Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Three Minutes Twenty Four Seconds Divinely Sent

A friend sent an audio clip to me that I was not expecting.  It was three minutes long and it felt like it was a divine act.  I stayed dazed for a week on the timing and content of receiving this audio out of the blue.

My friend and I had never discussed the topic of this clip.  I think she knew I might find it interesting.  I listened to the first seconds of it and heard a woman ask the speaker a question, paused it  and I got really excited.  I thought, oh my gosh, if he answers this question the way I think he will, I'm going to freak out.

These aha moments blow me away.  I live for these types of discoveries.  They rock my world.

The topic was emotional sobriety and the speaker was Father Richard Rohr.  I became acquainted with him through his book "The Naked Now" in a Spirituality Quest class a few years back and then heard him speak in person for a two day ("best revival ever") conference at my church.   His content is a salve to all of the fundamentalist baggage that I carry.  My Sunday morning group began a Rohr book the week that I received the audio clip.

On the clip, a woman asks when anger comes up how does she "control" it?

On this blog, I have talked about learning to let my feelings flow through.  I had never heard of this technique but began doing so instinctively while hearing that I needed to learn to feel my feelings not push them down with food.   I didn't even realize that I was practicing a technique but I had input from therapy, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Gary Zukav, Deepak Chopra and "Celebrity Rehab" among others.  I am well rounded if anything.

Weeks ago, I saw a high school acquaintance that I had not seen in over 20 years.  I knew from some of her FB posts that we would have some similar ideas about life.  I took a risk and we talked about some "deep" issues.  And then bam, she used the words mindfulness training.  I laughed for a solid week that I had not known what I was practicing for the last two years, was called mindfulness.  I knew I was training myself to change my thoughts about feelings that arose.  I have learned to allow myself to feel them but not allow the feelings to own me.  I knew it was hard to do.  I knew that it was about changing the way I interacted with people as well, i.e. boundaries.  And now I know it is about moving to higher levels of consciousness.

In this audio clip, Richard Rohr explained the art of mindfulness simply, easily and concisely.  I began to jump up and down in my mind as he described it.  (I want to share the clip with you but it is copyrighted)

I knew I have been on to something, something really big, to change my worldview...

and my life.

I live for these aha moments.

This is not Richard Rohr - but it describes the process as well.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The I Love Grandma Cup

Well, some things just rip you up.

We are very slowing going through GaGa's remaining possessions.  The boxes are lined up against the entire back wall of the garage.

There are many items I have no trouble letting go of, especially because they are going to Connections for Life, my favorite charity.  And then, I pull another item out the box, unwrap the tissue and bam, my heartstrings are yanked and I immediately need to cry.

This is Riley from our Christmas card picture for 2003.  GaGa told me how much it made her smile to see this face when she drank her coffee every morning.

You just can't replace that unique enthusiasm that a grandmother has for their grandchild.  It's love, and you know that someone loves your child almost as much as you do.

Do I keep it or do I let it go?  I can't donate it.  It makes me sad to see it, so I want to let it go.  I may have to hold on to it for a few days just like the plastic Disney princesses. I eventually let them go, it just took me a few weeks.

It is so true that grief comes in waves, and when you least expect it over things that you had no idea would bring up emotion.  How we connect to the people in our lives is a mystery and how it bubbles up after they pass away is as well.

I miss Grandma.

I need to tell Riley how much Grandma enjoyed looking at her picture from this mug and there is one for Mallory too.  I told GaGa I would keep her memory alive as she lay sick in the bed.  In the moment I pulled the cup out, it was too painful for me to bring it up then, but that sad feeling passes and another opportunity will arise.  I do want them to know how much she loved them and still does from the great mystery.

This is just a cup.  It is not Grandma.  I use to have a hard time of letting items go, but now I know, a cup isn't going to keep Grandma around.  My telling Riley and Mallory how much she loved them will.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Middle Aged Prom Photo With a Hundred Likes on FB

Last week, George and I gussied up and went to a fundraiser for a local hospital.  Friends invited us weeks before the event and my first thought was no,  I don't want to put on a formal dress.   I've gained weight and my middle is the worst part and you cannot camouflage that in a formal dress.

But my second thought was, well, a night out with my husband and the Doobie Brothers could be enjoyable.

As the weeks went by, I found a dress that worked, shoes and costume jewelry and on the day of, I had my hair styled in curly ringlets which I had never done before at a new blowout salon in town.  I put on a little bronzer and I felt like a real Bravo Housewife ready to go (except the limousine and potential for hairpulling!)

The babysitter and Riley took pictures with my phone and our camera.  I posted one on FB as we drove downtown.  We entered the building and rode an escalator down to the huge crowd below.  It reminded me of a scene from the movie, "Rain Man."   I started spotting people I knew immediately.   I greeted and chatted away and was surprised at how much fun I was having.  After dinner at our table,  George and I grooved to the Doobie "Boys" as the nun called them.

Half way through the evening, I looked at FB and there were over forty "likes" and many nice compliments on our "middle aged prom" picture.  Wow!

Now I am keeping in mind that my self esteem should not be based on how many FB likes I receive.  Yet, the likes kept coming and by the next morning, there were over 90 likes and over thirty lovely comments and the notices kept coming.

I didn't really know what to do with all of that positiveness coming towards me.  It took me several days to process before I was able to sit and scroll through all of the names.

I think in my mind, because I'm not at the weight I would like to be, should I be receiving such nice messages?

These are some neural pathways that need to be rewired.

I also looked at some of the other pictures that were taken with our other camera, some not as flattering.    To be utterly honest with my disjointed thinking, I had a hard time reconciling the unflattering pictures and how much fun I had.  This is what I really looked like while I was engaging, not just the most flattering picture.  How can that go together?  In my first thoughts of deciding whether to attend, I couldn't go unless I fit a certain idea in my head of how I was supposed to look.

So dear reader, I still have more self-acceptance to gain.  I have made headway, but this was a great lesson that I can have fun EVEN if I don't have the perfect body.  And isn't that the point, to have fun!

Again, the truth is...

I do have self worth at any size.  

This message is still sinking in very slowly especially after so many years of thinking the opposite and media messages reinforcing that thinner is always the goal.

I am so happy that we went to the gala.  It was fun to get all dressed up.  The FB experience shows me that perhaps people don't look at me the way I look at myself?  I need to look at myself with less judgement and more compassion. (And as I do that with myself, I am doing it with others!)  It's a daily battle but one that I need to wage, especially with my young daughters watching.

Perhaps my title should be "What A Fool Believes?"

George and I with "Doobie Boys"playing in background.

I loved my curly headed do!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Vulnerability Lesson Thirty Two

There are moments that just take my breath away.  "Dancing with the Stars" can do that do me.   I love underdogs.  I love when people are vulnerable and put their feelings out there.  (a la Brene Brown)  I love that Carrie Ann responded to the performance just as I did.  I learned after that she had just recently spread her father's ashes in Hawaii.

I felt the same way with Chaz Bono's performance in October 2011 in a blog called "I laughed and I cried."  Vulnerability plus bravery equals connection with an audience.

And I had never paid attention to the song "Hallelujah" which was written by Leonard Cohen and has been redone by several artists and used in many shows but it stayed under the radar until now.


Friday, April 5, 2013

My Wholehearted Definition was So Wrong

My kids are home all week for Easter Break and we have been hanging out at home.  Yesterday I hit my wall.  I told them I needed to be alone after a mid afternoon outing.  I haven't had my alone time, I haven't written.  I haven't had an adult female conversation.  I haven't gotten to read or explore my inner journey in any kind of way.

So what saves me?

Walking that darn dog.  At first, I wanted to make them walk the dog because they were home from school.  But I came to realize that I relished walking straight out the house and being by myself, even if it requires picking up poop.

I walk out the door and scramble to find something to listen to.  I find my library loaned audio recording of "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown.  I have talked about her before, her TED talk.  The core of her message is in order to be whole hearted we must be vulnerable.  (And of course being whole hearted is the goal!)  She has examined this issues via academic research and I love that my ahas have been proven via (social) science.  So as I'm be-bopping along, I think I understand what whole hearted means.  To me, it means loving other people with your whole heart.

And then I hear...

"Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness."

 The rest of the paragraph is pretty good but that is all I needed to hear.  I felt zapped in a good kind of aha way.  As I have begun to feel worthy, I have realized how unworthy I have felt and for how long, and that makes me sad.  And I want to cry and I can cry for all the time I didn't feel worthy but now I "know better."

Here comes the codependent stuff: I have always been more worried about other people's feelings than my own.  So my original definition of whole hearted revolved around what I could do for others.  Oh my.  (sad face)

Now I get that the more I take care of myself - tell my family I need alone time, hire a sitter, write, call a friend, read, move, that allows me to be more loving with them the rest of the time.  It actually puts a fire in me to love them more.

Self Love = ability to love others with open arms and open hearts.

I can hear my girls happily playing together right now.   It is music to my ears because I hear a lot of the opposite of that often.  I KNOW this happy play won't last for long, so I need to move on.  So glad I have had this quiet time.