The steps that leave your shoes a little smelly

I marvel at how many times, as I’m talking to people, having sessions with Lifestyle Engineer clients, as people ask me for insight or advice, that experiences of my past float in and seem to be 100% on point.  

Whether my journey that sometimes has involved picking up something smelly on the bottom of my shoes saves anyone else  those slippery steps, or whether my stories provide some degree of optional context that proves to be helpful to them as they navigate THEIR path really doesn’t matter.

For me, it is reassuring that there is potential for my smelly shoe tales to bring insight and value, beyond the insight and value those moments brought to me.

In the telling of the stories, I also tell them to myself, because you cannot speak without hearing what you are saying, and that telling is a reminder for me of what I am sharing and the lessons that it brings.

I’ve been a big fan of clichés… because many times there is a TON of truth in the simple statements.  So the concept of the teacher appearing when the student is ready rings true.  That you teach best, what you most need to learn, has slapped me a long side the head on many occasions.

So in preparation for my Forgiveness Workshop next month, I’ve been wondering where in my life, I need to extend some forgiveness.  Not surprising, as I sat at the base of my favorite tree on Memorial Day, some old faces popped into my head.  While attempting to not resist, I have to admit there were a couple that prompted the thought “OH, I thought I was through with you!” to surface.  But one-by-one I looked at them, tried to wrap my brain around what was left in each case to get to peaceful detachment, to be done.

It’s funny, when you ask, and then get quiet and listen, what can be heard.  So it was a reminder that sometimes it’s like peeling an onion.  Perhaps one layer must be resolved before you can go to the next. Perhaps the tears generated by one layer must be cried before the next layer is ready to be addressed.

What is remarkable is that even with what I believed was a fairly conscious awareness of forgiveness in my life, and a commitment to live in a way (to the degree that I can) where I don’t generate need for giving or receiving forgiveness, there was still a pretty good lineup.  Nothing debilitating mind you, nothing that was making me twitch, or cry, or rage… apparently it was content to just run in the background like an antivirus program, until I was ready to take another look.

Forgiveness has deep roots with me.  And I’ll resist my normal impulse to use disclaimers about how my life has not been any different, more traumatic etc than anyone else’s because I don’t know that, and am ready to stop minimizing the various parts of my life that have shaped me into who I am.

What I do know, is that without every person who is or has been a part of my life, without every step that I’ve taken, smelly or pleasant, I would not be who I am, I would not be where I am.  As I look at the who and where of my current life, it’s GREAT!  So I am grateful to all who have played a part in the process, especially the ones who loved me enough to put me in what I may have believed at the time was a dark, impossible place, those who hurt me deeply, but also those who were always nearby to love, and hold and assure me.  You have all played the role we agreed you would play, and for that I am, and will always be grateful. 

Admittedly, there are a few of you for whom I’m also grateful that you played your part and then exited!  🙂


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