... a little something extra thrown in

Gabby Abby

Gabby Abby
Florida, USA
December 31
I've had most of the jobs ~ daughter, student, wife, parent, employee, business owner and now once again, job seeker ~ but I'm still looking forward to lottery winner, retiree and regular blogger. Email welcome at gabbyabby.jax@gmail.com


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AUGUST 25, 2011 4:30PM

Banging the Drum...

Rate: 25 Flag


banging the drum

Who would you be without your accomplishments, or failures, your degrees, or lack thereof, your bank accounts, your experiences, your title, your home, your status?      

As simple as the question may appear, it's actually quite difficult to genuinely separate who we are from what we do, especially when the number of years we have behind us outweighs those ahead. This past year has demonstrated, quite painfully, that the circumstances of life change quickly and things can be taken away leaving no evidence they've ever been there. In this world, length of possession has no bearing on ownership. Possession is not 9/10ths of anything -- it is a fleeting illusion.

In the aftermath, the question pushing it's way through is 'What's my value now?'  I've lost my sense of stability in a storm that has shaken me to my roots and taken a good bit of my sail away with it, and I have to ask myself ‘if I just got more done, lost a few pounds, made more money, achieved more, had more meaningful work, was in love, had successful happy kids, saved for retirement and insured some future security, would I feel more valuable?'

After having had months of disengaged time to think, I admit I’d like to be able to accomplish some of those things. Some of them are important to me, actually valuable to my way of thinking, but they are not the key to who I am. They really have nothing to do with my inner identity.

Having failed to accomplish many of the things I set out to do early in life, I'm feeling pressured to more fully address the question of ‘What makes me valuable, if just being the way I am right now isn’t good enough’? Can I be satisfied and happy in an unfulfilled state? Especially knowing there is so much more that is important to me that I’ve yet to even begin to achieve?

What if I never get there? How valuable will my life have been with so much unfulfilled desire left over at the end? Does the ever-present sense of ‘not enough’ rob me of day-to-day comfort and fulfillment in the here and now?

What I've discovered is that so much of the suffering, stress, insecurity, and worry disappears when I stand upright and alone with no apology or pretense for what is.  I am just who I am - aging on the outside, and still experiencing a childish desire to please on the inside. I don't stand out. I have no qualities that elevate me above the rest, and am distiguished only by my striving.

On the plus side, I no longer worry about much. I'm not suffering in the same ways I have in the past. I have no guilt, I don't apologize for myself very often, and can leave grudges behind, I can walk away if I need to. 

Learning about your ‘self’ takes courage, commitment, openness, and faith that it will all come right in the end. It's been a process of letting go of the many false beliefs picked up from the collective consciousness: that you have to look good, be smart, know the right people, say the right things, and have the proper experience, in order to be happy and successful in life.

Peeling back layers to the point at which you can simply ‘Be Yourself’ is counterintuitive, difficult and off-putting and, at times, lonely. It’s the waking nights, the anxious days, the churning gut, and the whirling mind. All the things we scurry like mad to avoid. Filling the days with busy, and putting the parentheses of chores, errands, and family duties or social commitments around the nights.

Banging away on the drum to drown out the silence that leeches in when we are alone, finally, with only ourselves to talk and listen to. The question eventually emerges...am I good enough?

The yardsticks we use to make that measurement largely depend on the state of mind we find ourselves in. As long as externalities, such as accomplishments and things, are held up to measure the value of a being, we will fall sadly and sorely short. In that place we are wont to overlook how far we’ve come in our ability to care, to give, to love, and to place our essence into the lives of others at critical moments – when it really matters – to be the change we want to see.

Being ourselves in an authentic way is actually about accepting ourselves in a generous way. If we can show love to our 'selves' in the way we've tried to show love to others, most of what we worry about and even much of what we strive for in life becomes meaningless. We may still have some worries, and we'll definitely continue to have goals, dreams and desires but when we can see from a place of true self-appreciation and self-caring, the fear behind our worries and the motivation for our goals dramatically changes from something we have to produce in order to be accepted and valued, to something we really want to be as we live and learn. It finally stops being about the external altogether and the mind’s eye is refocused inward to the source of where all that we are resides.

Truthfully, if we can’t find room to accept who we are, as we are right here, right now, nothing much really matters anyway. No matter what we conquer or create, or what we lose and how many times we fall down in defeat, we will never be fulfilled in the struggle because we're striving to be validated in an insatiable way.  We can never get enough love from any source outside of that silly, sometimes unlovely, amazing person we find ourselves to be.

Self-love. It's a difficult thing.

Sadly, because it is so simple, we spend most of our lives thinking that someone or something else can give us what only we can give ourselves. No other person, amount of money,  possessions, or fleeting sense of accomplishment will ever fill us up.

It's not hopeless though. We can stand alone, clothed in the authenticity of who we are, and offer complete, unfettered acceptance of ourselves, to ourselves.

It has become crystal clear, now that I am without props, that it’s always been up to me (click your heels Dorothy) and I can celebrate who I am at any time, and for any reason or no reason. The more often I stop and carry out this little 'I love you anyway' ritual, the better I feel.

Love others as you love yourself ~ The ancient wise man that said that was, by all accounts, a Master of loving himself and others. I think he was certainly divinely enlightened and I wish I had been able to understand what he meant sooner, then perhaps I wouldn't have had to learn this the oh-so-very-hard way, so late. I’m getting there though. The progress is generally too difficult to see, yet every now and then the protective scales fall away and a glimpse of all that is yet to be surrounds me for just a split second, and then I can see it's all going to come around. In the end it will be all right.

I can live with that. 





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Hi all! This is my 'how I spent my summer vacation' story for this back to school week. Amazing how school just never lets out around my house... and that's a good thing I guess. Thanks for reading.
Good to see ya back ! I'm going to read now.
Wise and centered and an admirable goal for all of us.
". . . we spend most of our lives thinking that someone or something else can give us what only we can give ourselves." There's such a freedom in knowing and accepting this ! You hit the nail right on the head, Abby. Many waste their lives in search of that which only they can give themselves, and end up hating themselves for having been untrue to themselves in the process to satisfy others for approval. Excellent Eureka.
Very profound. The past two years I have come face to face with many of the same questions you pose and have finally found peace of mind. I wish I could have read this when I was struggling with those questions, it would have helped a lot.
Breathtakingly beautiful, honest, and the truth. What a blessed journey you're on.
Well darn it, Abby, you've got me to thinking about it now, too. I have too much baggage to be able to easily forgive myself for my omissions and transgressions and cowardly acts (which I see as transgressions against myself). I can put myself into a peaceful state doing routine chores and writing. The writing is more of a struggle, but when I think, or feel, I've gotten something right, the endorphins emerge and reward me. That's about all that works for me anymore. Waking up in the morning with an idea for an OS post is one of the most energizing experiences I know. I haven't done that in awhile, either. You got me to thinking. Thanks.
So glad to read you again. Great meditation. I am glad the answer is you ARE enough and can celebrate yourself at any time for no reason. The self acceptance demon stands in the way of peace for too many. We are all flawed and still perfect.
Hey! It's you! Good to see you again.

You've been on an insight sabbatical, eh? Recognize and forget, recognize and forget, over and over and over. Wisdom arrives first, then practice, practice, and then (perhaps) habit.

In the meantime, drag a chair out into the warm late summer night, and listen. The drum stops, and there is not silence, but crickets, and the voices of neighbors in their yard, the wind rustling the August leaves, the beating of your own dear heart, and your original face, right there, in that moment.
i find that the older i get, the easier it is to see the important things through all the blowing trash and dust. sounds like you've had a productive summer, ms. abby, figuring things out. nice to see you back around the benches here. ;)
Your name sounds familiar.
"The more often I stop and carry out this little 'I love you anyway' ritual, the better I feel. " Self-reflection is always a good thing.
Grand sentiment, grand post. It is indeed a trip.
Awesome. If only LSD delivered all it's promised... instead, it just takes real insight from a clear mind. Did you ever read Andrew Weil's first book, The Natural Mind?
I wonder sometimes what the yogis and gurus think their purpose in life is, living all day doing exercise, meditating, reflecting, raking leaves. Do they need vacations? Do they need to take classes to feel more "western"? We mostly fear feeling abandoned and unloved, and we also fear having true realization of love and companionship.
I can feel your acceptance of yoursef close ranks & gain speed; as each new paragraph begins. R
"Sadly, because it is so simple, we spend most of our lives thinking that someone or something else can give us what only we can give ourselves. "


Welcome back!! ~waves~

Abby, I loved this, and you had me at "mental pause" days. We're sisters!!
Interesting reflection. We are our own most important cheerleaders, headphones, notepads and all. The things we thought in our youth most mattered seem not to as we age; the things we cling to fade away. We have only ourselves, how we view ourselves, how we respond to ourselves and our others. You've expressed it well.
I hate that you had to go through hard times to realize the importance of accepting yourself and letting go of all the expectations and "what ifs" that keep you on tenderhooks waiting for either the next calamity that will shove you backwards or the newest-better achievement that will finally make you happy (as if!). Kudos for finding the positive and for being open to life's lessons however they visit.
Clearly, I've been sunning on my rock for awhile and my head got full. Thanks to each and every one of my OS friends for reading and commenting. I've missed you!
Gabby Abby, So timely for me to be reading this. Been doing some intense soul searching brought on by emotions which have been the result of some body work - no, not that kind of "work" done but hands-on healing and therapeutic touch. I was told it would bring up stuff and boy has it ever. A lot of questions of the nature you describe here. Where I am right now is going to have to be good enough; what's the alternative? Not good enough is a script I sent back Return to Sender. Hallelujah. TY for this.
Truthfully, if we can’t find room to accept who we are, as we are right here, right now, nothing much really matters anyway....Magnificent words in a fabulous story that all can learn from because of you!
So well written and so much to ponder. When you strip your self of all your trappings by choice or by accident --there you all exposed and naked and hopefully with the abilty to pick and chose. I chose simple this time--the lighter garment of love.
Retiring taught me a great deal about this. I got so much of my status from those weird...labels and my financial status and...all the things listed, without even realizing it. It just...was. And then suddenly, a lot of that was gone. The tax bracket fell...and I didn't have a "title." I was relieved...then unnerved and a little disoriented...and now...I'm relaxing into a new title. "Me." I like it. It fits well and doesn't weigh me down so much. You're there, too. Isn't it marvelous?
@Christine B - yes, a lighter garment

@Keka - yesyesyes, we're there and I couldn't be in better company my friend.
Now that's some WRITING that makes a lot of sense! I just might take some of those pearls of wisdom and not screw-up my next relationship! Nice job!
Found this again and am amazed that I either didn't read it carefully the first time or it simply didn't sink in the way it should have, judging from my comment then and the sense of newness I had just now re-reading it. Then again, my comment still reflects the way I think and feel. What I would add after my second read, which had me continually nodding in affirmation and gaping in admiration is that I have not reached the point of self-acceptance you speak of nor am I confident I ever will, save perhaps the occasional flash glimpse of a self that desperately needs acceptance and love and at which, instantaneously with the fleeting glimpse, I can sneak in a wink of reassurance and feel the unearthly relief of a validation that lightens whatever load I bear. Would that the wink had more staying power, but I'm grateful for what it gives me. Naps help, too.

Hope you are well. I miss seeing you here.