My Traveling Shoes

Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality.
I've traveled so many miles in shoes that someone else bought for me, plain, poorly fitted, worn, second hand, hand me downs. Ohh, they hurt my feet and took me places that I didn't need to go, places that I didn't want to go. For many years I put them on. I was told it was my duty, but my heart was heavy and my cares so many.
Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality. I bought these shoes. I own these shoes. They are mine.
by Jeanne leigh...copyrighted...2007


Friday, May 13, 2011

Bloom Where You are Planted

 Yesterday evening I walked home from work. It was rather warm and I was carrying my purse, lunchbox, and briefcase so I was glad it was just over half a mile. As I passed the service station I glanced at the creek that runs along the side of it and saw the prettiest colored flowers along the bank there. I decided to go home and get my camera and take a few photos of these flowers. As I did I also took pictures of this and that along the way. I began thinking about Nancy R. Campion’s famous quote “Bloom where you are planted.” I was remembering how wonderful some places have been for “Jeanne” blooming and other places that left a lot to be desired. I feel I have tried my best to “bloom” wherever I have landed.

I came across these weeds and grasses growing out of the cement around this water cap in the parking lot down the road. In certain places that I have lived/worked I identified with how these weeds/plants look. Cramped, lacking nutrients, struggling to live well, to find and express my gifts, to be myself. Feeling stuck, not a good place to flourish. At times it felt nearly impossible.

We are all so different. It’s possible for a certain type of person to flourish in a given situation and in the same situation another person begins to die inside. I guess that is why it is important if at all possible to choose our environments carefully. Sometimes it isn’t possible. However, we must seek to make the best of all our situations.

This is the picture of the flowers I saw out of the corner of my eye. I wish I’d had a more powerful lens to get a close up. The picture didn’t do the flowers justice. They are lovely, quietly blooming by the creek with the pleasant sound of the water going by. Even with the bits of trash cluttered here and there they caught the eye of this passerby. Silently blooming and being their best, I was drawn to stop and enjoy their beauty. Lifted by their color and fragrance, these beautiful flowers stirred me to reflect on higher things.

 Later before bed, I ran across this quote that said it all, everything I had been thinking about. “It's vital to be growing through your life rather than going through your life. The object is not to change other people or situations; it's to do the inner work they stimulate“. ~ Wally Amos

So, I guess I will end with this: May we find the best places for our souls to bloom and if and when those times, places and situations aren’t all we’d like them to be, may we remember the inner work that can be done even then. Peace, Jeanne


Sunday, May 1, 2011

"The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown

Agnes Repplier says, "It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves and it is not possible to find it elsewhere." I think in many ways this is true. Like that saying, "Wherever you go there you are" which I believe originated with Confucius. If we are to find peace, joy, happiness it will be within our own souls. Even though we have a personal faith in God and practice spiritual disciplines there is also work that we must do within ourselves.

 A few months ago I heard Dr. Brene Brown speak on a podcast from Tapestry Radio based in Canada. This particular podcast was entitled TO ERR IS HUMAN. Brene Brown discusses the results of many years of research which led her to write a book called, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Suppose to Be and Embrace Who You Are.

The first paragraph of the bio on Brene Brown's Website says this:
"Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Brené spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness."

I knew that I would want to read this book, so I  purchased the book and really enjoyed reading it. In the Introduction of her book she talks a lot about what she found and came to understand through her years of research and explains what she means by WHOLE HEARTED LIVING and helps us understand what this will look like in the real world. Dr. Brown explores what she has learned about perfectionism and the destructive and additive thought process that is prominent in society and in our lives. She defines how "Healthy striving is self-focused--How can I improve? Perfectionism is other focused--What will they think?" As Dr. Brown began to understand the lessons and ideas she discovered from her research she began to apply them to her own life. She began to understand and redefine certain terms in a way that makes them clearer.For example her definition of connection: She says, "I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship." That makes sense to me.

 Dr. Brown explains how truly compassionate people are people with healthy social boundaries. She says, "It is difficult to accept people when they are hurting us, taking advantage of us or walking all over us. Her research led her to believe that if we really want to practice compassion, we have to start setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.

Dr. Brown's book contains 10 Guideposts in helping us understand how we can become more compassionate towards ourselves and others. I think Dr. Brown is onto something here. I love the idea of perceiving our imperfections as a gift and making peace with ourselves as we are and at the same time making peace with the imperfections of others. This removes a lot of the self-imposed stress we inadvertently make for ourselves when we seek perfection in our work, our relationships, and in so many other areas of our lives. In the midst of this we continue to seek to grow and change in ways that will improve us and our world.

I want to close with a short video of Madeleine L'Engle sharing what she understands as the meaning of  to "be perfect" as we are told to be in the Bible. I love what she says here. Peace, Jeanne 

Click on the link: It last only 29 seconds including a brief commercial. Thanks!

 Madeleine L'Engle: What Perfection Means - Video-