Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

March 22, 2015

Just Past Midfield

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 9:33 am

I am back after a couple of months of no blogging.  I’m sure you’re not surprised that this is a long one.  LOL.  I turned fifty in January and I’ve been enjoying this huge milestone and taking time to measure what it means and where I am at this point in my life. I’ve enjoyed amazing teachers along the way, some with specific gifts of wisdom they were lovely enough to share and some good lessons I stole from witnessing behavior on the sides furthest from the sun. Some of it, unfortunately, my own.

It’s so great to be alive! Life continues to offer growth and wisdom and greater understanding, if we seek it. I realize there are lessons I struggle to learn and to keep. I respect and admire and cheer those who seek, on their own paths, to continue to evolve in positive ways.

I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been thinking about lately. Some of the things I’ve been gifted.  Some of the things I’m working on in my own path:

I’m not sure what the original quote was or by whom but it is entirely true: The facts don’t change, even if we choose to deny them, ignore them, twist them, drink them down or pretty them up.

I’ve realized that, just as sure as great, compassionate people will be there for us in all our life’s crises, they will move on, eventually. It is not a fault of theirs. It is healthy. It is the natural current of life. We can go on with them, battered, beaten, wounded and together, with hope of making a better tomorrow, or we can stay alone with our crisis. Only we can decide.

Kids get cancer, newlyweds die in car crashes on the way to their honeymoons, wonderfully-raised children grow up to be murderers, old people get raped, animals get abused.  Injuries happen, death surprises….Eat the cake.

Make your own money.  Buy your own place.  Learn how to fix the furnace.   Gather your courage to kill the icky spiders.  Only when you can leave a relationship will you truly know if you want to stay.

I’ve realized that we all ended up being things we didn’t intend. Starting each day with that precious little nugget creates the possibility that we might be more compassionate and less judgmental.

Study other religions.  Watch other political news shows on other stations.  Ask people about what they believe in.  Invite different from your own.  Read new perspectives.  Only when we research and seek can we actually be of our own informed choices and not just the result of someone’s influence.  If we take in all voices and all choices and all options, what becomes our own beliefs becomes more real and true and personal.

I learned this one the hard way and I wish every young person could learn this and save themselves heartache: Every bad relationship served up red flags that were either ignored, denied or mistakenly believed would change. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a relationship is to choose to end it.  Bad and broken relationships are, most importantly, lessons to be learned and taken on our way to the love of our lives.

This is one of my favorites: Question all that you were taught and all that you believed. We change. Our perspectives change. We mature. We allow more gray. At least we hope we do. Often the things we were taught or picked up as younger people simply aren’t the case, aren’t valid any longer, or weren’t accurate to begin with.

If you are going to choose to hate, realize the enormity of that word and all it implies. Hate makes our souls and our hearts and the sparkle in our eyes a little darker so choose wisely that which you would give up so much for. Learn everything there is to know about that which you will choose to hate and see, then, if there isn’t something within it to understand, to forgive, to recognize as your own.

When you have someone to love and when someone loves you with good, true, healthy love, every good is that much better and every bad has a little less sting. There is a beautiful gift in the every day and all around you that are not pains and problems and sores. But instead you see the promise and the possibility and the treasures.

People fail in human decency, in relationships, in sports rivalries and in politics when they lose sight of the vital element of balance. When anyone believes their side, their color, their religion, their philosophies, their opinions…are all right and are all that matter-that’s when everything starts to swirl the drain.

So many people are disappointed and wounded by family. To me, it is unfair to place so much pressure on people often so different that, were it not for the same name, you would likely never have met. Nobody can live up to all of that. Family can be many fabulous things but it is spouses and partners and friends where we fill natural holes left and where we get specific and critical needs met.

Everyone has their own path to walk, their own lessons to learn, their own truths to determine. It’s not up to us to judge and point out and lambaste, even when it’s so damned hard not to, sometimes.

I feel sad for a generation coming behind me that, by and large, will lose the treasures of holding love letters hand written, wrinkled and yellowed…Who won’t leave behind boxes of personal pictures…Technology is the most amazing inventions of our lifetimes and yet we cannot allow them to replace our most intimate, human interactions.

If you take a few moments every morning to appreciate the fact that you have warmth and a roof over your head, clean water to wash in and put in your coffee, food to pack in your lunch, a vehicle of some sort to get to any job that pays you money….then how can any day be anything but filled with complete gratitude for how fortunate we are?

When you truly realize this is the life you have and how fast the years are flying by and how real an ending is always approaching, then it’s a clear and easy choice to refuse to participate in drama and nonsense, to decide to shed the toxic people in your life, to gather the courage to dream bigger than you have long dared and to simply terminate the relationship/s that hurt, dishonor, belittle and endanger any precious part of you.

(This one I have to continue to learn…) People don’t want our opinions. By and large, they simply want to be heard. They crave our compassion. Our friendship. They have their own lessons to learn and they are at their own pace. Always giving opinions might make us think we are the smartest person in the room when, actually, it just makes us boorish people who should concentrate more on our own shortcomings.

At some point, it is our life. Ours alone. We can forever blame our parents and rotten exes and lousy bosses and upbringings and injuries and perceived wrongs and a host of other things. But we are the result of our choices. We have this life and it is a reflection of OUR moves, decisions and priorities. If we give power to anything wanting or willing to defeat us, beat us or make us less than our best, that is our choice too.

If you surround yourself with people who possess true and good intentions which you completely trust, you will never have a screaming match. You will never have to feel wickedly wounded or betrayed. If you don’t want to always have to look over your shoulder and protect your back, get rid of the people in your life with the knives…

What is the point if you never open the Christmas presents? What if everyone got up Christmas morning and just looked at the presents but never opened them? Never ate the birthday cake?

We are given a lifetime on an Earth that has such miraculous beauty. In large part and small measure, we are each surrounded by and invited to absolutely fill our hearts and souls with grace and joy and beauty. These gifts have no limit, no end.  They are all around us, available to each of us in every moment we choose to capture.

I don’t want to die and meet my Maker and have Him say, “Geez, Kara, you never made it to the Grand Canyon? How ‘bout those roses your neighbor grew every year? Did you ever stop to smell them?”

We don’t have a lot of time, any of us. Not when you imagine the countless wonders to visit, to enjoy, to relish, to invite. We need to push back at the anger and hatred and darkness and regret and envy which seeks to swallow us entirely. We need to run out early in the morning in our pajamas to see the glorious colors of sunrise. To stand in awe at the sandy shores of the greatest lakes and oceans. We need to wiggle our tickle-toes in the soft, cool grasses. To dance as long as we can move, to laugh as long as we can muster, to sing and to gift love with each last breath.

We can all put a little more living into our lives, if we make it our priority. To stay anchored in life’s precious moments, whatever they are, and not always rush, in mind and body, to the next thing on the to-do list. Everyone is wounded. Everyone is humbled and has stumbled. But it is our choice to be more loving and giving and compassionate and kind. To seek more good in people. To have more fun. To leave less space in our lives and our hearts to hold grudges, to be judgmental, mean, cruel and ruthless.

They will tell the truth about us. Maybe not in the obituary and maybe not out loud. But there is a truth we are making every day in the hearts of those we touch and there will be a truth in how warm and sweet that touch was. How true and real and lasting. Let’s invite good in every sip, every delicious bite, every scene, every encounter so that we have no room in our hearts for hatred, bitterness, envy, regret, violence, and darkness.

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4 Comments »

  1. That was incredible, Kara… so much wisdom in one blog. It takes living through many diverse life experiences, listening within and to others, paying attention to what brings you peace and happiness and what doesn’t, and generally living an open-hearted, reflective life with a certain degree of humility, curiosity, mindfulness, and compassion to get so many “aha’s”. The ongoing journey of recovering from our brain injuries can be a surprising and powerful aid in distilling what is most important…. and certainly in developing even deeper humility and compassion. I will print this off, share it with loved ones, and read and reread it myself – I need these affirmations and reminders. A belated happy birthday to you, too, Kara! The 50 something club is a good club to belong to! 😉 Sending warm thoughts and many good wishes your way,
    Kathie

    Comment by Kathie M. — March 25, 2015 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

    • Hi, Kathie! Thank you for the birthday wishes and all the kind words. I sooooo appreciate them, and you. :)) Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — March 30, 2015 @ 7:57 am | Reply

  2. Kara, how wonderful to find you are celebrating the big 50! 🙂 Congratulations! After a while of not finding anything new from you, I have to say I was concerned that something might be wrong. Turns out the only thing wrong was that assumption! It seems you were just very busy living life. I am in awe of your brand new post. From beginning to end, your words comforted me, inspired me, made me laugh and renewed my spirit. Your continued love for and faith in your fellow man is absolutely awesome. And your ability to see and capture the world’s beauty for yourself is certainly something to aspire to. The best part is that you fought to be where you are today, you never gave up. Because of your courage and perseverance, you are now reaping the rewards. I love that you share yourself with all of us. You can change our world, Kara, one reader at a time. Thank you!

    Comment by Jean — March 29, 2015 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

    • You may not realize how much your words affect me in kind, Jean. Reading your note first thing this morning entirely warmed my heart. Thank you, again and again. Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — March 30, 2015 @ 7:56 am | Reply


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