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.
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!
It seems I may have dumped a lot of something in my dream state last night…I woke up recognizing a clarity I have not had for the last few weeks…it’s not like I haven’t realized where my irritation, anger, judgement, hopelessness, and fear were percolating from…but, quite frankly, the more I rationalized and gave my thoughts a safe place to “think” the more miserable I was….and I knew it…I knew what was going on.
I don’t know if Albert Einstein actually said this but this life changing phrase was shared from someone’s consciousness and I am grateful!
A few years ago, I took a wild kinda route to changing my experience. I packed up and moved from everything I had ever known. I recognized I was circling the drain physically, mentally and spiritually a few years ago….and I also knew that if I continued struggling my way to air every single day…trying to make the same thinking work in a different way, I would succumb to becoming a lonely bitter old woman with negative, joyless and angry thought patterns just like my mother taught me. My breaking the glass to escape moment was not easy but I believe it was much easier than daily doing and thinking the same hateful, destructive thoughts. Fear of doing nothing finally became the worst possible life scenario.
If we are strong enough to get outside our head and breathe where we are planted….that does seem like the most comfortable route…but often that is not possible. The knowing is within…the solution is there and We know what the solution is….but the remedy of kicking away the blocks, of changing from the inside out can be daunting….until you know in that second that there really are no rules except of our own making and those rules manifest from fear that keeps us locked in and locked down.
I don’t like where I live right now. For the most part I didn’t like where I lived before I moved here. There is an important unveiling happening in my soul as I put together this information this morning.
On a trip back to old home last week I was healed. There was comfort. I went to a concert in a beautiful outdoor setting beside a cornfield in Iowa. The venue is a local winery. The local cover band, Slipstream (that we have been following for many years) ALWAYS raises my spirits…with a mixture of their talent, the music they play and the energy they offer their audience to soak in. This time was especially perfect because I was surrounded by 3 of the 4 girlfriends who have been the love and emotional “tag team” in my life.
Returning to the place I now call home was kind of a downer…well, and a mild hangover from wine and pure joy. After a good night of sleep I woke this morning with a neon light flashing…ok…I get it….
It’s not the place I store my stuff, buy my groceries and pay my utility bills that is the real me. It is all in my heart where I feel my pain/dissatisfaction or love and joy…it’s the place in my soul where I release my expectations and irritations. It’s in me, it surrounds me, it is me just being. It’s not “adopting” the hatred, meanness and dysfunction. It’s recognizing what I don’t want to own and allow it to pass through…it’s all up to me to keep an open heart and release those fears and expectations of my personality which I have learned so well in 6 decades. I am here, I am free, I am.
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!