A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘resilience’

Fearless….again

  I am reblogging one of my own posts that someone recently sent back to me to remind me of my own words. I am struggling with so much lately. My health is not great as it seems that the PsA has done a lot of damage to my kidneys and guts. This past three years and especially this winter, was particularly bad for me. But, as the doctor said on  this past Friday, well at least it did not decline anymore according to my recent labs. As I sat in the garden this morning, I searched for words to console me. Then, in an attempt to clean up my email, I came across this:

Fearless

Posted on June 4, 2013

Once you step free from the limiting, linear straight jacket that narrowed the understanding of the vastness of your consciousness, everything seems to fall into place, (because it was always exactly as it was intended to be anyway, you just didn’t see it that way). There will be nothing to worry about, and no sadness to embrace; at the very least, you will be much less inclined to engage in that sort of thinking. – Rising Hawk

These words written by my friend are the key to living longer and happier. It is not the first time I have read or heard similar messages, but sometimes you can look at something and feel nothing. Other times it pulls you by the collar and slaps you soundly. This is how this hit me.

To release control, to allow your life to happen…such basic concepts and yet, not easily done for people who are frightened. I paused as I wrote the word frightened because it is word that evokes pity or distain, but it is the word I choose but not my intent. I have to advocate for those who are in or come from surroundings that to the outsider seem safe or harmless. These souls present to the world a false bravado while under their skins pulses the sense of fear. It is the walk of many, including me.

I am one who struggles daily with fear of what might be construed as silly to some. But that is what this is all about. Fear is as individual as the person containing it. I fight mightily to allow the control of my life to flow without my choking grip on it. It was making me sick and my body was tired from holding on so tight. For those who may seek some comfort in my writing, it is possibly to let go even if it is an inch at a time. Each forward release allows for more room to breathe and the body to function as it should.

How does one get to be enclosed in a box? It comes from so many sources. It is life. For some people, much like me, it comes from a dysfunctional and abusive life. I was sitting in a car this weekend listening to a school psychologist talking to another friend about children she has helped whose parents were abusive alcoholics. I sat and listened while my friend was so amazed and horrified with the stories as if they were just that, fiction. I wanted to chime in and share my personal story, but instead sat back and just listened. It was difficult and I actually felt some anger as the two of them talked about the children as statistical information.  I also felt some relief to know that this is not WHAT I am as this person in the car, but only my story. I had a sense of relief if nothing else.

I see and hear every day the barrage of negativity thrust upon us daily to keep us reigned in. We see and hear all the things we need to buy or obtain in order to be something that sadly we are lacking. It takes a strong will to turn away and not succumb to the temptation to secure a better car, house, body, clothes, and on and on. We force this standardization on our children to make them fit in and behave in an approved manner. Why is that we allow this fear and perpetuate this environment of control? This is a question that has been around forever. See the Allegory of the Cave by Socrates. We have survived as pack animals.

“No sadness to embrace…” I held those words in my thoughts all night. Embrace; what a strange concept to think we enjoy sadness. But we do. We love drama. We pay to see actors portraying life struggles because we can empathize and feel  our own sadness as a bonding emotion. Pathos. It what drama is all about. I have friends whose whole life is based on a miniseries of dramas. It is food for their lives. I am not exempt from this either and that is why those words struck me. I work in an environment where the drama level is fed daily. Most is simple confusion of an unorganized work flow. But they have been this way forever and I realize it is a culture that is embraced. They live for the confusion because it is an opportunity to emote and wring hands. They bond with each other in their complaining and strife. I see the same culture in my in-laws. They are passionate about the anguish produced from the simplest situation. It produces a slew of emails and phone calls until the event is secured or past. Then it stirs up the discussion and critic of the players involved, which is often another go around of scorn.

But the sadness I am referring to is the self-inflicted kind which I am truly guilty of. I have seen pictures of me where the sadness is evident in my eyes. People have commented on it as I do not hide my feelings well. NO, in truth, they cloak me like a neon sign. I have become aware of the origin of my sadness and I know in my head, that I cannot change what has happened. This is where I have come to the fork in the road so to speak. I can choose to “not engage in that sort of thinking…”

Can it be that simple? This is one of the life lessons that does not come with great directions on how to do something. I read, listen, and participate in learning as much as any seeker does. Is this not what we all really want, to not be sad and to be free from control? I figured out that no, actually not everyone does want that and will take you with them down the hole if you allow. And then there are some who see a secure and happy person and will go to great lengths to sap the life out of them. They are like a mosquito sucking the life blood of other’s because it is easier than obtaining it on their own. It takes great strength to disallow these creatures their feast. Our own minds can be a foe and a little fear can spiral out to become a monster of our own making. Fear is a companion that has been with me a long time. I am not going to sever the relationship overnight, but to travel on I must begin. This will be a long climb but one I must make……. alone.

Mother Nature’s Wrath

   This has been a strange week. Living near the Big Lakes, our weather is always changing. This week brought warm enough to sit outside temperatures and blue skies to the storm of the decade. And it looks like we are going to get creamed again this upcoming week with snow. Twenty-six years ago to the month, we went through an ice storm of epic proportions. It decimated the area. This week, we had a wind storm. It too decimated the area.

Our property is fine. Even our resident doves were fine. We have a ton of sticks in the garden. I hate picking up sticks but it beats what happened to our neighbor.

She has many old pine trees on her property. Many face our backyard. I thought for sure one that is still leaning was coming across and would have taken down a transformer and power lines and gone across our back yard.

Instead, a large tree very close to her house cracked in half and landed on her roof. It left a huge six foot gash in her roof which is now tarped. She has had power, but the people behind her do not. It was 9 degrees this morning with wind. It has snowed all weekend and has been bitterly cold.

When something like this hits a community, we rally and that has been happening. Our clinicians saw more patients just to make sure they were ok. On Friday, I volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Our delivery route was littered with down trees and large branches. We checked on our folks and made sure if they were in their homes, they were ok. And if they did not answer, we called in to verify their family knew they were not answering the door. The amount of damage was terrible. Huge old pines toppled like they were pushed over by a giant. One area would have nothing, and then there would be mass destruction to another.

I am so sadden by all the trees that are damaged or toppled. It takes a tree so long to get big and powerful and in a flash, they are gone. It reminds me how tenuous life really is. Strong and powerful pines, rooted into the earth and stable…ripped from their existence by the breath of Mother Nature.

Pantheism is a form a spiritual practice where you see God in everything, and everything has spirit. I subscribe to that belief. It really bothers me when I see the ruin of nature even when it is not man-made destruction. Houses can be fixed and cars can be replaced, but it the trees are not so easily replaced. The tree that came down on my neighbor was at least forty feet tall. It is part of what is left of a forest that lined the farm that was the center of our neighborhood before all the houses were built. The maples in my yard are over 75 years old; according to the arborist I had come in and trim. I am grateful they are ok.

  Amaryllis blooming in my inside garden

Slowly the community is coming back on line. It will take many months to clean up the area. No one was killed or even injured, which is amazing. People do not know how to handle intersections when the traffic lights are out. The Equinox is next week, it is full moon today and we are back to that silly daylight savings time. Everyone will be off kilter for this week. We will brace for the next storm this week, and hopefully, that will be then end of winter.

 

 

 

 

Everyday hero

Cubid

There are few instances of people nowadays that are in my life that I would say are heroes or at least the bravest people I know. But I have been blessed to have someone in my life right now who I would call a hero. She works with me and at first; we did not hit it off. But as time has gone on, we have become work friends.

This woman does not see herself as anything but just getting along in life. Many years ago, when her three boys were little, her husband made a left turn into an intersection on his motorcycle. He died because someone did not see him. She rarely talks about it. I did not find out the whole story until recently when she was telling me it would have been her 40th wedding anniversary. She never remarried. She dated rarely and only after her boys were grown and on their own.

She is our recruiter for professional staff. I was not hired by her. She was out having surgery on her leg. A few years back she had been trying to open her garage door manually when the power was out and the rope gave way and sent her flying. She shattered her leg and hip. She was out having the pins redone as they had worked loose and were hurting her. When she came back, she was a bit cold to me. I did not realize that she feels possessive over her hires like a mother but I was not part of her flock. It took a while to break down the wall.

I found out that she also has ovarian cancer. I took great effort to make time every day to see how she was doing. As we got to know each other, she would inquire about my health. Turns out one of her sons has rheumatoid arthritis as did her husband. She was very concerned about the drugs I was on and the reactions I was having. She listened authentically to my concerns. She would always say, “Well, hang in there.”

I am not sure what or when, but we became pretty close. She would come to me when work was getting to her. Not much really got to her, but the pettiness of work really did. She does not like everyone in the HR department and shares her feelings about the inequities she sees. She has been doing her job for many years and is very good at what she does.

But then she would tell me of her journey with her cancer. She bravely faced infusions of chemo last year every four and then two weeks. It was killing her. She never wavered though and other than sharing with me and two other girls who were cancer survivors, she kept it to herself. Her doctor wanted her out of work but she persevered and kept working. There were days when she would walk all the way downstairs, back and forth with candidates who she was interviewing. She told me her bones hurt her so bad from the chemo that the first thing she did when she got home was take an oxycodone. She lives alone with her dog Jethro who she cherishes.

Every day she could make it in, she was as pleasant and helpful to new people as she always is. To look at her, you would never know the severe pain and misery she was going through. She would always ask how I was and I stopped complaining about anything. What I face is nothing in comparison to her journey.

About a month ago, they stopped the chemo. Her doctor told her it is going to kill her faster than the cancer. They also discover new cancer cells in her chest. The doctor feels he can surgically remove what they see. From then, they will start a new program with her of less aggressive chemo. She goes under the knife next week. We took her out for lunch this Friday as a treat and to bolster her. I think it was more for us.

There are very few people I know who are as brave as she is. She always is concerned for others. She asks little of her family and of us. But we all are there for her. So if you read this, I am asking that you take a moment and send my friend some healing energy. And then be grateful for your wellbeing.

Suck it up, Buttercup

cookie 5-16

There is a t-shirt that’s says “I would rather spend time with my dog than other people.” This is my new motto. I never realized how much even being around other people really has become an unpleasant experience for me. I wrote last week that I was called hyper-sensitive and be that as it may, the interactions going on in the world has had an big effect on me. What I see are angry, scared people whose safety is being threatened. And when people do not feel safe, they become nasty.

My biggest issue is my Pollyanna dream that people play nice in the sandbox. They don’t. Since I was very young, I was always the sunshine child who loved everyone. When people are mean or rude to me, I have a very horrible reaction. I go to this place of utter despondence and shut down. In short order, it manifests somewhere in my body. It is like I punish myself for people being nasty. In truth, I do take on their bad behavior as if I am the cause. I know in my head I am not, but then I perseverate on things so much that I do take it on and fault myself. Big or small issue, they all have the same effect.

Things at my job are very disturbing. The in-fighting, back stabbing and general nastiness seems heightened. We have had a handful of people just up and quit in the past two weeks. Our financial situation is terrible. We have not done the official year end close but somehow, even with all the work and the 21 people who were let go, we managed to lose more money this year than last. People are tired and discouraged.

Two of my employees had an actual screaming match in the middle of the hallway with a class and other people around. The tension has been building between the two for over a month. This is the second incident of this type of display. I finally had to call them in for mediation. One of them turned their inability to get along to be my doing. It became to her about race. The other woman is white, so am I, and she is African. (Truly African from Uganda) It is the farthest thing in my mind of what was going on, but to her it was very real. She is also Muslim and I think the temperament of the USA towards Muslims is frightening her, and rightly so. But to cast that pall on me was unfair and unjust. In the private conversations I had with her afterwards, I came to realize that her feelings for me were not what I thought at all. I am very disappointed in what was a splendid working relationship now turning into a vengeful one on her doing.

Even my home life has been affected by the tensions of the world. My husband believes in the new government. I do not. We no longer can have a civil conversation about events that truly are not either of our doing. Simply discussions lead downward in short order. I am disappointed in him but realize that he has the right to think what he chooses. Even though I think he is a chowder-head.

We watched a great movie last night about the right of speech and the freedom to say what you want. It was called “Denial.” It is based on a true story where this historian states emphatically that the Holocaust was not about the extermination of the Jews. He states that the Nazis never killed them and that the gas chambers did not exist. In the movie, he sues a Professor who slanders him supposedly for in his inaccuracies. The case is fought in the British courts. I refer to this movie in the sense that people can say whatever they think. They did not bring in actual survivors of the Holocaust, even though they were there in the courtroom during the trial. They did not want this crack pot to have a chance to afflict his lunacy on them. I thought, even though it would have been easier and more emotional, the good guys showed empathy for them. It was very unusual. I won’t ruin the movie, but it demonstrated how the world can be turned upside down with the use of just words. And history had demonstrated that.

So for now, I spend as much time as I can alone. I prefer my beasties who care not for the current regime in office either…unless he had a piece of cheese in his hand. Then all bets are off.

Browny

 

I actually had some trepidation about posting this…..

The Wall

reaaching
I have been accused of being a highly sensitive person. It is not a compliment. It means I react to things that others can let go. I feel too much. It is true and I have been this way my whole life. So maybe it’s just me, but the world lately seems to be angry and negative. It to me feels like what it must have felt like back in the late thirties, when Hitler was coming into fashion. I wasn’t there, so I am surmising. But whatever is going on right now is not pleasant.
In my own corner of the world, I see shorter tempers and more infighting. I see separation of thoughts about the state of the country. It is so divided, and I do not think that is totally bad. But how people are coping is with anger and supremacy. “It’s my way or the highway.”

I do not want to get too political, but it is hard to have a discussion about tempers without factoring in the current state of affairs in the white house. The current regime is causing great consternation to many folks, me included. And again, not getting political, it is about the treatment of people from the top down. All the inroads we made in the past fifty years seem to be slipping back into the abyss of Bubbahood. Discrimination, ethnic and race issues, and the general treatment of women as whole has taken a downward turn.

For example, Trump’s public treatment of his wife speaks volumes. He left her standing there multiple times during the Inauguration. He sharply spoke to her like a child. I said something about it to my husband and he said I was making too much out of nothing. Two days later, he pulled a similar stunt at a restaurant with me. He loves Trump. I realized that the Bubbahood is how he got elected. They will never see that treating women like an object, disrespecting and publically humiliating her is a big deal. And this will carry forth into the world of work and other areas, if given a chance to get a foothold. Think I am overreacting? Take a look at the legislation Trump signed about withholding money for organizations who even SPEAK about abortions. Where does the Bubbahood get the right to dictate what a female does to her body? Don’t get me started.

stone goddesses

It’s like the world has gone mad with hatred. We are going to build a wall to keep Mexicans out? Can there be dumber idea out there? And the cost; 12 to 15 BILIION dollars? How about we take that money and get rid of the donut hole in Medicare where millions of senior citizens get every year? If you do not know what that is, it is a yearly situation where if your prescription medicine gets to a certain dollar amount, you have to pay full shot for it. And for the geriatric set, getting there is very easy as many older folks have multiple heath issues all requiring medication. Take a look at the cost of diabetic supplies alone. And every year, more people get diagnosed with diabetes. (Mind you, they keep lowering the level of what dictates being diabetic and they will keep doing that as diabetes is big money.) This donut hole lasts until you pay almost $4900.00 out of your own pocket…every year. Folks spend their life having money taken out of their paycheck for SSI and Medicare, which shock upon shock, you also pay for Medicare premiums in retirement, it is not paid for….. only to get hit up for this stupid donut hole. It’s when people start making decisions about whether to eat or get their medicine.  $4900.00 may not seem like a lot, but when your annual SSI income is only $11000.00, it’s everything. But… we are going to have a wall.

Just try arguing that with someone who is a Trump supporter and you see the power of hatred and the Bubbahood come forth. They really believe it will stop illegals. Really? Ever hear of planes? Who is going to watch this stupid wall to keep people from crawling over or under it? Did we not learn anything from the Berlin wall? What about Canada? Do you know how many drug dealers import their products across the border from Canada? There is a huge illegal Asian influx as well. Maybe we should build a wall there too? There are places in NY and Vermont where I have stood in both countries at the same time. Take a look at the 1000 Islands and the St. Lawrence and tell how that would look with a big wall right down the middle.

sunset view

In my own work world, the State showed up on Monday to do a survey. A survey is a loose term for investigation. They are looking for errors, misdeeds, poor decisions, bad documentation and places to recoup money. This is our government at its best. It says, go do your job, but we are going to come after you and often to catch your errors and penalize you. Yes, there is a penalty for errors and they now can demand payment for them. Smart: hit an industry that is losing money daily due to government regulations and then make them pay more. If we have enough, they can shut us down, or take over the agency. I doubt we are that bad, but at one time, the agency was. But it creates an atmosphere of finger pointing and accusations. And yes, I get called out with “where and how was this person trained?” I have to demonstrate compliance. We have required mandated training and it better be documented. I spend countless hours retrieving this verification and so I was not worried when I had to pull fifteen people’s training documentation. But it sets up anxiety. This state survey was on the horizon and promised for a later time frame this year. Something triggered them coming earlier. But for the past year, the threat has been held over everyone’s head. We will find out next week how we did.

side 5-15

So it is at my work, it is out in the small community I live in and it is global. It is the little comments and attitudes that seem more negative. Being in public is abrasive. Driving is defensive. People are suspicious of each other. And it seems to me that everyone thinks that this is ok. It is acceptable to be rude and caustic; under the concept of being “real”. I like people to be honest, but being rude is demonstrating a lack of compassion and empathy for your fellow earthlings. It is Bubbahood.

And yes, this all really bothers me. I feel the energy. Too me, it feels like the air is full of steel wool. I come home worn out and used up. I spend the day putting out fires and calming troubled waters. I do not watch TV, but I like to look at Facebook at night. I see the infighting there. I argue with my husband and we have had screaming matches about Trump. We could not be further apart on the man and his government. There seems to be no escape, no island of peace. I keep holding on that soon, the birds will return and my oasis of a garden will return. Oh, and yes, I have a wall around it.

Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule

creche

I am wishing everyone a bright a cheerful holiday season. So far, this has been one of the bleakest I remember. And I am not speaking just about me. The weather has been horrible. Usually we slide into the heavy snows and treacherous roads in January and February. We have already had school snow days. But I think it is more a residual feeling people have after the election. People are just miserable.

I know I am not feeling the holiday spirit. By now, the house would be decorated and the tree would be jam packed with ornaments. This year, the tree is up but I have not put the ornaments on and I am not sure I am.

This pre-holiday week has offered dinners and parties for us to attend. The feeling is more that it is an imposition than something people are looking forward to. My dinner for my team and human resources got downsized to a luncheon during work this Monday. It changes the feeling completely as we will not be able to have a leisurely meal or for those who do, cocktails.  No one seems to care.

The other day, my office became a refuge for people to come and speak of their worries and troubles. One friend  came into my office and sat down with a heavy sigh. She is one of the most positive people I know. Even she said she felt like she was wearing a heavy shroud of worry and negativity. I explained to her that we all need to go to the dark side once in a while. It is part of the energy swing we all do. We talked for a while and I could feel her energy.  I realized that I too had been wearing the same coat and so have others.

Its all going to be ok. But I think we are going to be experiencing a period of darkness for a while. Without being political, I believe it is residual energy from the election. I think it is similar to the period just before World War II. I hope we do not have the same outcome of a war. I know this is not just in my little corner of the world.

I truly believe that the earth has a population of light workers who are here to get us through this. I also think we will come out of it a better world. For now, I wish everyone a blessed holiday, however you celebrate it. Take time to recharge and refill your oil so you can shine brightly again in the New Year.

 

“Living with where you are”

falls rainbow

Self-compassion teaches us that we need to come to a place of acceptance with whatever we have been given in life. It is the hardest thing to tackle and embrace. We use phrases like “if only” and “someday I will” to cope with that at this moment, this very present moment, I am not satisfied. Can we ever get to a state of total acceptance of what is, is just that?

There is always someone worse off than we are and then, they are people whose life seems totally charmed and conflict free. Deep down humans by nature are born to struggle and have conflict and it is not our place to measure and judge. But we do. We compare and emote how “no one knows what I struggle with.” That is a true statement. No one can know.

For example, pain is different for each being. We all have it and as we get older it is a constant companion. For me, there are times when it is overwhelming and there is no escape. This is what I have to deal with right now and sadly, it is not going to get better. Unless there is finally a miracle drug that works for me, I will progressively get worse. And the drugs I have tried have been a succession of making things worse, not better. This too is my present moment.

I am not dealing well with this, but I am trying to learn. One of the techniques I am learning is called “sitting with the pain”. Instead of ignoring it, I face it full on. I focus in my head the center of glow, the spot where the pain is the worse, and just sit with it. Sometimes it will calm down a bit to a dull shine instead of as spike of ice cold laser pain. Mediation also calms the beast.

But my life is not of a Buddhist monk. My life is filled with drama. I work fulltime in an angst filled profession where conflict and aggression are a daily part of my day. I have issues in my home life with family squabbles and pressure. This is a normal life and it is challenging.

What I am trying to learn is to be ok with everything. To accept this is what my life is and stop struggling. It is the struggle that exacerbates the pain. It makes sense. If someone ties you up, when you struggle against the restraints, it is painful. If you lay there and accept it, it’s not so painful.

But I am not one who quits either. I am not ready to lie down and give up and let this disease take over and make me bed ridden. I find myself very angry at times with my limitations. That anger has been getting worse because I am not at a place where I easily say, “Ok… that’s enough for today.” So I push myself too far and then end up in excruciating pain. And it is hard on my husband who often is the brunt of the anger. He is used to me doing everything. He sees the deterioration in my strength and stamina.  I think it frightens him. He is also used to be taken care of and he is not the best caregiver. That too is something that worries me.

Self-compassion teaches us to take care of us first. If we do not take care of ourselves, no one else really will and there you are. That is the heart of it. Self-compassion is not being selfish. It is learning to make the individual moments of your life the best they can be. No one else in the whole world can MAKE your life any better than you can for yourself. It is easy to preach these concepts. Much harder to live.