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Archive for the category “Embrace Change”

Daily Ground – – – February 5

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”- -Heraclitus

Don’t kid yourself – change – true change – is difficult. It often means looking at yourself or someone else intimately. It means looking into the eyes and admitting that change is necessary. It is frightening to let go of the familiar. Even change that is good for us can have us clinging and grasping for what is familiar.

In my early 20’s I wanted to be in love. So I would try to fit love into anyone that would stick around. I’d accept being with people that weren’t very nice, simply because it became familiar. I knew somewhere in my soul that change was needed, but it was often too scary, so I would stay. I was conditioned to stay with tall, dark, handsome, and emotionally unavailable. It took great change to stay with someone who loved me, but who was honest about his love, not very tall, and emotionally available.

Today, I accept change. I don’t expect my husband, children or friends to stay the same. We all continue to grow and change. Embrace change. . .see it as adventure.

Peace.

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Daily Ground – – -January 20

“We love the things we love for what they are.”
― Robert Frost

Do we? Do we love the things we love for what they are?  Or do we mostly want to change the things we love so they are easier to love. Now that I am old enough to have been in many significant long lasting relationships, I realize how truly difficult this is.  Most people I encounter complain about people they love.  What are they complaining about? That the person they love isn’t more like them!

I’m certainly not innocent in this.  The times I’m worried or upset about my love relationships are usually because the person isn’t acting or believing the same way that I act and believe.  So essentially – I really only want to love myself! Isn’t this why love is so difficult? We are loving another human being with strengths and growing edges that are different from our own.

Loving someone means not demanding they be like me.  When I try to shape my child, spouse, partner, or friend to be like me, I am only loving a mirror of myself. Being called to love difference is more difficult, and more rewarding.

Peace.

Beginnings

Beginnings don’t just come on January 1st or the first day of school, or your first day married, etc.  Beginnings can happen with each new breathe. If we allow it.  I am old enough to know that resolutions come and go, and if I truly want to change, it takes work, commitment, support, self-love, and lots of leaning into the pain that comes with change. I don’t need a special date for this, I can start anytime, and I often do,

I began writing everyday last year around this time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t on a blog; it was text messages sent to about 25 friends.  I get up in the morning, sit quietly, and try to have a conscious contact with God (Higher Power, Inner Peace, Universe, Spirit – insert whatever word you need here to get the point). This act has helped me be kinder on some days. It has helped me create space between my feelings and those of others, it has helped me get perspective on baffling situations and circumstances.  An added bonus is that a few of the receivers let me know it helps them some days too.

Because most daily prayer/reflection type of books begin on January 1st, I am choosing today to do something new.  This is also very scary, because I may not finish.  I may just complete today’s entry and no more.  But then again – maybe – just maybe – I’ll lean into the  pain that is commitment and discipline and actually start a new habit that is life-giving. Maybe I’ll simply do something everyday instead of thinking about the doing and getting side-tracked in the pain and judgment of not being enough.  I’m just jumping in . . .1. . . .2. . . 3:

January 1st:

Begin. . .

Begin doing nothing.  I dare you.  Take the challenge – do it today.  Just sit.  Set a timer for 5 minutes and watch what happens.  Don’t judge, don’t move – just sit.  When thoughts come – watch them – are they thoughts about the past? Are they thoughts about the future? Just watch them and come right back to now.

This may sound easy or it may sound excruciating.  I promise you – if you do this long enough or for many days in row – it will be both easy and excruciating. So often we get so attached to doing and doing and doing. Sometimes we are afraid to do nothing because we are then left with our human beingness – with our thoughts and feelings. We judge ourselves and we wonder how others will judge us if we just sit and feel.

Just for today – be a human being – not a human doing.

Peace.

Peace returns to those who wait. . . and work for it.

I haven’t written on here since August 13th.  When I logged on tonight (at the subtle request of my husband), I was surprised  to see that I wrote on that date – it was my 50th birthday, and things have been looking up ever since!  After several years of emotional suffering, I had resigned myself to a life of darkness.  I wasn’t going to jump off a bridge, but I was certain that for me life was to be lived in fog – moving from extremes of deathly tired to super anxious.  I had accepted this. And then I turned 50.

August was tough – even worse than the usual darkness I had come to welcome since 2010. I was looking forward to turning 50 until I woke up in August realizing my mom wasn’t around to make me feel special on my birthday – I was a child without parents. A sister without my sister. Like most things – August 13th came and went – and I was reminded that it is usually the thinking about things that is much more difficult than actually living through them.

August came and went as well, and without any warning, like the suddenness of a thunder clap, I had the strangest sensation.  It was as if I was stuck with a hypodermic needle, I could literally feel the warmth enter into my body, mind, and soul.  I was at peace.  And since that day, I have felt peace in my body, mind, and soul each day.  Not every minute of everyday, but everyday at some point in the day.

As I was drowning in the darkness, I kept swimming for land, seeking a life preserver. I felt the need to connect even though I didn’t have the energy for meaningful human interaction most days. I began sending morning texts to a group of spiritual friends. This forced me to get up each morning with a purpose.  I had to send a text.  When I began this in January, I would usually read spiritual literature and send a quote from it.   Something shifted this summer – after I turned 50.

I wasn’t writing on here, but I was writing. In the mornings, I began creating more and more space for myself: space to read, space to meditate, space to pray, space to reflect, space to text. My texts began turning into thoughts of gratitude, stories of journey. Here are some snippets:

September 11th: Today is my 20th wedding anniversary It is miraculous that I have been loved so dearly after such a rocky start to my life. Relationships are difficult – not only marriages – but friendships, work relationships, families, etc. I’ve been blessed to have many spiritual tools to use in nurturing these relationships. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it. My relationship with Jeff continues growing and changing. It is truly sacred and something I’ve grown to treasure each day. What are you thankful for today?

September 12th: As busy as I am this time of year – working many 12-hour days each week – I’m managing to crawl into bed each night grateful, at peace, and thanking God. I’m amazed that the darkness of the last few years is dissipating. I thank those who have simply loved me even when they didn’t know what to do or say. Like the moon reflecting the sun’s light – you all were reflecting God to me when I was too blinded by grief and anxiety to see.  The sun was too bright – I had to look to the moon, and there I found you reflecting God’s love. 

September 13th: As tired as I am, I am grateful to be tired from living and contributing to society instead of tired from killing myself with a destructive lifestyle. 

September 14th: Did you step outside yet today? Summer is begiining to give up her fight. I was amazed at the change from just one week ago. The sun – that massive ball of heat – seems so much lower in the sky. Everything looks and feels different in just one week. Whether or not you are happy about the changing seasons, can you be moved by these miraculous cycles? For me – it’s like looking at the majesty of the waves or the mountain – God is all over this stuff. It is hope and promise that all things must pass; that this moment is turly all we have. I can let change make me blue, or be filled with wonder. 

Oftentimes the pain of changing keeps us from even knowing we are transforming. Does a caterpillar know it is becoming a butterfly? Change often hurts, but if we hang in there and continue getting out of bed, continuing to be real with those we trust, we have a chance at transformation.  That is what happened to me when the grief loosened its grip on my throat. I was transformed, but hadn’t noticed what was happening – I was blinded by the pain.

I say this all came about without warning, but it didn’t come without work. I fought for it.  I didn’t simply try to get over the grief and darkness.  There is no getting over it.  I went through it, I hated it, I embraced it, I respected it, I fought it, I surrendered to it, I created space for it, and I let go of it. This isn’t to say that I don’t get sad, or mad, or anxious ever, but something has shifted. I created space, and I finally got a hold of some perspective. I used many tools – spiritual tools, professional therapists, and many friends.

Peace. Much peace.

6 errors. . .

Isn’t it great when we allow ourselves to change.  Years ago, I went through a very angry stage.  At age 26 I hit a bottom in my life where I was faced with the choice – change or die.  Shortly after this, I took a sobering look at my past, and it was horrifying.  Rather than feel sad about this I got angry – angry at institutions and politicians and heck even baseball players.

I remember going to a Noam Chomsky film where he alluded to the fact that sports in America are manufactured by the media to distract us all from what is really important – poverty, crime, peace, war, etc. Mr. Chomsky is an incredible writer and philosopher, who has opinions and views on many things.  When I heard that – I felt I couldn’t be both into sports and into peace or feminism or helping the poor. I lived in a very black and white world for many years. I was hurt and angry and opinionated. I was in no way ready to do the therapeutic work involved in getting to the bottom of these strong feelings, so I jsut stayed angry.

I will be the first to tell you – I think pro athletes are incredibly overpaid.  However, I also enjoy pro sports these days.  I grew up in a family of Baltimore Orioles fans.  We lived in Northwood, and I remember being quite young taking the bus to Memorial Stadium, and also going with my dad on my birthday. As I got older, I enjoyed going to the games with my friends. Then I moved out west where it was tough to follow Baltimore sports, got married, and had a few kids. Oh – and I was angry, and had that seed planted from one comment I heard in a documentary. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t stay angry about sports all these years. I peripherally followed the local sports teams and attended Raven’s parties, but I hadn’t legitimately rooted for the O’s in a long time; I barely recognized any names on the team.

Then last April, the O’s were playing on Easter Sunday. My nephew, who learned to read following the O’s in the newspaper, was watching the game.  I started asking him about the O’s, and I had this sense we could really use a winning season.  Keep in mind, my brother, my nephew’s dad, died suddenly the January before this. My mom was recovering from lung cancer treatment, and my sister was gone from leukemia.  It just felt like we all needed a winning season. It became my my mantra – “we could use a winning season!”

I not only became a fan, but a Fanatic!  It was wonderful basking in the Orioles first winning season in 14 years.  I wasn’t sure in April it was going to be that way, but I hung on to every pitch. I read sports blogs and read stats and history on the players. I cheered, I cussed, I went to games. I stayed up until 2 a.m. when they were playing on the west coast! I was distracted, and it felt damn good!

I watched tons of games with my mom, and it was wonderful.  It had been a couple of tense, difficult years, and the O’s were something we could do together – something that connected us to our past – something that brought us joy, excitement, frustration, and celebration. Even when mom fell, and went to the hospital and rehab, I went and watched games with her.  Unfortunately – I watched the final games in the post season with her, but she was at home in hospice, and unable to really watch the games.

Yesterday was Opening Day here in Baltimore, and it was my oldest daughter’s 17th birthday, so the girls and I went to the game. Yes, ball players do make a lot of money, but they also take me to a place of nostalgia and joy that eludes me most of the time. This year they had a few minutes of silence for those who left us since the last Opening Day (mainly Earl Weaver – one of my childhood heroes).  For me it was more like remembering all who  left us since my last Opening Day many years ago.  It was touching, and respectful, and meaningful.

Another thing that really caught my attention were the 3 Gold Glove Awards that were presented. One was given to our shortstop – JJ Hardy. Hardy had only 6 errors in 779 chances last year. However, he is  a million dollar athlete and he made 6 errors.  He made mistakes. We make mistakes.  Perfection truly doesn’t exist.  We follow doctrines in our 20’s, raise kids, pay mortgages, bury people, return to our childhood traditions, and make a ton of mistakes. If we are lucky – IF we are lucky – we change.

There aren’t many parts of me that are still recognizable from my early 20’s. My opinions, my friends, my favorite music, my styles, my hair color, my idea of fun, have all changed – thank God! I’m sure glad no one is keeping track of my errors, and I will continue working on the change that allows me to stop keeping track of them as well. I don’t know about you – but I could use another winning season!

Peace.

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