Accountability

“Are you okay?”

An innocuous question but for me, it comes tethered to my husband’s emotions, and has done for many years.

It has always been my job to make sure that he was okay.  It would take many forms; making sure dinner was ready when he came home late, tired and grumpy.   Putting the kids to bed so that he could close his eyes for a while; taking care of the house, and just generally making sure that he had no responsibilities within the family unit such as school paperwork, groceries, sex, anything at all.

In these ways, I made sure that he okay.  And if he was okay, then I was okay but I really wasn’t, and I never knew how to express that I wasn’t.

I am learning to loosen my grasp on the honesty of my answer.  I don’t have to hold in the truth.  Don’t be afraid to say no, I am not okay, but I’m working on my shit and I will be okay in some form or another.

I am not responsible for how you feel, and I will not apologize for how I feel.

My husband is a lovely man, and would never make me feel badly about myself, but I know that when he asks me this question, there is an underlying reason for it.  He may not like what he hears from this point forward but opening up to the truth is not an easy thing.

We are accountable for our own emotions, not anybody else’s – not our children’s, not our parents’, our partners’, or our friends’.  It’s such a liberating thing to realize and become aware of and yet, we feel so intertwined and buffeted against each other, it’s easy to lose ourselves in those closest to us.

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So, I say this is my emotional well.  That is yours.  Mine had run dry for a while but it’s filling up nicely now.  Yours is, too, I see.  If you feel yours is murky from time to time, or dipping below the plumb line, do not look to me to clean it up or refill it.  We can share from our wells as long as it doesn’t compromise the depth or quality of the water.

 

 

Dream of a lover

I had been speaking unkindly of you to a stranger on the couch beside me. It was a party atmosphere and when I turned to my right, you were sitting next to me. You kissed me, open-mouthed, and spoke not in sound but through the spiritual tether that still binds us. You were angry, and told me how my words hurt you and that meant by extension, that you were still in love with me. That you had never stopped loving me. That you would always feel awfully about hurting me. That you understood I had bad feelings toward you, but you hoped that in time I would soften.

Between our mouths, soul food passed; it felt gritty on my teeth and rolled around like pop rocks. Hard to digest. Difficult to swallow. I surrendered and grasped the flesh on your back with my hand spread, fingers digging into your skin. Passion, raw, unrelenting, surged through me like it used to do when we were together.  Then you were gone.

Emotion subsided and my dream lurched into one about four aliens in human and animal form lurking at an office picnic. They were searching for something; not really wanting to harm anyone but when cornered in the office building that was emptied of employees enjoying the celebration outside, they reduced their inquisitors to dust with a swish of their hands. I don’t know what they were searching for but they were chased to the grounds outside where they too, surrendered.

Dedication

During the Autumn of 2001, I was working for a company that included in its health plan, visits to a psychologist should we ever feel the need. Guided by a voice I didn’t really hear, I squeezed in an appointment after a good kickboxing workout, but before I went home to get thoroughly stoned, drink lots of water, eat a pack of cookies, then go to bed.

She was a wee woman with long dark hair, the top half of which was tied back. She wore a dress and the exact same shoes I had at home:  White Mountain clogs, my favorite at the time. Her name was Kerry and as I sat there perched on the edge of the couch, I wanted to flee but knew I had to stay. I confessed to not knowing why I was there except that I seemed to keep sabotaging any relationship I had (hindsight now – they just weren’t the Right One). Kerry asked what I assumed were the usual therapist sort of questions:  What was your childhood like? What about your parents?  What were you like in school?  And bingo, like a woven tapestry of ones life, the threads we weave to make up our history become frayed, loosened. Sometimes, as a protective measure we have strung and restrung so many times over and around particular things that we don’t even see the pattern anymore. But there is always a string, always a fragment; pull it, and it’s quite possible that everything you had worked on, simply comes undone. And that’s what she made me do, with one simple tug on a historical thread.

Kerry was meant for me. I have always believed that. We spent eighteen months digging shit out of a nasty hole and filling it back up with good.  Some sessions were angry, some heartbreaking at the knowledge of fresh, uncovered details, some lighthearted, sometimes I’d sit there for fifteen/twenty minutes just staring out the window but she never, ever made me feel as if I were wasting her time. I mean, I know she was getting paid but the relationship never had the ‘clock watching’ feel.  She was intuitive, compassionate, ethical, and next to my husband, the most important person I’ve had the joy of dancing with in my life.  Her influence followed me around all the time, unseen but always there. A physical reminder, a gift from her hangs in my car, and has hung in every car I’ve owned since the day she gave it to me.

On Monday, I learned that Kerry had committed suicide.  It seemed, and not unlike the wonderful Robin Williams, that she had dedicated her life to helping others but couldn’t do anything about her own shadowy companion. She was loved by so many, as evidenced by the outpouring of emotion on her page, and it breaks all of our hearts to think that she believed this to be her only choice.

Kerry was a light-filled, beautiful spirit; spry and twinkly, quick to laugh, but also deeply committed to healing.

Goodnight, sweet lady.

 

 

Fortunate.

This blog was forged at the beginning of the year; it began lightly, dancing over a veneer, oblivious of its purpose beneath. I remember at the start trying to be witty; ad-libbing funny in a thought out manner, writing about me, me, me. It felt narcissistic and full of ego and I don’t mind saying that although I enjoyed the act of writing, of sharing, it felt awkward and sometimes embarrassing; the attention-seeking sense of it all.

It is known now that this was not created by the part of me that is offered to the world; the funny, make-em-laugh girl with an easy smile and helpful manner. I know because it has become something much deeper, as if the words themselves have carved away the inside of me allowing spaciousness for soul, allowing room for spiritual growth and development.

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Journey. I love that word –  an odyssey, a quest, progress, adventure. Life is this journey. The goal is clear in that eventually we will leave our bodies, and since this is already figured out for us, shouldn’t we make the most of our journey? We have no idea of the length of time, or what the surface will be like along the way. It’s wild and woolly sometimes, heartbreaking and filled with sorrow. Other times it’s so joyous we could burst, sometimes simply quiet and comforting.

This place here has become a proving ground, a learning ground, a welcoming hollow to write about the highs and lows. All the valleys with their dark undergrowth that seemed to go on forever, and through which I stumbled, weeping and blind. The peaks that looked out onto sunny skies. Over there, the roller coaster rides that rocked and stunned. All around, moments, people, situations…life. 

I am fortunate to  have this place, these pages, and as this year closes I acknowledge the time I have spent digging down to truth, making way for self.

I tip my hat to my friends who read. I hope I have helped or maybe *pinches thumb and forefinger together* inspired a tiny bit.

A lesson I have read many times, but only recently truly taken to heart is sitting with emotion. Thanks to Tara Brach by way of this lovely group, I am learning this: Whatever comes up, and whenever it comes up – take pause. Breathe into the feeling, allow yourself to feel it, give it room, acknowledge its presence, and it will pass. By doing this, a wiser choice can be made.

I hope to practice this during the coming year, and all the ones beyond.

Merry Christmas!

Mental Salmon

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I do not think that in the seven months I’ve been meditating (give or take the last two months) that my mind has been quite so rackety with thoughts during the quiet time.  Even as a newbie last year, on the tail end of some very emotional stuff, I did not have half as many visions and scenarios that I’ve had recently.  And it’s almost impossible not to become absorbed by each one.  I realize only when I’m in deep that I’m engaged; I have to bring my awareness back but before long another one steals in and sneaks up my skirt.

Granted there’s a lot going on in the life of this Spiritual Biscuit.  We finally found a rental home and will be moving next Monday but coming up with funds for all and sundry is a gargantuan effort, helped mostly by some very good friends and by family.  Moving was not our choice; it was forced upon us and if the landlord had waited just a few more months, we wouldn’t be struggling as we are.  So, we’re emptying our bank account to move in, to move our pets in (because pet deposit is ridonkulous), to turn on water, to switch on electricity, to turn on cable and internet (which I might survive a while without but with two young children, my sanity depends upon it), to have trash picked up.  And don’t even get me started on a moving company.

This will also be the first summer that my kids have not stayed at home with me, so we’ve been researching day camps too.  *cha-ching-a-ling-ding-ding*.  And beyond that, the lovely task of breaking the news that they’ll be moving to another new school in the Fall.  My daughter is just like me when I was a kid – adaptable, easygoing, friendly and upon floating the subject, she’s all “I’m a duck, where’s the water?”  My son is like my husband, reserved, resistant to change and as evidenced by last year’s switch, capable of becoming so highly emotional that he will make himself sick.  So…yay for that upcoming conversation.

Lots of external clatter makes for much internal chatter.  But somewhere through the chaos and unkempt mind, is a small still space.  I was there for a few seconds today and it cracked a teeny, tiny smile before I got sucked back into the fray once again.  I will also admit that my meditation practice, as mentioned above, has been quite sporadic.  With time and consistency and once we are moved and somewhat settled, I’m sure my mind will calm some.  It’s not as if the scenarios I have are ones that need sorting out.  They are generic, every day themes that I can’t recall after the fact so I’m not worried that I have inner demons to chase down right this very moment.

I’m treading water.  Doing ok for now.  Keeping busy.  And remembering that being mindful is as easy as focusing on scraping the salmon off the bottom of the pan.

Lisa…