Tuesday, December 31, 2013

on the brink of a new year… and a different way of seeing

 

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instead of New Year’s resolutions

what if we tried something different?

this is my not-so-radical, infinitely kinder proposal.

 

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It all begins with a true story about an alcoholic, mentally ill son who lived in a small, coastal town where everyone knew him and his eccentric, sweet ways. One day something bad happened to this son, and his widowed mother—who loved him despite everything—was beside herself with worry.

What will the future hold for him? The mother wondered when the options seemed dire.

And then a friend offered these five words that became a soothing ointment on her scared, nagging questions.

“See him in his wholeness,” the wise friend said.

In other words, stop yourself from only seeing his damaged parts. His flaws. The defects in his person that causes you to view him as a lost cause and a constant source of anxiety and instead, strive to see him in his entirety…a tender, complex mix of sweetness and weakness.

You know. Just another one of God’s regular customers, the friend said. Like you and me.

See him in his wholeness. I fell in love with this little story in Anne Lamott’s recent book because it spoke truth to my own worrisome self. I felt comforted by the idea that when we step back and see the larger picture we benefit.  Our old “death grip” around someone we love can ease and allow room for something positive to happen.

Only this kind of letting go requires a different kind of seeing and a wisdom to know that there are gifts beneath the surface of one’s life, no matter how tired and damaged that person might be.

But imagine this.

What if this truthful perspective wasn’t merely aimed at your struggling son, your cantankerous father, your difficult mother-in-law and your rambling, alcoholic aunt?

What if this was the way you viewed Yourself?

What if you chose to see yourself in all your wholeness?

What if you stopped focusing on only the messier parts of your life, your limitations and all those things you want to “fix’ about your Self …and instead poured all your energy into the things that you do really well? What if your eyes kept focusing on your natural gifts and talents?

What kind of 2014 might you have?

What if you viewed yourself like others see you? If you looked into the mirror and heard the compliments that others have paid you and you chose to focus on these strengths. To wear these words: I am damn good.

What if you leaned into 2014 feeling completely in touch with your goods and on the look-out for  some amazing, new possibilities?

Because it’s all there already.

The best that you can be

is within you right now

and ready.

It just requires a different kind of seeing.  

 

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… I hope you know how special you truly are.

Sending you sparkling wishes for 2014!

xo

Leslie

 

 

A note to my friends who leave comments on my blog: I’ve just discovered that my email responses to your recent comments were NEVER sent when I hit the send button.

Mr. H tells me there is a problem with the email server that I must fix. Please know that I read and respond to each one of your comments so if you haven’t gotten a reply this is why. I hope to have it fixed shortly. In the meantime thank you for reading my posts and taking the time to share your thoughts. You have no idea how much it means.

 

Technorati Tags: new years resolutions,instead of,anne lamott,lean in

24 comments:

Custom Comforts said...

What a beautiful post. Something to ponder and hold near. Thanks for these wise words. I shall try to embrace them.
Wishing you a very Happy New Year.
Cindy

Theresa Sutton said...

What a lovely and thoughtful post! Certainly something to think about this year. I tossed out my usual resolutions and am just attempting to learn how to live without a well-laid out plan. I suppose that's a resolution in itself, but it's my attempt to just live life instead of trying to plan and micromanage every single second.

Happy New Year from my home to yours!

Reese

Art and Sand said...

We are going to dinner as a family tonight in between sunset/appetizers on the beach and midnight fireworks on the beach. We are playing "hookie" from the main dish portion of the Brunswick Lane Progressive Dinner to enjoy our family together. I had planned on doing a "goals" part of the conversation, but I had decided we would reflect on all the "great decisions" each of us made this year. It was a year of change for every member of our family and we need to be proud of the decisions we made, not question them.

I wish you a wonderful time with your family as you start to close this chapter in your lives and move on to a huge change.

Leslie said...

Wonderful New Years EVE post Leslie and I like the way your positive outlook:) Wishing you and your family and happy and healthy New Year ahead. xxL

Leena Milligan Lanteigne said...

Beautiful post, Leslie! Wishing you all magical moments of laughter and lover in 2014! Hugs, Leena

Something Nice and Pretty said...

So true, my friend! I'll try and remember this...happy new year!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Wise words, Leslie. After 2 days of chaos with sick babies and 6 adults cooped up in our house over the holidays, I started to get irritated with everybody. Then I stepped back and noticed all they were doing to help me out. It wasn't the Norman Rockwell Christmas I envisioned in my mind, but we made some good memories. I agree, it's freeing to focus on the positive!

I've enjoyed following your blog this year and I look forward to the upcoming year. I wish you all the best with the big changes taking place in your life this year. Happy New Year!

Gypsy Heart said...

I love this post! I am one that tries to set some goals and intentions, however, I like this too. This year has been so traumatic for me ~ I just cannot wait until 2014 arrives!

I feel so blessed to have "met" you this year...that was a very good thing! I look forward to a brighter and more peaceful year and wish the same for you.

xo
Pat

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Leslie,

Do you know the saying everything happens for a reason? It comes to mind each and every time I read a post from you. Your gift of words, positive messages and lovely images always give me a reminder of the beauty of life.

Thank you for sharing your life, experiences and wisdom. I love visiting here and am so happy God led me to you!

Xo eluzabeth

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

Absolutely true. Unfortunately people that see flaws in others are the same ones that see flaws in themselves. It's in the mind. Can you imagine what society would be if we changed the way we think about ourselves and others?

Debra Oliver said...

such wise words, Leslie. I think often we focus on our own personal defects and faults instead of seeing the potential and completeness of ourselves as one of God's children. My husband and I have had to reassess our lives and realize that God has good things for us, we're just turning a page in His book. I've been thinking about your move as I've shared ours on the blog. Sending a big hug and blessings for a wonderful New Year!!

Sarah said...

Very thoughtful post as always. Great advice!
Happy New Year, my friend.

Jeanne Henriques said...

I love it when you add your wisdom to a story Leslie...always a reason to pause and ponder. Wishing you a very Happy New Year...thank you for your words of inspiration and your fabulous decorating projects. You are a woman to love! I need to catch up on your moving plans...coming up soon? Hope all is going well..looking forward to sharing your in your story in 2014... Jeanne xx

Happy Turtle said...

Happy New Year, my dear, thoughtful friend. May 2014 bring you joy and fulfill your dreams and hopes.

Calypso In The Country said...

Leslie, that is such a wonderful way of looking at things. I love coming to your blog to be inspired!
Best wishes for a happy new year!
-Shelley

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh....to see someone in their "wholeness." This word alone is enough to keep me occupied, and do you know that today, I was telling my husband that my writing exercise was going to be to choose a word and then just start writing on it. I think this is the word for tomorrow.

Leslie, may we all look at one another in each other's wholeness and thank you for this timely word as well. I was so blessed to see your comment tonight, for we often wonder if anything we write gets across to anyone else? YES, let's run that race inside of ourselves to do OUR best, and run freely with each other towards adventures unearthed.

HAPPY 2014!!!! Anita

anangloinquebec said...

I came right over here hoping for this. Thanks Leslie. You always have a way of getting me on track and moving me forward in a positive manner.
Best wishes for the year to come! May it be full of love, happiness and health.... oh and lots of good laughs!! :)

Holly @ Down to Earth Style said...

Happy New Year Leslie!!! You always find the most beautiful quotes to share.

Tamera Beardsley said...

Leslie this is absolutely beautiful … and a sentiment that my soul so needed to hear … not only so I can view myself with a kinder heart … but to help me release the judgement I have on my son … and his recent choices … I love the idea of focussing on wholeness rather than disappointment. A life altering concept to be sure "the sweetness and the weakness"… a much kinder and easier way to live.

Finding you and your blog has been such a beautiful gift to my soul … I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

xoxo
Tamera

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is lovely, Leslie...I love the idea of accepting and being kind to ourselves, as well as others...

Jennifer Connolly said...

This is so lovely and timely for me right now. I love your positive attitude. Have a wonderful weekend!

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

That was a great post Leslie. But how did you know I have a rambling, alcoholic aunt?? It's true!

Now you have me thinking. You're right, I'm already sitting here thinking I haven't done this, I can't do this well enough, he doesn't really care for me, I need to evolve more, I'm too dependent, I'm a mess! And maybe I'll just sit quiet a while and try and turn around these tables.

Thanks!
And I wish you the happiest and healthiest and most enlightened year possible. Xcat

Monica said...

Leslie - I am in love with your words and am taking them to heart.
Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

Lori said...

I know I am late to this party but wanted to comment anyway and oh yeah ~ Happy New Year! I think for most of us it is oh so much easier to pick out our flaws and things that we would like to change if we could. Honestly I would have a hard time finding 10 things that I could toot my own horn about myself and I truly think that is a bad thing. Mind you there are some out there that will go on and on and on as they think they are pretty perfect. I am trying to be better especially when I spend time with my nieces. Setting a good example is just the kick in the pants I need with 2 teenagers. Loved your wrap up post Leslie on your most viewed ~ I looked at mine but the one with the most traffic does not make any sense to me ~ ha ha!

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