Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness lies not in finding what is missing, but in finding what is present. Tara Brach

Yesterday I was on my first live show with video. I was comfortable on the internet radio show when it was only my voice, but now they will see me. Many of us don’t like how we look in pictures and I am one who does not.

I played with lighting angles like they could make that much of a difference when we are a woman of a certain age. Lighting does make a big difference, but not that much of a difference. Vanity, thy name is woman! Many of us are vain, but one of the great things about this stage of life is, it isn’t about our looks. I am becoming a girl with a grandma’s face and I need to be okay with that. It will only become more so. Can I find a way to look at that face when I see it on YouTube which is where I will find it in a few days and look compassionately at that face instead of critically?

As I practiced what I was going to say and then replayed it the one thing I could do is get the light from bouncing off my glasses. I could make my bookshelf look better and I took out the rows of binders and rearranged books. The den was a complete mess by the time I had done my rearranging. When I looked at my face as I replayed the recorded video I said, “This is the real you. You are not perfect and that is okay.” I got a WhatsApp from the host she might call on me again for another episode, this one went well.

This really is a great time in my life, “Grandma Face” and all. My husband and I are reaping our rewards as our children are grown and taking their place in the world. Our parental responsibilities are done. My creative pursuits are becoming something real. I can hold my book in my hand, I’m getting reviews on Amazon, and with my last royalty payment, I could buy more than a cup of coffee.

The trick, I realized. Was in letting go enough to simply accept the challenging times and experience life in all its messy glory instead of trying to predict or control our reality. Laura Bradbury

Life is really great when we have things to look forward to, we have pursuits that feed our soul, and we are surrounded by a loving family. I think this really is one of the best parts of my life. Can I just quite cringing when I see myself in pictures? Not taking pictures is part of the problem. The more I look at myself on screen the more I can put in perspective and accept the parts I don’t like. No one is asking me to be on their show because of my cheekbones, the shape of my nose, or a cameral ready smile.

Are there some things I can do to make myself look better on camera? For sure, but in the end, I have to accept myself warts and all. Sometimes trying to fix things can make them worse, we’ve all see that with plastic surgery. Not that I’m planning to go there.

Being interviewed will have its own minefields. What if I get asked questions there are no good answers to? We have many issues that are like that right now. I wonder if those issues are like the messy bookshelf I straightened up for the show. Everything I didn’t like was on the floor around my desk out of sight of the camera. Have we been doing that in our lives and now we are looking at the messiness of injustice, fear, hate, envy, colonization, war, rape, and pillaging? Will our society be better for getting things out in the open? Can we heal some of the festering sores in our society?

When I straightened up the mess I threw surprisingly few things away. Our society may end up being the same. There is one shelf I didn’t touch because the camera didn’t show it. This shelf still has to be dealt with. We may think things are getting worse but maybe they have to look like that before they get better. Is my bookshelf a metaphor for dealing with issues we’d rather not look at? The books I don’t want to see on camera are my books, binders of things I’ve written, research, clips from newspapers, and articles I’ve printed off. They are the most important things in my library.

Life is messy. We need to get things out in the open to deal with them. I believe one of the worst things we do in marriage is to keep the peace at the expense of dealing with issues. Society is probably the same. A book I am reading “I Love You but I’m Not in Love with You” says sometimes what we need is a good argument to clear the air, to deal with difficult parts of our life, and to try and understand each other.

Are we embracing or shying away from the arguments we need in our life, our family, and our society?

The past should be a learning experience not an everlasting punishment. What’s done is done. Constantly going over the ordeals you previously faced will only be a burden in your life. Unknown

Embrace the glorious mess that you are. Elizabeth Gilbert

Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. Robin Sharma

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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I Love You, But I’m Not in Love with You: Seven Steps to Putting the Passion Back Into Your Relationship Paperback – July 1 2007

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

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