Frame of reference is everything when it comes to measuring success.

by Jan on July 25, 2011


No man thoroughly
understands a truth
until he has contended
against it.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

My dear cousin, Lois, read this poem to me by Kay Ryan from the July 25th issue of the New Yorker Magazine. It reminded me of how mysterious and unpredictable the workings of our world and life are.

ON THE NATURE OF UNDERSTANDING

Say you hoped to
tame something
wild and stayed
calm and inched up
day by day.  Or even
not tame it but
meet it halfway.
Things went along.
You made progress,
understanding
it would be a
lengthy process,
sensing changes
in your hair and
nails. So, it’s
strange when it
attacks: you thought
you had a deal.

The real deal is: there is no perfect life or perfect person.  Life ebbs and flows. We make progress, but we sometimes go back to the same battles again and again, to the untamed left inside. For me it is the battle against sugar, sometimes I go for months eating well and then, all of a sudden, the sugar sprite bites.

Many of us have something that we long to tame about ourselves. We can calm it, but it can show up again. We can make peace with it, accept it as it is, and then it can rear its ugly head again. Though the day to day doesn’t look like it, eventually we can win.

So, this is where the old, tried and true balancing acts of rest, exercise, healthy eating and quieting the mind are vital. They are a discipline that helps us get over the rough spots. This is also the time for gratitude–for all the things that are working in our lives.

If we are more up than down, it is a winning percentage. Whether for a week or a month or even a season, count it as a glass half full.  This is how hope works–If the percentage is moving forward—whether slow or fast–you are doing well.

A little applause for us, please. On average, we’re doing great. Celebrate everything, every minor victory, every day lived without the battle.

Celebration is what keeps it tame.