Every now and then I get a glimmer of how this whole life thing works when fear is released and I am able to experience the one precious moment…….right here and right now.
I have a history of making myself miserable in thinking and in action taking care of everyone. I have caused myself a lot of work and grief and resentment ….. with the best intentions, obviously…but living blindly thinking I know what is best for my friends and family and then proceeding to do everything in my power to see it through to be sure everyone is happy. I know this is a learned behavior from my childhood…if someone is unhappy, hurt or angry, I feel the need to make it ok…..it’s exhausting!
Being human, I still often think I know best. It’s those moments when something unexpectedly just work out and I have not had an opinion, judgement, fear or hand in it, that I realize this is how it works. It’s not easy to release control when fear is served up frequently. Digesting fear and reacting from fear gives the illusion that somehow I actually have control. Nope, nope, nope.
Staying in the moment. Not reacting from judgements of the past. Not spinning the dial to figure out the next move for the future. Quite the contrary… just stopping and feeling the right now. Centering with 5 things I hear, 5 things I see, 5 things I feel. Right now…being in the present…where this is no fear of the next minute and no history to react from.
No planning, no commitment to do better, no promise to stay in the moment…just being aware when my small self starts thinking and planning and judging. That’s the moment it’s possible to just stop and center!
A Facebook post by my friend, Tami, woke me up this morning. She is “healing” from back to back years of family deaths including her husband who was her soul mate, her love and Half of Her. Over the last few years she has included her authentic healing thoughts and fears and anger through her blogs and to and with her friends. This morning she posted the song, Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean. It wasn’t a song I knew even though I think it is a decade old. But to make a long story shorter, I YouTubed it and these two lines stuck out to me:
“Memory Lane up in the headlights. It got me reminiscing on the good times”
I have meaningful loving experiences on a day to day basis. Often when I take a memory photo of my experiences, I feel like I am one of the luckiest people I know in spite of the hardships and the mental fears of the future that I continually give energy to as I go into battle with them. But I often look back at my younger years…say my early 20’s or 40’s and have wistful longings for the good ole days.
…..and I know I’m not the only person who lives a good bit of life in my memories….including the hateful ones I have not yet healed from. Tami’s post hit a trigger nerve and brought clear realization that I love to think about those good times but when I have a negative memory pop in, I often immediately go to anger and hatefulness and then realize I’m doing it again and Force myself to STOP thinking about it…but, maybe the answer is to just sit with the emotion for a few moments. (Not the story but how it made me feel). Perhaps then I can mute the trigger.
The good memories…let them come, I love to smile and laugh and remember those who made me feel love and joy!
I fully recognize that I am not in a gentle place right now. I’m not doing my morning centering, meditations and I miss that contented 2020 peacefulness. That’s not to say I didn’t have a thin thread of fear running through my head about COVID but I settled in to experience those early months of the virus without the busyness that is overwhelming me now. He and I were content to just “be” in this house together…doing what felt right in the moment. We talked several times about how good it felt not to have a schedule, and not to have commitments. It was the first time I really understood that everything is vibration and energy. In simple terms, I understood the concept of sitting in the center of a room and watching my thoughts play out on screens around me. Those thoughts are not me, they are only visual concepts that change from one moment to another depending on what gets my attention.
So wah wah wah, I’m circling back! I’m releasing commitments and responsibilities that I chose for the wrong reasons. I know I must discern when my attention is drawn to those movie previews in my brain that apparently are causing me to “feel” uncomfortable, unsettled and irritable. I know that by focusing on the negative; by attempting to rationalize everything, I will experience instant karma serving it all back on a platter to me. I am what I think. Knowing I am capable of following my North Star, recognizing my emotions when I feel them….sitting with them until they subside and then with gratitude for the “I AM” soul that is me. There is nothing outside of myself that needs to be concerning or considered as I move forward in peace with my intuition and my knowing.
Why do I think everyone else’s life is better than my own?
I know that these thoughts usually only settle in when I am feeling irritable without a cause or irritable with a cause. So…irritable.
Or when I’m feeling sorry for myself…without a cause or with a cause.
Or when I have committed or not committed to do something in the future that I am often unable to follow through when the moment is now. Actually this particular situation has taken care of itself, for the most part, because I am learning the lesson of NO.. just say NO because it is not something I want to do at this time. Often after I have said NO….I feel very empowered. Standing up for myself…even if I can’t respond immediately because in the moment I don’t know if it’s a yes or no, I do understand that in the next second I may have an answer. I’ve accepted that I have quite a vocabulary and a mouth and I know how to use them.
Often when I’m driving in a new neighborhood, city, state, country – especially on a vacation – I think..ya..I like this area, I could live here or No…I don’t even want to eat ice cream here. Those memories seem to live in my consciousness so I can pull them out when I’m feeling irritable, sorry for myself, put upon, not appreciated. I USE THEM to compare my present moment with the illusion of the moment in my memory. It’s hard to remember the difference between fantasy and what I’m experiencing in the present.
But then…I can find myself when I’m sitting in solitary on the deck watching the water ripple on the pond, see the gentleness of the geese skimming across the water, an occasional ruffled feather, hear the birds tweeting in the wren house above my head, feeling the sun on my skin…reality sinks in and I know that I wouldn’t trade THIS or my life for anything. Which has me questioning sentence number 1 above:
Why do I think everyone else’s life is better than my own.
There is often a huge crevice between expectations associated with our choices and Reality… Capital R – Reality. Simply put, I’m in the drive thru of my favorite coffee shop, waiting for my turn to order, I make a snap decision and choose to get a large calorie laden coffee with caffeine, sugar and real whipped cream rather than my usual healthier choice of a regular decaf brew. In that moment of choice, I may set into motion a day of regrets and negative self talk because of the one moment (monumental?) decision. I’m hung up on the little jagged edge in the crevice as the the self talk…the disappointment in my choice…. morphs into the inner voice screaming why did I do it and why do I always make the wrong choice….this negative self talk and self irritation continues on and on even into the next morning as I step on the scale, not knowing that this one little coffee choice may be forgotten, but has become a building block for the next second, day, year, lifetime.
Sounds a little over-dramatic that a cup of coffee could set your life on spin but how many times do we make a choice, a decision that seemed right in the moment, but find out as life happens that it might not have been the best decision…..but…..oh how we fear intentional change…we fear the unknown. Like the wrong career choice, the bad marriage, the wrong investment, the wrong doctor. These “moment” choices can set our life on a trajectory of angst, hardship, anger or mental self abuse? When, actually, in any moment, we can make a different choice. Life doesn’t happen to us…We choose in each moment and each breath! We can step back and ask ourselves….hmmmm, “How is that working for me?” and then make a change, or a different choice by ordering the planned regular decaf brew!
The way we view our life is one drama after another drama or a sitcom after sitcom or an entire How-to HGTV day perhaps seeing other colors to use as our background. The choices and decisions are ours to make. In my life I have lived many stories. I’ve told myself and edited narratives while identifying with each story while also including play by play -free of charge- to anyone who would listen. It’s not an easy habit to break, but I realized that I created the monsters and the beauty of realization is that as soon as I “open my eyes” the monsters disappear. Until I actually believe they are real, they do not belong to me!
“February 21. If I had experienced different things, I would have different things to say.
So often, I have felt troubled and guilty bearing witness to my pain, and yet, not to make things worse. Somehow, in saying just what Mother had done in her cruel need to be the center, or just what Father couldn’t do out of his fear of facing my mother; somehow, telling the truth as I know it makes me feel like a bad person – as if I’m making my pain up, as if I’m hurting others by saying bad things about them.
But the unshakable bottom of all this is that I’m not making things up. If I have unkind things to say, its because I’ve experienced unkind things. And so, my only guide in this witnessing is to be accurate and honest. While I am not a victim, I didn’t ask for certain shaping experiences to happen to me. I didn’t ask to be slapped or ridiculed as a boy or to be mistreated by lifelong friends later in life. In truth, If I had experienced different things, I would have different things to say.
What is most healing about bearing witness to things exactly as they are, including my own part in my pain, is that when the voice of the pain fits the pain, there is no room for distortion or illusion. In this way, truth becomes a clean bandage that heals, keeping dirt out of the wound.
To voice things as they are is the nearest medicine.”
I call it working knowledge…all of the encounters, judgements, observations and a lifetime of the resulting lessons that I draw from over this lifetime aid me in traversing through this human experience as I navigate the cube I live in.
I choose the word CUBE here…like ice cube. Throw an ice cube in a glass of warm water…it eventually melts into something else….liquid form…but while in the glass together with other cubes, we trust and rely on each other’s energy to sustain life as an ice cube a little longer. Eventually though, we morph into another form…water….liquid…we have no idea where or how our journey continues… nor do we have any control….in that moment, we are BEING an INFINITE drop of energy….a drop of water.
From an early age (childhood) I learned that I had responsibilities. Not for just cleaning out the dishwasher but to rinse the dirty dishes, load the dishwasher “correctly”, run the dishwasher, empty it and begin again. This duty was not totally my responsibility but a metaphor for my childhood. From an early age, I felt responsible for my mother’s happiness and if pledge and dusting the living room furniture every other day was what kept her mental health intact then that’s what I needed to do.
Fast forward 6 decades. I’m very responsible. I do what needs to be done. I people please. I consider myself an empath and wear other peoples moods and emotions under my own clothes. This is a curse or a gift depending on how I experience it in my life.
A coffee date with a couple of girlfriends (who are like my Siri navigation giving me options of which route to take) reminded me that I need to set boundaries. I need to listen within to navigate what is mine to do. What brings me joy and contentment? What causes me to want to run fast toward or away from experiences….and the best advice….to seek answers from my inner guides before I close my eyes to sleep. So many life decisions are made as we slumber, when the ego is asleep and the deep inner soul has peace and quiet to figure it out.
Searching for a recipe, I realized that today was as good as any to make a stab at organization. I have a tendency to pull out a recipe, make the dish and stuff the recipe back in the box in the front or back ignoring the TABS WITH THE CATEGORY written on them. It is apparently a difficult concept for my embarrassingly lack of detail for the small things in my life!
Today I have committed to transferring recipes in that pile in the top left onto recipe cards.
While I started out dreading this process, pretty soon I was reading recipes to him and telling him from memory where I got it or the first time I made it. Like a dessert with chocolate I made the first time I cooked for him in 1978 before I knew he didn’t like chocolate (I married him anyway). But todays blessing for me was remembering the givers of the recipes…family and friends…many not with me anymore….but the memory of the breakfast casserole from Mary or Aunt Frances’ radish dip, my mom’s scalloped oysters and Jane’s grape salad brought them so close I could hear and feel them.
Someday I anticipate my daughters going through my recipe box saying OH GOD REMEMBER WHEN MOM MADE THIS or more gently with a tear, oh god, remember when mom made this. Our memories come back to us in many ways…I cherish the ones that I remember as a tear slides down my cheek!
Recognizing the emotion. I remember myself and my history as having 3 recognizable emotions and I knew what to do with them…Sob/cry, let it all out laugh, and that feeling in my forehead of rage which I would not normally let out. Everything else (the initial build up) just felt like discomfort…and most of the time I was able to distract myself from that feeling by eating…yes eating….that always felt good….
It wasn’t until I learned and started applying “new thought” “Unity” principles to change the way I think that I began to notice the uneasiness that normally preceded one of the described emotions. The little tickle of laughter as I began to smile was easy because I could belt out a loud laugh that could be heard round the world (it used to embarrass me because it was loud). Second came recognizing the irritation and anger….that was also easy because I carried it around so often and for so long before it burst….but the uneasiness that would make me cry…that was different.
The uneasiness of violence (perhaps because of my mother and the yardstick), witnessing sadness in my beloveds and the world, witnessing murder and death of animals (this is actually the most difficult for me). This uneasiness I felt this morning watching the geese on the frozen pond and thinking…just stop….it’s time to go where it’s warmer…why won’t you go?
It brought that feeling of fear, uncertainty, grief, this doesn’t feel right to my heart. I snapped this picture, stepped back and was grateful that I was actually able to identify the feeling/emotion so that I could stand with it a moment and release it rather than letting it be the first block in the tower of emotional blocks that could/would stack up in my day until I burst free with sobbing, laughing or screaming about something that had nothing to do with anything!
If you are doing the work…working through habits and emotions…you are not alone….sometimes feelings hurt but ignoring them does not make them go away. Eventually they burst forward!