It’s been a rather emotional few days, what with having our closing weekend of It’s A Wonderful Life, a friend surprising me from out of town with hugs and smiles and the joyful anticipation of the Advent season into the quickly approaching Christmas.
I was on a training call with Michael Bernoff and the Core Strength Leadership team recently when he reflected back to me some of the strengths I have that I really wasn’t giving myself credit for. For all intents and purposes, I was taking for granted the fact that I work very well with other people, I’m willing to answer the call and say “yes” when the opportunity arises and I have a great propensity for thinking on my feet and rolling with the punches. It was part of a great exercise where we were taking “inventory” of what we have to give us strength and momentum into the new year.
Fast forward to today, when I woke up far later than I had planned and, despite not feeling great and not being in top form with my voice, I decided to crash Book of Mormon Equity auditions since they were in town. I did what I could (which in this case was, to some extent, sound strained and forget my lyrics; such is life haha) and then I was lucky enough to be able to have lunch with my friend Marshall, who I just closed Wonderful Life with. We had a great time talking about what we were working on in our lives, regaling stories of lessons we’ve learned in our experiences, and sharing a lot of laughs of some of the foibles we’ve gone through. I really treasure the time I’m able to personally share with people, especially the ones who have such life and vitality about them that I’ve attracted into my life these days. After that, I dropped Marshall off at his place and went to visit my family; I found out while I was visiting with them that some of them were planning on going to Confession at the local Catholic Basilica.
I realized that, in this reflective Advent season, I had not yet gone to Confession; the last time I had gone was during Lent (the precursor to Easter). So I decided to take the opportunity to join them in this important rite of my personal faith. When I stepped into the Basilica, I was overtaken by the presence I experienced; there was just a glorious silence that surrounded me. It reminded me of how noisy our lives can get, especially when we have so many obligations and events in a time of year like this, and how calming it can be to take time to remove yourself from that and be reflective for a period of time.
During the course of my own confession, I shared some of my own personal frustration with how my life has been progressing on some level. I know that I have made a lot of progress in the last few years, though I also experience a sense that I may not be doing enough. It was at this point that the priest I was sharing this with reflected back to me that that frustration was coming out of my own sense of compassion and the fact that, in some way, I was not being merciful with myself. “Mercy begins at home,” he said to me. It was then I realized what he meant; I was forgetting the many varied and amazing ways that I can (and do) contribute to the world around me, and, as I had shown to me just days ago, that I wasn’t giving myself enough credit. The mercy I can show myself in recognizing how blessed I am and feeling empowered to continue sharing what I have to offer to the world is exactly what I needed to learn in that moment.
“Count your blessings” as the old song goes; however, I’m afraid that piece of wisdom falls into what Michael Bernoff refers to as “the good idea box”, when we miss the true value of a piece of wisdom by labeling it a “good idea”, putting it into that box and then doing nothing with it. I would much rather learn to live that advice, see the abundance that this life and universe offers me, cultivate mercy for myself to export to others and continue becoming that best version of myself that I know I am capable of being; isn’t that what makes this beautiful life we share worth living?