lessons from the deathbed

Being very ill is teaching me some things.

mariwatermarkThere are people in this world with stingy hearts. I do not want to spend any more of my precious life trying to please them – they will never be pleased.
I learned last June, nearly a year ago now, that if I poured all my heart and love out to a stingy-hearted person, no matter how much love I gave, it would not help them see what a gift they’d been given. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can teach such people to see and value the beauty in others – they either learn on their own, or they remain blind, caught up in an inability to take responsibility for their own happiness and lives.
People who put all the blame and responsibility on others have to live with this tragic side-effect: they cannot ever truly see.  If a person does not own their own choices and mistakes, all they see when they look at other people is their own mistakes.  They project, because they HAVE to…they become very critical of others, when what they are really seeing are mirror images of their own flaws and mistakes, which they cannot accept, and cannot love.   If they do it a lot, pretty soon that is *all* they can see in others.  It is extremely sad.
(there is a way out of this, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)

I gave too much before I learned that. I blamed myself that he could not value me…but now I see it was not my fault; the poor man lost the most beautiful gift he’d ever been given, because he was too blind to see it.
But I learned from the experience – so, like training wheels on a bike, it was valuable at the time.  It serves me no more.

Prior to this illness, I poured my heart out again and again in my little job… but nothing I did was right. I’d try again. I’d try harder.  It was never good enough.

If you think you might be doing this, distance and look at your life from the outside.  Ask yourself:  “If I were my own life coach, what would I tell myself right now?”  I tell myself: your life and heart and spirit are far too precious to be wasted like this.

“Wake up,” this illness is telling me, “focus on the people who love you just as you are, who appreciate your work, who see the beauty in what you put into the world. Those who appreciate how much heart you bring to everything you do – focus on them.”

The constantly peeved people who are never satisfied… give them NO more. No more time, no more energy, no more heart.  They are not just like this with you- this is how they are in life. This is their choice ! They may not know it, but they are constantly looking for ways to be dissatisfied, displeased, unhappy; no one is good enough in their eyes. No one measures up.

KNOW that it is not about you. Have compassion for them, and move on…

It was my first time within a structured religion.  For the first time, I had a “community.”  All my life I had felt like I stood outside, pressing my nose against the window to watch the party.  Finally, I was included…in a sense…
But I was criticized. In a huge way…I became the scapegoat, the receptacle for a lot of poison in the community.

So, rather than see that it was those people’s dis-ease in their own minds and souls that made them do that, I set out to criticize-proof myself.  I set out to be PERFECT. To be so incredible and hard working and … etc. .. that NO one could criticize me. That is ridiculous…they can, and will, criticize, because they are looking for things to criticize…and if that’s what you’re looking for, there will always be something.

It all comes back to (again) what we choose to focus on.  Here’s the thing: we are all flawed.  IF we want to focus on the flaws, we can find a million … it can be a lifetime of criticizing, if we really want that.  criticizing ourselves and others. No thanks – that is not what I want;  I want to focus on the beautiful things. I want to live in gratitude for the goodness in my life.

In Ana’s life coaching group, we did a meditation where we met our “future selves.”  I won’t go into all I discovered with that, as it’s an entire entry on its own – but one bit of advice my future self gave me was : “Don’t carry the dead.  Mourn for them and move on with your life, because we will all die- it’s the deal we make when we come in the door. Don’t use up your own life trying to die with them.”

Yes, I mourned too long. I mourned Jeff for ten years. I did not live. I mourned Marc’s illness and made myself ill, too. If he constantly chose unhappiness, I was right there with him, even though my nature is happy and laughing…I silenced my own laughter. I mourned all of it.  I am SO bored with misery.  so utterly bored.  I am not sure why he chose to focus on it…it’s so dreary, and it doesn’t make one a deep person, to maunder on and on about how some singer died. Enjoy the music, for God’s sake… don’t kill it with your fear of death.

Hey, future self, you’re smart! Don’t waste your life away carrying the dead.  So to extrapolate from that advice:

Instead of focusing on the people who are dissatisfied with me, and trying to please them; instead of focusing on the ones who betrayed me or hurt me or left or lied, and live in distrust or fear; instead of focusing on the mean students I teach, who call me and each other names or beat up on the other kids, like spending months trying to lose weight because I had a student who called me “cow” and poked my belly every week… focus on the people in my life right now who love me: the great students in the class, who are a joy to teach, the people in the synagogue who “get” who I am, the people who love my work- and my own love of my work and appreciation of my good heart.

Laser-focusing the lens now.  I have no more room, energy, or time for stingy-hearted or critical people.  I have no more life left for pettiness. I can meet such things with compassion, but I am no longer giving energy to these things.  I used to hang around and think “why?”  I bled out my life too freely to people who DO NOT PRAISE and do not approve of me.  They do not see who I am; they look down on me.

So, why waste any more time?  Let them look down.  People look down on others because their ego somehow needs that.

They have missed out on the gift of knowing me.

Let them choose favorites, and praise them to the skies.  My ego no longer needs boosting.  I have discovered that when self esteem grows, the ego really doesn’t need to be fed by others….

it’s a magical discovery.

Being ill and struggling to breathe has taught me a lot.  If I died tomorrow, I would actually be ok with what I have brought to this life, whether or not it has won any recognition, because I have brought all of my heart to everything I have done.

A few people have known me, and have seen that. I have given them love – I held nothing back. I never was stingy-hearted and I am so very glad of that.

No more wasting time or life force trying to win praise from people who do not see my genius or what is good in me…

We waste too much of life trying to please the displeased, trying to cheer up the ones who choose to be unhappy, trying to help people who WANT drama and dis-ease in their lives.  We, the positive ones, the builders, the healers, the dreamers – we waste too much of that hopeful, idealistic energy which I call genius — we let our hearts hemorrhage into these endlessly draining pits.  They will *never* be satisfied. They will *never* give us what we are looking for – they won’t magically become happy. They won’t see who we are or value us.  They won’t all of a sudden realize they’ve been throwing away the incredible gift of our entire hearts…because they do not even *See* that gift!
Not one scrap of praise, not one word, will cross their lips or hearts or minds because that is not what they focus on…they do not even SEE us. They don’t see the beauty of people who try, and try with all their hearts.

Go where you are seen. Give yourself where you are valued as you deserve to be. If people treat you badly, don’t try harder! It is not a reflection of you or your worth that they treat you badly; it is a reflection of them.  It is the grimy glasses they are wearing, that don’t allow them to see the glorious colors of your soul. Walk away! no – don’t walk – take your bright, beautiful spirit and RUN!

So, this is to all the dreamers, the hope-filled, the builders, the healers, the ones who try to please, the ones who want others to be happy, the ones who go into a school every day with a new lesson plan that fulfills everything they’ve been asked to do and more, the ones who pour their hearts out no matter how many times they’ve been smothered and squashed and talked down to and minimized and silenced and negated and ignored and starved…

DON’T give any more of your beauty, your life, your heart, your precious and wonderful being to the negaters of this world. Do not do it.  Today – this very minute- make the decision that you are moving forward in abundance, and you will give your heart and energy where it is seen and appreciated.  This is not about being stingy-hearted or denying people your heart – this is about shifting the focus.  If you imagine your life as a bright beam of light – simply move it away from the ones who constantly speak to you as though they are disappointed in you … shift that beautiful beam of light and shine it on the people and projects and jobs and activities who reflect back light. Who appreciate you and join in. Who say “yes” to your brilliance, not constantly “no, you can’t do that lesson plan, do THIS one. Fit into THIS box. Be THIS person.”

Go where the “yes” is, beautiful spirit.  Go where you are loved and forget the rest.

This is YOUR life. You deserve “yes.”

I don’t want to wait until it’s time for me to die to figure out how to live completely and fully with all my heart.  So, pneumonia is like a kind of dress-rehearsal death. It’s telling me – learn this now! Go live and stop holding back. Live!

2 thoughts on “lessons from the deathbed

  1. This. _SO_ this. I cannot tell you how much this resonates with me and how meaningful this is in my life at this point in time.

    Shabbat Shalom from you Ausse Jewitch friend xxx


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