meeting my edge

>> Sunday, April 25, 2010

I am struggling with overwhelm-edness this week. These weeks. There is a heavy, dense cloud looming over my head, threatening to burst and leave me drenched at any moment.

But when I pick that cloud apart and take it one water droplet at a time, my pulse slows back down and my breathing steadies. But, man. It's hard not to run for shelter.

sky edge

I'm working on noticing when and how I close off and shut down, how I pull away. It helps for me to break down the dread, to name my fear or my anxiety because when I flip on the lights and lift the covers, dragging that scary monster or the tumbleweeds of dog hair out where I can see them, I can deal.

I want to be open to the hard parts of life, because I'm pretty sure they will lead to growth. Either my own, or someone else's. Hopefully both. But it's continuous - the reminder to myself to open. Again and again.


Can I share something that has stuck with me this week?

"There is a story about a group of people climbing to the top of a mountain. It turns out it's pretty steep, and as soon as they get up to a certain height, a couple of people look down and see how far it is, and they completely freeze; they had come up against their edge and they couldn't go beyond it. The fear was so great that they couldn't move. Other people tripped on ahead, laughing and talking, but as the climb got steeper and more scary, more people began to get scared and freeze. All the way up this mountain there were places where people met their edge and just froze and couldn't go any farther. The people who made it to the top looked out and were very happy to have made it to the top. The moral of the story is that it really doesn't make any difference where you meet your edge; just meeting it is the point. Life is a whole journey of meeting your edge again and again. That's where you're challenged; that's where, if you're a person who wants to live, you start to ask yourself questions like, 'Now why am I so scared? What is it that I don't want to see? Why can't I go any further than this?' The people who got to the top were not the heroes of the day. It's just that they weren't afraid of heights; they are going to meet their edge somewhere else. The ones who froze at the bottom were not the losers. They simply stopped first and so their lesson came earlier than the others. However, sooner or later everybody meets his or her edge."

From 'Renunciation' in The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron


I'm meeting my edge, over and over. This week I'm going to work on moving forward with an open mind, an open heart, and a lot of humor. I'm going to try to encourage myself the way I'd encourage a friend. I'm going to eat lots of salads and take a walk on my lunch breaks and go on a date with my husband, even though I have so very much to do. I'm going to say my prayers and cheer myself on. And remind myself that it's OK if I don't make it to the summit.


Corinne April 25, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

"I want to be open to the hard parts of life, because I'm pretty sure they will lead to growth."
This is the really really hard part, but you're right, it brings so much growth, and awareness, and in turn so many benefits of knowing more about yourself and being able to be present and be ok with where you are.
And that passage? Oh my word does that speak to me. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thinking of you :)

Heather of the EO April 25, 2010 at 7:10 PM  

keep on keepin' on, lady. It really is all about the journey. The crazy mixed up messy journey ;)

Lindsey April 25, 2010 at 7:13 PM  

Oh, I love that Pema quote. And your photographs. And the image of taking apart the dark cloud into its composite raindrops.
I am learning so very much from you.
Thank you.

rv April 25, 2010 at 7:58 PM  

Love this one. Wonderful photos and quote. Hang in there. You and your family are in our prayers.

Rachel V.

Ann's Rants April 25, 2010 at 8:33 PM  

True story: I met Husband in the Rocky Mountains. We'd go hiking regularly and I always stumble and bumble along the path. Husband would always laugh that I didn't even bother to look behind me to see what I tripped over.

I laughed with him because I knew there was nothing ever there. "It's just me" I'd answer.

I am always tripping over myself, and this here post made me realize the depth of truth to that fact.

I am constantly tripping over ME. I'm even a klutz on my spiritual path!!

A New Mom April 25, 2010 at 8:43 PM  

I hear ya girl and I am right there with ya. You're in my prayers

Meghan April 25, 2010 at 8:59 PM  

Yep. I'm at my edge today. I feel weary and anxious and put-upon, and the week has just begun! Ugh. I needed this. Good ideas...encourage myself like I'd encourage a friend, go on a date with my husband. These are good ideas and I think I'll have to try them!

elissa April 26, 2010 at 1:20 AM  

Hey Elizabeth!

I was just talking to charlie about that whole concept last night... the "being open to harder parts of life, because they lead to growth". Life stinks sometimes. Sometimes it really, really gets you down. But if you believe that everything happens for a reason, then you totally have to be open to the idea that hard stuff happens for a reason, too. And the least you can do is learn and grow from it, right? :)

deb April 26, 2010 at 10:39 AM  

I wish you peace of course. Even on your edges.

and even as I get this, know this, I still need to be reminded. Thank you Elizabeth. And the photos are amazing.

Lee Vandeman April 26, 2010 at 2:03 PM  

Hey my friend! The edge is where all the cool kids hang out. :-)

Boy do I get this one. But I swear as you get older (like I have) you just get better at meeting the edge and jumping off and doing it over and over again and again. Maybe it's because life starts feeling differently and you just start finding peace in the fear. Or you really just start chuckling at it which is kinda where I'm at.

But yeah, the walks sound awesome and so do salads. But the best idea of all in that post? A date with your man. It's a must.


Nap Warden April 26, 2010 at 3:26 PM  

Yep...I'm climbing right there with you. I date with my Husband, now there's a good idea;)

Adventures In Babywearing April 26, 2010 at 6:23 PM  

I think that's what I've been doing, too. Just today (at it was something lame, like cleaning the mess in my boys' room) I was reminding myself, one little piece at a time, Steph.

When I saw your title I thought it was "Melting My Edge". I get that, too.


Maria Melee April 26, 2010 at 6:33 PM  

You have such natural wisdom. Even when things are rough.

My therapist told me, the first time we met, that I say "hard" a lot. And I do.

But man, sometimes things ARE hard. I admire the way you think and talk through your hard times.

This edge thing will stick with me, thank you.

(And your photos are so lovely. I want to go on a photo walk with you some day.)

Maggie May April 26, 2010 at 9:24 PM  

This is all a good reminder. xo

thegypsymama April 27, 2010 at 5:24 PM  

I am so there with you Elizabeth. Some days I have to remind myself to breath deep and long - because it feels like the water is about to close over my nose.

That's why I loved this, "I'm going to try to encourage myself the way I'd encourage a friend."

Wonderful words.

Sarah April 27, 2010 at 8:17 PM  

I know the edge well. Sometimes I get down on myself because I think I know it TOO well. That I am there TOO often. But I realize, and truly do believe, that I am most serene when I can stand on the edge and take a deep breath and see exactly where I am. And that, in the end, I am still safe.

It's when I am scrambling, scrambling not to fall off, trying not to look down or up, that I feel like I'm in a crazy battle of wills with myself.

When I breathe in the chaos and the hardship and find that place inside me where the strength and patience reign supreme...ahh, life is that much better.

Gorgeous quote. Gorgeous photographs.

angelynn April 27, 2010 at 11:49 PM  

What a brilliant piece of advice, to encourage yourself the way you'd encourage a friend. It seems so simple but it's one of the hardest things you can ever learn to do.

I admire the way you are able to step back and think about your problems. The weeks when it's most difficult are the weeks we have to work the hardest. Thank you for the new ideas. :)

Dawn April 28, 2010 at 10:12 AM  

your to-do list sounds inspired. really. and i hope that you check off each item with glee. sometimes i feel like i am looking for the edge... i don't even wait for it to find me. and i am trying so hard to break through. and that growth stuff? i am chipping away at it, and am so glad.

Anonymous,  April 28, 2010 at 10:07 PM  

You hang in there, E -- it's going to be just fine. One little thing at a time. Remember, dare to be stupid...

emily May 5, 2010 at 8:11 AM  

I hear that, girl. Loud and clear. I think I'm gonna go schedule a date night with my husband now :)

TKW May 14, 2010 at 6:20 AM  

I love this. You are brave. The hard parts do, indeed, lead to growth. That's our payoff for facing down what we fear, for doing what we don't think we possibly can.

I love your idea to be as compassionate with yourself as you would be to a friend. That's a powerful idea.

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I'm a realistic optimist who relies on raw honesty and plenty of humor to navigate the boystorm that is my life. I am mother to three and wife to one. These are my stories.

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