Paradise is Sharing...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Taking off your skates ...

As a child, I was fortunate enough to have a pond in my back yard.  On the winters when the cold air arrived early, and the snow arrived late, it was a skaters paradise.  My brother, sister, parents and a bunch of neighborhood kids would make a day of playing hockey, "crack the whip" and zooming around on our skates pretending to be Dorothy Hamill and Scott Hamilton.  We would only stop to warm ourselves by the fire, drink some cocoa, and rest our feet.  The sun would set low in the sky, and we would finally sit on the banks of the pond and remove our skates.  I will always remember the sensation that followed - because I had been wearing my skates for so long, even after I had taken them off, it still felt like they were on my feet. The unmoving, non-slippery surface of the ground felt foreign.  Even though I was standing perfectly still, in my head I was still gliding.  I would shuffle along awkwardly back to the farm where more cocoa and cookies awaited. Depending on how long I had worn my skates, determined how long that sensation would last.  Skates are great fun to wear while you are on ice, but don't serve you when you have to start walking.  You need solid footing to walk home.

This past week, a classmate of mine lost her husband unexpectedly.  It's shocking to think that at our age, she is now a widow.  She and her husband remained in our hometown, and he was a pillar of the community. 

The events that have followed have touched me in an unexpected way.  My classmates have rallied on Facebook - created a group to coordinate donations, food, and other needs the family may have.  The ones who can attend the service have decided to arrive early so our class of 1991 can be a "united front of support" for our classmate.  As I posted on Facebook "What is touching to me is that even as awkward teenagers trying to find our way in the world, we managed to build a strong community we can count on as adults"

I now have a new story about the community I grew up in and the classmates who journeyed with me during my formative years.  But I carried my old story of being bullied, tormented and shunned for so long, that even though I can take that story off, I still feel the sensation of my past.  After all, who am I without that story?  Quite frankly, I like my new story of coming from a supportive community that offered top notch education and opportunities FAR better than my old story of being a lonely, overweight teenager who was bullied into thinking she was inferior.  I know the more I wear my new story, the sensation of having worn my old story for so long will eventually wear off.   I might shuffle along and feel awkward for a while, but soon my footing will feel more solid, and my steps will be made with more confidence.

"People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar."
~Thich Nhat Hanh~ 
As I am reflecting on old stories, I realize how many other pairs of skates I wore for way too long.  My relationship with my parents has often been strained and tense over the years... but in the last few years, we have been reconciled, they have been supportive, and I can actually say, I enjoy their company.  I have been able to take off the old story of not getting along with my parents, and put on a new story of being good friends with my parents.  But, for some reason, I still feel the old skates on my feet every time I am with them - old tension rises in my chest, I wait for someone to say the wrong thing, I walk on thin ice.... but, every time, as I am driving home, I am pleasantly surprised how well our visit went.  Why am I surprised?  Because I still feel like I am wearing my old skates.  The sensation of my old story remains with me.  But, the more I wear my new story, the less I feel the effects of my old one.

"I don't let go of concepts - I meet them with understanding.
Then they let go of me."
~Byron Katie~

Have you taken off your skates yet still feel wobbly on your feet? 

Paradise is here, Paradise is now .... Paradise is taking off your skates and feeling the ground beneath your feet.

1 comment:

  1. looks like you had lots of fun back in the days
    feel free to leave a comment


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