Back many zears ago when I was introduced to Scrabble…. I groaned when I pulled the letters Z and Q. In my head, I zhink ok…I’m zunk. At least if you picked up a U with a Q there was hope. One day after a particularly irritating game of X, Q and Z, I googled words that contain Z. Holy crap, Zman, you are valuable…not only are you worth 10 points on your own but together with z other letters, you, alone can contribute 30 points to a word on a TW block. Z very important to have.
As things come together in my life, I’m reminded of concepts, rules, disciplines that I’ve learned and agreed to throughout the years. Some taught to me, other expected of me, many I agreed to due to manipulation but most of them adopted by me because of fear and control issues.
After a particularly emotional, healing and nurturing Love and Wellness Zoom meeting with several of my UVC peeps this afternoon, I came away knowing that I continue to fight/battle Z emotions. The destructive habits I have learned soooo well over the years keep me in my own misery. Releasing dreaded public tears, I felt my fear and anxiety washing away. As we said our “see”-you-laters, once again I learned that the Z’s in my life are valuable and there for a reason. I MUST learn to sit with them, feel them until “magically Z find its place on my spiritual scrabble board as I release zit.
After a particularly emotional, loving and safe UVC Zoom group this morning, I spent some time in thoughtful meditation allowing the gratitude to settle in my bones.
In the 8 months since the COVID-19 virus was officially discovered (announced), we have all had to adapt to this new normal. We’ve been forced to slow down, pay attention and figure how to live 6 feet from each other. After the first few months or since the science based guidelines have been established…wash your hands, social distance and wear a mask…AND my personal rule DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN, I’ve not been overwhelmed by fear for myself. That’s not to say some days boredom hasn’t been an issue and often finding myself down in the rabbit hole with sadness and grief not being able to see my kids and grandkids. When our granddaughter was born at the end of March, not being able to see her in person brought me to my knees.
The bright light in this pandemic experience for Phil and me has been finding our balance on zoom outings with our tribe of friends at Unity Village Chapel. Meditations, prayer, arts and crafts, discussions with New Thought leaders. Book studies .. reading together and discussing, we meet for game nights, we talk, talk, talk. Just like the zoom gathering this morning…9 of us came together to discuss a food train for a Unity Village family with COVID, each of us sharing our personal pandemic feelings, fears, sadness and blessings. Supporting one another in Love and Wellness knowing that anyone in the group would wipe away the tears of another if we had been physically together.
It is not necessary to attend Unity Village Chapel or even live in the Kansas City area to find yourself in a “Brady Bunch”square most days of the week and especially Sunday mornings for the talk by Rev Erin and the after church discussion she hosts. All that is necessary is an internet signal along with a phone, tablet or computer. There is always room.
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!
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.
My daughter put random pictures on line last weekend of her cousins playing and posing for pictures over the years. Looking at those pictures, I was filled with so many memories. It seems like just yesterday.
In 2013, we had one daughter living in Ohio and one in Missouri. HE had already officially retired and was working part time waiting for me to retire the next year when we found out the Missouri daughter was going to give us a grandchild. We made the decision to leave everything we had ever known and move south . We loaded up 2 dogs and 5 cats and made the official move on the same day I was free of a job I had for 30 years. Where had those 30 years gone? It seems like just yesterday.
The first part of March we really had no idea how our life was going to change. It seems like just yesterday. Life as we had known it…family, trips back to Iowa to see family and friends, planning babysitting activities, going out to eat, shopping and our activities at Unity….they just stopped! It seemed like everything just stopped! I can’t wrap my head around how life has changed for the world…not just my little corner.
We are coping. That means whatever it means for each individual and the circumstances of their lives! I have to remind myself that we are a strong people. Most of us will survive. My prayer is we can show love and kindness to each human we cross paths with while recognizing the gratitude and thankfulness for all of those little acts of kindness. A few years from now we will remember this time as the moment everything changed. It will seem like just yesterday.
……and by mental, I mean what is the story we are telling ourselves. As I wander around the house seeing things that need to be done, I tell myself I don’t really want to do them. These are the exact same things I had all kinds of excuses for back in January and February…you know….the good old days.
Now because the “powers that be” have instituted new rules to keep me safe, I feel like I’m being disciplined. This is in no way a Pollyanna commentary that everything is just fine…there is a lot of suffering. But I am trying to just watch the back-of-my-mind running narration telling me that if this was my choice….a stay at home vacation….needed down time from the busyness, I would not be complaining at all. I would be breathing in the solitude…I would be enjoying the guiltless time to read a book, catch up on TV series I had recorded, settling in for an afternoon movie. It’s not like we are without any options for our leisure time.
Is it safe to say that the angst, anger, boredom in our required downtime is more the story we are telling ourselves than reality…saying “I can’t” rather than “I won’t”. Because of the fear of “catching” the virus and the uncertainty of available health care or for me….mortality, I choose to not have any physical association with others. But if that were not a fear… I have the choice …. like so many others are doing …. ignore the rules in order to satisfy immediate gratification. Theoretically this makes it my choice!
This may be activity day for the egoic voices in my head. This thought pattern was only the first 15 minutes of coffee in my hand, on the couch, waking up….buckle up!
Last year when I had foot surgery, I remember laying in bed with my foot propped. Often out of my ever loving mind thanks to pharmaceuticals. Attempting to have some understanding of the book I had been wanting to read. Watching the same episode of a recorded show several times because I could NOT keep my eyes open or my brain awake in order to have any type of comprehension! “What did he say?”
Soon I was up clomping about with my big black boot….and soon I was wanting to sit around and read and watch movies and I thought …wow I wish I could go back to bed and veg without guilt….of course I didn’t…I planned for the next day, the next week, the next meeting, thinking about the forecast for tomorrow, griping about future events…thinking and worrying about everything I had to do….so much thinking….
Fast forward a year. Here I am in my theoretical bed again. This time there is no planning into the future because I have no idea when the future will begin. I have very few choices. Decision revolve around my eating schedule and remembering if I brushed my teeth?!?!
I am living in a place of acceptance because my only real choice is what I’m doing right now. As uncertainty and unsettled feelings present themselves, I know I need to let them wash over me and then watch them recede. The waves will continue to come, sometimes noisily crashing. But what I have right now is the solitude, the silence and the gift of this moment to learn a new way of living my life.
I’ve been watching, ahem, muting and fast forwarding TV political ads with skill and ease for the last few weeks…but even with my dedication to avoid the paid political BS, a guy named Jason Kander has slipped through a few times. He was running for Mayor of Kansas City and has a sweet little bio.
I was shocked to find out, while watching the news last night, that he is withdrawing from his mayoral campaign because of depression and PTSD….before he goes another step further in life, he’s going to do some therapy and work through his demons. I was very surprised because judging from his public and on air personna he’s a walking, talking, laughing, smiling, articulate man who realized the world was his oyster kinda guy.
NOPE! They are walking among us…and you can’t tell by looking, you can’t tell by listening….you can’t tell!
Be kind…you have no idea what your friends, your family, the people you pass just doing the daily life stuff are really enduring and feeling.
I remember the first time I felt bad enough to seek out therapy, I was a well functioning mess! That was many years ago. The nice face and laughing, loving personality was a facade. I should have been in Hollywood….pretty much everything people saw was an act. Therapy helped…I was able to dangle low and could reach the bottom to tie on the knot. I got better and was on anti depressants…I felt like I had seriously dealt with my demons.
A few years later after an anti depressant change, I was going under again so same place, different therapist (a woman this time), I blistered the walls with fire and hate. I unloaded. I discontinued therapy sooner this time because I felt like I had seriously dealt with my demons. But I remained on anti depressants.
If you have read previous blogs, you know that in February 2017 I stopped anti depressants. It was difficult. It was ugly. It was good. But I’ve had to learn to live unmedicated. Mild depression waves in and out….anxiety seems to be my most serious complication. I chose to change my behaviors…I started meditating, living more spiritual and learning to be more mindful. But I also realized that there is sill more crap I need to deal with which I will describe as needing to do plastic surgery on the scarring left behind. It’s different. The scars not the injury is the best way I can describe it. So, I’m back in therapy. I feel good about it. I’m probably not going to share a lot about it. I’m more vulnerable now and not full of hate. It’s called recovery!
Thanks to you who have been along on my journey so far.
Are these the ends of the spectrum? Back when I was a young-youngish woman working a full time very demanding job, raising kids, trying to be everything to everybody I was strong. At least I had the illusion that I was strong and in control. I say illusion because really we don’t control anything in our lives…we make decisions and react to things which come our way. I look back and realize that I needed to always be and feel I was in control was out of fear of the unknown. What you don’t control will getcha! For the most part, I didn’t listen to my more rational inner voice…I heard it, but I seldom had a conversation with it. Fear of the unknown and protecting myself and my family was my rally cry. With that in mind, I also had a confidence that I could and would handle everything…..if I was on a deserted island, I would survive.
The day I retired, I began the soul searching and started tearing down my own personal brick wall. With each brick, I found some inner joy, peacefulness and the ability to act on my compassion for others. Awareness of vulnerability made me uncomfortable….but on the flip side I began accepting love and compassion from others. I actually starting depending on others…..and I’m not overly comfortable with this reality. Sometimes I find myself pulling back with no incentive to step out on my own and make a difference. Perhaps circling the victim mode…things happen to me instead of I happen to things.
It’s hard to find center which is my ultimate goal. A lot of understanding, bandaids and axes find their way to the inner me through meditation. I’ve also noticed that if I skip a few days, I start feeling vulnerable. Without listening and understanding my inner self, I cannot find the balance I need which is Finding my true self…not who I want to be, not who others think I am, but ME