Life evolving

I’ve been sick this week, and had stayed home for two days, pretty much reclined on the couch with tissues, liquids, tv shows, and furry kitty.  My husband was home sick too; a rare occurrence by itself, but the two of us down?  Unheard of.

As long as I can recall, if I am ever sick enough to be home, I will reach a point of utter despair when all I can do is weep.  I would slide into a well of weakness, feeling pathetic; self-judgmental, really just the lowest I could ever feel about myself. It wouldn’t matter if I was home alone or had company, sooner or later, it would hit me.

On the second day this week, I realized that I hadn’t cried.  At that point, I was still feeling shitty but over the worst, so was a little surprised.  I attempted to evoke pitiful feelings but they just wouldn’t materialize.  This has always been one of my traits and yet, it appeared to no longer be of use to me.

Life, when allowed to evolve on its own is a beautiful thing, the realization struck last night whilst driving to pick up a friend.  Perhaps the reason I didn’t feel like crying was because I’d given myself permission to be empowered, to make a choice, to take control of my own life.  That being sick was just that; a period of time when the body is fighting invaders and nothing more.

It may seem like a small thing; to feel no need to cry when sick but it’s a step, and that’s what evolving is, right?…steps toward change?  For a few moments yesterday, I felt in such a positive place.  I knew with clarity that life can’t be forced.  I have set things in motion, I have dealt my hand and now I am witnessing my life blossom, apparently without my even knowing.

Marvelous!

 

The Notion

Metaphorically, most of us discard some things to keep hold of the other things in our arms, be it a lover, a toxic friend, a hobby that’s been outgrown, bad food, whatever…the importance of what you currently cradle is greater.  But, as we amble or race (however you choose to move) along our journey, those discarded things can be found glinting on the side of the road once again.  Certainly, picking up an old lover wouldn’t be considered a good thing, nor the crappy food that we kicked to the curb

But, some things perhaps they call as a small voice; not heard as a sound but a notion.

Even as I sit here, I am hesitant; do I have the will to pick up with this blog again?  Haven’t I said everything I wanted to say?  Who the hell is interested anyway?

In my arms, already a life filled with growing children and their activities. My time is spent ferrying them places, or exercising, cooking, cleaning, working…certain things that weren’t so significant when I started this blog.

I’ve not forgotten entirely what it is to be spiritual or mindful because there are moments, sporadic moments, when I ask “Am I still here?” and the affirmation floats up with a, yes, I Am still here.

So, why am I here?  I don’t know.  The notion to come here has popped up several times over the past few weeks, so today I decided to use my lunchtime wisely and try it out again; to heed the notion instead of brushing it aside.

Perhaps it’s a call to be creative again since that is most sorely lacking in my life.

Oh look, there it is – Creativity.  Glittering on the side of the road.  I can pick it up but what do I discard to make room for it?  Do I need to discard anything at all?  Can’t I have it all?

I’ll see.

 

All That’s Left is the Apple Pie

What a shake-down it’s been lately; sorrow swept in, and with it much chaos. It thoroughly blew up the inside of my house. Shit that I’d been hanging onto with the barest of fingertips snatched from my grip. Things that I had tried to keep in existence, thrashed from the fireplace. It’s a shame that it took such depth of grief to clean up. The loss of a person so important, and who left in such a way that I’m not sure how long it will take to understand.

Her chapter in my life sits in a red book on a bookshelf *over there*. From time to time I am sure I will revisit as I sit in my comfy rocking chair with the bay window behind and the safest and prettiest of views behind that.

I feel a settling. Am liking the change; embracing the deeper knowing; a new level of self-understanding.

Aware, too, of the layer of hurt that remains as if not all the junk was swept away. Some resemblance of certain things remain. And I am a terrible cleaner or picker-upper; they will likely stay.

I feel the cool, clean, new interior. It feels workable, I can do something here without the old restraint.

Sometimes you go down in order to go up. Or is it the other way around? You blow up to dive down, maybe? Either way, what’s left is most welcome. For me, I see apple pie on a farmhouse kitchen table.

I will chow down every bite and savor every sweet morsel.

And all around I will hear classical music.

Namaste Dave

Rarely do I have sea-time without having to keep an eye on the kids.  Miraculously, they all decided they were hungry at once and traipsed back up the beach to my poor, tired husband to eat.  I remained in the ocean, blissed out and floating, treading water lightly, or reclining fully to feel the weight of the sun on my face. It was glorious. I wasn’t consciously trying to be in the moment, or attempting to grasp a fleeting feeling of gratitude, things I often try to do when I take a few precious seconds to marvel at the horizon. It was enough to just be caressed by the swells, gently pushed this way and that.namastesaying

Not far from me a gentleman also bobbed around, on a small boogie board. We grinned at each other and he said, “It’s lovely out here, isn’t it?” to which I replied, “It really is.  And it’s easy just…to be.” He smiled wide and I knew that he knew what I meant. He had an immense, colorful tattoo on his back, about which I enquired.  He explained that he had been to Japan a few times and loved to meditate in their gardens, so over time he’d had a similar scene engraved on his body: soothing waterfalls, Japanese maples, ponds, trees…everything he would wish for in a place for meditation.  I remarked that it was like having his inside on the outside, and he liked the comparison. We chatted for some time, not realizing that we had drifted far from our meeting point, and past the red flag near the rocks, so we laughed and paddled back to where we started, and continued chatting. About yoga, and hotels, and family, and work, until we discovered we’d drifted again. We parted ways at that point; I had to swim back to the sightline for my husband and he had to go find his family. I asked his name; he said it was Dave.  I told him mine and as naturally as can be, I said “Namaste”.  He put his hands together and Namaste’d in return.

The next day, I was driving with the windows open in the car because it was cool enough outside.  Strands of my hair whipped this way and that, and I had tosurreal-art people squint a lot to protect my eyes from both wind and hair. It reminded me of the forces of nature; the ocean, at once giving you enough grace to hold yourself afloat but at the same time, moving you far where you thought you were. The wind, giving you the power to hold yourself steady, yet able to push you around at the same time. The forces of fate; meeting people, kindred souls, not so kindred souls, whoever, wherever, whenever, and for undetermined (or is it pre-determined?) lengths of time.

I met Dave for maybe ten minutes, and unless there are plans previously established before our lives on Earth, it’s unlikely that I’ll see him again. But I won’t ever forget him. Just as I will never forget the elderly lady at the grocery store two months ago who happily informed me of the differences between jams, jellies and preserves (Truth be told, I already knew, but wanted to connect with her because I was feeling particularly friendly that day). I won’t forget the woman with the white hat at table 15, years ago; who was so angry about waiting for her lunch that she insulted me, and thought her salad was puny. Or the waistcoated gentleman at table 13, who on our opening night scored a free meal because he was under the (mistaken) impression that his risotto had wild rice in it instead of Arborio. I will remember the father many weeks ago, showing his teenage daughter how to pump gas. She thought it was funny; he was trying to impress on her the importance of the task.  We made eye contact and in a split second, I understood his frustration and showed him that I empathized.

We shouldn’t forget the boyfriends, the old friends, the neighbors, or the random people. It would behoove us to remember not just the people who showed care and respect for us, but also the people who treated us terribly, who were rude, or hurtful, or broke our hearts.

Or is it just me? Am I the only one who thinks about this stuff? What capacity we have to hold all these memories! In some way, some small or big way, every one of these people created a spark, a connection. And in some way, it taught us something, showed us something, or maybe just helped to keep us buoyed during a day. I honor all of them.

(Of course, this also applies to people online whom I shall probably never meet in person.)

Namaste, All.

 

Not Forcing

The Summer of Me took a turn down a different road; the things I had hoped to achieve physically, thwarted by health issues. Perhaps the barriers were raised because the roots of planning grew from negative soil. Soil in a field rife with self-judgment, and skewed views of the way things needed to be in order to be pleased with myself –  if I could just be the weight I want to be; if I could be shape and size I want to be, things will be much better; I will feel better about Me.

Self, the all-knowing Mother, so calm around the bouncing, impatient child Ego, says in translucent tones, “No honey, this is not what you should be doing right now.”

Impetuous child. She pouts, thinks she knows better and does it anyway.

It has been “settle down time” for a while. In it, gentle daily lessons and reminders of self-acceptance. Doing as I please in moderation, even though it is often accompanied by a certain unease; breathing into being with the transitory nature of now.

Soon, when I am confident of my health, I will return to the road I had started upon. I should take Self with me; she will be an invaluable guide and a steadying force in the company of a headlong kid.

Mother and Child; Self and Ego.

BritInterrupted

A car needs all its parts to work together to create successful propulsion. Our major parts, if we consider ourselves as a car, would be the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. All of these aspects require a cohesion for us to function optimally.

My car has broken down, and sits on the side of an unknown road with two flat tires, and smoke billowing from the engine.

I tried to keep things going, push myself to reach my goals, to work toward an obligation later in the year, to keep up, keep going, achieve the goals, get out, get moving. It started out great; I was gung-ho, throwing myself into this activity and that, but I’m not a new model and will admit to not having had a tune-up in quite some time. Before long, my efforts began to sputter. Essentially I leapt into a road trip without checking my shit out first.

The physical, I have often thought, is a manifestation of the troubles on the inside, and if the current situation is any indication, I must be in quite a disarray.

I asked myself, actually asked myself with the view to getting a response, what I could do to heal? The word ‘investigate’ came to mind, meaning to sit in quiet dignity and go to source. I haven’t been there in a long time; perhaps that is the root of healing. I sat in the darkened office at work, with the rumbles of trucks and reversing beeps outside, and meditated. I asked again, in that state of mind, what I could do to heal. Over and over. “What can I do to heal?”  I threw the question out to the Universe and let it go, having faith that I would be given an answer at some point.

I could say that this part of me wasn’t working properly, or the other part wasn’t in sync, and I couldn’t say when, how or even which one lost its footing. All I know is that it took a while and now here I am, the result of purposeful oblivion.

To return to my favorite horse analogy (because that’s totally how I see myself)…this filly needs to stop racing and head out to a nice field to graze for a while (within caloric limits, of course)…and be at peace with the decision. Yes, I’m feeling like it’s time to slow right down.

On what may be

Before my kids exit the car for camp every morning, I try to impart some wisdom. I understand that it’s mostly a futile thing but I hope that once in a while, and maybe for a long while, some of what I say will stick.

“Thoughts are like flowers and weeds.” I said yesterday, “The good, helpful thoughts are the flowers; the negative thoughts are the weeds. Your mind is like a garden, so be careful which plants you water, because what you water the most is what will grow. Would you prefer a mind full of beautiful flowers, or a mind full of weeds?” *crickets…..followed by mama’s gone crazy shared look*

“Sometimes not getting what you want is a good thing because it can lead you to much better things you never knew were there.” This one made my son eyeroll because he’d not been allowed to buy something on his electronic device half an hour earlier.

I’ve learned more about myself in the last two years than in all my years. Currently, I’m sitting with uncertainty, fear, worry, and frustration over things that I cannot control. In years gone by, I’d have been a bound slave to the dire link between thought and emotion. I know better now to locate the peaceful light inside, even if it feels like I’m parting a hedgerow that only serves to become thicker and snappier with each handful apart. I can see the light, I can feel the light, I can tap into it, and for a fleeting moment, peace settles in, right there in the middle of the writhing forest. Soon enough, and inevitably, the thoughts swoop in like crows with their chatter and tightness and the white birdlight flies away.  The process ebbs and flows as I work throughout the days to breathe, center, tap in….breathe, center, tap in…

Art Fantasy Fantastic Illusion Magic Painting Surrealism -6My lesson for the next few days will probably be about letting go of trying to control things. Keeping at least some part of me in touch with the light on the other side of the hedgerow while the rest of me is fretting about something that has an either/or outcome. And pulling from the experience, some words of wisdom for my kids who, one day, will appreciate the little seeds I’ve been planting. I hope.

 

Come Lately

Lately I’ve not practiced meditation, lately I’ve not written a anything significant. In fact, it’s more than lately but how do we measure ‘lately’ anyway?  By my standards, my journey being what it is, lately is almost two months. There was a time when I might have felt a pang of guilt, coaxed on by the ego to make me feel bad, to make me feel inadequate, to make me feel as if I have no idea what I’m doing, to make me feel unworthy of being me.

I don’t these days.  I’m strong to my core, for it’s a place I’ve visited and come to know intimately. I know I’m there and that my light shines like a beacon for me to find when I’m ready to return.  So, I don’t feel any guilt.  If anything, I feel right and ‘where I’m meant to be.’

I read: http://findyourmiddleground.com/2014/06/09/accept-the-seasons-of-your-heart/  (I had trouble naming the link so had to post the whole URL) one of my favorite, spiritual, healthy, and loving bloggers, Val Boyko.  “Accept the seasons of your heart.” reinforced what I already knew; I’m in a great place with a few niggles from history which, by god, I think will be nipping over my shoulder forever.  However, I’m ok without meditation.  I’m ok with not writing.  I’m ok.  My energies are focused elsewhere.  Not that I can’t do more than one thing at once, it’s just the way it is right now.

Occasionally I’ll stop and check in, usually when I’m at a traffic light, or washing dishes, or cooking, or folding laundry, and feel the smile that flows from the very insides of me right up to my face.

Right there, I know I’m doing what’s right for me.

 

Gooses and Ganders

The bodypump instructor looks at me as we’re coming to the end of the class. Training our shoulders is the last thing we do with weights. Contrary to her recommendation, I have not loaded my bar. In fact, throughout the entire class, I have put whatever weight I feel comfortable with on that bar. I don’t hold with the run of the mill mindset that heavier is better. That the more you lift, the stronger you will become. Sure, your body will adapt over time but I don’t want to do that, I’m fine with a lighter weight, and lots of reps. She looks at me, and I see a sort of chiding in her eyes. We are both English too, so there’s a weird connection, as if we are comrades and I should do as she does because we are of the same cloth.

I run through a list of silly excuses if anyone should ask, because I feel that everyone sees even though I know that even if they do notice, what they have seen will be forgotten as soon as they leave. I think I can tell them that I am recovering from surgery, or an illness, or that my doctor has warned me to take things slowly. I laugh at myself for doing this, and for second guessing my actions. But it’s too late, I don’t have time to put extra weight on just to follow the herd. So, I carry on and I can feel my muscles working, and it is good. The next day, and the day after, I know that I didn’t slack off really because everywhere is sore anyway.

The other mother approaches the bus stop one morning last week. I am wearing my three quarter length workout pants, sneakers and a sweatshirt. I am planning on going for a run immediately after work, and there will be no time to change. Plus, my boss is out of town so I can pretty much wear what I like. But, I’m conscious that the pants are a bit too flary around the shins. I have never been able to find the regular leggings that fit past the knee. Frankly with my hips, I don’t think it would be a good look for me anyway. I watch the other mother but she doesn’t notice that I see her look at me from the waist down. I wonder what she thinks. Does she think that my thighs are too big? Or that the pants make my ankles look skinny? Or that I must have the day off because I’m dressed in workout clothes?

Later on, I take my first full run outside. The first for the year. It is hard work. I run much of the course the first time around. The second time, however, I walk more than I run. I wonder how the other mother is so slim.

I am an observant person. I notice the little things; looks, actions, and behavior of other people. I’m good at that. Maybe it’s a trait of the writer’s mind.

I am becoming more observant of the inside, too. The wagging finger and bullying voice that try hard to convince me that what these people see and think of me is important to me. That I must conform. That I must believe what I perceive. That I must believe what the thoughts are thinking up.

I was easily bent to their will as a teenager and twenty-something.  How glad am I that now, in my forties, I am able to set those things aside and do what is right for me.

Huzzah!

Well done burnt bridge.

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For a long time, I have fought a battle that can never be fully voiced. It can never be laid out on a table for all to see. It is a private war. I have danced around it in my blog, written about hard-won skirmishes, and weary defeats. It’s a sort of thing that I have treated alternately with a delicate hand and a closed fist.

Its presence is exasperating, like an annoying mosquito that won’t quit buzzing around.

No matter what I have done to abolish it (think on it, write about it, fight it, silence it, meditate on it, drink, eat), or didn’t do (let it be, accept it) it has had me chained to a merry-go-round. I, a colorful filly with great stems raised, ready to gallop, but unable to.

Recently, I burned the bridge to the battlefield that I alone had maintained. It was done with confidence, and without intention of returning to the precipice pleading for the link to be restored.

But, the ego is fearful. It knows I am stronger, and it bombards me with thoughts and questions, and the same old worn out lines. The crackled movie on a fading loop starring the old witch opposite Snow White, except my apple gift is dented, and browned.

What is it afraid of? I think on it….and have to laugh a little because I simply don’t know.

I have everything I need inside and out!

It could have been a sad thing to burn that bridge, but by deciding to stop the fight; I am forced to face the truth.

And the truth is acknowledging the dark side of self; specifically emotions such as anger, aversion, and dislike. No more sweet frosting. No more battles. No more black and white, or tussles between good and bad. This is it; the beginning of true healing begins with the belief that negative feelings are as much a part of self as the positive. In this way, the ego has little left to live for, and that’s what it’s afraid of.

Without the dark, there can be no light. And, the more I calmly let in the dark that’s practically barging down my front door, the sooner I will be free of these shackles.