we are the heroes of our own stories

21 09 2009

today I’m having one of those days where my mind is in a thousand different places, dipping into and out of alternately happy moods and melancholy ones.  Work continues to be a challenge for me, mostly because I’ve had such a difficult time filling one pivotal position on my team.  What that means to me:  I’ve got to do that job in addition to mine, which in turn leads to my primary job responsibilities taking longer.  It’s not that I don’t have support at work.  My coworkers, for the most part, are great – but each of them has his or her jobs to do as well.  So that brings it back to me.

Whenever I find myself in this sort of mood, it doesn’t take long for me to begin searching for some sort of inspiration, at least momentarily, in a song, or a quote or some other form to lift me through to the next upswing.  I’ve got this bank of songs in iTunes that I can always count on for a pick-me-up, and I keep a book of quotes that resonate with me in my office.

But today, after 9+ hours of staring at a computer screen, no amount of Ben Taylor or Amos Lee or Ari Hest seemed to be the ladder out of the doldrums and I decided to just work through it.

Thing is, after all’s said and done, I discover, over and over, that looking outwardly for inspiration is completely in the wrong direction.  Even though I seem to forget this just as quickly, we all have the inspiration we need right inside of us.  Or, as I saw it written once, we are the heroes of our own story.

I’ve spent the past few years trying to hone the skill of doing this – of gaining inspiration through my own strength, history, inner-thoughts, whatever you want to call it.  For a long time, figuring out how to do this, or if it was even possible for me, seemed to be a struggle.

Luckily for me, I’ve had a few great teachers and companions to go along the path with me.  I’ve also had the good fortune of discovering something that I can do whenever I want, and that clears my mind and uses my body so that I can take time to go wherever I need to go and find that lift I need in that moment, at that time.  Running has, for me, opened the door to the space I need to be strong when I need to be.

But it’s also given me a clearer vision to see things happening around me for what they really are.  Now it doesn’t always work, and sometimes people get to me.  Sometimes it’s a customer interaction at work.  Sometimes it’s getting cut off on the road.  It might even  be someone in front of me at the grocery store line.  Not too long ago, I would have gotten pretty upset or angry at that stuff, and let myself really take it personally or even lashed out at someone over it.  That still happens occasionally, but more often than not, I’m able to stop, see the situation, and accept it.

I guess one thing I’m learning more and more is acceptance.  For me, that doesn’t mean that I have to be “OK” with any particular situation, but it’s important to accept the situation “is what it is.”  I think that working so hard at trying to “correct” or “make sense” of situations really contributes to frustration, anger, desperation (you name your -ation).  For me, striving to be accepting of each situation and working to be nonjudging of each makes each situation easier to experience, and eases the intensity of my reactions to each, with the hope that, eventually, the reaction goes away.

So, here I am again, at the end of a day, realizing that there will be a situation at some point tomorrow that may push me, bring me down, or tie me up in knots.  And here I am in this moment, knowing that I have the tools to deal with that situation.  And all I have to do is remember to: breathe, think, accept, and not judge.  Seems simple enough right?  We’ll see.

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