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Do, or do not. There is no try. (Jedi Master Yoda)

You know, there are few things in this life that irk me like folks who say they’ll do a thing, and then don’t do what they’ve said they will. There are few things that irk me like people who say that they’re trying – when they’re not.

I will be the first one to admit that I have exceedingly high expectations. Those start with myself, though. I expect nothing of others that I do not first expect of myself, and I hold no one to higher standards than I do myself. You can look at that two ways, I suppose. Either that I will be in a perpetual state of disappointment, or that I am in a constant state of expectation – which is really optimism, which is really faith.

I have an intense amount of faith in people. I believe in them. I believe the best about them. And yes, I am continually disappointed. And that’s okay. I had an interesting week, and I had some unique opportunities to have that faith affirmed in the most spectacular ways – ways which surpassed even my high hopes.

No matter how discouraged, disgruntled, disgusted, disappointed I have been by people, I have also been delighted, entranced, and bemused by them. I am often simply enamored by them.

I really do take a step back each time I find myself facing that disappointment, and figure out whether I am being fair or not. Sometimes I am being fair, and the only thing left in that case is to figure out how to call them on their transgression. Other times, I’m the one who’s being unreasonable – and if that’s the case, I’ll be the first one to say that I have been, and to apologize.

I have also reached a point in my life when I realize that my tendency toward high expectations is as much a part of me as the shape of my hands and the thickness of my hair. Ingrained, essential. And despite the frustration of being disappointed from time to time when people fall short of the mark I’ve drawn for them, I cannot be another way.

To stop expecting them to dazzle me with their brilliance, their kindness, their humor, their irreverence, their passion, is to stop expecting to be perpetually surprised by life and all that it holds. Because the thing is that so often, people exceed my expectations.

I really don’t see the point of ‘try’ – I’m no Jedi Master, but there really is doing a thing or not doing it. I can be straining and trying to lift a thousand pounds – but the fact of the matter is that unless I’m lifting those thousand pounds (doing it), I am not doing it. There is no try. And that applies to me, too. No, I’m not always clear on where I am with an issue, or how well I’m doing a thing (or how abysmally I’m not doing it). But I look at all of it, take it all in.

This week, I’ve been dazzled by the enormous potential for people to astonish me with their love, their generosity, their humility. And I’m inspired by it. I’m moved by it. My faith is invigorated by it, and renewed. Because I’ve seen folks out there not trying, but doing.

Oh yeah — May the force be with you. 🙂

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When I was in high school (which will date me, but whatever), Garth Brooks was huge, and that song was huge. And every time we have a night like tonight, where wave after wave of storms rolls over us, unleashing fury in crash and thrash and torrent, the words of that song come creeping back in.

I taught Reiki tonight – to a woman who made a long journey to come and be a part of the class each day. To a woman who braved Tornado Warnings and funnel cloud sightings and sheets of rain to drive here. To a woman who so valued the training, that she made an arduous trek to complete it. I honor her dedication, and her commitment to the path that she said she’d spent over ten years waiting to pursue.

I thought about that a lot tonight, as we intermittently checked the front windows of the shop to ensure that we weren’t on the brink of ending up following the yellow brick road, instead of the Reiki path (haha). About how some of the things that we want desperately end up lying mysteriously easily in the palms of our hands, as though they’d been nestled there all along. And how other things, other longings, seemed to have to cost you, seemed to have to exact a price.

We lit candles to make sure that there would be some light if the storm managed to knock out the power. As the electricity pulsed and dimmed over and over again, I thought a lot about how it said something about her character, and the depths of her desire, to saunter out into the storm to complete her training. It says something about each of us, when we pursue the things that don’t seem to want to come easily. It says something about who we are deep inside.

I always think of it as being willing to bleed for it – not to be gross. What are you willing to bleed for, to sweat for, to sacrifice for, to bring into being? I look around at a lot of people in my generation, and in the generation coming up behind my generation, and there’s this pervasive sense of entitlement. Well, folks, newsflash – you might get to the top of the heap by lucky accident, but you’ve gotta stay there by your own will. Or you have to put in your time in the trenches, so that someday, you can stand at the top and survey how far you’ve come.

When did we ever think that this was supposed to be easy? Just where in the heck did that come from? Where did we ever get the idea that it wasn’t supposed to hurt, wasn’t supposed to cost us, wasn’t supposed to leave scars? Life does that – if you’re really living it.

If you’re really living it, going deep, and putting yourself out there, you risk – and those who risk gain the rewards. Those who show up in their own lives every day risk much, but gain much. It is just as much work to maintain a true apathy, as it is to cultivate the ability to be PRESENT in your life.

Do you show up? Do you risk anything? What hill are you willing to die upon? What are you willing to hurt for? I think about that, as I listen to the “where’s-mine-ers” and the “me-too-ers” and everyone else who thinks it all just comes so easily – all the people who think that they should just have it handed to them.

And then I thought about my student tonight, and I realized that she valued what she came to receive. She knew that sometimes, things have to cost you – and the things you’ve longed for – the things that fill your soul to bursting – are worth the price you pay for them.

Thanks for letting me rant a bit. It felt important to acknowledge this, and to talk about it tonight (as the thunder rolls, and the lightning strikes…)

Come have a look through my kaleidoscope eyes. Come walk with me, as I make my way down the Path of Mastery (complete with fits and starts and pitstops and potholes). Our very impermanence is what makes us burn so brightly, and struggle so valiantly, and feel so deeply – it’s what makes us seize the day, and the moment. Come in, settle in, share a moment with me.

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"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." (Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 5)