Every now and then I get a glimmer of how this whole life thing works when fear is released and I am able to experience the one precious moment…….right here and right now.
I have a history of making myself miserable in thinking and in action taking care of everyone. I have caused myself a lot of work and grief and resentment ….. with the best intentions, obviously…but living blindly thinking I know what is best for my friends and family and then proceeding to do everything in my power to see it through to be sure everyone is happy. I know this is a learned behavior from my childhood…if someone is unhappy, hurt or angry, I feel the need to make it ok…..it’s exhausting!
Being human, I still often think I know best. It’s those moments when something unexpectedly just work out and I have not had an opinion, judgement, fear or hand in it, that I realize this is how it works. It’s not easy to release control when fear is served up frequently. Digesting fear and reacting from fear gives the illusion that somehow I actually have control. Nope, nope, nope.
Staying in the moment. Not reacting from judgements of the past. Not spinning the dial to figure out the next move for the future. Quite the contrary… just stopping and feeling the right now. Centering with 5 things I hear, 5 things I see, 5 things I feel. Right now…being in the present…where this is no fear of the next minute and no history to react from.
No planning, no commitment to do better, no promise to stay in the moment…just being aware when my small self starts thinking and planning and judging. That’s the moment it’s possible to just stop and center!
Why do I think everyone else’s life is better than my own?
I know that these thoughts usually only settle in when I am feeling irritable without a cause or irritable with a cause. So…irritable.
Or when I’m feeling sorry for myself…without a cause or with a cause.
Or when I have committed or not committed to do something in the future that I am often unable to follow through when the moment is now. Actually this particular situation has taken care of itself, for the most part, because I am learning the lesson of NO.. just say NO because it is not something I want to do at this time. Often after I have said NO….I feel very empowered. Standing up for myself…even if I can’t respond immediately because in the moment I don’t know if it’s a yes or no, I do understand that in the next second I may have an answer. I’ve accepted that I have quite a vocabulary and a mouth and I know how to use them.
Often when I’m driving in a new neighborhood, city, state, country – especially on a vacation – I think..ya..I like this area, I could live here or No…I don’t even want to eat ice cream here. Those memories seem to live in my consciousness so I can pull them out when I’m feeling irritable, sorry for myself, put upon, not appreciated. I USE THEM to compare my present moment with the illusion of the moment in my memory. It’s hard to remember the difference between fantasy and what I’m experiencing in the present.
But then…I can find myself when I’m sitting in solitary on the deck watching the water ripple on the pond, see the gentleness of the geese skimming across the water, an occasional ruffled feather, hear the birds tweeting in the wren house above my head, feeling the sun on my skin…reality sinks in and I know that I wouldn’t trade THIS or my life for anything. Which has me questioning sentence number 1 above:
Why do I think everyone else’s life is better than my own.
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.
Searching for a recipe, I realized that today was as good as any to make a stab at organization. I have a tendency to pull out a recipe, make the dish and stuff the recipe back in the box in the front or back ignoring the TABS WITH THE CATEGORY written on them. It is apparently a difficult concept for my embarrassingly lack of detail for the small things in my life!
Today I have committed to transferring recipes in that pile in the top left onto recipe cards.
While I started out dreading this process, pretty soon I was reading recipes to him and telling him from memory where I got it or the first time I made it. Like a dessert with chocolate I made the first time I cooked for him in 1978 before I knew he didn’t like chocolate (I married him anyway). But todays blessing for me was remembering the givers of the recipes…family and friends…many not with me anymore….but the memory of the breakfast casserole from Mary or Aunt Frances’ radish dip, my mom’s scalloped oysters and Jane’s grape salad brought them so close I could hear and feel them.
Someday I anticipate my daughters going through my recipe box saying OH GOD REMEMBER WHEN MOM MADE THIS or more gently with a tear, oh god, remember when mom made this. Our memories come back to us in many ways…I cherish the ones that I remember as a tear slides down my cheek!
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!
When my 92 year old mother passed in 2009, I expected to have instant healing from a lifetime of a dysfunctional relationship with her. That’s not the way in works.
Christmas Season was the good month in my growing up years….it’s what my mother did well. I am an only child and Christmas was magical as my mother showered me with many things from my wish list. I did not realize it at the time but this was the way she showed me that I was loved. This recognition and realization was a huge beginning for my healing…..I WAS loved…because her love did not resemble what I expected in our daily experiences together, I totally missed it.
Every Christmas since 2009, I have been on an emotion roller coaster, of unmet expectations…until I worked through the details of those emotional expectations …. until I figured out that The Christmas season does not mean the same thing …. Love….to everyone around me….until I have my Annual Christmas cry because I miss my mom and dad and Aunt Frances….until I make Scalloped oyster with my mom …. Her recipe anyway….
Making scalloped oysters today, with my mom in my heart and a good ole Christmas cry!
While standing in the spray paint aisle today, I heard the old man coming before I saw him. Significantly overweight, puffing out with each breath, perspiring and a two pack a day deep cough and of course, no mask. My irritation was well learned and the thought I had was 1] that had better not be a COVID cough you old expletive and 2) do you have any idea how close to death you sound. I make no excuses for my thoughts. They were my thoughts and I own them.
As he moved to the checkout, he immediately started huffing and bitching about the cost of whatever he was buying and then the famous words…Thanks, Biden.
As I moved closer to the checkout counter with my paint, he started berating the polite and clean cut teenage male clerk because he didn’t like the size of plastic bag he was being offered. The conversation proceeded with this story’s young hero offering the old man a much smaller bag to which the old guy began to aggressively shake the now-filled bag … telling the young hero that he could get even more items in this small bag….SEEEE!
As the old man exited the store, I approached the counter with my two cans of paint and dishwashing brush and politely told the young clerk that it wasn’t important to me which bag he chose and then I shook my head signaling I thought the previous customer’s picture was in the dictionary beside the word ass!
The sweet hero in this story grinned at me…and said it’s ok. He was having a bad day….we didn’t have what he was looking for when he first came in!
The comment speaks for itself. I chose not to say anything else to the young, kind clerk. He knows who he is and I am honored we crossed paths today!
I was just telling the girls about what a hard worker you were! I told the story about you wanting to firm up the back yard in our first home in the late 50’s by hauling broken up concrete from a parking lot being torn up near our house…all of it in the trunk of your ‘49 Ford. Back and forth…then built up the wall so the back yard would quit flowing down the hill when it rained.
You worked a job you didn’t love for 33 years because you needed to take care of your family.
You were so very artistic and talented and I’m so honored to have your creations to remember you by.
You loved me and were always my silent protector. You loved your granddaughters with the same fervor.
Many times I know you forced yourself out of your introverted personality to be present in social situations.
And my biggest regret is that I feel I did not give you the love and honor you deserved because I could not bring myself to visit you next door because of your wife, my mother. My biggest regret in life is that I didn’t make more of an effort to find a way to just “be” with you and ignore her. But our last moments together in the hospital room when you were still alive and I massaged lotion on your forehead and the top of your head and you closed your eyes. I knew you felt it. My love!
Your energy is with me every day, Daddy! Our energy. Our love!
I challenge you to take a moment right now to list every nurse you have encountered in your life…whether personally or professionally. I’m confident the majority of people do not have a sufficiently detailed memory or a sheet of paper long enough to document the associations!
I hold nurses in my heart with esteem and gratitude …. especially during the pandemic. I see nurses as the angels who are carrying the sick and the families of the sick down this road to recovery.
Being a nurse means you carry immense responsibility and very little authority. You step into peoples lives and make a difference. Some bless you, others curse you. Nurses see people at their worst and their best. Nurses see life begin and lives end. They see humanity’s capacity for love, courage and endurance.
I woke up loaded for bear this morning (not something I need to mention…waking up soft and gentle would be actual news). THIS morning, I went quickly to writing my Morning Pages which has become easier this week because I recognize the need to get “whatever it is” outta my head and down on paper so I may release it! what I learned was….
Last year at this time, I went from traveling Mach speed around the curves with mind numbing constant thoughts and activity which were framed in worry and fret about absolutely nothing TO Oh Holy Shit…what is happening. For the next year and some change, the reality of required solitude and living within the parameters of “just being” was odd….and then it became my new normal….and I was peaceful and comfortable and just felt right. He and I worked on our relationship, we read books together, I went to bed and got out of bed when I wanted. I had groceries delivered, I read without guilt, I didn’t clean house very often and we saved a hefty amount of money ( with the shameful realization that being frugal was not even one of my vocabulary words).
I will not go back to normal. I don’t even have the desire to go back to whatever normal is. Post vaccinations, I begin to feel myself being pulled in different directions, I also realize that those commitment I make now are of my own doing….my choice. My quarantined personality had one of its best years of my life…Now I know what “just being” feels like. My only job here is listen to myself…And do what feels the best for my soul in each moment…with each breath.