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It takes energy to center; to take a breath and imagine where you are in your life, to see the big picture, with all the potentials before you. Imagine it into existence; a hallway of doors, all wide open...the winds of change blowing hard through them. Fast, furious air tantalizing you, pressuring you...challenging your resistance. Just letting go takes courage, let alone trying to choose the right direction. But letting go is the first step. Nothing starts until you let go. Will you? It's so easy now. All my stabilizers have already left. There's only me. Ready, GO!
Everyday, I sew together remnants of relationships and gleaned gratitude together. I'm weaving destitute and abundance, I'm stitching meaning into a tarp of emptiness, I'm practicing knowing about the moon's presence in the bright of day. I can see the stars and the great joys in my imagination and memory. I'm finishing the edges of my quilt, rolling under the rawness of the cut selvage. I'm piecing together the design of my life. Not discarding the wrong or the shame or the shock. Not overlooking or folding away the darks, but using them as contrast to attenuate this unique life.
WE might be the eyes, ears and actions of God. Humans, with their miraculous brains and bodies are like a sensing film spread over the earth. We observe and develop concern about events in the world, such as famine, war, the disappearance of bees and starfish. Our interests are logged (submitted?) by our social media networks, which measure the interest levels and build the "story." It's like a newly awakened, enhanced central nervous system. Motivation and reaction is stimulated by individual interests, like T-cells for the environment. Compassion, intertwined with interest will be a powerful balm, healing the earth.
Big day for me. I quit my job. I decided that it wasn't working. Too much driving, not enough clients, not enough money to make it worthwhile. I resisted calling anyone. I thought it through and the decision was mine to make. I didn't need approval from anyone, or permission. What a feeling of freedom and exhilaration. I felt so much freer, having acted instead of waiting and hoping and wanting it different. No! I'm done. Now the focus will be on earning money from the shop. I have the space, I have ideas, I have support. It will work.
I hold an image of my older and only sister that bears likeness to the Wizard of Oz behind a curtain cage. She's trying to manipulate the lives of family members as she maintains a facade of calm, benevolence. But she is not who she pretends. She clings to her facade tightly. It doesn't allow for change or for deviance. She knows her role. She is structured by it and trapped in it. She cannot dare to look deeply at her options or her faults. She keeps herself busy with Oz like things. Truth and authenticity are outside her realm.
Book, "Human Magnet" studies narcissists and their effect on offspring. It gave me huge insight into the makeup of my sister. Some children will work hard to be in the good graces of the N. which sets them up for being a perfectionist and a co dependent. This is the way my sister became the golden (in my eyes) princess. I remember her unusual striving for mom's positive attention. She'd declare "Mom's Breakfast in Bed Day," or we'd wax the floor as a surprise. Sis (oldest) would make cards, poems. I just followed ..she strove hard for mom's conditional love.
Other children, faced with a narcissistic parent and an older, already the princess sister, will opt out of striving for positive attention. They fall outside of the parent's grace and, if the wrath of the parent is extensive, they become abusive. Their "devil may care" attitude provokes the narcissist and fuels rejection and abuse. Two children in the same family can experience very different childhoods. I've discovered that my issue with authority relates to never seeing kindness mixed with authority; probably my perception. Thus authority figures continue to scare me; I feel intimidated. Also, sadly, I don't know unconditional love.
Today would be Dad's birthday. I lit a candle and sang the all the verses of Joyful, Joyful. The music was his special request for his funeral service. I found that request a gift to me, in that I love the words of all the verses and frequently sing the song at both trying times and happy times. I considered putting flowers or pine bough on his "gravesite" but he told me that it didn't mean much to him to offer that gesture for Mom's gravesite. So Dad, I am thinking of you all day today. You are greatly loved.
I'm still finding pieces of myself that I don't like and that surprise me. My voice encapsulated in harsh words, or an authoritarian message in a text too hastily sent. I step back, cringe and feel ashamed. There is a fine line between being authentic and playing it sweet. The goal is to be aware of the feeling, process and understand it before responding. That allows for acknowledgment and acceptance of my less attractive parts and a response that is intellectualized and formulated to reflect a higher being, the one I am destined to become, once I grow into it.
I went to a reike healer last week. I'm writing her prescription so that I don't forget it. She saw an image of an angel and mermaid and therefore prescribed actions to join the two. In combining thoughts, voice and heart, she prescribed that I steady a bowl of water and watch the ripples that are caused by one drip dropped. That I should speak blessings to a peace plant and learn to use my voice to positive effect. That I should take Holy Basil Tea and Patchouli Tea and reflect on the Holy Family before bed, for dream enhancement.
I've been perplexed that I can continue my relationship with former husband even though his acts toward me were hysterically primal and vindictive, while I have been unable to forgive my sister for a mountain load of much smaller infractions through our lifetime together. This I know: I can forgive things that are unconscious. Maybe I sense that T's acts are that, or, that he was able to show me he loved me. My sister has remained silent, showing reluctance. Maybe, Sis's actions were unconscious. Even though she presents as an intelligent, reflective person. One doesn't see one's own blind spots.
There are warping effects of taking antidepressant medications. Case in point, last week, I scolded a co-worker for failing to show up with supplies. I was ashamed at my unmasked response. I had to examine it, to mine it to uncover why. Digging deep, I see that I have never experienced authority and kindness interwoven into a role model that I could learn from. My sister, having taken antidepressants for years, wouldn't have experienced raw feelings leading to an outburst leading to examination and growth. Stunted emotional growth is the side effect of numbing by any means. Emotions inform.
1. This ending has been postponed for three weeks while I waited for my 15 minutes of attention from the significant authority. After waiting so long, I was already over it. She apologized for my inconvenience at having been lead astray from the original contract. I wished them well.
2. Nancy's house is empty. 40 years on Curdy Ave. and now moved to a condo. She knew the comings and goings of everyone. I used to feel her curious eyes on me each time I left and returned. Now I miss her.
3. I'm a knitting class drop out.
It's going to be a beautiful, white Christmas. I've had to shovel the snow off the front walk twice today. It's light and airy. The furnace is running overtime, because it's really cold outside. I love putting on the back porch light and watching the flakes come down against the black night sky. Dad's been gone ten months now. Last year at this time he was uncomfortably cold; always wrapped in a navy electric blanket and sitting by the fire. I still miss him. I hope his soul and mom's found each other, because he really missed, almost idolized her.
Checking in with my feelings of being used and angry...a person, Ruth, has a slight disability so she can't drive or work. She wants to be part of my studio "in what ever way she can." She taught one class. She hangs out whenever she wants, though she won't commit to any routine hours (thus she can't sub for me.) We both knew I was only investing for one month in an endeavor she started, to get some benefits for her. Now I'm stuck for another month at $30 more because she forgot to cancel it. She's not helping.
The reason that I frequently feel dissatisfied with my daily accomplishments is this: There is something big on the agenda that I'm tiptoeing around, procrastinating, as I keep busy. Bottom line is I don't get to the big thing and I measure my day accordingly, forgetting all the incidentals that I did accomplish. Like laundry and grocery shopping and making a pot of soup for a rainy day. There used to be a strategy..divide the important aspects of your life into segments of a whole pie graph. Then do at least one of each in a week. Balanced accountability.
I'm in such a strange phase of life. I am doing an about face with my appearance. I'm flaunting my natural ugliness. I'm having fun wearing baggy pants and no bra (this all under a coat, btw.) I like to challenge myself in braving bad hair days. It's clean but totally unstyled. I don't cover a cowlick, I just brush once. Today I cracked myself up by looking in a mirror as I was leaving for Wal-mart and then I put on lipstick! Like that's going to make it all better. No earrings. No make-up. Just me. Clean.
Reike healer suggests I set an intention for the day; be mindful of my ambitions, cast an ambience over the day. Today, I'll be task focused. Get bills paid, prepare for tomorrow's class, do my new exercise routine, do some art work at the studio. Many ideas on the back burner. If I have energy after dinner, I may do Christmas shopping, which I've managed to avoid all this time, knowing I'm not connected to family, so I'm not celebrating. But what about being prepared for friends? I'm not in the mood, but such is the custom. Reward...knit tonight.
A minimalist Christmas. I'm happy to report I've been able to stay away from stores throughout this season. With online shopping, why go? Actually opting out of gift giving would be such a fabulous relief. It would feel like guilty freedom, like debunking a powerful, capitalist myth, that buying obligatory gifts will make you happy. Haven't we all had enough of that? It's probably my age that helps me to know that the spending frenzy is without any merit. But in a capitalist society, buying and eating are hammers and all our financial problems and impoverished relationships look like nails.
Hmm. I'm thinking hard about debunking myths, rituals that have lost their meaning, reinventing occasions and elevating meaningfulness for myself. I have always admired people who dedicate their lives to learning their religion, so that they know the stories and the deep meaning behind them. They have an internal road map to guide their lives. I have been wandering forever, hearing some stories and principles to which I'm attracted, but fail to embrace and go deeper. At my age, I'm hesitant to choose a path because when I find a disagreeable view, I want to choose again. And again, and...
Religion defined: a set of beliefs concerning the nature, and purpose of the universe, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs (editing, mine.) Could I, would I gain anything by making my own devotional practices which are taken from several different religious texts? I have the luxury of being a loner in this quest, ie, I don't have to conform or share or ask anyone. It might spur some learning, some appreciation and gratitude. It might lend me "new eyes" from which to observe this grand life. Why not?
Adopting holidays from many cultures will be a worthwhile adventure. This might fit into "Book of Hours" class. Researching, sharing, treasure hunting with only the purpose of selecting a meaningful ritual for each month. Unless I find something better along the way, I think the solstices and the equinoxes mark quarters perfectly, honoring the physical universe which holds the power of life itself. There's the day of atonement, which I love; the Day of the Dead for which we thank those who go before us. There should be a day of Friendship. A day of Family? for which I'll mourn.
Yesterday would have been our silver anniversary! A quarter century of marital life. I have mixed feelings about not acknowledging the date. Part of me was expecting a card from former husband; flowers, maybe. Awkwardness. Yes, this year it's better that it slid by without the emotional tug. Think of how hard it would have been if we were still together and we had to play along with the congratulatory spiels and the big deal celebration? That would've sealed my psychological coffin shut. It would have been the epiphany of despair. I am thankful for the results of my courage.
If I was making enough money to be self sufficient albeit a sparse existence, then I would rejoice everyday that I am working toward a noble goal, that I have time to pursue self expression, that I don't have a boss or rules that I have to be wary of, that my time is my own within reasonable limits of having to invest time into the business. If I continue to pursue art therapy degree and offer that service along with the studio, then the dream I so often envisioned through the years has worked it's way into being. Amazing.
To everyone I know and love and try to love, Merry Christmas. Christmas Eve, I strove to comply with the subdivision's traditional decoration. It was 13' cold and already dark when I got home. I fumbled with candles before even unwrapping from my coat. I carried the fire ladled bags outside on a tray and distributed them evenly across my lot next to the street. In my haste, I hadn't thought about putting a rock or sand in the bag, so only 3 of the six stayed and glowed. "That's about right," I thought of my effort, viewing from inside.
Don't bother. Insincerity shows a lack of integrity. Be authentic, if nothing else, in your relationship with me. A last minute thought, an expensive mailing charge so that you could give me a magazine before christmas? Accompanied with a card that invited no interaction, gave no comment as to the mountainous debris of our fallout. Really? We're going to pretend now? I don't think so. Here's what that says to me: “Not sure if you're on my list of worthy recipients of gifts, but I wanted to fulfill my obligation due family members. I am righteous, more righteous than you.”
There're no squirrels or birds in my backyard today. I noticed it because my cat, Ronny, is especially bored this morning. He shows me in non affectionate bothering; walking across the keyboard, initiating play, but not returning the fetch, etc. This absence of wildlife activity is in contrast to normalcy. So I googled it; "what's up with that?" Sadly, marketing messaging has more clout than informational. Here I am at 60+, trying to discover the simple basics of local animal behavior. Oh, duh, the birdfeeder is empty. Erase tornado, huge snowfall and earthquake from the possible explanations. Thrill ride over.
I'm nestling into the studio, taking time while no one's there to work on big projects that I couldn't do at home. I'm starting to pulse; starting to thrive. I feel out from under the weight of financial distress, getting used to not having money and the sky doesn't fall in. I'm melting, relaxing into the void left by relationships gone; a luxurious void like a warm, clear pool of water all to myself. I am leaning and swimming into life. A baptism into newness. What a blessing. A sojourn from strife, from hostility and hierarchy. Sensing, easing into future.
The mother of a not so stable, adult child is like a squirrel walking on powerline in the wind. The going isn't easy or smooth, the progress isn't assured, and yet one has to keep going or drop. Will he be angry if I call? Will he be hurt if I don't? When he says he doesn't know if he can keep going, what then? I pray that someone else will connect with him, even for a moment, with a story that will inspire him to change something; anything. Because this mother's words are discarded as his expression of helplessness.
I have a dear friend that always has time for me, who always has thoughtful words to say. I can say anything, no matter how petty, or foolish my feeling. Right now, she is in the thick of depression. I can hear it in her voice. She says if it weren't for the hurt she'd leave behind, she'd end it. Her path has been extremely unlucky, fraught with unending drama. Yes, it's partly her. So in friendship, I'm calling her frequently with little tidbits of neutral news; not to happy, or downbeat. Just a message of
here for you
A special kind of new years eve tonight. Imagine: two wall hugging rows of occupied yoga mats, semi dark room with an alter full of bright candles and twinkle lights on the high ceiling. Two musicians playing live, melodic music, flow yoga spritzed with intentions and healing thoughts. We drowned our negativity in bowls of water, we flamed our good intentions into the atmosphere. We held hands for balance and community. We breathed, chanted, stretched into a new beginning. Smiles and thank you's and New year wishes abound. We left the warmth and entered the snowy streets at 7:45pm.
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