Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

We are the stories we tell ourselves.

 I plug along and listen to so much great input from many sources and then bam, I hear something like I never heard it before.  And then I get IT.

Iyanla Van Zant was discussing the stories we tell ourselves on one of Oprah's Lifeclass Tours and it hit me lot a ton of bricks.  When you tell yourself a story long enough, you believe it and this is the kicker, it isn't necessarily true.  All of a sudden it occurred to me that it applies to a simple issue involving how I think about practicing yoga.  I think practicing yoga is "supposed" to look a certain way and if it doesn't look that way, it isn't doing yoga.  And then I just give up because I haven't done it in so long, and I lost my muscles, etc.

I tell myself, I don't go to yoga class enough.  Yet in reality, I can practice at home.  I've done enough classes over the years that even if I go through some poses for ten minutes, I HAVE practiced yoga. That is not what I tell myself.  My messed up thinking is that I might as well not do anything.  I asked a friend of mine if she had ever done yoga.  She says that she does a tape at home.  Ironically, I didn't question that she really practiced yoga. Why do I question myself?  It's the old track going in my brain that what I do isn't enough.

It really is high time I break that track.

I have felt the need to get on the floor lately and I did.  Yoga was calling me and  I did a few minutes of poses.

The next day I practiced using a 15 minute session on DVD.

I AM practicing yoga.  I just have to keep telling myself that in a kind way over and over until I rewrite that track.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day, Milkweed and Memories

Mallory gave me my Mother's Day gift yesterday, which was a shoe box filled with 2 homemade cards, some of her makeup and my trophy from participating in a Farm Bureau Queen's contest in 1986.  Priceless!

Riley applied my makeup and gave me a foot and hand massage.  It wasn't so long ago that I was struggling to become a mother and I will never forget that journey. The girls are growing up quickly and these moments are precious including the ones when I want to pull my hair out in exasperation.  All of these moments, priceless and aggravating are the precious ones.  I am learning to appreciate them all.

It was our first Mother's Day without GaGa.  I know George had some sadness and I did too.  Earlier in the week as I spontaneously decided to grab my mother's day card, I was overwhelmed and could have had the ugly cry in the middle of the CVS aisle because I only needed one card this year.

Grief hits in different ways and waves I have heard, but maybe this next experience wasn't grief.  On Friday night,  Mallory and I attended a Disney Princess on Ice show.  GaGa happily attended these types of events with us and marveled at how good they were.   At times, she really lived in the moment and that is what I aspire to.   I was compulsed to buy too many souvenirs, but I went with it for some reason this time.  As my tears flowed toward the end of the Rapunzel and Flynn Rider portion, it hit me that GaGa must be with us. I have been watching "Long Island Medium" and her advice that when you feel your departed love one in some shape or form, know that they are with you.  I believe her.

I have known we needed to honor Mary in some way for us and for the girls.  It hit me yesterday how to do so. Our next door neighbor has shown us how the Monarch butterflies lay their eggs and then the caterpillars eat every single leaf of the milk weed plant and form the chrysalis with an elegant gold edge.  The appointed time passes and the Monarch butterfly emerges.  Mary loved butterflies and has one on her headstone.  So yesterday afternoon, we planted four milkweed plants and I look forward to watching the life cycle progress next Spring.

We will be making a trek to Disney soon, and I look forward to riding "It's a Small World" because that was GaGa's favorite.  And if I have the ugly cry that's okay, it's dark and loud in there!  GaGa, we miss you but I feel you around us!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Contemplating the Larger Issues

The ancients are right: the dear old human experience is a singular, difficult, shadowed, brilliant experience that does not resolve into being comfortable in the world.  The valley of the shadow is part of that, and you are depriving yourself if you do not experience what humankind has experienced, including doubt and sorrow.  We experience pain and difficulty as failure instead of saying, I will pass through this, everyone I have ever admired has passed through this, music has come out of it, literature has come out of it.  We should think of our humanity as a privilege. ~ Novelist Marilynne Robinson to a reporter who inquired about Ms. Robinson observing that Americans tend to avoid contemplating larger issues

I am reading another book about grief.  This one is called "The Long Goodbye" by Meghan O'Rourke and is about her journey after her 55 year old mother succumbs to cancer.  I have been reading books on loan digitally from the library on my iPad.  I love that they are free and I can read in the middle of the night and not turn a light on and wake George (although I think he had learned to sleep through the light, it makes me feel better).  I avoided this one for a while even though it was available because it was about grief.  I'm not grieving anymore because I did that all before she died.  LOL  Yet not surprisingly I am relishing it.  It reminds me a lot of Joan Didion's two books about her loved ones dying, very raw and very honest, which are two attributes I really admire.

Here's the conflict, grieving is not something anyone brings up around 2-4 weeks after the person dies.  All mention of the person who died is gone, like it never happened.  And most everyone who loses someone thinks about the person who died every day and depending on the intensity of the relationship every hour.  Death is not dealt with well in this country and the author reminds me of mourning rituals which are completely gone.  Feelings are not accepted as normal.  As a society it seems whenever someone cries, they have to apologize for doing so and that is so unhealthy.

There are a few things that stand out to me from Ms. Robinson's quote and first is that we do not resolve into being comfortable into the world.  I would really really like to reach a place of comfort but that is not what this journey of life is about if you want to live it fully.  My journey to figure out how to lose weight three years ago turned into the journey of healing my inner self.  I have been peeling back the layers to  allow my authentic self to come forth.  As I'm evolving, one of the many lessons is that THIS IS LIFE and you must hold on for the ride!  There are magnificent highs, unbearable lows, and everything in between including utter sweetness that you wish you could hold on to forever and aggravations that you wish you could snap out of in an instant.  The roller coaster metaphor is real.  And my authentic self is one that wants to embrace it all, the highs, and reluctantly the lows.  I am learning to examine the feelings that come, even the ones that make me want to hide with a kind embrace and not run and hide.  I have to be open, and vulnerable in order for this to occur and this takes practice.

I am still learning that pain and difficulty are not failure but merely something that I will pass through.  And during and after that pain, I have found many exquisite moments of creativity that I cherish.  I either can write myself, appreciate someone else's writing, hear a song, or read some lyrics and be awed that someone out there felt the exact same way I did once.  That is humanity and I love to contemplate the larger issues!