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.
My friend, Terri, posted this on Facebook this morning
The author understood what so many of us are learning….
I look back at my life and realize how exhausted I have been fighting for everything! I really thought that was how to be successful. Never satisfied, I always felt I needed to do better, to be better. Now I know it was fear. Fear that I would never be good enough instead of understanding that I just need to BE everything I AM.
Flying in from Belize on my 59th birthday, the plan was to land at KCI and head to Saint Luke’s in Lee’s Summit because I was sick and I was worried. While in Belize I had sudden onset of excruciating pain and for the most part slept and ate toast our last couple of days.
A CT scan provided the diagnosis of a serious case of diverticulitis which took several weeks of iv antibiotics to cure. But the bomb shell was these words.
….and we see a suspicious mass on your left kidney which is most likely cancer.
The diagnosis that changed my life….and led me to the path I’m living now. To say kidney cancer was a good thing is kind of ridiculous but I can say for certain that it had a positive effect on my life!
This morning, I received the results from my 5 year CT scan. I am cancer free. I’m feeling all of the emotions of love and gratitude! What a beautiful way to start the day!
Being brought up in a “heavy handed” discipline environment, I learned my lessons well. I have grown out of the need to berate my parent(s)for their personal rules of discipline. They were teaching me the way they were taught and perhaps with a little mental illness in the mix. With that being said, I think the lessons we learn as children seem to manifest in our adult life like somehow they are hard wired in us. The phrases that slip through my lips…Why can’t I stop thinking that, why do I keep doing this, why am I so judgmental, I thought I had dealt with this……..
Last night I woke up a lot and each time I had the thought…what is wrong with me…why can’t I overcome this sleep issue…
This is when I realized that perhaps I need to give it a rest. Perhaps I need to take a vacation from my need to dig a little deeper to find the source of this unknown, unrecognized anxiety. Perhaps I need to take in to my heart the advice I freely give to others. Believe you are exactly who you are supposed to be! Personal perfection is an illusion. The freedom I seek is already mine…I will find my peace through the gratitude of the love and light around me. Peace be still.
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.
I didn’t really appreciate being out of the house as much as I expected I would. My first stop was the Pleasant Hill Post Office to drop off a package and do my civic duty buying stamps. It was VERY pleasant. The post office clerk seemed like an old soul. She told me about how her daughter and a friend who also lives in Pleasant Hill have taken to writing letters to each other on old stationery. She was delighted that she was able to share this gift of letter writing that was handed down from her mother and now to her daughter. The story made my heart happy!
*slather hands, debit card, key, car door handle, steeering wheel with hand sanitizer.
The less pleasant stop occurred at the local hardware store where I spotted the beginning of an outdoor plant sale which was nearly empty of customers. There were 6 of us. 3 unmasked under the age of 50 and 3 masked actors all over age 60. The masked players were considerate and polite. I was sorry I had my mask on while waiting in the checkout lane. The under 50 male ahead of me in line said with a sneer to the older man ahead of him (loud enough for all of us to hear) that it was starting to look like the Jesse James gang around here I hope you all don’t go to the bank…oh wait…the lobby is closed. I really wanted to remove my mask, step closer to him and cough my head off then apologize because I had forgotten my mask and repeat under my breath several times that I hoped he would be okay.
As I waited, I realized that scenario in my head was only hurting me. It was only making me angry. The scenario playing out in my head was rooted in anger than someone was making fun of me (us) and MY truth that I find bully behavior and disrespect as an undesirable human trait.
So I blessed his humanity. Took a deep breath of gratefulness that I can recognize others are on a different journey than I am and focused on the beauty of my flowers….and the love I have in my life and holding this hatefulness to a stranger with bad manners really had nothing to do with me.
We seem to be caught in the cycle of warm, moist (for my dear friends who hate that word) and cool air cycle. The last few mornings we have been socked in with fog that doesn’t burn off until late morning. We had ice and a bit of snow over the weekend…bit determined by where you live in the Kansas City area. Yesterday morning’s drive to Independence was gorgeous. It reminded me of those Iowa mornings in the country when Mother Nature displayed her hoar frost.
Flash ahead 24 hours, it was nearly 50, sunny and no breeze so I took a walk…Geese are still here, a few trees have some buds and some flowers are coming up. I have no illusions that spring is here…we still have to get through February.
When I was in the grips of pain, depression, and overwhelming anxiety which I blamed on my job, my role as caretaker of my elderly mother and Aunt, feeling like an outcast in my husbands family and hating who I was because of the way I was thinking and the way my body looked…whew…I felt like at every opportunity, I needed to tell my story. My story had no happiness but involved my upbringing, my loneliness, my familial burdens as well as every other thing that I considered to be my negative personal affliction. By telling my story, at least I got attention, I had a line of people who felt sorry for me, I had friends who would get down there in the mud and wallow with me. I thought I was fortunate *fist on forehead, that I at least had that!
Each step forward I thought I could make myself feel better by changing my surroundings and my personal appearance but the brick wall I was running into got thicker and thicker. Finally a therapist led me around the brick wall.
Today…I woke up feeling like I was going to have a sensitive pre-holiday day…but I started out mindfully feeling gratitude…I took my oldest grandson to school this morning and he chatted as if he was in my head and knew I needed to hear what he was saying….gratitude. I’m babysitting my 3 year old grandson today and he’s laughing and full of joy…gratitude. I was thinking about Christmas past and I felt gratitude….I was loved and I have friends and family who love me. When my grandson pushed the button on the paw of a toy dog that sings Blue Christmas over and over again, I felt gratitude. My mom bought this stuffed dog for herself a couple years before she died…I felt an unusual thankfulness for my mother and her gift to me of memories of those cherished christmases past. For a moment, I felt myself wanting to rethink my story…the familiar story I used to tell myself… but I just stopped and realized gratitude was my new story and here I am. Right here and right now, I’m so thankful!