There's no denying it. Try as I might, I just have to face the hard, cold truth, and confront reality head on. That's the only way to deal with anything of difficulty, so, here goes.
(Deep breath …)
Hi, my name is Jennifer. I'm the President and founder of Fabulous Shoe Night, and … I am living my life running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
Unfortunately, it's all too true. It literally pains me to admit that half the time I don't know whether I'm coming or going. At this point, the administrative side of Fabulous Shoe Night is a one-woman show … and I am the one woman. Everything falls on my plate. Everything.
Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Being this busy is a clear indication that Fabulous Shoe Night is succeeding, and I honestly couldn't be more grateful. We now have nine chapters up and running, since only May of this year, and I am in talks with another eight women throughout the country interested in starting chapters after the New Year. I'm exhausted, scattered, unfocused, stressed out, always running late, and sometimes, downright weepy. Yet, I must still have some sense of humor left, because I realized that if I used just one more adjective describing my perpetually harried, windblown state, I could make a Seven Dwarves joke. I'm just too tired to.
Common sense would dictate that when one is any of the above, it's time to breathe, center oneself and focus. That's it … I'll meditate! Ironically enough, I'd been meaning to learn how to meditate for at least two decades, so … no time like the present! To further stress (pun intended) the point that it really was time to learn to meditate, I was delighted to see that Oprah and Deepak Chopra were doing a 21 Day Meditation Challenge, where you'd receive a daily email with a guided meditation that would teach you to meditate, correctly, from a master like Deepak Chopra himself, no less.
You see, I'm really not sure, because although I did sign up to take part in the challenge, I just didn't have time to actually open the emails. So, day after day they would pile up in my inbox, taunting me with their serene, fully actualized silence. I just knew the whole world was smugly meditating all around me … and it was driving me crazy. Yes, that's right … the 21 Day Meditation Challenge had turned into a jaw-clenching, teeth grinding source of stress for me, yet another unfinished task that remained on my gerbil wheel of a to-do list.
Whether I was driving to another meeting, on the phone with a prospective new chapter leader, answering the unending stream of emails, or rushing to pick up the dry cleaning, dinner, the children, running, running, running, always late, I was actually feeling like the season swirling all around me. I'd see the wind blow the fallen autumn leaves in relentless, scattering whirlwinds, and think, "Wow … that's how I feel."
Scattered. Out of control. Windblown.
I remembered I'd once read an article, years ago, about focusing on the flame of a candle to center yourself; that with enough practice, just visualizing the flame itself, no matter where you were or what you were doing, could immediately calm and center you. Surely I could manage this simple exercise.
Yet it wasn't until I attempted to quiet my cluttered mind that I truly saw the cacophony it had become. Random, useless, obtuse thoughts flitted in constantly, vying for my attention like spoiled, tantruming children. Clearly, I was awful at this.
Over time, though, something amazing occurred. I began to associate the flame not as the symbol of the peace and serenity I so craved, but as my personal symbol for Fabulous Shoe Night itself … one I think I carried all along, but was just too frantic to ever consciously realize.
Fabulous Shoe Night began as a spark … as a mere wink and tugging desire deep in my heart to do more. As the idea crystallized and took shape, the spark glowed steadily and caught flame. It was the vision of that sure and steady flame that I mentally followed and went back to time and again, guiding me, helping to keep the vision pure. With the opening of our second chapter, I could see the lighting of the symbolic second candle … lit by the flame of the first. As we continue to open chapters, we are really spreading this continuation of light, warmth and hope ... our very own glowing daisy chain of good-will and giving.
Now, as I am beginning to grasp just how far we can take Fabulous Shoe Night, I envision the glow of thousands upon thousands of candles, each lit individually from an existing flame, originating from that one flame. Unbelievably, my mind's eye goes even further, and leaps ahead to the vision of a satellite picture of the earth, one we have all surely seen, taken in darkness, of the breathtaking beauty of twinkling lights across the globe.
Amazingly, that picture from above is what now helps to center and calm me, for it is a goal to focus on ... the light at the end of the tunnel, beckoning us forward. A thousand twinkling lights, tiny symbols of hope and giving … shining brightly, connected … all from a single candle.
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. " ~~ Budda
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