On Owning Your Shit- La Que Sabe

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There’s a passage from the Christian scriptures that over the years has become something that I know to be true, at least for myself, in my own life. It goes, “she loves much because she has been forgiven much.” To me this means that the outpour of love that one is capable of is dependent on the debt they have been forgiven. Moral debt. Emotional debt. Spiritual debt. Another way of seeing it is, the degree to which a person feels freedom in their heart.

In the book of Luke, from which this passage comes, Jesus tells a story to a man named Simon. He was prompted by Simon’s criticism of a woman (a prostitute) who lay at Jesus’ feet weeping, washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. To paraphrase, Jesus tells Simon a story about two men, both whom owe money to a banker. One man owed five hundred pieces of silver and the other owed fifty. Because neither man was able to repay what he owed, the banker forgave the debts. Finishing his story, Jesus then asked Simon, “which of the two men do you think is more grateful?” to which Simon replied, “the one with the greater debt.”

I’ve heard this story several times over the years, with different interpretations, one of which seems to stick with me.

In this biblical passage, Jesus shared a story with Simon in order to make a point that the woman crying at his feet will not be subject to criticism or judgment because of the great love she demonstrated. And her ability to love so greatly was due to the great debt that she had been forgiven.

According to this particular interpretation, forgiven much means that the woman was cognizant (or conscious) of her shortcomings, her sins- what she needed forgiveness from. And in her acknowledgment of these things came a humility that birthed the ability to show great love.

Does that make sense?

She wasn’t just forgiven because she needed lots of forgiveness. She was forgiven because she acknowledged all of the things which she needed forgiveness from. She needed freedom. Forgiveness is freedom. And she got what she needed.

In the deep dark pain of really acknowledging ones shortcomings, comes a humbling of the ego, a taming of it, and that changes a person. Granted, not everyone has the wherewithal to catalyze a heap of heaviness into acts of love and kindness or into a better version of themselves, but for those who do, or hope to, I believe that there is power in acknowledging your shortcomings because then you can begin to forgive yourself, and/or ask for forgiveness, and move on to experience greater love.

I think at times, after we’ve made a mistake, we’re susceptible to our own pride and fear of admitting what we’ve done. When we do that, I believe that a tiny callus grows on the heart, making it hard, insensitive and inflexible. Over time the habit of ignoring what we need forgiveness from creates more calluses, making for a very hard heart. I want my heart to be soft, strong and healthy, so that I can feel all of my life, even the painful parts.

Anyhow, I wanted to share these thoughts because they came to mind as I began to re-read a book called Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I decided to pick this book off my shelf after I noticed a big group of women posting pictures of themselves and the book on Instagram. Apparently it’s their March book club read, and so I decided to join in.

I started reading the chapter on retrieving intuition (chapter 3 to be exact). The chapter begins by describing that intuition is the treasure of a woman’s psyche. It is a wise old woman inside of her that tells her which way to go. The author calls this inner wisdom, La Que Sabe, or The One Who Knows.

 And that’s just it…

That’s where the magic is- the freedom. It’s in the acknowledging. It’s in the knowing. The ability to feel your own heart and know what it’s telling you. I think that the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet accepted herself. She knew herself. Not just her shortcomings. Of course not. She must of known the good insider of her, too. But she knew. She knew herself. And when we know ourselves, and accept all parts of ourselves, within the cradle of Gods love (or the universe, or Shiva, or Zoroaster, or science, or whomever you believe a higher power to be…) we are able to navigate our lives in freedom, in grace and in love.

So here’s to letting the knowing make us more free. Let’s love much because we are free from much.

Happy Saturday, y’all.

With lots of love,

Jenn

P.S. I want to be clear that knowing ourselves and growing intuition and wisdom doesn’t just include knowing our shortcomings. I think we must attempt to know all of the things that life brings to us, pain and pleasure, and everything in between. There’s wisdom and freedom to be found in all of the things ❤

When You’re the Bad Guy

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So you’re the bad guy.

It happens. Whether the happenings were two years or two months ago, the sting of knowing that you were the one who did the dirty thing, really really sucks.

Now, unless you are a sociopath, you can probably think of a time when you hurt someone else, intentionally or not. And perhaps because coping with this fact is difficult, your coping strategies may look more like vices than honest to goodness ways of dealing. I’ve been there.

In this short piece today, I want to encourage you.

Do you find yourself with vices that help keep your guilt at bay? Smoking too much? Drinking more than usual? Binging late at night? Tolerating negative self-talk? I’ve been there too.

Now, if you’ve made it this far into the post, you might be thinking, “this isn’t my problem”. That. Is. Awesome. But, do you know anyone who it may be true for? If yes, they may be under the influence of the shame!!!

Shame has a funny way of overshadowing the healthier reaction of guilt. As described by Dr. Brene Brown, guilt is voice that says, “I made a mistake”, while shame is the voice that says, “I am a mistake.”

Being mentored by shame is a scary place to be. When we feel like we are a mistake or that we are inherently bad, we run the risk of missing the lessons that life is trying to teach us. To boot, feelings of shame are the birthplace of addiction, aggression, and feeling stuck (just to name a few).

Luckily, there is still our dear friend, guilt.

Guilt tells us that we’ve made a mistake. When we know that we’ve made a mistake, it’s easier to change the behavior, apologize and move on.

There is much more to read on this subject and if you haven’t heard of Dr. Brene Brown or her work, I encourage you to look her up and read one of her books, especially Daring Greatly, or check out one of her Ted talks (ted.com).

Reasons for making the mistakes aside, there’s no use in letting your mistakes become a part of your identity. You are worth so much more than that.

Until next time…

With lots of love,

Jenn

 

On Jealousy & Envy- Don’t Shoot the Messenger!

On_the_Beach_--_Two_Are_Company,_Three_Are_NoneI don’t think you’re ready for this jelly. And hell, neither am I!

I’m not talking about the kind of jelly that ya spread on toast, though. I’m talking about jealousy- the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.

Just writing the word jealousy makes my stomach jump. That’s probably because he’s paid me a visit a time or two, having strolled into my life unannounced only to solicit painful responses and induce copious amounts of regret. And embarrassment.

Now as I mentioned a moment ago, I am not ready to deal with jelly in a blog post- at least not just yet! But I’ll have you know that jealousy is not menacing my world these days, and so I would like to use this time of jelly-freeness to talk about jealousy’s less destructive and more informative cousin, envy.

Until now I didn’t understand the distinction between jealousy and envy. They seem so similar and in some regard they are; but as it turns out envy can be much kinder company. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Envy is something that occurs between two people while jealousy occurs between three.

Envy is the uncomfortable experience of noticing that someone else has something that you want, like a dream job or the complexion of a newborn.

Jealousy on the other hand is the even more uncomfortable experience of fearing that you will lose something, or more likely someone, to an enviable rival. Fortunately, the feeling of jealousy isn’t something that we experience everyday because it’s not everyday that we’re threatened to lose something or someone we care about.

Feelings of envy on the other hand can be a bit more chronic with its roots embedded in comparison.

And so we continue with envy.

Earlier I mentioned that envy is better company than jealousy and what I mean by that is that envy, in spite of the discomfort it can create, is also a telling messenger.

I believe that envy can offer clues to help us discover what is missing in our lives. From this perspective then, feelings of envy can be embraced, explored and turned into something new.

So, the next time the feeling of envy emerges, ask the question, what is the envy trying to tell me? Try not to stuff it down or beat yourself up for feeling challenged by, let say, the flawless complexion of the barista at Starbucks, because you might discover what the envy is really trying to say, for instance, I want to work towards improving the health of my skin, please.

Do you feel me?

Once the message emerges from the muck, commit to taking action! This is one way to overcome the discomfort of envy and turn it into something beautiful, or more specifically, let it’s message inform choices that lead you to create the life and circumstances that your heart truly desires.

In other words, don’t shoot the messenger! I think he’s trying to tell you something.

P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment and start a conversation about what your envy might be telling you! Or perhaps you’re not in a place of feeling envious. Good stuff! Would you share with us what some of your past feelings of envy have told you?

with love,

Jenn