The Blessing of Disappointment and Pain

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I have spent the past fifteen days floundering, reacting to life out of fear. Grasping to any reason to run from the existence I made for myself toward a painful self-imposed isolation similar to how I used to live at the same time fighting to remain present all the while being overwhelmed with dismay and anxiety. The sudden change in financial stability triggered old memories from a time where I had nothing and had started the long hard fight to a sense of security, all of which I now know is an illusion. That coupled with the fear of the unknown led me to spiral into this anxiety ridden way of thought that used to rule my days.  Of course some of those are valid fears which can easily become amplified in the anxious mind. I assessed my financial security; I am fine for quite some time so how shall I proceed.

I was running around without intention or purpose. A week ago a friend saw it, reminding me that under fire, a calm mind will Captureachieve what I never thought it could with the adage slow is smooth and smooth is fast; they observed my distress and behavior well before I could identify what I was doing. In the week since I have managed to upset them for which I feel guilty; I hope to formulate an apology which may offer them solace.

Now I begin the search for my intention. I have stepped back from life, from friendships, and am focusing solely on me; something I have never done. I took today to say my goodbye for now to those who are still around; I have one left to do which may be the hardest but I need to do that out of respect irrelevant of how painful it will be to me. I am trying to identify my purpose from which I have wandered so far. I am striving to identify a way to do what I am passionate about and still be financially viable. One thing I am sure of is as I navigate this portion of my life alone, I will ensure I do no other harm even if it was unintentional. This part of my journey must be navigated alone and I believe I will be all the stronger for it. This part of my journey allows me to find myself, to make my new life just as it should be. Although all of this was originally delivered as a painful blow it may become quite the blessing.

“The cure for pain is in the pain”-Rumi

 

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Lost in Translation

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At times I detest text messages and although I am not a fan of talking on the phone so much more gets lost in translation with a text. Think of the difference between a conversation over a cup of coffee and over messenger.  I wrote a message the other day, when I was in pain and struggling and my pain was interpreted as anger. So here in lies some of life’s challenges. As I wrote this, I am learning to advocate for myself, trying to be honest with someone I trust about my feelings. I struggled to ensure I was clear and honest with full disclosure.  In learning to advocate for myself, to speak my voice, I did not consider the past of the recipient. They have known a past of anger and hostility in those close relationships so irrelevant of my wording the interpretation was into their framework. For this I carry regret.

This coupled with another conversation with a different friend about me not being angry with my present situation has really started the gears turning. Anger is an emotion I work to control. Having experienced the damage anger can inflict, I choose to identify the root of my emotion and work to respond as opposed to react in anger.I believe anger is truly a misunderstood emotion such as frustration, disappointment, or being overwhelmed. If I can take the time to identify the reason I am beginning to feel anger, I  can identify the cause and strive to mitigate the issue, identify my culpability in the situation  and take the appropriate action; explain, apologize, etc.  While anger is a natural emotional response to some conditions, it is rarely the real emotion underlying the situation and is never beneficial.  Maybe this is a skill I have learned from a bad situation, something positive from a long list of negatives.

 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  ― George Bernard Shaw

The Culmination of My Fear

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Today was challenging in a way some may not understand. As a parent we want the best for our children, an easier row to hoe. When they choose something challenging we struggle between letting them toil at a task and the ease our wisdom could impart. As parents we also never want to see our children hurt, that is one of the most painful feeling when one we love is hurting and we cannot fix it, when we can only offer some solace and a bit of comfort at best it is quite heartbreaking. I have been struggling today and the realization I arrived at was almost crippling. I have hours ahead of me in the darkness of night to think for tonight I shall find no sleep.

I have feared my children would grow up to find themselves in my shoes. Some nightmare like my daughter at 22 ended up in a loveless marriage where she was on her best day, left to her own devices, on an average day manipulate, and on a difficult day I really do not want to consider.  What happens if my children grow into adults and never find unconditional love and acceptance in a relationship? What if their prior home life has set a standard that they accept less than what they deserve?  No matter how much I fought to protect them I have the lurking feeling they know more than they should.  What if my children think it is alright to settle for a life similar to what I did for year, irrelevant of the rationality I used at the time. What if the cycle begins to repeat?

So today when my middle child came home with the magnificent life plan that could quite possibly put them on the same trajectory as their father I was crippled with fear. As I write that now, I am brought to my knees with panic and dismay. I did not shield them from what I had hoped. Did I protect his eyes and ears from some of the terrors that he has no knowledge of why his choice is a bad idea?  Does he not see this is a choice to see the approval of a person who delves out “love” and “praise” as a way to control him? How can one crush his dreams of the future to protect him from the pain that it may cause. How can I step aside and let it occur or step up to break the cycle? I had always feared they may find themselves in my shoes but I had never considered they would begin down the path of the person that put me here….. I suppose I shall see no rest tonight.

 

“As for courage and will – we cannot measure how much of each lies within us, we can only trust there will be sufficient to carry through trials which may lie ahead.” – Andre Norton

 

My Grand Finale

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As I sit here thinking of the day ahead, considering what I need to do, what I want to do for myself and what may actually occur. For some reason my thoughts filter back to my bucket list, all those things that I want to do, opportunities I have passed on that will never return again and things I can never have. As all of this circulates in my mind I think of the importance to seize the day for I know of myself and others that have not and those moments are gone forever.

Through this reflection I find these questions again trickling through my thoughts, some of which I have asked before while others are new. What if we knew the expiration date of our life, that we knew next Thursday was it what would we do?  If I knew this was my last day on this planet, what would I do? Would it be some grand finale or some small inconsequential moment that passes?  What would I want my children to know, how much could I impart in these last few hours? Having seen this happen to another family, it is a fear I carry like most parents I am sure. If I had one day to do anything what would it be? If I knew it was my last chance to tell a loved one something, what would it be? In that last chance what would I want them to know?  How much they impacted my life? Could I finally say all the words that got trapped in my struggle with vulnerability?  Could I leave the world without regrets? Why do I wait for others to initiate things when I know what is in my heart?  If those in my life knew it was the last time they would see me, what would they share? Are there thoughts they have left trapped deep within themselves for the same reasons I have? Do they live with regrets?

How do you always choose to do the thing on your bucket list instead of waiting for life to unfold? How do you impart what you want to leave into the world? I try to leave a bit of me with those I care for each day but is that enough? How does one find the courage to live each day as if it were their last? How do you let those you care for how very important they are?  How do we live making sure this occurs and not just assume it does?

 

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” ― Lemony Snicket

My Fickle Friend

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Silence is such a fickle friend. There are times I crave it as if it were the only thing that can offer reprieve from life and there are other times she arrives on my doorstep bearing the gift of fear or apprehension. There are days I want nothing more than my mind to silence so I can find peace, and other days when there is so much silence it feels I will crumble under the weight. My relationship with her can flutter between a welcome arrival to being filled with dread and fear upon her arrival.

Sitting here in a major conglomo coffee shop I would love a few moments of silence, I am overwhelmed by the cacophony for I hear 7 different conversations as Garbage tries to drown them all out with Only Happy When it Rains as it ironically pours outside.  There are other times all the sounds create a silence in my soul; this morning I wandered out to my porch to embrace her, allow the shroud of darkness and silence to refuel my spirit, providing me the courage and strength the face the day ahead and as dawn arrived on a new day, I too was ready to face it.

Silence arrives in many different forms and while there are times I invite her, there are others she arrives uninvited. There are times she shows up with the news of a dear friend who is in pain, agitated, or ill at ease, she can come in times when news of a loved one is in struggle, lost in some fog of despair, she comes bearing a story where the silence is based in shame or guilt, she can come with information of one I care for struggling with periods of great insecurity, self-doubt or anxiety and there are times she comes with loss and grief. When she arrives bearing trepidation, fear and concern are the moments I dislike silence yet cannot leave her waiting on the doorstep to wander off and disturb another.

I understand how silence finds her grip, our need to retreat within ourselves, the need to find a safe place to rest, to not be a burden to others but we are not intended to struggle alone in silence either. I understand some types of silence thrive where trust and vulnerability struggle to survive; some days it take courage to break that silence.. There are times I have walked alone with silence, my only true friend but she is never enough to sustain.  How clear some of these silences are, while others require contemplation to understand the gravity. There are days absence of sound, silence, can scream volumes. I suppose sitting in stillness with her is all I can offer in these times.

 

“There’s an old voice in my head that’s holding me back. Well tell her that I miss our little talks” 

-Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir, Little Talks

 

A Letter to Myself

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I want to forgive you….

…for being so fragile that you have lost parts of youself along the journey

…for being so strong that you have never learned to ask for help,  you struggle to trust in others, to lean into the kindness offered

…for not always being brave enough to embrace your vulnerability

…for rushing in to fix everything for those you love as opposed to holding space and supporting them in finding their own resolution

…for striving to anticipate everything and working to counterbalance it

…for shutting yourself off from the world, not in the times of healing but out of fear

Remember my dear chicka you are only human. You have made mistakes and I can guarantee you will make more before your time on this precious planet is over for you are just a mere mortal. These mistakes are important, essential to your growth so learn from them. Strive to overcome those forgiven shortcomings; keep your heart filled with gratitude, kindness, and compassion; focus on the love not the fear; and maintain pure intentions for all will be alright when the sun sets. Remember to love yourself, always be as kind to yourself as you would to others.

If you were to write a letter to yourself, what would you forgive?

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

–Mark Twain

Clarification Needed

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As I sit here listening to the night noises while waiting for the sun to rise I think of a conversation that just recently transpired. It was with one of my friend. They offer me the balance of perspective I often need, adding insight I miss and even call me out on actions in a thoughtful but realistic manner; all attributes I truly value. We were spent the afternoon laughing and ranting about life, the absurdity of the state of the world when we arrived at a topic my need for clarification. They had so patiently offered clarification earlier in the day on something I was unsure of but other than that thought I really do not recall how we arrived there.  We had a great laugh over the fact I was asking for clarification of the clarification, enjoying the humor in the irony.

But it has left me thinking about all the places where I seem to stumble. Communication is something I always struggled and  strive to improve, both what is expressed and received.  I often struggle with the subtleties, those nuances between the words and far prefer face to face conversations over electronic ones, at least there I can try to grasp through expressions and body language while even asking when I miss the intent. I have come to realize I also stumble with my words, often getting things caught in some filter of emotion and often feel like a fumbling buffoon. I do so much better writing my thoughts often wondering if others are the same.

I think what I find most disconcerting as of late are all the things unsaid. I was again remind of this as I was driving earlier.  I found myself behind a slew of police vehicles, realizing they had just left the service for an officer lost in the line of duty. As I was thinking of the family’s loss, the loss to his friends, coworkers,  all the things left undone, left unsaid I found  my thoughts drifting to a friend I lost almost two years ago, a mother of my daughter’s best friend. There has not been an event pass since then that I haven’t considered the importance of embracing the now. How many moments pass where there would have been words, laughter, tears, and hugs; now there is just a void.

I think of all the things I have not said. All the words I have quelled for a variety of good intentions now have the weight of a boulder tethered to my soul. I think of learning against the door-frame talking and the things I had wanted to say, those words left in the dark recesses of my heart.  Is that the right thing to do? If I were to leave before the sun rose again would there be any knowledge of or regret over the unsaid, for myself and those who never heard the words? How do I clarify the want and need to communicate what lies within? Is there an understanding of the actions that imply the words left unspoken? Are others the same, carrying unspoken words I will never know? What do they wish they had said?

“Just because something is unspoken doesn’t mean that it disappears.” ― Alice Hoffman