Monthly Archives: September 2018

not the way I’d like

I am an imperfect human. I’ve got some lovely qualities and some real doozies, just like everybody else. I’d often aspired to become a more perfected being, accentuating my positive traits and diminishing my flaws. Many years ago I recognized the inherent yin/yang within each of us – and the necessity of the wholeness of our being. I quit trying to erase the dark side and only be light. But, boy is it uncomfortable when the dark side is rising.

Still, experience teaches me that I really have no idea what is positive and what is negative. I often mis-perceive them. Retrospect often offers a completely different take than the moment. I came to desire authenticity in the moment, and evolving towards ever deeper experience and expression of love, freedom and relationship. That I wouldn’t judge myself. That as something wells up within me, I experience it fully and express it as necessary. We have to tell our stories, I’m learning.

Recently, a straw was added to my metaphorical camel’s load and I broke. I broke something that in truth has been pretty hobbled together anyway, but breaking things is messy and uncomfortable. Maybe I could’ve broken more gracefully, certainly I could’ve broken more kindly. But, I broke it. And the person couldn’t believe I could over-react to a straw like that.

And I feel like a jerk, but every atom of my body is like, “yeah, that had to break.”

and i’m not much for pretending.

Plenty of people have told me to eff-off in my life, and I’ve expressed plenty of times, too. I personally feel that someone telling me to eff-off is infinitely preferable to passive non-engagement and amorphous emotional puzzles. But, that’s just me. Plenty of people *really prefer* the silent version. They feel the vocal version is mean or crude or simply unacceptable.

They’ve got a point, don’t get me wrong. Just like people who prefer country music and pistachio ice cream. It’s just not for me. With all three – it’s actually not possible for me. I’ve tried.  And I don’t want to judge people who love those things, I simply don’t have it in me. Especially if I care.

I’ve had a relationship in my life that has caused literally nothing but pain for both of us. My perception has received a veritable truckload of small ‘eff off’s – and honest to goodness I’m pretty sure that person didn’t intend a single one. I, on the other hand have said a few, really difficultly timed ones.

Certain foods have made me ill and I’ve had to completely eliminate them from my diet. Sometimes, after a long enough spell, I can re-introduce the food with different results. Luckily, none of the food has gotten offended and refused to come back. That may happen with a person (finding the elimination pretty offensive) but the need for elimination is clear. I just have to take my chances.

This is a long and meandering post about feeling guilty about cutting out a relationship that has caused me and my family a lot of trouble and pain, even though the person is a lovely enough person if I’m completely unattached to their methods and outcomes. But even a miniscule attachment causes me such frustration that it’s not worth continuing to try. Much like I didn’t continue to try to eat corn once I figured out I had a sensitivity. Obviously, I’m conflicted, but literally my health has already started to improve. It’s weird, this life we live. It’s hard not to be able to be a model of kind and effective behaviour, indeed to be a full-on jerk. But sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Imagine that…

Cleaning out the gutters is messy business, but clean gutters let the water flow and I am all about the flowing, so I am happy to endure whatever gets that going.

Yesterday my Tai Chi teacher gave me a massage, and much like when he worked on my elbows and let loose a trauma from my college days, this time he worked on my shoulders and as he did I had some realizations. One from my teenage days and one from early motherhood, when i would contort myself around the car seat to soothe my crying baby.

I’ve been willing to contort my own experience to (in my own estimation) aid someone else’s. Not quite healthy. And I’ve done it a lot. I have gotten pretty good at sitting with my own pain, but I have pretty limited capacity to sit with someone else’s. I move into fixing, reframing, whathaveyou. I think now is the time that I get to learn this lesson – how to be with someone in pain without my own stories about it. Just to be present. Compassionate. Present some more. But not take it on as my own responsibility. Measure my own worth by my ability to defuse someone else’s pain.

May be totally obvious to nearly everyone else on earth, but these lessons are dripping out for me one by one and my greatest wish is to integrate them as I’ve got the opportunity. None of it is comfortable, none of it makes me proud or happy. It makes me see that I’ve had a whole lot of weird compensation measures to try to make sense of my life, and quite frankly, i’m extremely excited to release them, uncomfortable though they may be.

I’ve had enough experience to be able to see these things coming and begrudgingly welcome them. Thankfully, my husband has been so magnificently supportive of all of these little steps I’ve had a safe enough space to be ok despite the pain, even when it includes him. That’s remarkable and I am so very grateful. But, it’s still uncomfortable.  But ever-so valuable.

With this surgery coming up, I’ve got a lot of time to integrate the lessons i’ve been acquiring, physically (what i’ve learned about standing, walking, breathing and moving), emotionally (taking off the masks and holding them up to the light), mentally (disengaging from the stories I could distract myself with indefinitely) and spiritually (surrender, trust, and the privilege of being alive at this time). It’s weird to be excited about discomfort, but I am. Because I know the only way out is through.

I also know that what looks like an abyss is often just an oil slick, seems like it may go on forever but it’s not very deep at all, just daunting. And my experience teaches me that the bravery to face things pays off (with peace between the ears – a treasure beyond measure).

Emergence

There is something exciting about being in a bad place. Emergencies lead to emergence. No mud, no lotus. Lots of aphorisms tell us that this is a time of great opportunity. And while the poor little sapling is feeling terribly uncomfortable in that quickly-growing-impossibly-too-small shell, the sapling can’t draw up plans to break free. It just has to be and wait and keep on holding the vision of freedom.

I’m not in a bad place by any objective measure. I’m in quite a remarkably good place. I am blessed to have a happy, healthy family, food and shelter and increasing health. None of this is intended as complaint, simply a documentation of process. Often I’m in an excited mood, eager about evolution and peace and the awakening of our species and planet. And, today, that’s all still there, too, it just is accompanied by a certain discomfort, foreboding and … well, there’s simply no other word for it than “gunk.”

But, I feel the gunk coming loose. I feel a shift in my identification with gunky things that I thought were my cross to bear. I am extremely conflicted about leaving things i’ve been hopeful about (relationships, supplements, styles of exercise) but that haven’t worked for me by any reliable measure. I am ready to let them go, but there is a grief process I seem to need to go through as well. It’s cool. I’m ready for it. I’m typically not one to balk at discomfort.

Lots of people are, and they are certainly entitled to take their own path. I think it was Vivekananda who said: though each may take a different path, all are on their way. And while I know I often seem prescriptive (something I am definitely willing to release), I truly and wholeheartedly encourage everyone to do what s/he wants to do. That’s how I purchase my own freedom, and even when the costs are high I know it is worth it.

I’ve gotten a lot of flack about the tight-knit-ness of my family, and I’ve gone to great lengths to try to spread our wings. Most endeavors in that regard have been spectacular disasters. And now, with this surgery coming up I can give myself permission to allow us to be who we are naturally. It’s not like we hide in the house and refuse to go out (although that IS what I intend to do at least through Thanksgiving). I’ve been trying to get us “out there” more to appease people who judge me. But the truth is, the connections we’ve forged in the last several years are absolutely marvelous and were completely unexpected. I am tired of trying to engineer community, when I can be like Einstein:

Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation.

Yeah. That feels right to me. We may not see our dearest friends too often, they are there, and I am here, and that is enough.

funny how things go

Ebbs and flows… ebbs and flows… inhales and exhales… dichotemy and the paradoxes of life. It’s a pattern we all know deeply, yet for some reason it still often surprises me.

I’m pretty excited because I’m going to be getting a new left hip on october 10th. I haven’t been able to tie my own shoes in maybe 5 years, so I imagine something old will become new again. I’m excited for the prospect, although it doesn’t cure the autoimmune disease, so it’s not like I’ll come home “fixed.” But I do expect to appreciate what gains I do make.

Homeopathy teaches we have a wound, a wall, and a mask. Essential wounding, conscious or unconscious, drives us to build a wall to protect the vulnerability, and then to put a mask on the wall so as to make it less obvious as a compensation. Those masks add to our sense of identity and inherently maintain a certain defensiveness about it.

The dismantling of these masks and identities requires the release of the defensiveness, and a level of honesty about the original wounds along with determination to find the resources to address the wound for actual healing. This has been a pretty slow process for me, and a repetitive one. I’ve found the repetition frustrating at times, but washing machines go round and round because that’s how you get clothes clean.

For example, I’ve been clear my whole life that my mother never wanted children. I was her fifth. I hold several tender spots about this, ranging from explicit clarity about not having been wanted (but here it is and we’ll deal with it) to profound frustration in a world where authorities mandate individual choices and individuals capitulate for whatever reason (in this case, the Catholic Church).  I have moved in and out of equanimity with these feelings over the years, contemplated areas of relevance in the unfolding of my own life, and try to teach my children the lessons i’ve gleaned. And even this example is a fractal of enormous problems culturally. How many of the children born are actually wanted? Right? We have millions of people desperate for a baby, and others who have been raped and forced to bear the child – and millions of examples in between.

We are such a flawed humanity. Our educational system doesn’t teach us how to develop health and wellness, it teaches us how to do what we’re told (and what we’re told has very little to do with our whole person development). We exercise our pre-frontal coretex without regard for the emotional container that holds it- and increasingly little attention is paid to even physical development as schools cut gym and recess more and more. And then even when they DO offer these opportunities for physical activity, the “educational” components can be destructive (think bad form sit-ups in gym class and ruthless bullies on the playground – and don’t even get me started on school lunch).

Will we ever get our shit together and provide an education in wholeness and wellness for our youth? When I experience how much my childhood set the stage for illness and isolation – and I had a pretty darned good childhood compared to so, so many children.  What can I do to support them? what can WE do?

Something, I hope. It will be interesting…