Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I am enough.

We don't go running away from our values. We go drifting away, and one day wake-up in a place we never meant to be, drifting in a direction we would have never chosen. John Blumberg
We had a meeting yesterday with a young man, a client at the shelter where I work, to inform him that his transitional bed had been closed. He has not followed through on any of the commitments he made to 'get his life on track'. And, in the process, has been blaming others and threatening another client with physical harm. He is still welcome to access the building, and the Emergency sleeping quarters, but he has lost the privilege of the more private sleeping area for ninety days.

Earlier in the day I was speaking with our Executive Director about the chaos in the lives of the guys involved in the recording of Stand by Me. "I've been taking it too personally," I told him. "I've attached myself to the outcome and keep wishing they would become accountable for themselves and stand up for themselves."

"In my forty years in this business," he said, "I have seen this happen time and time again. The cycles in people's lives keep repeating themselves. You work to create opportunities for change, and people's fear of change limits their opportunities."

In my angst over other people's choices, I was making bad choices for myself. I was losing sleep over things I had no control over, and giving up peace of mind in the process.

What I put my attention on grows stronger in my life. In focusing on my angst over what 'they' were doing, I was losing focus on what I was doing. My attitude was creating anxiety in my life.

The things we tell ourselves, become the things we believe. In the process of watching these individuals crater, I was telling myself I needed to do something different.

I did -- but it wasn't the different I was thinking about. I was thinking I needed to do something different to 'reach' them.

In reality, the different I needed to do was to reach myself, to reclaim my peace of mind.

Earlier in the day when I'd been talking to Alexis, my eldest daughter, about my angst, she had reminded me, "You are good enough. You do enough. You are enough. You give your 100% mom. Other's are responsible for what they do."

Wise advice.

One of my core values is to not give up. To not walk away from someone in need. Not giving up doesn't mean, giving into bad behaviour. It doesn't mean accepting the unacceptable as acceptable.

It means, making possibilities available, providing the tools to step into the possibility of more, and letting people make their own choices based on the new possibilities they've experienced and information they've received -- and to let them be accountable for the choices they make.

Lost in the throes of 'fixing lives' I began to drift into the belief I actually could, that I had the answers for other people's lives. While my ego would like to believe I do, reality is, I don't. I only have the answers for me. And when I live my life centered on my core values, I stay unattached to 'how' people live their lives and focus on what I am doing to live mine with love and truth and beauty and joy and compassion and kindness as my watchwords.

When I live my life by my values, I do not drift into the belief other's should play by my rules, uphold my truth, live my dream.

We are each accountable for how we live our lives, for what we do, for where we are at and where we take ourselves. I can hold a space for dreams to awaken. I can open a door to possibility, but I cannot force anyone to latch onto a dream, or step through a door to somewhere they are not prepared to venture into.

I can turn up in my own life. Be all I'm meant to be and fearlessly share my joy and love and compassion and bounty. I cannot force someone else to turn up for themselves or turn up for me.

I am not powerful enough to break someone's heart or destroy their life. I am not powerful enough to heal someone else's broken heart or life.

I can do my best. Be my best. Give my best.

I am good enough. I do enough. I am enough.

The question is: Are you holding onto the belief you are powerful enough to change someone else's life? Are you turning up for others and avoiding turning up for yourself?


Anonymous said...


I'd like to edit & republish this piece. It is very powerful - not so much in the analsis of the guys you try to help but in terms of your view in your mirror. It is insightful, inspirational and reflects the person I know.

You remind us that we are all GOOD ENOUGH .. that trying to please others is not as worthwhile a pursuit as we rationalize it to be.

Let me know if I can publish it. Thanks.


M.L. Gallagher said...

Hi Mark -- I would be honoured if you did.



S L M Moss said...

And still, by sharing your words with others, you inspire us to change, to stretch our horizons, to open our eyes to see the opportunities out there for each of us.

I like what you said about "What I put my attention on grows stronger in my life." I am focusing on strengthening my marriage and I am amazed to see it growing stronger each day. I'm not perfect, and I keep slipping up, but it is not the slipping that keeps us down, it is the decision to not get back up.

God bless you today.
Hugs and kidneys,