Sunday, August 12, 2012

How To Stumble Upon Yourself

I went bike riding yesterday for the first time in about six years. Besides the fact that my butt is sore, which isn't a surprise, I'm still thinking about a moment that happened. I stumbled upon myself. I was riding and I looked up and there, in my memory was the picture of me sitting alongside the football field. The memory came to me instantly and just as instantly brought tears to my eyes.

I was sitting and waiting for my daughter to finish cheerleading clinic put on by the high school. I was reading "Happy for No Reason" by Marci Shimoff. I had gotten to page 39 of the book where Marci challenges you to do an exercise:

The Exercise
Get out a piece a paper. Create two columns with the headings Expansion and Contraction. Under each column, list things that expand you or contract you. Things expand you if they make you feel more lightness, openness, happier. Things contract you if the make you feel fear, pessimism, low energy.

At that moment, I realized that my marriage would go in the Contraction column.....that choosing to stay in my marriage was choosing something that contracted me. It was choosing unhappiness. Somehow, that exercise simplified what I had complicated. It delivered "new" information to me. So, now I had to decide if it was okay for me to live an unhappy life.

I closed the book at that point. I couldn't go on. I had to give that new, simple fact time to sink into my brain. I certainly didn't know what I was going to make of it once the processing stopped. I didn't open the book again until years later; not until a year after I had moved out and moved on. I was finally ready to process some more.

So, when I stumbled upon me, the tears were to grieve for the person that lived in unhappiness at one time and were to celebrate and acknowledge the person that I have been since.

What CONTRACTS/EXPANDS you? What are you going to do about it?


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