Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Lessons in expectation January 29, 2010

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 2:14 pm
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Parenthood is most definitely the hardest best thing I’ve ever done. While I have never doubted my decision to become a mother, I have doubted just about every other decision I’ve made, whether it’s about returning to work full-time, living in one of the most expensive places in the country, or even moving into a two-story townhouse. Wherever I am in time or place, I almost always can be thinking of at least one other thing that I’d either rather be doing or feel like I should be doing.

It’s enough to drive me over the edge — and it did this week. I completely lost it, sobbing hysterically for about twenty minutes and continuing to have bouts of weeping periodically throughout the day until the emotion had finished draining from my body. It was an incredibly freeing experience. I realized I had been carrying around with me all of these expectations — mostly of myself — and every time I didn’t live up to one (which was practically constantly), it was adding a small burden. Those small burdens had multiplied until I was nearly crippled beneath their weight. The release of emotion enabled me to drop that weight, and it was like I was suddenly filled with helium — I felt so light yesterday I was nearly giddy.

Nothing had changed in my external experience. If anything, yesterday was an even crazier day — not only did I have back-to-back meetings, I had overlapping meetings, and a doctor’s appointment that included my second blood-draw of the week. When I went to pick up a prescription last night, I found out I have a deductible on brand-name scrips, and I had to spend over $100 to get this one out of hock. My response? Laughter. I walked through the day so lightly that I actually enjoyed myself. I let go of my expectation that I would get anything done, and somehow found the time to be productive in the midst of all of the meetings.

I have to laugh at myself for how many times I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way. But until I truly *get* it, I suspect it will continue to keep coming up. In the interim, I’m enjoying my newfound lightness, and the way it enables me to stay fully present in my time with my son. And nothing could be a greater gift than that.

Photo: “when expectations are reversed,” originally uploaded by psyberartist


Friday funny April 18, 2008

Filed under: humor — jennsheridan @ 6:29 pm

An engineer’s guide to cats–appropriate for “normal” people too. I find that laughing out loud clears my system like nothing else. Enjoy!


Zen quote March 31, 2008

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm

There is nothing left to you at this moment but to have a good laugh.

~Zen saying


Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow March 24, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 4:00 pm
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Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to singin my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing in the
surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes,
arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the
clear water of a pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who,
approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly
weapons to Uganda.

I am the 12-year-old girl, refugee
on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after
being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with
plenty of power in my hand,
and I am the man who has to pay his
“debt of blood” to my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is likes pring, so warm it makes
flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it
fills up the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughs
at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

~Thich Nhat Hanh, from Earth Prayers

Photo: “Peacock Butterfly in the morning,” originally uploaded by Hans-Peter


Friday smilez March 14, 2008

Filed under: humor — jennsheridan @ 11:36 pm

Blossoming February 13, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 5:30 pm
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I already feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster and it’s only 9:30! I woke up this morning really tense, my whole body aching from head to toe. I’d had a long night of not sleeping well, presumably because my back hurt but substantially because I’ve had underlying money worries all week. I dragged myself out of bed a little before 6, set myself up on the couch with an ice pack, and started to do my morning pages. I grumbled for a little while but finally just started asking myself questions. What is it going to take for me not to let stress show up in my body? What do I need to learn in order to kick my money issues once and for all? What is the source of this fear that I can feel rumbling around in my tummy?

The bottom line? As Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” The more I recognize that I need to take risks, the push myself out of my shell, to claim my power, the louder the voice of fear becomes in my head. But as Anais Nin said, “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I know that this change is necessary and I know that now is the time and I know that I am ready to live my life like Ellis suggests: “How would it be if everything that you thought you knew / Was turned upside down opposite from your point of view / How would you feel if the ground was really the sky and all of this / time you’ve been walkin’ when you coulda been flying.” Yeah baby, yeah!

So I got out a pad of paper and wrote down each of my fears on its own page. Then I went back and added the old patterns that surface, enabling those fears to gain footing in my consciousness. I took my 11 slips of paper, a pile of pillows, and a whiffle bat and I bashed each fear or pattern. Hallelujah! The paper was really too light for this process and so it would float up in the air, which immediately made me laugh. So I kept bashing and laughing and bashing and laughing until I felt completely filled with love and light and laughter. The weight of those fears and patterns had lifted. I danced around my living room for a little while, high on the feeling of lightness, then scooped up the slips of paper and held a burning bowl ritual. I took the slips one by one, stated my intention for what I am now accepting in my life, and watched the words burn away, going back into the nothingness from whence they came. When I was done, I took out my sage and smudged myself and my apartment, acknowledging that today is a new day, and that I am starting fresh.

I find ritual soothing, a way of getting a message out of my head and into my body. While it might not be necessary in order to affect change, for me it feels like one of the better tools in my toolbox, a tried and true method of getting things to move in a direction that feels good. Like anything else, it’s a process, and I may need to do another ritual next week, next month, or even tomorrow, but for right now, I feel free to fly. Namaste.


Which way is up? February 3, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 6:59 am
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Such a busy, crazy, wild, roller coaster week. Just got home from “Little Shop of Horrors,” the story come to life as a musical. It was a nice cap to this week full of many ups and downs and lefts and rights. This has been a good experience in LIFE and what happens when we’re asked to just flow with it. One day I can barely tell where I end and the universe begins, and the next my back is out and I’m having to ice and limp around and be gimpy. The day of resistance was followed with a day of such flowering, such beautiful synchronicity. The huge blow up fight with Sean turned into a mega-opportunity for healing for us on many levels. I’ve had more than my average amount of socialness combined with much, much alone time. I’ve had days where I didn’t want to talk to a soul and days where all I wanted to do was reach out and touch the world and the world touched me back. What a week, eh?

So just a short note full of love and light and laughter. I am still here, preparing myself and looking forward to what next week will bring. Namaste.