I write this with a sticky thumb from the sticky knife I’m using to eat from an old cream cheese frosting container as I goop it on saltine crackers. It all started last night and I knew it was going to be a serious one because I don’t eat sugar…so not only did I know that it was going to be unhealthy, mess with my blood sugar and cause sickening sugar heartburn, I gave in. I was actually rather irritated that I couldn’t use the graham crackers in the cupboard that I bought for a graham cracker crust for Thanksgiving day dessert…..because you see frosting and graham crackers have always been a go-to for triggers. So the story I told myself to make it better was…see…..I do have SOME discipline!
I am learning that triggers are reactions to discomfort within. Something or someone irritates me, or causes me to feel discomfort (sad, envious, hurt) down there in my heart or in my head and I react with either bitterness or hatefulness, profanity or a number of articulate sentences meant to hurt the person who hurt me….and thus “it” (which I believe is instant karma) begins.
I respond…it hits a wall….the response exacerbates already tender emotions and I respond …. and as the volley is returned, it brings with it the memory of another “something” I reacted to which moves even deeper into my body damaging and disrupting everything in its path until, there just doesn’t seem to be any choice left other than removing the lid from a brand new container of cream cheese frosting….
Now that’s not exactly how it worked last night…last night I felt lonely, I felt frustrated because of the pandemic, I felt very sad that I will not be with my loves on Thursday and I felt intense anger that there are people out there too damn selfish to put on a mask to save someone else life.
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….
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.
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.
on the phone this morning…..This is really the first time I can remember that I’ve lost control with a business on the phone. But I know it happens after 30 years as a 911 dispatcher.
This business was in charge of sending me medical supplies in June…I received them in August because they were shipped to a different person in a different city who happened to be different gender. A couple phone calls to their business office, I learned that I was wrong because their records showed that the supplies had been sent and received by me because their computer said so. I finally was able to make my case with someone with “service skills”.
But the story does not end there. They send me a bill but had not filed with my insurance….said they had…but my insurance company said nope, no they haven’t. 2 phone calls and 3 emails later, I gave up because their business office told me I was wrong because the computer said so. Ok. Whatever. I didn’t feel this was my problem anymore. I had my supplies, they didn’t have the money and I had kept documentation of correspondence.
Until the phone rang at 8am this OCTOBER morning from the company telling me they were having trouble filing my insurance because they had the wrong information for me.
My kind and professional demeanor moved to the back seat as I let loose unloading on “Tara” what I thought of the company, their lack of public service and my frustration level which seemed like she could probably figure out depending on what her computer told her. The anger just flowed very smoothly from my mouth to her ear and you know what…I felt better. I’m sure “Tara”, NOT wearing HER public service voice, did not go to work armed for rampage this morning. I remember how it felt to start my morning with a yeller, but my guilt is only about a 2 on a 10 scale. And so, I leave the frustration right here, right now, Dear Diary. I don’t need to carry it with me…
The emotional explosion which has been simmering on a level, I was not even aware of, occurred yesterday around 10:30 AM.
Woke up knowing it was the birthday of one of my best- friends-ever who transitioned in 2010. Felt the first tear on my cheek while searching for a couple of pictures of him to post on Facebook for my yearly birthday reminder to all that love him. We most often spent his birthday week at marching band festivals because he was the high school band director…but most importantly we usually spent some part of a couple these weeks in October with him camping and fly fishing.
In Chapter 6 in the the book Embracing Uncertainty, Susan Jeffers talks about her heros….including concentration camp survivor, Viktor Frankl and spiritual teacher and stroke survivor, Ram Dass. Again I thought of Brett…the person in my life who gave me the courage to just be me. Rev Erin, in her weekly message using the hero chapter in Jeffers book, took the story to a personal level for each of us. Sharing her life experiences with her own heros and encouraging us…the congregants… to become aware of the hero’s in our lives and recognize what we learned and what we honor in those heros. Finally using that wisdom in our own lives… absorbing it into our consciousness sharing it/them with the world.
And there it was. The finger was removed from the hole in the dam as I was able to finally experience the grief I have been feeling since becoming aware of the COVID 19 virus. The sadness I had been feeling all week. The sadness and anger I’m feeling about missing the usual activities of spring, summer and fall… missing my family, my children and grandchildren, not seeing friends….the loss of so many opportunities as well as the anger about the division in our country .. the fear I have felt off and on because of the incredible death and destruction in so many lives…
While this explosion of emotion was not pleasant at the time, I recognize the peace that came from experiencing it….letting it come…sitting with the pain in my heart until I was able to become silent.
I had one yesterday…My work schedule begins very early in the morning and I am blessed that I am able to work from my office/craft room in the basement…so grateful … so very grateful that I don’t have to be “out there”. But with this convenience AND inconvenience of the virus around the world comes restlessness. While eating lunch yesterday, I heard myself “shoulding”!
From my permanent self assigned seat in the living room, I watched the gentle movement of the leafless tree branches in the breeze. I knew the light breeze, the blue sky and the comforting temperature would lift my soul if I would only take that first step…off the couch and stepping out the door.
But I didn’t!
It seems to be where I am right now. Thoughts of my least favorite season’s rapid approach is freezing the joy right out of me. The politics of the US, my dedication to social distancing because of the virus and all of the other depressing stories I am telling myself are what is keeping me down. AND I KNOW THESE ARE ONLY ILLUSIONS BASED UPON THE PAST and not my life in this present moment. I know that I need to take that first step to pull myself out of my perception of what is ahead …. the winter doldrums.
So this morning I am envisioning my dear friends and family locking arms, moving forward in the street, the wind blowing our hair away from our faces as we throw our heads back and laugh at the pure joy in our hearts and the love we have for each other. We are enough…it is enough. We are all in this together…It feels better to feel the love and joy than the feeling of the dead of winter in my soul!
I’m learning to opt out of participating in human drama whether it be in my own head or participating with all of my senses with everyone else here on earth. This has actually brought me some peace of mind during the pandemic as I have removed myself from politics. I read the headlines in order keep up on what is going on in the country? What I am finding is when I actually “click” on the occasional news story nothing has changed from the last time I clicked. There is only fear-generating expressions of opinions!
Each fall, members of Unity Village Chapel read the same book….individually, then many of us join together in small groups to discuss the book. This one, Embracing Uncertainty Chapter 3, had me overwhelmed with insight. Thus the cut and paste project I worked on last night. It was a very effective way to concentrate on energetic phrases from the chapter to cement them on my heart and in my soul.
“Expectations create attachments…a hope something turns out a certain way”
Often we are unable to let go of our expectation….
“Expectations carry disappointments rigidity, anger, impatience and obsession”
“The moment expectations appear in the form of hope, desire or a wish, close your eyes, take out the imaginary scissors to cut the cord of expectation. Release it like a balloon drifting away from you.”
Well here we are at 1:49 am on a Sunday morning…the nerd and his sister woke me again. I visit with these two often in the middle of the night. I’m not really sure what she looks like but he is wearing a too tight white shirt with a black tie and as we have become acquainted when my eyes fly open in the middle of the night, I swear if he stood up it would be Sheldon from Big Bang. It seems the nerd is always silently enunciating words to me which feels like he’s trying to explain something and it appears he is sitting in a Hy Vee parking lot. As I made my way to the bathroom this morning, I freaked myself out with the thought…oh dear God what if they are my spirit guides that I’ve been curious about?
Thus I’m wide awake now writing words.
I sleep in our day bed 2 nights a week in my office/craft room because I get up at 4:15 to prepare for my job. No need to wake Him and the cats at 4:15 am “preparing” which means I roll out, turn on the keurig, half turn and click on the computer and head to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Since starting this job with the early morning routine, often I find myself waking up with a start once to several times a night. Anxiety I’m guessing….and the nerd and his sister are usually my first vision.
Across from my bed in the office is one of those huge round clocks from a couple decades ago…night before last I jumped out of bed because in the dark room, the hands on the clock were on 6:00…I overslept. While the nerd and his sister didn’t appear, I’m positive he was there snickering when I realized it was really only 11:30 pm as I passed by the microwave clock … I had been asleep 3 hours.
So now I will open my book and read a couple/three paragraphs until my eyes get heavy and I gratefully nod off. It works nearly every night. I’m hoping that addressing the Nerd in a nocturnal blog strips him of the joy of waking me in the middle of the night for nothing more than a few seconds of silent demonstrative blabber….wonder what he is really trying to tell me?
I was recently on the receiving end of tears…I wasn’t really sure why I was crying but I knew I was triggered because something needed to be healed. I started writing things down and found myself here..at the blog space. There are sadness tears that fall, say, funeral tears or just extreme loss and sadness tears. Those tears don’t seem to need anyone to “control” them. I just need to hold a space for them until they dry up.
There are anger tears. Anger tears seem to have a purpose for me. I think of them more as rage tears. Rage Tears deserve their honor in a place of respect, cleansing and healing. I welcome rage tears because they protect me from myself…its really hard to keep a volatile situation volatile when one person is crying and not contributing to the dark energy.
Sometimes there are those incredible laughter tears…for me, those are usually accompanied by the inability to breath and sore stomach muscles because it is just that funny.
And there are love tears…empathy tears, I have such deep feeling tears. Those tears may start and end abruptly or they may lead to a softening which often leads me to music and a feeling of gratitude.
The embarrassment of crying in front of someone has it’s home in your ego…your small self…the fear that you will appear weak, emotional, any of the society’s stereotypical label. Crying is not a girl thing, women’s work, unstable, not masculine…crying means you are strong. Not feeling embarrassment about tears means you are a warrior! I am strong and I am sensitive and I know how to love!