Monday, September 28, 2015

It Brought Up The Time I Was Called a Happy Moron…

Riley has not played softball, the ONLY sport she likes, in two years.  However this year, there were enough girls interested in middle school to have a school team and we are rebuilding.  There are teams in our league that have girls that play year round, and we are mercifully thankful for the five run rule.  You should hear our cheering section get excited for every pitch that is a strike, every out that is made, and just getting the ball to the right place even as the opponent's runners are stealing bases all day long. This is the process of the players learning to play the game and building a team.

It's early in the season, and of this writing, Riley has been at bat only a few times.  On Monday night, we didn't even make it through the full batting lineup because it was three up and three down and our hour was up after three innings.  Yes, we lost.  On Tuesday night at her first bat, Riley didn't even swing and she was struck out by the pitcher. (Without any movement on her part)

I'm admitting here that it broke my spirit a little.

My mind begin a downward spiral of thought.

"Oh no, this is not good."  "She's going to be so disheartened."  "Was playing softball such a great idea after all?" "Will she want to keep playing?" "Is she any good?"  

The thoughts went downhill so swiftly, I can't believe I didn't fall out of the stands with the momentum.

Negative thinking, much?

The game went on and her second at bat came up.  We were behind the other team a few runs.  Unbeknownst to me, the coach had told her if she didn't swing, he was not going to let her use a bat in the future! On one of the first pitches, she swung and made contact with the ball.  It looked like an intentional bunt, but it wasn't!   The ball went two-thirds of the way down the third base line and stopped.  If it would have kept going it could have rolled out or the third baseman could have nabbed it more easily and gotten a runner out.

But it didn't.

Riley on First Base.
It was beautiful!!  I started cheering for the first time all evening.  I am a natural cheerleader at sporting events (when I go…) but I have been unsure as to whether my near teenager would be pleased with me yelling her name out public.  I was so elated, I didn't care anymore.  Our team began a hitting roll, Riley scored, as did a few others and we won the game, 8-6.

It was thrilling!

And that brings us to Thursday.   I went to a parenting seminar at school and several of our high school sporting coaches spoke about building character in the student athlete.  Before the presentation, the Middle School principal walked over to me as we had exchanged emails about the game and I told her of Riley's at bat story.  She told me to tell Riley that Hall of Fame baseball players strike out seventy percent of the time.  (ie. Their batting averages are in the three-hundreds.)

Ohhhhhh.  I forgot this fact.

And then the new baseball coach speaks.  He repeated a similar sentiment to what the principal had said about teaching the student athlete how to handle failure because it is going to happen and you have to get back up again.

And then my out of body moment came when he uttered these words:

"We have to teach them to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable."

Holy crap!  Did a baseball coach just say that?? Not what I was expecting.  Have I been dismissing team sports too easily all these years?  This is magnificent!!  This is one of my core areas for growth and I think about it all the time.  (A good portion of America avoids uncomfortable feelings by compulsive drinking, drugs, eating, running, cleaning, hoarding, shopping, and not to mention the devices in our hands or laps, etc. etc.)

As I write this, something is coming up for me (and I didn't know this is where I was going here.)  I didn't get this kind of message from my coach in high school.

There are memories that are burned in that you have that you will never forgot exactly where you were, what it looked like and how you felt.  During practice,  I vividly remember when I was told I was as "useful as a milk pail under a bull" and that I was a "happy moron."  Mortification set in and I wanted to disappear.  I also remember that when I asked the coach to hit another ball to me in the outfield for practice, it was hit so hard burned I couldn't touch it.  I chose not to play softball my senior year, even though I enjoyed the sport because I really didn't want to deal with that anymore.

I wish I would have had a voice back then.

This coach has passed on and I have let it go.  He did the best job he was capable of.  It left a mark though and will always be a soft spot for me.

I'm thrilled that what I heard at the seminar will be the kind of messages that my daughters will hear.   Even though my children are the ones playing, I am learning lessons and appreciating sports again.  You never know when or where or from whom the next aha will come from.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yoga Class, My Dad and Intuition

I went to yoga yesterday which is always, always a good decision.  There was no background music during the class as the teacher's phone wasn't working.  There was just silence and the soothing voice of Carmen, the instructor.  The class was not as physically intense giving more time to let the mind and thoughts go...

Going through the motions and poses of class, I was aware that there was an older man next to me, During one particular exercise, we were laying on our backs and had to stretch out our arms and I had to look to make sure I would not hit him.  I also noticed he wasn't paying any attention to this.   Our hands were within an inch and a half of each other.  I had to hold my fingers up to avoid touching.

When I glanced at his hand, I saw his gold wedding band.  All of a sudden, the image of my dad's hands popped up in my head.  Emotion flooded me in an instant.  My dad's hands were thicker than mine and tanned from all of his time and work outside.  And I wished that I could look at them one more time.

Grief just seems to pop out of nowhere.

We were so close, yet able to finish that yoga sequence to completion without ever touching.  

I continue to be amazed at what emotion comes up in yoga and how it comes up so quickly and without any warning.  I am reminded that we store feelings in the body (and heart)  and that when we are quiet, or writing, or practicing yoga, "stuff" comes up.  And is it fun to feel this stuff??  Nooooo. (But it is healing and necessary to be whole hearted)

I don't want to go through the motions of life anymore, I want to have an open heart even if it is uncomfortable.  I'm learning to be curious and kind to all feelings that come up.  It is becoming crystal clear that mindfulness is the only way though compulsions.  And when one blocks or numbs feeling, you don't just block the so called "negative" emotions, you block joy and excitement and happiness too.

That afternoon, I head to Riley's softball game, I look up and there was Dad's cardiologist and my chest felt heavy again.  Really, today?!  This is not a coincidence.  (Holy Spirit!) We attend the same church but I don't see him very often but when I do,  I immediately think of dad.  I don't know him very well, essentially just through my parents and they really liked, admired and trusted him.  I felt called to go and speak to him.  We chatted for a while. He said what a nice man my dad was and when he took on Dad's case and looked through his thick chart and poor heart condition, how impressive it was that he lived as long as he did on peritoneal dialysis.  In essence, Dad stands as the poster child for living as long as he did under his complicated health conditions.

The most meaningful thing was that I was compelled to tell this doctor about the yoga class and the feelings about my dad that came up.  I took a risk yet he totally understood what had occurred as he himself had practiced yoga years back.  He knew what I was talking about.

I don't know why I decided to tell him what had been transpiring that day but I did.  I have learned my lesson so many times and experienced the blank stares from people who have not earned the right to hear my story and yet I tried to tell them anyway... I'm learning not to do that.

But today was meant to be. It worked out.  I listen to my intuition and I shared and was understood and comforted. It was a very precious moment.

(Listening to intuition is such a skillful practice and a God thing. This was a higher power moment. )

And the tears are still falling and the chest still gets heavy at times.  And it's not a bad thing.  It's a healing thing.  Who knew my dad would visit me in yoga?  I would never have put that together at all.  {smile}  After all, he had a good sense of humor.


Friday, September 11, 2015

And I Miss Her

Today is the day before Mallory's Tenth Birthday.  Tonight, I am having a slumber party for her and had invited nine of her fourth grade friends to attend.

This had me on edge all week.

Or so I thought.

I know it's just a party yet there are lots of details, and work and noise, some merriment and maybe a little drama.

All night.  In my charge.  In my house.

So I woke up several times a night for three nights in a row with what I thought was anxiety about this party.  And I put little shame on myself because it appears I can't handle a measly sleepover for ten.  But then I started writing in my journal which is a newly acquired practice.

When I began to write, it flowed to thoughts of my mother in law and the tears started to fall.  She basically lived at our house on the weekends before she got sick and helped out whenever and however she could.  She died on March 4th, 2012.  I wanted to think I was done grieving.  I had checked that box off.

But I miss her.

She would have been here, helping me pull it all together.  I can see her in the kitchen.  She worked slowly and methodically and got the job done.  And she would be getting chocolate stains out of Mallory's clothes, still.  And been just as excited about a party as Mallory is!

I miss her.

And now, we have five fourth graders attending.  The number that I think I can handle.

We will see.

All will be well.  (even when it's not)


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I found that with my intentionality to focus on my body ( hunger, fullness, and moving more) I also found my thoughts compulsively going to, "Am I losing weight?"  I found that I wanted to feel my empty stomach and every morning when I woke, I thought, is it empty...and then...did I lose a pound? And I wanted to weigh myself.

None of which will help me in the least.

And then Friday, I had to give consequences and listen unconditionally to my eldest.  Those actions woke me from my new diet obsession because I had to focus on something bigger than myself.  I needed that.

Over the weekend, I moved back to the overall design of moving more and eating less. And paying attention to hunger. This is going to have to be a slow mindful process and I'm okay with that.  I don't do well with any kind of restrictions.

One day at a time and sometimes, it is one hour at a time.

So here goes:

I am a conscious parent and a mindful person who is now paying more attention to my body - the body that exquisitely works together every second of the day to keep me moving.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Now, I Want to Pay Attention to My Body

For the last few weeks, it has been on my mind that I want to lose weight.




I went to a therapist nearly 8 years ago for that.  LOL.  And I never lost weight, I gained weight.

But I found myself.  I dug into my childhood, and my thought processes.  It was not pretty, it was painful and I grieved.  I also found out that I need to be authentically who my higher power made me to be.  I discovered that this higher power is a loving God and began the work of letting go of fear and embracing LOVE instead.  Mindfulness became a practice. And, oh so many areas of learning along the way.

But now I need to focus in on my relationship with food and my body, which is my relationship with...myself.

I listend to some podcasts by Brooke Castillo and I was ready to hear them.

So here I go.  I don't know what this will look like, but I need to pay attention, be curious and not be judgemental.  And learn to sit with feelings, and to change my thoughts in regards to those feelings.  I have been doing this in practice with other people and things and now it's time to zone in on my body, myself.

Here we go.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Big Freaking Goal

This is my goal.

It so fits with shifting from fear to love.  

It's a lot of freaking work though.  

Today is one of those days, where it seems really hard and unlikely to happen.  

But I know that will pass.  It will seem easier to do another day.

Grieving The Only Way I Know How

Saturday was the year anniversary of my dad's passing.  I didn't even remember until the afternoon the significance of the day.  I had stayed busy all morning with kids' activities and dog sitting but evidently it wasn't on my mind.

And I think what is wrong with me?  (I feel everything now! I cry at any tender moment)

Later in the day I noticed that some relatives had posted their tributes on Facebook.  Yet, I felt... nada, nothing.  And then shame entered in the picture because he was my father after all, I should feel something.

And then a friend pointed out an Anne Lamott quote: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” 

And it's not that dad behaved badly, he was who he was.  I went back and read what I wrote in this blog shortly after he died, about our relationship.  The gist is that I always wanted more from him.   I did not feel connected to him interpersonally.  We never chatted one on one. He never called me.  He was a physical presence.  He was not able to give any more than that and I grieved and I was angry and I grieved some more and over time I learned to accept him for who he was.  I did this especially knowing he had multiple medical issues and our time was most likely limited.  And in the very end I came to the conclusion that his lesson to me was authenticity.  In one of the only heart to hearts we had, he had told me, he wasn't going to change, he was who he was.  And so my positive spin was...I've got to be who I am. 

I'm so glad I re-read what I wrote because I needed that reminder to be authentic again.  We can only be who we are and if we don't do that, it's a miserable life following other people's cues.   Owning who I am and stepping out to do the things that interest me is the opportunity to connect to others who are my tribe and that is an amazing occurrence. That is where wholeness and healing begins to occur.

So on Sunday, I went to church. And it was still on my mind that I hadn't felt much of anything upon the anniversary.  And then...the song in the Call to Prayer was this:

And a few tears rolled down my cheek.  

I am connected to my father.  

It may not have been the way I wanted but I am.   A lot of my connection is through family heritage with land and trees and ancestors that I love to delve into.  I'm also connected by a history of growing up in the Methodist Church and through hymns and music.  I have very specific memories of standing in the tiny Ethel United Methodist Church on the back left row (!) and listening to him sing.  That is my connection. 

So, there we are, or rather there I am!  Not everyone grieves in the same way or in the same time frame. And sometimes, the people whom you want to connect with in the worst way, are not the ones whom it will be.   I can't make something out of nothing.  I can just be me.