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!
When my 92 year old mother passed in 2009, I expected to have instant healing from a lifetime of a dysfunctional relationship with her. That’s not the way in works.
Christmas Season was the good month in my growing up years….it’s what my mother did well. I am an only child and Christmas was magical as my mother showered me with many things from my wish list. I did not realize it at the time but this was the way she showed me that I was loved. This recognition and realization was a huge beginning for my healing…..I WAS loved…because her love did not resemble what I expected in our daily experiences together, I totally missed it.
Every Christmas since 2009, I have been on an emotion roller coaster, of unmet expectations…until I worked through the details of those emotional expectations …. until I figured out that The Christmas season does not mean the same thing …. Love….to everyone around me….until I have my Annual Christmas cry because I miss my mom and dad and Aunt Frances….until I make Scalloped oyster with my mom …. Her recipe anyway….
Making scalloped oysters today, with my mom in my heart and a good ole Christmas cry!
Although I told Him when I got home from my Dermatology appointment that had I known that 50 plus years in the future I would have to have skin cancer and precancerous lesions removed, I would have still “layed out” in the sun….because quite frankly few things were more relaxing…..and I always felt beautiful and invulnerable with a great tan!
Back in April, I had a squamous cell lesion removed from my left cheek. I was told that they are quite common because the left cheek is naked to the car window when driving. So now I have a scar which doesn’t look beautiful. A couple months ago, I became “more” aware of a bump on my jaw line and decided to make an appointment to have it checked out along with a full body check as long as I was there. It really looked nothing like the first one…but, another fun medical treatment…. Cryosurgery to remove 5 precancerous lesions….yes…there were 5…the freezing burns like hell…it was like that point you get to when you think I can’t stand one more second and then it stops…apparently they will scab over, heal and go away….thankfully!
“Nothing else to be concerned about”…as she was telling me that everything else looked great, I was Observing my obvious sun damaged arms and legs…WOW. Please do what I’m going to do…..wear sunscreen especially on your face and have a dermatologist look at your bumps and age spots!
The good news is I’m starting to understand…understanding my little habits and attachments that eventually cause me pain and negativity and dis-ease. Actually I feel like this is a big step in the big picture of my life in the 6th decade… Just because I learned it as a child…perfected it as an adult and continue just mindlessly riding the wave …. does not mean I cannot change my thinking, my attitude, my habits!
So the Way I see this is it’s all me…it’s all my choices….its all the difference in my thinking…or lack of thinking. I either live life big and in the moment or I continue doing what I have been doing while lamenting the unfairness of life.
and I must say that once again I have been pulled into memes on social media including those that I just liked but did not take the time to check sources….but I decided to use this even though apparently Albert Einstein did not say it….its a mantra I have been rolling with for a couple years now and in my mind, it actually says everything that needs to be said.
Sitting on the couch this morning, I “felt” a small tremor….like when several cats on a mission jumps off the back of the couch or someone drops a heavy object in another part of the house or like when dynamite detonates at one of the two nearby quarries…..I sat for a moment waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop…and it didn’t…no truck running into the house, no apparent earthquake …all seemed to be well in the moment.
Which lead me to >>>>just another lesson in fear….as I waited for the thinking and worry to start “omg what was that” to mess up my Friday morning, …my thoughts were on high alert….what might happen, what might that have been, should I check Facebook to see if anyone is talking about it. I could have lost a whole second, minute, hour or day by allowing my mind to go totally unsupervised with all the possibilities that are “possible”……you know….with some imaginary event that has just not happened yet! This minor or probable catastrophic event that will change my life, make me sad, irritate me, scare me to death or cause me great hardship.
I am becoming aware that all the things I plan for or try to get in front of never happen…every day I go through life stepping over mole hills that never turn into mountains. Putting my nervous systems….all body systems…..on high alert….ready for the saber tooth tiger.
How many times do I have to jolt myself back to reality…back to JUST STOP! Just breath! Just change your thoughts with a hard stop and recalculate like the GPS on your phone. Logic tells me that by practicing this new way of just accepting what is actually happening without drama or color, it will become easier to navigate daily experiences with my body relaxed and my mind at peace!