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.
I woke up this morning and before I realized that today was supposed to be different, I had the same “basic” thoughts I did in all the days before. There have been a few of my many, many mornings that I’ve jumped out of bed to music, doves and sunshine. But for the most part, I am grumpy….of course as life would have it, I married a man who wakes up throws the sheets aside and yells “it’s a new day, nothing has gone wrong yet”. A mild exaggeration there because remember, he wakes up next to me who is always on her first and last nerve.
Today is New Years Day….that day when everything begins anew. Today is the day that we are full of new hope for a new body, new health regime, new personality, new job, new relationships, new life. My question this morning is what happened overnight that makes us believe we have finally “fixed” the list of the things we do not like about our life….finally the miracle. For me, the list includes the very same things I have not liked about my life for the last 20, 30, 50 New Years mornings. The message is: We don’t have to make the seeming impossible changes in our life, we just have to change our thinking moment by moment. As a friend of mine reminded me recently…each new breath gives me the opportunity to change the way I think….the decisions I make….and the trajectory of my life.
Hindsight is 2020. I don’t have to make plans to change so that I’m magnificent with the perfect life and friends and body. I have that already. I just need to change the way I think….replacing displeasure and dislike with gratitude and love. The love for myself that I want to receive from everyone else. Nothing outside of myself really changes anything. What matters is how I think…right in this moment. Not with plans for the future or discomfort with the past. Stop right now and ask yourselves 5 things each do I hear, feel or see…this exercise brings us into the present moment….and then ask right here and right now is there anything wrong…right in this moment AM I OKAY!?
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?
I spent a lot of time this morning working through some friendship issues…..TOO DRAMATIC. I used my time this morning centering myself and releasing my attachments to outcomes and reining in my ego. My ego thought it was going to be a great day because I was loaded for bear and I felt very satisfied in my indignation and my anger. My small self was able to go along with my tirade all the while feeling justified and right…it did feel good but only because I have a long history of feeling justified in my fluent vocabulary and my rage. When “it” is what I know, it just feels right.
Before the exhaust completely dissipated, I was able to sneak a peak at Twitter. Just for the record, my sneaky peak is only sneaky in my own volume of personal rules. I was once again feeling understood because again I find that most of my Twitter feed agrees with me…(follow/unfollow is an excellent way to always be assured I am right)!
I give myself (my ego) some space and kindness because I’m still a student learning about living in this moment and seeing everyone as a beloved with different perspectives due to their experiences along their journey. 2020 has been a great teacher and the election has allowed me to feel some relief, some hope for the future while allowing me to understand these last four years were needed for me (us) to realize how low we could go.
Like everyone else, I vote for the person(s) I think will most certainly govern with the best interest of the schools, city, county, state, United States…usually it all works OK even if I am not in agreement with particular decisions. My thought has always been what damage can REALLY be done in two years, four years.
Now that we are nearly through 2020, which in hindsight seems we should have had more vision, but now that some (not all) of us have survived the year and the Trump administration/regime, I sum it all up by saying…I haven’t really changed my political opinions….but I have been changed…we haven’t just gone through a political process…. we have experienced Crimes Against Humanity. We must heal what brought us to the huge divide…and turn within to love and protect each other.
I had no idea how depressed I was…I had no idea how much of my life had been sucked out of me…I had no idea how I had just given up…..I had no idea how angry I was…
Until the moment President-elect Biden and Vice-President elect Harris were finally affirmed to be the next President and VP! I was overcome with emotion. 100 years after Women were given the right to vote, a woman has been elected Vice President of the United Stated…..Ladies, WE HAVE ARRIVED!
Regular words are not available to me to describe the Hope and Love that surged into my body. I am finally calm and I (we) know I (we) can accomplish anything now! We are here!
The emotional explosion which has been simmering on a level, I was not even aware of, occurred yesterday around 10:30 AM.
Woke up knowing it was the birthday of one of my best- friends-ever who transitioned in 2010. Felt the first tear on my cheek while searching for a couple of pictures of him to post on Facebook for my yearly birthday reminder to all that love him. We most often spent his birthday week at marching band festivals because he was the high school band director…but most importantly we usually spent some part of a couple these weeks in October with him camping and fly fishing.
In Chapter 6 in the the book Embracing Uncertainty, Susan Jeffers talks about her heros….including concentration camp survivor, Viktor Frankl and spiritual teacher and stroke survivor, Ram Dass. Again I thought of Brett…the person in my life who gave me the courage to just be me. Rev Erin, in her weekly message using the hero chapter in Jeffers book, took the story to a personal level for each of us. Sharing her life experiences with her own heros and encouraging us…the congregants… to become aware of the hero’s in our lives and recognize what we learned and what we honor in those heros. Finally using that wisdom in our own lives… absorbing it into our consciousness sharing it/them with the world.
And there it was. The finger was removed from the hole in the dam as I was able to finally experience the grief I have been feeling since becoming aware of the COVID 19 virus. The sadness I had been feeling all week. The sadness and anger I’m feeling about missing the usual activities of spring, summer and fall… missing my family, my children and grandchildren, not seeing friends….the loss of so many opportunities as well as the anger about the division in our country .. the fear I have felt off and on because of the incredible death and destruction in so many lives…
While this explosion of emotion was not pleasant at the time, I recognize the peace that came from experiencing it….letting it come…sitting with the pain in my heart until I was able to become silent.
Over the last couple years, I have worn my RBG dissent collar necklace with pride and honor. Occasionally someone would recognize the design and ask about it….but I wore it for me. Quietly honoring RBG and what she represented. I also wore it for the same reason she wore her dissent collar to channel my disapproval and disappointment of the “leadership” in the United States.
Today I’m struggling emotionally to celebrate her life the way she deserves to be remembered all the while mourning my (our) loss.
For this post, I copied the wise words of another strong woman who I love and respect.
Let’s remember to dream today. Even in the midst of blessing Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her freedom form, honoring her longevity, strength, tenacity and intelligence, we lift ourselves up and dream. What a life of service she has lived… Commitment, endurance, and on and on and on. #StrongWomyn #ruthbaderginsburg …thank you, Rev Erin for the healing words.
Thank you for your service and commitment to us, Justice Ginsberg.
I realized that while sheltering in place the possibility my weight would go the only way it knows to go…UP…Think hot air balloon…emphasis on balloon. So I decided to change the way I think about it. I was not going to deprive myself of anything… because those things you focus on are what you call to you. As I do in meditation, I decided when I got the signal that I wanted sugar or starch, I would acknowledge the thought, not assign bad to the thought or even attempt to say Stop to the thought. Of course the mouthpiece on my other shoulder took this as a challenge. I let the noise pass like I do the cat’s abusive meowing on the others side of the bedroom door as soon as he hears someone moving around in the morning.
For the last month, I have been eating only eggs, tuna, meat and vegetables. I supplement once a day with cottage cheese and canned pears or a banana and treat myself mid afternoon to a tortilla with Peanut butter. Every now and then throw in a nuked sweet potato only for the adventure of trying to pull the skin off the sweet potato with two forks without blistering my fingers from the heat.
I’m finding the shelter in place makes healthy eating easier. We have our groceries delivered by instacart which takes away the aisle surfing in the grocery store. If I don’t have sugar and starch in the house, I don’t eat it because…I”m sheltering in place and don’t go to the grocery store. So, theoretically, the only time I really need to use discipline is when I’m ordering my food on line.
Just another positive lesson I”m learning during this pandemic.
……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!
It feels so weird to not need to check my phone calendar to see what time I should set an alarm for the next morning…. To not have anything on my calendar in general. Our Monday evening book club met on line last night and we began as we always do with a check in. So far everyone seems to be finding their water line…floating in the nothingness and seeking a new normal. I felt so much comfort realizing that everyone was feeling the screeching halt from a lifetime of getting ‘Er done. I FELT our friend, Carol’s, rapid acceptance…they are bringing wood in for a fire, she is doing her spiritual work and she finally has the time to read the books that have been stacking up.
I am actually feeling some comfort today. There’s nothing I have to do…there is only what I want to do…that thought is so foreign in my mind. I committed this morning to use the skills I’ve been practicing to think about life differently. Each moment is a gift that we live in that moment. We have no control…or our normal perceived control over anything. All I have to do is Be. Be in this moment with a gratitude in my heart.