“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
~ Søren Kierkegaard
I used to be such a pessimist. It's true. The glass was always half-empty. And the irony is that I've always had so much to be grateful for. But for so many years I couldn't see it. Oh sure, I'd catch glimpses of good things, in my life and around me, but only temporarily. Some days it was as if I viewed life through a monochrome lens. Everything was black-and-white (with a lot of grayness). Maybe that’s why my photos are so filled with color these days.
There was one point in my life that was particularly dark. While I never actually considered ending my life, it was during this point that the I thought that if I should perish...so what? The end of me would not make any difference to me or anyone. But I of course know this is not true.
But then something happened. I started to do some inner work...reading, praying, meditating, simplifying. Trying to figure out what it was like to be me and what my place is in this world. I'm still trying to figure that out. But somewhere over the past ten years or so I've come to realize that my happiness comes from within. And that I truly have everything I need (and more). My feet and back hurt from abusing my body in hot bustling kitchens for the past 30-plus years, and I still don't have any money (which has always been a source of stress and darkness for me), but I am wealthy in so many ways.
Over time I've come to realize that self-care is not only not-selfish but a necessity...in order for me to love and do good to others I first have to love and do good to myself (no one can give what they don’t have). I'm not perfect in this area (but who is). I still eat chocolate chip cookies even though my cholesterol is elevated, and I probably drink more beer and wine than I should. But the biggest (and most important) thing I did was to embrace myself with all my flaws. Rather than try to overcome my introvert-ness, I embrace it. I am in fact 98% INFJ, and when I discovered and accepted this it explained so much. My only regret is that I wished I acknowledged this at an earlier age; it may have influenced some decisions I've made. Nonetheless, the life I've led thus far, and the experiences that I’ve had internally and externally, have made me and continue to make me the person I am today. And I, just as we all do I suppose, continue to grow into myself.
Is it always easy? No, of course not. Is everything perfect? Hardly. But it is still good. Even when it is bad it is still good if I allow it to be. I am finding when I focus on the good then good will happen. Even if I don't see it right away.
So why do I share this? I don't know. I really don't. Sometimes I just feel compelled to. It's cathartic in a way , sort of like a baptism I suppose, to post this stuff (and aren't most blogs self-indulgent). But really, I think I share this stuff because I do believe that there is light in the darkness. No matter how dark it may be. The cup is not only full, it overflows.
And this is what I was thinking while I sat typing into my phone while I sipped a glass of wine in an air conditioned cafe on a particular balmy evening.
"My cup overflows."