Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Peace of Paradise

Recently while vacationing, I felt something I'm not sure I've ever felt before. There were several times throughout the week that I started feeling this strange sense of being uncomfortable. I was in paradise, I was surrounded by incredibly generous and hilarious people, I didn't have to work or clean my house or talk about college or worry about stressors looming over me. And yet, I was uncomfortable. Finally, I spent one quiet day at the beach reflecting on what was making me feel this way and one philosophical conversation with a friend brought it all to light.

I was feeling at peace on this vacation. I wasn't worried or stressed or over thinking or overcommitted or exhausted. I was so at peace, in fact, that it made me uncomfortable. It was this indescribable feeling that I was exactly where I needed to be in each moment and doing exactly what I needed to do. I was grateful and connected and centered and happy to a point where it was almost a foreign feeling. Life was just perfect, and I wasn't used to that. What was wrong was that there was absolutely nothing wrong. And once I realized that, I started to really like it.

I knew when I returned home that I wouldn't be able to maintain this peacefulness every second of every day. Things will stress me out, upset me, wear me down. But knowing that this indescribable level of peace exists and can be achieved gives me hope that I can bring some of it home with me into my every day life. And maintaining the realization that in life I am exactly where I'm supposed to be may make all the difference.

Home isn't paradise. And some things at home use up my energy more than they give me energy. There is stress and hurt and anxiety and worry at times. But maybe I can bring home a little of the peace of paradise. Maybe this feeling of complete weightlessness can exist during moments of real life too. But knowing that somewhere out there exists a level of peace beyond your understanding and comfortability is enough to make you want to feel it every single day.

Marble Jar Friends

I have been reading the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. If you haven't heard of her, do yourself a favor and look up her work. It will change your life.

In this book, she references a very good lesson her young daughter learned about betrayal and how she related it to a classroom incentive her daughter's teacher implemented.

The teacher had a marble jar on her desk and as the class made collectively good decisions, she added marbles to the jar. If they were making poor choices, she removed marbles from the jar. When and if the marbles reached the top of the jar, the students were rewarded.

After an experience of betrayal, the author related the marble jar activity to friends and had her daughter recite friends who, in life, added marbles to her jar while other friends might be the ones to take out the marbles.

After reading this anecdote , I stopped to think on my marble jar for a moment. In life, I've been really really blessed to have so many friends who fill my marble jar. The friends who keep your secrets, the friends who love and support without judgement, the friends who were there when things fell apart, the friends who helped put me back together.

Of course, I've had a few friends who have removed marbles from my jar. Either they were friends who took more than they gave or felt entitled to rewrite the stories I was living, or generally really great friends who stumbled, judged, acted selfishly or handled things poorly. But luckily, despite those people or those moments, my marble jar stays full, and every day I am rewarded with these generous and loving people in my life.

I hope to be a friend who adds marbles to the jars of people in my life. I hope that I return the favor of being someone who can be confided in and trusted to love without abandon. I aspire to be the friend who each of my friends can go to when they need a shoulder, a new perspective, or a stiff drink. And if there's a day when I act selfishly or handle something poorly, I hope my friends can tell me I'm taking marbles from their jar, allow me to apologize, and replace the marbles. I want to be a marble jar friend. Because if life has blessed me with so many and filled my jar so fully, the least I can do is give of my marbles freely and without expectation. After all, these marble jar friends, so many times, have been the ones to keep me from losing all of my marbles.

People who fill my marble jar: