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.
Thanks to my friend, Regina, who shared this incredible find with me.
Reading through the book, I found that menopause was handled much differently in 1924 than it is nearly 100 years later. Surprisingly normal menopause could occur anywhere from 35 to 60 years of age but normally was completed by 48.
Tonsillitis (also known as Quinsy) frequently included severe pain usually terminating by the bursting of the suppurated tonsils.
Burns…are you ready…if the skin is not broken, holding the burned part under HOT running water will help relieve the pain.
My father, who was born in 1916, had a rule that you did not drink anything while eating a meal. I never asked why…I just didn’t drink water with a meal assuming that perhaps water would fill you up so you wouldn’t consume enough food to sustain your energy until the next meal. Nope. According to the book. It was because of obesity.
“The cure for obesity…phytolacca…which is pokeweed … abstaining from bread, potatoes and other starchy food, and also abstaining from drinking water at meals.”
The back cover of the book says “experience has proven that prompt and satisfactory results can be attained by the use of Homeopathic Remedies”.
I looked up several of the given homeopathic cures and found many of them were classified in Wikipedia as known homeopathic cures and some were just classified as noxious weeds.
When it comes right down to the bottom line…most of the crap I give energy to in my day absolutely does not matter….often the rapid ego crises fires off one after the other as I move on to another earth shattering decision I need to make about my hair or what shoes to wear with my jeans.
On my journey, I read and think I have absorbed the difference between thinking with my ego brain…the fear brain or my spirit brain. That fear brain full of I’m not good enough, what if, this could happen, what do they think, if I do that, why is she such a bitch, why is he driving like that, why would she wear that, what will they think if I do it? And the difference in brains. My spirit brain which is fueled by love but most importantly, my spirit brain only recognizes what is happening right here…right this moment. If I’m not thinking about the next moment with my fear brain, I can be in the moment right now where life is happening and it has nothing to do with what if or what they or should I. It’s right now. What do I see, what can I feel, what do I hear right now.
This blog wrote itself after a text from a beloved about an E.R. visit. I went full bore into OMG mode, what if. Irrational fear gripped me until I recognized the behavior. Stop, breath in and out feeling every breath, center myself to what is happening at this moment…right now…..right now all is well.
We all have those experiences with another human that have hurt our feelings, made us feel angry, royally pissed off, sad, knocked off center, unappreciated, embarrassed. For some of us, it fed our belief that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, skinny enough….We attached an emotion to that experience and added dislike, hate, anger, irritation to our list of how we feel about someone….or physical feelings of nausea, headache, stomach pain as a result of the emotional pain we felt.
We start when we are young…I remember being on an elementary school field trip to the Science Center in the 60’s. I was wearing a green and yellow cotton straight dress with a matching belt…a girl in my class told me she didn’t like the color and hated the belt. From that moment on I watched my reflection in the windows we passed and realized in my adolescent mind that she didn’t like the belt because in the window reflection, it made me “look fat”. I took the belt off and after that day refused to wear the dress again. It began a life long habit of body shaming myself and being judgmental of others because I had been emotionally injured in 5th grade.
At this point and age, I realize that I’ve accumulated a lot of emotional garbage and damage and each time I react by saying something hurtful, thinking judgmental thoughts or by being unkind, I’m only really just reliving the experience I had in elementary school when someone didn’t like the belt on my green and yellow dress. I’ve found that these judgmental thoughts, the jealous comments, the unkind words that come out of my mouth are just a result of a story I tell myself about something that happened in my past that I relive again and again….not the actual event but how that event made me feel. I know that by shutting down that non-stop voice narrating my life from behind the scenes, I am a nicer, kinder more loving person.
It’s a concept I’m just learning to actually HEAR. On this incredibly personal journey I started so many years ago, I stopped at every crossroad in order to re-evaluate right, left, forward or often screaming NO and running back from where I had come. The thought of creating boundaries was always the one thing causing me to retreat…..
I was raised an only child by older parents with completely different personalities. My parents (who did the best they could do) used me as a child of about 8 and onward to be the glue in their relationship…talking to me about their problems in and out of their relationship and teaching me quickly to be a problem solver and a people pleaser. They sent me out into the world incapable of setting up personal boundaries.
I frequently step or run forward to do the things I want to do but I’m usually dragging someone or something else with me, not in my best interest, because I’m just afraid to say no.
This morning two memes mentioning boundaries popped up on my FB page….my spiritual soul grabbed on …. holding tightly as if I had never before heard the concept. And just like that…I know where my awareness will be focused.
I had one of those moments this morning…I liken it to a sparkling dust of wisdom falling from the sky and gently landing on my shoulder. It’s those ah ha moments that gently ring your bell of recognition and it feels like….like….a thunder shirt for a dog. It was just ANOTHER small glimpse of a moment that I’ve been able to see through the peep hole of who I am.
Quite a while ago I seized on the Maya Angelou quote, At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Jeff Foster, in the book Deepest Acceptance touched on removing the story you have told yourself about difficult people in your life and see them without your story, without your pain or whatever emotion you have attached to them. See them new and fresh…see them just as they are. I immediately looked in the corner and saw my memory image of my mother as just a person I did not know. I really looked at her…I understood the lesson.
…..and then this morning the little poof of sparkle. Yes, in fact, we can love everyone as human beings…as ourselves….even those folks that make themselves hard to love by their behavior…..I have to remove the story I tell myself about them…good or bad….by knowing how they made me feel. It is often nearly impossible to forget the event, to forget what they said, to forget how they literally crumbled your heart or your self esteem. The reason is the emotion I attached to them how they made me feel. I may not remember the story just right…I may not remember exactly what was said…I may not even remember why I can’t stand them…but I’m always attached to them by emotion…by the way they made me feels. Releasing the emotion may not be easy, but realizing that this is my story, my emotion, my path gives me ownership. I am seriously tired of all of the angst balled up in my chest because of my perceptions of past transgressions but I have the choice to close the door and not rent space to them in my head from this moment on.