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!
This morning one of those wormy kind of things wiggled its way into my consciousness and I recognized it as a symptom of my fear of scarcity. I won’t head dive into everything I’ve learned in the last couple of years about the fear of not having enough…whether it be money or toilet paper or love … but Once I recognized it in myself, I started questioning if this is the fear that has many hoarding toilet paper and chlorine wipes during this pandemic. This fear was a cloud I remember over my childhood…it probably goes without saying that a child should not grow up aware of their parents fear….but we know what sponges children are. My parents were young adults during the depression so I get it!
With that in mind, it is obvious when you look at my overflow closet in the basement that I buy in bulk. The difference in buying in bulk to save money and buying in bulk because of the comfort of always having what I think I need when I need it is a very thin line.
Just like all of my spiritual ah ha moments, I’m not sure why this realization showed up this morning…but I know it comes to be healed. I buy coffee in bulk …a box of 72 keurig morning blend and one box of dark roast. It used to be when the stash got down to 12 or 13 K cups, I knew it was time to reorder. Similar to a friends wife who sent her husband to the store for cartons of cigarettes when she was down to one carton in the closet.
This morning when I lifted the lid I realized that another 2 boxes of kcups arrived this week…I obviously did not need to order. The realization hit me that this is a bigger issue than I realized…this fear of running out. I think the pandemic and the run on toilet paper inflamed my “lack” nerve. Instead of irritation with the lack of toilet paper on the shelves of the grocery store, I send grace to those people who, perhaps, are also suffering from an unrecognized fear of lack. I need to offer grace to everyone who is not exactly like me because I have NO IDEA what their lives and their fears feel like to them!
Not so many years ago, I woke up crabby every morning. Okay…let me start again because I still do.
Not so many years ago, when the first thing went wrong in my day…wrong meaning not in line with my planned schedule of how I should feel or what I should do or what happens to me, I would have a more pessimistic attitude that – well that just figures…that is my life. Encased in anxiety, hatred, self doubt and no particular self esteem I could grab ahold of…I went from minute to minute wondering what other crap I was going to have to endure before I could go to bed at night and wake up and start the sad, sad next day again. I was always contemplating tomorrow…because tomorrow would always be better than today..and then of course I was disappointed yet again. My hair cut didn’t make me more attractive, I failed at the plan to diet with my first slice of toast or 2 bowls of sugar cereal or cake from the night before. Each day was a disappointment and if there was real joy…I knew I should feel it…but couldn’t.
I used to provide all kinds of lip service to anyone who would listen about how we have to live in the moment. Now is now. yesterday is yesterday and we have no idea what will happen tomorrow. I believed it…but I didn’t live it. Then as we prepared for my retirement, I knew in order to save myself..I had to make a clean break and start all over. It was very scary, it is something I had never done before – just thinking of myself, it was emotional, it was labor intensive, did I mention it was exhilarating. It was really May 6th 2013 when we bought a house in Missouri – and the next day my daughter gave birth to Jaxon that I started to live and I knew that I just needed to make it through another few months and then I would start to really live…I would be retired.
It’s true. It happened. It’s not for everyone. But I had to put the past and the ghosts behind me and start afresh.
I changed my perspective…I live in the moment. The kidney cancer diagnosis was a huge reminder that we have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow. I’m still growing. My daughter helps me fine tune what actually living in the moment is all about. A cool breeze blowing over me can bring peace and help me relax. I have choices now…I don’t live by other people’s rules and standards. I have finally found peace…I feel that way but I don’t think I have truly found complete inner peace. It is a process. I know than when I truly find complete inner peace, it will be time to die. Because my sole personal accomplishment will be met. It’s a process.
oh…and about the paper towel in the coffee. When I rinsed out my coffee vessel the other night, I stuck a paper towel inside, put the lid back on and turned it upside down to alert me that there was a paper towel wadded up inside. Yesterday morning, I took the lid off and made my dark french roast Kuerig cup of coffee…it was deslish. I was shocked last night when I rinsed out my coffee cup and out dropped a brown, coffee soaked paper towel…that’s all. Just reminded me that insignificant things happen every day…things that might irritate us…the first thing in the morning that goes wrong does not have anything to do with what is going to happen for the rest of the day….thats what I have learned by striving to live in the moment.
This is the first coffee I have had for a week…I did the caffeine withdrawal in the hospital…the killer headache…the ask someone different for a cup of coffee and maybe they will say yes…then they told me I was on a caffeine free floor. Curses.
I was in the hospital last week for my second round of diverticulitis…I truly believe the doctor who sent me home with oral meds the week before didn’t really have the medical knowledge to treat my ailment and unfortunately I had to suffer for it. My care was taken over by an infection disease doctor…who I must add is the best doctor I have ever had in my life…it almost makes me tear up to think about how much time he spent with me discussing what I should and shouldn’t eat, his plan of action for me to cure the diverticulitis and get on with my kidney surgery. He sent me up with a Picc line and sent me home with IV antibiotics and I have total confidence that he is going to get me through this. Total confidence is something I’ve never had in a doctor before and it peaceful.
I’m also eating contrary to the healthy eating I’ve been doing for the last year. I’m eating white bread, I’m eating peanut butter, I’m eating soda crackers, I’m eating ice cream – I’m to eat soft and low fiber…only water, apple juice and grape juice – no coffee although one cup occasionally will not kill me…no onions, no green peppers…I no longer have pain but know that I still have heaping amount of infection in a 4cm abscess.
This too shall pass.
Took a short walk in the sun this afternoon and talked flowers with my neighbor Robbien and did I mention drinking a cup of coffee.
Going out to the deck to bask in this beautiful sun.