All the things we shouldn’t do.

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I am nesting in my cozy draped blue bed under twinkly lights.

Not warrior-one-ing at yoga like I could be.
Not sitting in the quiet back left pew among the Episcopal faithful in foreign territory, listening.
Not picking up the clothes of the week that never made it back to the hangers or laundry bin.
Not drinking water.
Not running the Konza either.

I have tossed most of my life by following a fearful compulsion of what I should or shouldn’t do. Yeah, yeah, yeah…I’ve heard it, “don’t ‘should’ on yourself.”

In this new movement of life-music, of grace, this fresh era of listening to/for my own dang voice, I have begun casting off my “shoulds” and the guilt, the bogus shame that goes with them.

Really, today I should be doing this – curled up in my nest, resting my heart and quieting self, drinking rich coffee, thinking in story and maybe hanging out in the back row of the Episcopal church in a few.

Because that is where my life is right now.

Quiet. With people. Sniffing around the edges of wonder.
Launching regret into the lava dome that sometimes roils upon the ocean.
Burn that should up…and then let it feed the fish. Swim on.

I shouldn’t be worried.
I’ll see my sister soon – as soon as we make the time.
I will see my kiddos soon – as soon as we find the way and save up vacation allotments and fares.
We will see the sun soon enough. It must be the year that Kansas needs Easter/April Fools’ snow and a reminder that we, humans, are a helluva lot less in charge than we’d like to think.

I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others.
They have their own story. I have mine and didn’t I always want to live in a tiny, simplified cozy home with enough room for family and friends? WINNING! (okay, maybe I shouldn’t use that tired joke.)

These arms and legs are strong.
This brain does not quit its learning.
These laugh lines deepen.
This understanding moves towards wisdom through foggy fierce seasons of pain.
Only seasons.

I get to love deeply and laugh with my head thrown back– among the glitterati – when a coworker slyly drops “a dingo ate my baby” into a once-quiet conversation.

And though I don’t know the where or how, I shouldn’t feel ashamed that my deepest dreams are not of saving the world and professional shock-and-awe. They are of love and people and friends and community. And skiing – to be honest.

Among the things I shouldn’t do –
Among the things we are free to forgo – is haranguing ourselves for all that we are, aren’t and could be.

We are.
Even the historical Jesus seemed to take people as they were and not where some arbitrary societal expectation or definition of “enough” stood.
Lepers, politicians, doctors, prostitutes, religious scholars even,
children and the foreigners we are among us.

The foreigners we are.
Among us.

So let us not be foreigners among ourselves.
It’s time to lay down – drop kick – eject the too-many shoulds that keep us tied to something other than ourselves and good healthy community.

Feed the hungry, love the lonely and the children, read with and lift others. Take care of yourself and your families. Do your job. Do you.

You are enough.
You’ve got this thing of living and all of its imperfections and starts and stops.
Don’t give up.
That is the one thing you shouldn’t do.

Derring do and all that, Friends. We are in this together.

And if your heart needs a reminder of love and mystery and wonder and sweetness (as mine surely does), I offer this remarkable song, “Book of Love,” that I heard this week while in a final corpse pose or savasana at yoga, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWrIjN27w_M. 


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