I Remember Now ~ Putting My Best Foot Forward ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad ~ Post 64
As I write this, students are anxious, tired, checked out, and ready for summer. School is almost over and they don’t want to learn anything more. Teachers are trying to keep their students engaged with assignments, papers, and tests to finish up. I send love and strength to these heroes in our communities!
And as I write, this almost 71 year old student is right with them. I just got an assignment here at Earth School For The Soul that I don’t want. “The timing couldn’t be worse” my ego says. It’s summer. Summer is my time to be active outside: playing the game that I love so much (golf). It’s time for biking and walking. Our 5 year old grandson is coming from Boston in a couple of weeks for the rest of the summer. I had all these things I wanted to do with him. I had plans to walk and go to the playground with our two year old granddaughter.
The assignment? Learn from Planter Fasciitis in my left foot. Those of you who’ve had this know that it’s an adventure putting weight on the foot. I got the unexpected assignment on Memorial Day while playing golf.
I realize in the grand scheme of what we can experience while we are human, this is just an inconvenience. One that life brings from time to time. And if you are reading this and going through something serious, you’re probably wishing you had what I have instead.
I told my friend Tony about my inconvenience. His advice? In typical Tony fashion he told me, “Remember to put your best foot forward.” Thanks Tony! I can always count on you.
My best foot is the right foot. And I know putting the “right” foot forward would mean stepping into acceptance.
But at this point, I’m not there, and really don’t want to go there.
At this point, what I do have is perspective.
Right now I’m sitting in this class I didn’t choose, with a really bad student. Me. I’ve got an ego that is ticked, frustrated, and thinks this is a terrible assignment. It had plans after all. Now it’s living what it hates the most~ lack of control, and can only think about what’s been taken from it and how to get it back.
So what to do? Well, this reluctant student is trying to settle into what is. The phrase “it is what it is” has become popular. But when I say it, I’ve noticed that I say it with a certain resignation within me. I don’t like or want what “it is”, and I’m trying to talk myself into it. There’s a lot of commentary from me along with it.
The poet, Dorothy Hunt, writes that “peace is this moment without judgement.” True peace is being in “what is” without the commentary of our ego. Without the “this is bad”, “I don’t like this”, “this shouldn’t be happening” or “why me?” stuff, which only bring the opposite of peace. Real peace only comes when we are willing to let go of or transcend all of it and see the situation for what it truly is and what it brings us.
I’ve always loved “peace is this moment without judgement” and have known its wisdom. When I’ve set aside the commentary, I have felt genuine peace settling in. And I’ve often found that the present moment is not nearly as difficult as my ego has declared the assignment to be.
Yes. I’ve loved those words. But not so much now. Now I only want to judge. So in my mind I’m driving myself to the rock I wrote about in the previous post. The “Be Kind” rock that stands at the entrance to this experience.
Being kind to myself involves settling into what is. My frustration, disappointment, sadness, and wanting to host a pity party for one person. Me. Sitting with all THAT without judgement. THAT is what it is. Listen to it. Feel it. See what it has for me and tell it “I’m here for you.”
And as another author wrote (sorry I can’t remember), I know that I need to “visit but not build my house there.” I am being taught to sit with all it, but not linger. Otherwise what I visit will tend to become my home. Shorter visits. Learn what I can and move on. To what? To practicing relaxing my tight hold around my frustration and sadness, and releasing it. Once released and set free I can practice seeing where the new is leading me. These are also my assignments now.
How’s it going to go? What (if anything) will I learn? The teacher says it’s up to me.
In the meantime, I know that the real me (my soul) is perfectly fine. It is doing what it always does and accepting this as another assignment (experience) to learn and grow from. It’s not “good” or “bad.” It is what it is. I need to learn to sit closer to that student!
But I have trouble understanding that student sometimes. Have you ever wondered about the more serious things your soul signed up for before it came here? Do you ever want to ask it, “What were you thinking?”
Yes. My humanity is never sitting alone in this classroom. My soul is here along with it and taking it all in. And I know I have teacher aides (Guides) I can call on for help. And I can go straight to THE Teacher anytime I want to for strength, and for the patience that I need. Right now.
I don’t believe God gave me Planter Fasciitis, or that God gives us any illness. I do believe my intuition when it is telling me that my ego has it wrong. This is the BEST possible time for growth and learning because the harder something is the more we are changed by it. It knows the lesson plan.
Trying to put my best foot forward.
Pastor Tim Tengblad