I recently started my own company and was frustrated that it wasn’t progressing at the rate at which I wanted. In my mind, I had envisioned that the company would be up running, financially sustainable, and growing exponentially. When this didn’t happen immediately, I soon became full with doubt, wondering whether I was capable enough to start my own business.
Here is what I have learned: Our time frame of where we want to be is often far from where we actually are. Meaning, what we want to happen and when doesn’t always unfold on the schedule that we want it to.
When we are frustrated or disappointed, it is easy to ask questions doubting our self-worth. But when we shift our questions of doubt to curiosity and reflection, we can gain much more from our experience. Some wonderful questions to ask during moments of frustration are: What am I learning right now? How is this period of waiting deepening me? How am I dealing this moment? How am I being inspired to envision something new?
Life rarely unfolds on our time table, and that is a reality we must learn to accept. When we accept it, we can become comfortable in the present moment, knowing that we are here where we are right now for a reason.
We do not have all the answers in life; sometimes all we have is questions. But the questions that we ask can help prepare us in the future. Taking time to rest in questions that inspire growth and reflection will help pave the path down the road where anything may be possible. It’s through sitting in those questions and being patient for the answers that we become prepared for what’s to come, slowly developing into the self-aware women of character that we hope to be.
I have a terrible memory. This is not as much a character trait as a medical condition. Instead of being sympathetic and enlisting me in
treatment, my family has simply decided that I am a liar.
Because my memory is skewed, I admit that I have a tendency
to recount stories far differently than the way things actually happened. I
don’t mean to make stuff up, but
because of my condition, the details become quite fuzzy.
For example, I spent eight months recounting the story about
how Alex and I got engaged. For those of you who haven’t heard it, I would have told you except for the fact that when Alex heard me recall it, he stopped me halfway
through, looked at me sympathetically and said, “Kerbear, that’s not what
“What do you mean?” I said, wide-eyed and prolonging my
vowels in disbelief.
Alex then walked through his version, which, after he
mentioned it, did seem to ring a bell a bit more than my version. And the matter was settled. At this point, I don’t even get defensive any more
when people challenge my memory. I usually just let them win, which probably
makes me vulnerable to mass manipulation, but so be it.
Anyway, where was I?
Reminders! Because of my poor memory condition, I need to
constantly remind myself about how to live my best life. Everyday. Over and over
again. My new thing is using my voice recording on my iphone and sending “Dear
Kerry” voice memos.
Because the sound of my own voice annoys me at times, I
thought I’d transcribe my most recent “Dear Kerry Memo,” and share with you my
daily struggle to be mindful.
Mindfulness is not sitting on the toilet and reading your
It is not texting while you cross the street and almost
getting hit by a bike-riding chambray-wearing hipster.
Mindfulness is not talking to your mom while also checking
your facebook status to see whether you have any more “likes” on your Mindful
Mentors page. (P.S. have you liked the page yet?)
It is not listening to music, writing a blog entry, planning
your honeymoon, checking your email, and intermittently doing pushups wearing a skirt.
Mindfulness is not scarfing down your cake batter vegan ice
cream cone and then mourning the last bite because you got distracted on bite two and
forgot to taste what the flavor actually tasted like.
It is not rushing to the subway scrolling through your mental to-do list and forgetting to exhale for a full five minutes.
Mindfulness is not listening to Alex and then half way into
his spiel on the current state of the health care industry wondering whether
you should eat sushi or gluten-free pizza for dinner.
It is not getting defensive when a family member calls you out on something and then reactively telling that family member the seven flaws you see in them.
Mindfulness is, however,realizing when you’re not being mindful. Good
As a wedding gift, Alex’s close family friend sent us a
six-foot tall gold encrusted Buddha. Because I’m a spiritual materialist
(meaning I want to buy all things that serve as a reminder that I don’t need to
buy all things), I was giddy when Buddha arrived, squealing as I ripped through six
inches of saran wrap encasing.
After discussing whether Alex should move in with his
brother so that the Buddha and I would fit more comfortably in the bedroom, it
was decided that the Buddha should remain in the living room, staring at all who
Like most people who display religious or cultural
artifacts, I had high hopes that the Buddha would serve as a constant reminder
of simplicity, peace, and love. Instead, the Buddha serves as a constant reminder that . . .
I am not a monk.
Well, this is obvious. Let’s just say they don’t call it
“Bu-DUH!!” for nothing. (That was a terrible pun, but I’m not sorry for it). But
in case you had any doubts, I am not a monk because (1) I do not renounce
anything, (2) I don't think I'm a Buddhist, and (3) I look terrible in orange and therefore could never don the
Because of the Buddha’s prime location in our living room,
he is privy to all my fallibilities. He notices when I steal a piece of pork to
gnaw on from Alex’s plate. He greets me when I walk through the door holding 4
large Bed Bath and Beyond bags filled with kitchen stuff that I don’t actually need. He overhears when I vent to my mom on the phone about people who drive me crazy. He observes when I try to sit for my mindfulness practice, and then
sneakily check my phone when a text message beeps in. He sees me run back and forth from my
bathroom to my bedroom in multiple different outfits because I can’t decide
which article of clothing looks best. He looks over my shoulder when I’m trying
so hard to mono-task on The Mindful Mentors, but then seek distraction by
checking whether the Huffington Post has any new
juicy liberal sensationalism.
In sum, the Buddha sees all my flaws that arise in our tiny
NYC apartment. Lucky for me, he never says a word of judgment to make me feel
bad. (I’m not sure whether any one sells a “talking elmo” version of the
Buddha, but if they do, I don’t want it). Rather, the Buddha’s presence alone
brings attention to the fact that I still have much to learn.
Because I can't lug this shiny gold statute around to keep me on track, I'm trying to learn how to be my own buddha, bringing a nonjudgmental awareness to my flaws with the hope that the recognition leads to positive change. Then, maybe one day, I'll look better in orange.
As I have discussed in prior entries, I have self-diagnosed speech dyslexia, which means I consistently pronounce words wrong.
I also have spontaneous moments of stupidity, where I suddenly forget how to spell simple words like "or." Yesterday morning, my stupidity crept up on me again. As I wrote about about my need to better accept where I am now, I kept writing HEAR, instead of HERE.
Be hear now.
After noting that I don't reade gud, I scanned my brain lapse in search of meaning (which is usually a vain attempt to feel better about myself).
Aren't here and hear one in the same?
When we are fully present, we are open to truly hearing the subtleties of life. We actually hear what people are saying (with or without words). We hear the voice in our head or gut that may not get as much attention. Maybe we hear birds chirp in a moment when our own spiraling thoughts usually drown them out.
Maybe it's no coincidence the two words sounds exactly the same.
I didn't write this poem. But I love it. So much I have to share-- encompassing humanity in the most mundane moments.
Wandering Around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal by Naomi Shihab Nye
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, Please come to the gate immediately. Well -- one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she Did this. I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee? The minute she heard any words she knew -- however poorly used - She stopped crying. She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the Following day. I said no, no, we're fine, you'll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let's call him and tell him. We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and Would ride next to her -- southwest. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and Found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours. She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering Questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies -- little powdered Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts -- out of her bag -- And was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, The lovely woman from Laredo -- we were all covered with the same Powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookies. And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers -- Non-alcoholic -- and the two little girls for our flight, one African American, one Mexican American -- ran around serving us all apple juice And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend -- by now we were holding hands -- Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere. And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate -- once the crying of confusion stopped -- has seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too. This can still happen anywhere.