Friday, June 15, 2012

Fat Meat is Greasy

When I was in elementary school I had a music teacher who often used the expression” Ya’ll forget fat meat’s greasy.” It took many years for me to finally understood what she meant.  The point that she was trying to make is that sometimes stuff just is and there’s not a whole lot you can do to change things. In the case of fat meat, you can season it and cook it as healthily as possible but in the end it’s still greasy.

I know in my own life I have had to learn (often the hard way) the truth of this statement. There have been many times when I wanted something to be a certain way and I failed to see the way it really was. Because I am persistent by nature, I tend to keep plowing away thinking that I can change things when in reality there is nothing I can do. It is what it is.
I’ve often heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I guess I’ve been guilty of insanity, too. Although I know I can’t change anyone but myself I’ve often tried to make someone into what I needed him or her to be. I now realize that’s crazy, but when I was doing it I thought I could get a different result. Never once did I stop to think about how difficult it is to change my own behavior so how in the hell was I going to change someone else’s?
There have also been those times when I wore rose colored glasses because it made me feel better to tell myself a different story about the situation. Had I just called it what it was: a dead-end job, a meaningless relationship, a bad choice, a guilt trip, etc…I would have had to accept that and make a decision whether or not to walk away. Aha! There is the problem.
When you or I stop and face the reality of the situation it forces us to make a decision and we are held accountable. We no longer have anyone else to blame because after all we made the choice. It’s so much easier to drift along and see where we land without taking a real look at reality. We move unconsciously because if we stopped and really looked at things we would often realize that “fat meat is greasy” and we aren’t going to get a different result with our same behavior because this kind of problem always yields this kind of solution.
Let me break it down for you. I have a friend who only dates a certain kind of woman: she’s flashy, high maintenance, and extremely materialistic. He never seems to understand why these women end up being gold diggers and breaking his heart. This is truly a perfect example of fat meat being greasy. The type of woman he is attracted to is looking for a sugar daddy and  no matter how much he spoils her and wishes things were different she’s not going to be the sweet, innocent, big-hearted girl he truly wants. If he took the time to really look at these women, he would see that they are opportunists. That’s neither good nor bad. It just is. If he wants that from a woman, there is no problem, but if he’s looking for a meaningful relationship that’s built on more than his ability to give cash and expensive gifts, he has to make some changes.
Lately I’ve been trying to suspend judgment by accepting what is. I have refrained from calling a thing good or bad and tried acknowledging that it simply is. Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds. What I’ve learned is that there are some things I need to either accept as is or eliminate.  No matter how much I may wish things were different, they are not and that’s neither good nor bad. It just is.

 I invite you to take some time to consciously look at the things in your life without labeling them good or bad. Just observe them for what they are.

 Next, if you’re willing, examine those things that you have been trying to change and see if you can just accept them.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

When Pigs Fly and Hell Freezes Over

There once was a time when if someone asked me if I would ever drag myself out of bed before dawn to go run I would have said, “Sure, when hell freezes over." Well, the devil must be wearing earmuffs and a mink coat because that's exactly what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks, dragging my aching, sore body out of bed and pulling my tennis shoes on. You first must understand that I am not a runner. Back in high school when the sadistic coaches would make the class run laps, I would be the one pulling up the rear as I walked at a leisurely pace. Unless something was chasing me, I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why I should waste perfectly good energy running.
But things have changed. It wasn’t that I woke up one morning and thought: I think I’ll be a runner today. It was actually more subtle. I work on a college campus and because parking is a problem I decided to arrive earlier than normal in order to get a better parking space. When I arrived, the parking lot was empty except for a few cars. I grabbed my purse and began walking towards my office. On the walkway in front of me was a young man who moved slowly and painstakingly. On both arms he wore braces and his back was bent like a question mark. I watched him as he laboriously put one foot in front of the other and disappeared into the fitness center.  Every morning I arrived early and there he was. I was awed by his determination.
On the days I walked behind him I found myself wondering what were the things in my life that I put that much effort into, and I came up blank. I was embarrassed to admit that I had grown comfortable in so many ways.  My classes were going as planned and my writing was flowing. My family and I were healthy and happy and my life was pretty much on cruise control. I had achieved all of the goals I had set for myself and wasn’t really in any big hurry to set new goals. Then it hit me. I was growing comfortable and complacent. I needed something to push me out of my comfort zone.
Since there are no mountains to climb in Florida, I decided to run. I am not a fast runner and my only goal is to finish. There are days when I question my sanity in attempting this endeavor, yet I go out one more time. I've always heard that when the student is ready, the teacher will come and God has sent  Jane. She is an experienced marathoner who encourages me to stop thinking about it and just do it. I also have two new friends-Natalie and Robyn-who push me and encourage me to test my limits. We are training for a marathon and each week we get closer to our goal. There is no doubt in my mind that we will cross the finish line, our bodies sore but our spirits revived because we finished what we started.
Though the years I've heard that running is a metaphor for life and now I understand why. Both require a great deal from you, but in the end all of the pain is worth it. There are also people along the way who encourage you when you're unable to encourage yourself. More importantly, each of us has the potential to do something beyond what we think we can do if we just remember that the first step is to take the first step. 

Running may not be for you, but I would bet there is something that you want to do, but have gotten so comfortable that you've not bothered to attempt it. Take a moment to consider the following.

1. Are there any areas in your life where you feel there is room for growth? If so, what could you do to push yourself.
2. Many of us have things we would love to do but are too afraid to get started. What is the one thing you really would like to do? What little step could you take today towards making that dream a reality?
3. Having friends to encourage us along the way is a huge part of being successful. Name two or three people who you feel would encourage you as you began this new journey? Take a moment to call them and tell them what you're thinking about doing. How can they help hold you accountable?