Sitting in our church service and listening and gathering from our minister. That our judgement of others is a reflection of our judgement on ourselves. That if we were kinder to ourselves, we’d be kinder to others. How do we offer compassion and understanding we don’t have a supply of ?

Crab feasting on

How about if we lighten up on the expectations we have of ourselves. Be kinder gentler to us. I can be truthful and more forgiving and lead by example. I can try to feel the hard stuff and move through and beyond it. And laugh at it when it comes again. Yeah, yeah. yeah. Easier said than done.

I had a better birthday than I usually do this past month. Birthdays can be a little rough for a lot of people including me. I immensely enjoyed sending surprise birthday wishes to unsuspecting fellow Virgos nationwide. Because that’s what I would want to have happen to me. And when you begin to hear yourself being selfish, as birthdays can be, do something for someone else.

We had a crabfeast to celebrate and I fed people and enjoyed the company of my friends immensely. But I had a horrible mental hangover the whole time. The fear of what it all means to grow old had me feeling like I wanted to quell and quiet the nasty voices. My month of August break and non-exercising Summer chillaxing was followed by even more pre-birthday indulgences. No workouts and more wine means pounds.

My peeps easting crabs on

The irritating underlying nagging thought that invaded and stayed to crash my happy thought party was the three pounds I seemed to have gained. All the pants that I was overjoyed and proud to finally be able to fit into again at the beginning of the Summer, didn’t again. And that was what I wanted to focus on for my Birthday week. My failure. My humanity. My bloated belly. Happy crappy birthday Shalagh.

That I had managed to discipline myself enough to shed the weight once didn’t matter. That I am not defined by a number didn’t matter. I just wanted to feel crappy and fearful. And so I decided to just going to be with this acknowledgement and understanding of where I was until I was ready to move on. Sometimes that is all we can do. That’s the softening towards and the being with the “you suck” sentence until the judgement storm passes.

John and Fiona on

When I’m ready, I want to be kinder and more forgiving of myself and make a plan to eat and exercise a little differently that I might affect the same results as I did last Fall with that clean eating challenge. But constant meanness and judgement won’t allow for hope or movement towards any change. Would you treat a friend like you do your inner child? Not.

And would I let you be this hard or mean to yourself in my presence? Absolutely not. Do I secretly judge you for that extra helping of deserts? Maybe. Because until you and I admit that we are all human and need forgiveness for our horrible human fate, we will make bad choices that still won’t define us as bad people. Just scared people. And that’s what I truly feel the belly bloat is. Fear. Because we ask ourselves to eat our fear all the time.

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  1. Ever read Life of Pi? There is an EXCELLENT section (Chapter 56, I think) that bears reading if you haven’t. All about that dreadful thing: fear.

    1. Maybe I saw the movie? Perhaps you’ve read it more than a few times to memorize the chapters Shannon? Yes, here’s to fear and respecting it and then telling it to have a seat. I think I’ve learned to dance around it but I don’t know that I always look it in the face and say suck it. Thank you.

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