be conflict. 
There’s supposed to be suffering in the world. 
How do I know there’s supposed to be suffering in the world? 
Because there IS suffering in the world. 
I can either suffer about the suffering, 
or I can focus my energy on creating more contrast to the suffering. 
When I feel sorry for myself, 
when I victimize myself in my own mind, 
I contribute to the suffering instead of the opposite.

There's no use for self-pity. 
There’s no reason for me to feel sorry for myself. 
I don’t need to compare, 
I don’t need to exaggerate, 
or create drama, 
I don’t need to think I’m less than. 
Instead, what I need to do is go and get mine. 
Prove it to myself. 
Show up to the curriculum that is my life today and even if it’s hard, get it. 
At the end of this journey,
 this 10 year journey if he decides he wants to become a surgeon, 
if people say, 
“Whoa that must’ve been hard” 
I can say, “Uh, yeah it was hard! Heck yeah it was hard!” 
Because it was supposed to be hard.
Because I was supposed to learn grit.
And how to get through the hard stuff.
And how to handle a challenge. 
And to feel accomplished at the end of it. 

And in the future if something unexpected comes, 
I won’t freak out because my life’s been easy my whole life, 
I’ll be able to say, 
“This is a crazy thing that’s happening, 
but I can handle it. 
Because I’ve practiced handling hard things”

We are only eight months in to this crazy long road.
We just barely started up the mountain.
Harder times are inevitably around the corner.
But as I self reflect,
and self correct,
and stay in tune with my Heavenly Father,
I am becoming more of who I want to be.
One very very small step at a time.

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