I went down the dictionary rabbit hole this morning while I was trying to attach a label to a behavior I don’t particularly appreciate in myself. Curmudgeon was the word in my head and defined as…bad tempered and old…and what’s more, the female version is HAG! I don’t really think the shoe fits but..whatever!
I lived nearly all of my adult life in a rural area…on a gravel road in the country among the trees and the deer and rabbits. I grew up a city girl in a neighborhood with all of the utility and community advantages but with only a modicum of privacy. It took me a long while to appreciate the peace and silence living the timber life. Which morphed back to I can’t live another moment in this loneliness and inconvenience once the last daughter left home and I neared retirement.
So…the day we retired…we moved 4 hours away to a small town in another state to a neighborhood…to living amongst people…..and with this came a huge inconvenience.
I thought I was going to lose my mind in the last few months from raps on the door from political candidates, tree trimmers, roofers and now Medicare supplement insurance agents. After a particularly profane cerebral meltdown after two solicitors within 30 minutes, I bought “the sign”.
It’s not lost on me that many of these folks are just hoofing it for business…just trying to make a living…doing what it takes to survive…but it’s also a waste of their time to knock on my door because the answer will always be the same. NO! You don’t need to find me, I will find you….
Because I have nothing urgent to do several hours a day….and I define urgency as drinking too much water in one sitting…I find myself on Facebook….and by “on Facebook”, I mean watching Facebook videos about hair. If we don’t choose wisely, the algorithm insanity states that if we click on one interesting idea that pops up on Facebook, the topic or associated topics become our social media life whether we choose it or not.
I’ve had very long hair, very short hair and hair of various colors and hues. I started coloring my hair when I was 16… I loved playing with my hair…styling it, coloring it, streaking it, sun-in hair lighteners. I’ve been nearly black, chocolate, purple and one unfortunate, very bright apple red/Sunkist orange before a vacation. I thought about being a hair professionally in the 70’s but didn’t take geometry so figured I would suck at angles.
Because I recently was hooked on a 30 minute video of a stylist cutting an older woman’s hair, I’ve been inundated with videos of stylists and hair and hair color and all of the latest toys for anyone with hair. This morning, I watched a stylist comb and part and ponytail and then form a HUGE bun on top of a women’s head. Before this morning I had no idea working hair into a huge bun was even possible. I’m just letting you know as a caution, if you see this video pop up now that I’ve mentioned it, do NOT click on it.
The thought has occurred to me that I wonder if there really was a Repunzel who let down her golden hair..betraying her beloved which caused his fall and blindness. And seriously, from hair we got peeping Toms as “Tom” apparently broke the rules and watched Lady Godiva ride naked through the streets… But most of all now I want to know why and how Godiva chocolate gots it’s name but there is no way I’m going to google it or click on any chocolate cooking videos because I do not need to be inundated with chocolate. I have enough problems!
I used to joke (ok…not really a joke) that the best way to eat chocolate (like those chocolate stars that used to be available in movie theaters but now may be bought in bulk from a buy-your-stuff-in-bulk-store) was to stuff my mouth full of that melty chocolate until it began to seep out of the corners. I now believe that this theory…while I still believe it to be true…was really just an analogy of the way I lived my life.
Everything was either really good or really bad and I did not have much desire to just float along. I either had to go full throttle to love it/fix it or ruminate. I either really liked someone or something and enveloped my whole being in that comfort or really disliked it/them and then was disappointed when life didn’t play out the way I could accept.
But with age, therapy and embracing spirituality rather than organized religion, I’m realizing that my years of angst had everything to do with my expectations and the stories in my head. Those stories on replay…those stories queued to play my favorite tune when I needed justification for my opinions or behavior. Once I had the “discipline” to stop, drop and roll, I loosened my grip on my need for black and white, hate and love, yes and no.
With every breath we have the ability to change the way we think. We don’t need to breathe in the very same air we just exhaled. We are not preprogrammed to pass or fail depending on what “happened to us” the last time we tried. Changing the way we think changes our life. It’s not how someone reacts to us, it is how we react to our own thinking.
Yesterday I did this! I went for a walk around the pond and just kept following my feet down the path for about 1/2 a mile. It was warm when the sun would peek through, a fall breeze blowing fall leaves…I embraced the smells, the beauty, and wind blowing through my hair. The best part was I stopped several times…there was no destination, there was no goal. It just felt like a walk with my dad as I chatted with him and asked a lot of questions.
So many gifts he handed down to me. For a short time I found myself teary….why didn’t I get out of the house all summer and fall, why didn’t I ask my dad more questions, why didn’t I this and that!
Until I realized I just didn’t. The past is the past and I did exactly what felt right to me in the past. This is now and I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Each time I embrace the right now and let go of the shoulda, I find peace. This is also one of the shouldas that followed…why don’t I do “this” all the time? Because its just not what is right for me in that “all the time narrative” that I like to have preprinted for my life. Right now is right now.
I came back and jotted this haiku that had formed somewhere in my soul!
Watching the Biden/Harris acceptance speeches from Wilmington, Delaware tonight, I felt peace! I felt a sense of safety and Unity! I am emotional thinking about what is possible for my grandchildren and especially my granddaughter now that Kamala Harris not only broke through the glass ceiling but demolished it.
I also know that RBG, John Lewis, John McCane and Elijah Cummings were there celebrating with us. Their energy, their love for America, their goodness was there with us in each tear, in each breath.
I had no idea how depressed I was…I had no idea how much of my life had been sucked out of me…I had no idea how I had just given up…..I had no idea how angry I was…
Until the moment President-elect Biden and Vice-President elect Harris were finally affirmed to be the next President and VP! I was overcome with emotion. 100 years after Women were given the right to vote, a woman has been elected Vice President of the United Stated…..Ladies, WE HAVE ARRIVED!
Regular words are not available to me to describe the Hope and Love that surged into my body. I am finally calm and I (we) know I (we) can accomplish anything now! We are here!
I put my right foot in, right foot out but it took me awhile to turn my thinking around this morning. I did not watch back to back election coverage last night….in fact I watched an old goodie “As time Goes By” on Britbox. I wondered if I was the only one chuckling through the hours while fear and uncertainty was overwhelming the nation. THEN I reasoned with myself that I should just check Twitter before I went to sleep just so I would know.
Know what we have come to expect. A multitude of talking heads just talking and spewing like a grade school play ground….he said this, she said that….here’s what’s going to happen…no it is not. Nothing accomplished in my decision other than I was able to align myself with fear of the unknown and start down that well worn path of OMG how will we live through this if the right character isn’t leading our government.
What is mine to do? Where I see myself right now is living in the moment. This moment with a cat on my lap, drinking my coffee with the sunlight shining through the East window blinding me. Right this moment in my life am I ok? Not my thoughts and fears about the next moment and not my memories of the past…right this moment
Letting my emotions run wild with fear and anger over something I have no way of knowing or changing the outcome is useless. Right here and right now I must just experience this present moment knowing that the future moments will be lived and experienced as everything changes with each new breath.
It’s a daily habit….I don’t see it as a good habit…but one I don’t anticipate giving up in the near future…Facebook scrolling. One time I seriously analyzed why “I” am addicted to this particular social media more than the others. Oh, I have accounts with several of the others but they seem to be an “if I think about it” or “if I’m particularly bored” place I go. But Facebook…Facebook is my connection to out there. My friends are my beloveds right after my family and my cats (who are literally IN MY FACE) most of the time. I cherish my beloved friends….and for the most part, if we could be and are not (no longer) friends on Facebook there is a reason.
Usually I observe, love, smile or frown, and swipe but every now and then a Facebook meme will get me….yesterday it was this one…I cannot remember one that filled me with so much energy…so much YA! At first I felt it as an OMG what next in 2020…then I felt it as POWER….Here we come and everything is going to be ok!
How we feel about and see anything is our choice. We either follow the herd or wander away. We either get taken in with the noise or we find our peace in the quiet. We either love or we fear. It’s all completely our choice!
This blog post is not about how Rev Erin intellectually, artfully, poignantly, spot-on weaves stories and thoughts together on Sunday morning. Those life stories which brings us all together understanding love, understanding joy and often balling our eyes out before she sends us off with a knowing that we will survive the next minutes the next hour, the next few months with our challenges.
This little blog is a reminder about the option to log into zoom and be a part of Sunday service up close and personal with not only Steve Epley’s music, Rev Brandon and Rev Erin but US….those of us who meet together every Sunday morning. The richness is seeing each other’s faces! Now, of course, there is the option of turning your camera off for privacy but it doesn’t usually take long for newcomers to get comfortable once they see how everyone else shows up!
When life changed and we began quarantining because of the virus, I was pretty excited that we could still have a service on Facebook Live Streaming. But when the Zoom option came up, I didn’t understand how much more inclusive it would feel. Sunday mornings isn’t quite the same not meeting in the chapel but second best is greeting each other face to face as we participate in the zoom service and the 30 minute after service conversation with our Revs and each other!
I am here for you if you need assistance figuring out this zoom thing. Leave me a comment or FB message me and I will be happy to walk you through it. In fact there are a lot of us willing and able to help…please reach out.
Zoom service compared to Facebook Live streaming is like frosting on a cake!