“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.”
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!
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 wasn’t quite sure how to start this one out…perhaps something like this: During an afternoon Zoom chat group, the topic of lists came up and I said quite innocently that I don’t make lists. The group got very quiet…one person shyly spoke up and said, “you are truly living life on the edge!”
That’s not how it played out but my blog, my story!
The thing about lists. Pretty much every person I know has a system of lists. The lists left on the counter and checked off with the task completed. The list that is made and never looked at again. The grocery list. The getting ready for a trip list. My question to you list makers is….what happens when you depend solely on the list. A list takes fear away about forgetting something…something you need, something you have to do. Check…its on the list.
So what happens when you depend on that list and no longer use just your memory….what happens if you don’t write undergarments on the list before a big trip. You mark everything off the list and must vacation commando? What happens if you don’t write toilet paper on the list and end up not thinking about the need for toilet paper while at the store because it wasn’t on the list?
I look at those list makers in my inner circle and I just shake my head at the risks they are taking.
I, obviously, am quite confident and secure with the fact that there is no evidence left to betray my memory.
I’m a long time student of “TRYING” to give up enough fear per day to allow me to release opinions, judgement and those things I have no control over. A few years ago I embraced the fact that I really have no “control” over anything. Thinking we have the ability to control everything is an illusion. Might as well order a “safety cape” which can be purchased online for $9.99.
Judgements….we make judgements on how people look, their gender, their eating habits, their living habits, their ancestors, what car they drive, how they drive, how often they mow their grass, how they parent their children, why they don’t paint their house, how many children they have, how their children behave, their marital status, their sexual identification. Not leaving out the judgements on why people have ill health, “I knew this was going to happen to them!” I saw this coming because they….. I believe first we must become aware that we are making judgements. And how often in our day we are feeling safe and satisfied because we know “they” are wrong. Doing this work, I’ve often asked myself why does it feel so good to be right? Why does it feel so good to elevate myself to a higher position of knowing what’s right for everyone else in my own thinking?
Is this a learned behavior from our parents, our grandparents, our politicians, our teachers….in other words are we adopting our attitudes and judgements from someone else and often don’t even know why we judge or hold tight to “our” beliefs the way we do? Or are these judgements born out of fear….we are afraid…we judge other as some type of control maneuver that protects our physical bodies…our mental health…or the kicker we don’t even know what we are afraid of but what “they” are doing just cannot be right.
It’s a struggle!! But, moment by moment we need to be aware of our fear thoughts and judgements and heal ourselves from the inside out!
When my youngest daughter left for college, I was so excited for her adventure and her success. The next day I wondered what I was going to do with myself for the next 40 years. Most little girls born in the 50’s or 60’s usually know what they are to do. Get married, have kids and then the narrative ends. No one prepares us for the kids leaving home. I started collecting cats…..
Often girls also receive no instruction about the important things to expect after marriage…..like how do you merge the holidays. The options seem to be to give up on your family traditions and find peace with the husbands mother’s traditions, keep your family traditions and force the husband to disappoint his mother or wait until kids arrive and stand firm that you are making your own traditions and let the chips fall where they may.
Then your kids grow up, get married have children and there could be more grandparents than there are dining room chairs. NOW what. It’s possible to buy a day planner and schedule Christmas…everyone is kind of in the mood from Thanksgiving to New Years. That can work, I’ve heard.
But what I have found is you must release attachments about how Christmas is supposed to be. Learning to set aside “but they”…. I’ve always believed there was something special in the air about Christmas but I’ve learned that “we” have made Christmas what it is to us.
…….and I didn’t even want to touch on the religion aspect. Believe it or not, not everyone celebrates the same story about Baby Jesus.
I think the real question we need to ask each other and ask ourselves is this…..wherever we are in chronological age, do we have the same moral compass, the same opinions about other humans, race, sex, love and war that we did even a decade ago. How often and what exactly is the process for changing our opinions?
Without rules or an agenda today, my mind entertained me with questions and “answer” periods which seemed more like flashes of understanding. While I don’t really apologize for opinions I have honored through the decades of my life….they are illusions, anyway….thoughts and illusions of how I saw things based on how I showed up in each moment. These thoughts and illusions have changed often and each new declaration of opinion has been a barometer of my life…often liberating and somewhat painful.
I’m not really sure where to go with this thought process right now. I wonder if the answer is looking deep within ourselves individually and as a society in order to uncover what has made us angry, intolerant and hateful. When did we forsake humanity for selfishness and fear of “the other guy”? When did it happen in our personal timeline….when did fear become the prevailing emotion? Where, when and how does it stop?
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 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.