What is your spirit?

July 16, 2013 · 19 comments

in Inspiration

Post image for What is your spirit?

Racism in this country has me so bummed right now. Given the latest headlines, I find myself thinking about how horrible some people are. And yet, thankfully, we have among us those with righteous, compassionate spirits. Which has me wondering about my own spirit. What am I really about?

I just finished the draft for my book. Yes, a miracle, opening the way for tweaking and rewriting. It’s my very personal statement on parenting, relationships, self-discovery and creativity. If it’s any good at all, it might bring a little more understanding, humor and inspiration to the world. That’s my thing — I think I’m a celebratory spirit.

There’s nothing to celebrate in the total injustice done to the late Trayvon Martin by the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. And don’t even get me started on the unbelievable idiocy surrounding the release of phony, racist names in the Asiana plane crash.

But I do want to celebrate the spirit of outrage that is keeping a spotlight on both these cases. The outcry gives me hope for change. A big thank you from me to the righteous spirits who took to the streets in protest on behalf of the late Trayvon Martin. In the Asiana case, I’m glad they called out the federal officials and media nitwits at Fox affiliate KTVU Fox affiliate.  

So I’m thinking that is a good time to pause and figure out our own gifts. We each bring something unique to making a difference in our own daily routines and the lives of others. It’s what we have to offer in addressing the world’s sad and ugly realities. 

When I was cleaning out my desk the other day, I found part of the printed program from a church service that I attended a while back. You won’t find me in houses of worship very often but it was good to be there on this particular Sunday. The sermon was about the need for each of us to identify our spirits.

I must’ve found this piece of paper for a reason, probably to share it with you. Here’s what was printed on it:

Give a descriptor of your (desired) spirit.

What needs to be left behind?

What I want to embrace in order to become that person.

In filling out the answers, I decided that I am a celebratory spirit. To achieve the fullness of that calling, I need to leave behind anxiety, defensiveness and the constant urge to rush around. In order to become the person with that spirit, I want to embrace openness and to live in the moment.

So I leave this with you in case you’d like to do a little soul-searching too. All our voices count.

 

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenna Dailey July 16, 2013 at 8:38 am

I’m not sure I have the answers to that question yet, but I would like to take time to find out. Thank you for the challenge!

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betty ming liu July 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

Jenna, have fun exploring! Honestly, it might help to NOT overthink this. When I was sitting in that church service, we were asked to come up with an answer on the spot. It wasn’t a homework assignment, which changed the whole tone for me. Maybe it would work to just take ONE SECOND and see what comes to mind. What are the daily moments that make you most happy? In what ways do you most enjoy connecting? That might be a big clue. :)

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Lila July 16, 2013 at 9:36 am

Hi Betty,
I’ve been following your blog for a bit now. Its very refreshing to drop by and feel as though you are speaking my language. I would like to share with you my spirit because I’ve been exploring this for some time now and feeling quite proud of myself for getting to this place.
I am a DANCING Spirit! I leave behind fear, doubt and limited thinking so that I can become one with my spirit and embrace joy, abundance, fun, being in the moment – embrace Play!
Thanks for asking.

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betty ming liu July 16, 2013 at 9:44 am

Lila, I just checked out your blog; had trouble leaving a comment but I definitely see it…you are INDEED a dancing spirit. I want some of that energy too — so thanks for stopping by and making me smile. Play certainly brightens my day and completely turns it around. :)

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Hillary Rettig July 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

Privilege always fights hardest at the end. What happened to Trayvon is horrible, and it’s not like racism will ever be eradicated, but the US is far less racist than it was 50 years ago. All you have to do is watch Mad Men (which is historically accurate on many levels) to appreciate that. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said that the arc of history is long but bends towards justice. That’s true, and moreover it’s bending faster than ever – wonderful news.

This is particularly true when you look at young people, who statistically as a group are far more tolerant racially and gender-wise than their elders.

People with privilege hate to lose that privilege and so they fight like mad at the end to preserve it. This is true of all repressive regimes, including the Taliban and our own “US Taliban,” the regressive rump of the GOP which is enacting laws like Stand Your Ground and antichoice laws in many states, often as a front for corporations that have gained too much power and seek to divide and dominate and subjugate us all.

Sorry to drag politics into it, but while i believe that doing your own work of connecting is important, it’s also important to look at the political framework in which you live. Progress in one realm is no good without the other. If everyone reading this would also do a little work politically, along with the inner work, it would make a big difference.

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betty ming liu July 16, 2013 at 11:00 am

Hillary, agreed! And to bring the best of ourselves to the political process, I think it helps to know where we can contribute most effectively. Let’s keep brainstorming. Btw, I’ve just started “Mad Men,” watched the first two episodes. Don’t know if I have time to get hooked and watch the entire series. But I get now, why it’s so popular. And the sexism in the workplace was appalling. An acquaintance of mine who is in her 70s said the treatment of women was very, very true to her experiences. Thanks again for taking the time to explain. :)

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Hillary Rettig July 16, 2013 at 11:48 am

Thanks, Betty! Really worth watching all of Mad Men btw.

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Erika Siobahn Kenny July 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I WANT to be a dancing spirit, a singing spirit.
I AM an empathic spirit, a painting spirit, an untangling spirit.

I don’t know what any of that really means, but one day I hope to incorporate the WANTS into the AMS.

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betty ming liu July 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Hillary, I will do my best to make time for MM! Might be something I can do with my daughter. We watched the first two episodes together.

Erika, how do you know you’re not already what you want to be? :)

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Toby July 17, 2013 at 5:39 am

Mary Robeling, last of the great family that dominated Trenton for 4 generations (Robeling Steel – Brooklyn Bridge, etc.) was the first woman to be president of a bank in NJ. She once said “when you are a woman in business, you are either lord of the manor or you are a peasant. There’s no middle ground.” She was definitely lord of the manor. When I was a student at the College of NJ, back in the 60s, she arrived to see an opera at the college theater. She bought the entire center section of the theater, arrived in a Rolls with a unformed chauffer and footman and sat in solitary splendor in the center of the theater with the chauffer and footman on either side, each in charge of a poodle. No one ever harassed Mary Robeling! It would have been like making an indecent advance on the Queen Mother. Not happening! Unfortunately, that was a type of defense not many woman could sustain. My great aunts were all masters of that sort of thing – formidable ladies of the iron corset school. They weren’t in business though.
The Trayvon Martin affair saddened me very deeply. It seems my spirit is one of protectiveness and it is sad when one realizes there are so many young people and so much danger – one cannot protect them all. Of course, the downside of a spirit of protectiveness is a tendency to “mother-hen.” That’s what I have long tried to leave behind – with varying degrees of success.

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betty ming liu July 17, 2013 at 7:28 am

Thanks, Shirley! I am loving this life. I spend most of my waking hours writing, rewriting and dabbling on art ideas for the book. It’s tiring but I sleep well knowing I am doing my heart’s desire.

Toby, everything I know about you says you are indeed a protective spirit. I have a tendency to over-nurture too. My poor daughter! But we do what we can, right? I don’t know what happens with the Trayvon Martin case. Tomorrow morning, his parents are going on “The Today Show” with Matt Lauer. Might organize my schedule to tune in. And love your iron ladies stories!

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Erika Siobahn Kenny July 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

I suppose I am already what I want to be – in spirit. In body, I do sing and dance, but those who have heard/seen me would probably describe me as more of a “banshee-howling/jerkily-flailing” spirit ;-)

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betty ming liu July 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Haha, Erika, that’s pretty good! You make me want to be a fun spirit, spontaneous spirit. :)

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Christine July 25, 2013 at 12:39 am

Thank you Betty! My spirit had been crying for freedom almost my entire life. It was only now, at the age of 43, that my spirit demanded to be released from decades of trauma and Complex PTSD.

I have become a single parent once again, but my spirit is free. I have been blessed with a new career that will allow me embrace my passion for writing, and my spirit is free. For the first time in my life, I have the purest love from and for a wonderful man who fell in love with my free spirit. Each day in play, my free spirit joins with my horse’s free spirit and I am restored in those moments of running alongside him.

Life is still not without challenges, but my spirit is free and strong. I am able to meet the challenges head on now, free from worry because my spirit will continue to bless me with the tools I need to stay free.

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betty ming liu July 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm

How wonderful for you, Christine! Thanks for dropping by and sharing with us. :)

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MikeB August 5, 2013 at 11:35 am

Having once (years ago) been a bouncer at a punk nightclub, I have some insight, I think, into how violence develops between two people, and I have absolutely no doubt that Zimmerman at the very least threatened Martin in a way that caused Martin to “stand his ground” and resulted in Zimmerman shooting him because he found out after assaulting Martin (and all he had to do was lay a hand on Martin or even threaten to lay a hand on him to be guilty of assault) that Martin was going to beat him up. Or maybe something worse. But, unfortunately, I can’t find anything in what I heard about the evidence, since Martin is dead, that contradicts Zimmerman’s story sufficiently to convict him of murder. All the cultural problems that led to the shooting are really ugly, and I wish that they could be fixed; much as I hate it, I think the verdict was correct.

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betty ming liu August 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm

So complicated. There are the issues based on Florida’s extremely disturbing laws. And the reality of what happened. You’re not the first ont to say that the verdict was corrected based on the law. But really, there’s so much more going on here….Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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Kristine August 11, 2013 at 1:48 am

Hi Betty,
It’s so good to read in your blog,” I just finished the draft for my book. Yes, a miracle, opening the way for tweaking and rewriting. It’s my very personal statement on parenting, relationships, self-discovery and creativity. If it’s any good at all, it might bring a little more understanding, humor and inspiration to the world. That’s my thing — I think I’m a celebratory spirit.”

I’m sure I’ll enjoy it very much!

Things are going very, very well in my “world” now. I’ve been so busy enjoying a loving, close relationship with my DIL and new granddaughter! Honestly, I have moments of sheer delight with the new “little one.” My DIL and I have “a new and improved relationship” I truly feel fortunate to be experiencing…and, at my age, I want to “absorb” every minute of it. On Friday, my husband and I even bought a new, eight-passenger minivan for the extended family’s special trips together.

I’ll continue checking back for your updates regarding when and where to purchase your book later.

It’s good to come back to your blog and read

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betty ming liu August 11, 2013 at 10:44 am

Kristine, congrats on the new grandchild — and your new, loving relationship with your DIL (daughter-in-law)! You’ve worked hard for that DIL connection. Clearly, you’ve got a patient, generous spirit! I will keep on working on my book. Will have more to say in the weeks and months to come. Meantime, hope your days continue to be filled with happy family snuggles!

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