February 10, 2019: Loving Our Shortness
- “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spending time with our granddaughters always gives us the gifts of laughter, love and wonderful memories. But sometimes our interactions together can lead to meaningful insights.
Last weekend during a sleepover, six-year old Zoe, came into our bed to snuggle in the morning. At the same time, Suki, one of our golden retrievers decided she wanted to join us as well. 65 pounds of puppy love leaped up on the bed, landing with full weight on my feet and lower legs. Upon hearing my complaining groan, Zoe luxuriously stretched out her whole length and exclaimed, “I just love my shortness!”. When asked why, she responded, “because I’m short enough so the dogs don’t land on me.”
Her comment, “loving her shortness”, stayed with me all week. Being a younger sister, means that for now, Zoe is smaller, has less experience in life and learning, and has to follow in the footsteps of Maya, her accomplished older sister. Yet in her innocent wisdom, she celebrates who she is right now…..maybe not as big, fast, or capable as others, but content in the understanding of her own personal place and process of growing.
I thought of how often, we compare ourselves to others. I know I do, whether I’m painting, swimming, or trying to keep order in my home and life. It’s too easy to get caught up with the onslaught of social media and commercials, visual images showcasing stellar accomplishments, immaculately designed homes, enviable vacations & seemingly perfect lives. We’re social animals and to compare ourselves with others seems to be a natural tendency. There is always someone more accomplished, more talented, richer, smarter, stronger and successful. But in doing so, we often forget to give ourselves praise for our redeeming qualities and/or what we are doing right and well. Instead, we listen to the subliminal message of “You’re not good enough” whether it’s related to our own bodies, finances, homes, relationships, or work.
When I finish a project whether its a piece of jewelry, a painting, organization of a room or garden, I always try to find something I like about it, something I should have done differently, and changes I’d make going forward. But perhaps, I should more often take Zoe’s approach. Instead of lamenting my lack of progress in cleaning out my studio, I can celebrate the present: the parts that are completed, the way light fills the room and illuminates treasured artifacts, and the gratitude I have such a lovely place to work in. Instead of complaining about the creaky and indisputable impact of age, I can celebrate the fact that I’m active and still able to do the things I love to do. Maybe I’m not as fast, and it takes longer, but I’m still moving forward. A tropical vacation is not on our horizon, but I can bundle up, head outdoors and find peace and relaxation with a walk in the woods with my husband and dogs.
Loving our shortness is a way to find those nuggets of beauty and truth that exist within each one of us. The gifts of personal talents, traits and qualities that make us unique. The parts of our lives that give us joy. The relationships that are strands of gold in our life’s tapestry. Sometimes we have to dig deep underneath years of conditioning, to find them. But when we do, we should stretch out luxuriously and celebrate who and where we are in this one gift of life we have.