A Facebook post by my friend, Tami, woke me up this morning. She is “healing” from back to back years of family deaths including her husband who was her soul mate, her love and Half of Her. Over the last few years she has included her authentic healing thoughts and fears and anger through her blogs and to and with her friends. This morning she posted the song, Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean. It wasn’t a song I knew even though I think it is a decade old. But to make a long story shorter, I YouTubed it and these two lines stuck out to me:
“Memory Lane up in the headlights. It got me reminiscing on the good times”
I have meaningful loving experiences on a day to day basis. Often when I take a memory photo of my experiences, I feel like I am one of the luckiest people I know in spite of the hardships and the mental fears of the future that I continually give energy to as I go into battle with them. But I often look back at my younger years…say my early 20’s or 40’s and have wistful longings for the good ole days.
…..and I know I’m not the only person who lives a good bit of life in my memories….including the hateful ones I have not yet healed from. Tami’s post hit a trigger nerve and brought clear realization that I love to think about those good times but when I have a negative memory pop in, I often immediately go to anger and hatefulness and then realize I’m doing it again and Force myself to STOP thinking about it…but, maybe the answer is to just sit with the emotion for a few moments. (Not the story but how it made me feel). Perhaps then I can mute the trigger.
The good memories…let them come, I love to smile and laugh and remember those who made me feel love and joy!
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.
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!
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!
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.