Thursday, May 3, 2012

One step forward, two steps back...I don't know why spring so often seems to be that way. This morning when I got up and headed out to walk the dog in the frost, it was a reminder that I often allow myself to assume that what I've been enjoying is the new normal and then feel betrayed when the real normal shows up.

And I suspect I'm not better than anyone else for flinching a little when nature readjusts. But I don't know that I'll ever really like it. We're programmed for perfection and comfort, and anything outside that usually takes adaptation, which we're not always programmed for.

I've been thinking a lot lately about expectations and where they come from. We can box ourselves in pretty tightly if we try to meet them all. I guess I've been feeling a little trapped of late and occasionally resenting all the things I've allowed on THE LIST. And I'm the one that put most of them there, so I really can't blame anyone else for the situation. But that doesn't mean I don't try to or take my bad moods out on the people around me from time to time. And I know I shouldn't, but sometimes it just happens.

It's interesting how frustrating the quest for change can be. We can know we want to make real lasting change in our lives and we can do so well for so long and then have a small relapse and feel like a complete failure because of it. Why is that? I suspect it's because we're not very good at recognizing how transformation actually happens. You're talking about changing something from one form to another. Rarely is that an instantaneous process. It's not like the mixtures high school teachers use to illustrate chemical reactions. We're not changing our color by adding another solution to the mix...we're attempting to change the actual state of our beings. We're talking about refining the raw material until there are no more impurities or flaws. There's a reason there are so many clay analogies in the scriptures referencing refining and purifying. Clay is a porous, amalgam of minerals that will absorb water and become pliable and plastic. It can be dried out and crushed into powder. Even after it is sculpted or shaped into a form and dried, it needs only to have water reintroduced to eventually break it down again. It is only when extreme heat is introduced to the material that it can become vitrified and capable of being impervious to moisture. That's what we're trying to do with ourselves - take a porous, fragile individual that absorbs too much of their surroundings (good and bad) and transform them through extreme circumstances into a sturdy vessel capable of surviving so much more. So perhaps we shouldn't be quite so ready to condemn ourselves for the occasional slip. We're still fine-tuning the process. Personally, I have to remember to step back occasionally and take note of how much has changed rather than how successful I am in the moment. Hard to remember sometimes, but I'm getting better - and that's the whole point anyway, isn't it?

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