This past week was …um…interesting, to say the least.
For myself, there continues a feeling of overwhelm, at ‘incoming!’ things to be done, and yet – I have walked through the lil valley of ‘now what?’ to regain some perspective in order to prioritize, do, bit by bit and quit when I am tired, to rest, heal and try again tomorrow –
For now, on many fronts, that’s all there is to do – really – what’s in front of me that I can – 😀
At some point, a call came in, from one who felt perhaps my ears was the ‘safe place to ask’ –
I want to [do this], my heart aches for my friend- and yet, I don’t want to intrude – I don’t know what to offer – I want to reach out – but am not sure I should….Incoming phone call
Why do I get these phone calls, you ask?
Well, because it takes and wastes, ever so much energy & resources to create an external or artificial life different from the life you really live or wish to live.
I do so hate wasting resources – mine or external to me –
Yep, ‘hate’ is the word I chose – it’s the one that fits – really, to describe all my feelings over wasting resources and energy – on the plus side, that’s a pretty broad generalization, so at the very least, I’m not picking on this one or that NOR am I leaving anyone/thing out of my criticism – including me! 😀
That’s just the best way I know how to speak of my authentic self to others – bottom line – – best as I can – without getting into minor details that can be misconstrued by the fearful, the hurt, the bullied or those who believe, ‘I am one of ‘them’ – just because I spoke the word…. ‘hate’.
Because living a double life is waste of resources/energy to my mind…
I try to help others as I can, or share similar struggles in my life and things that helped me, that might also, be of use to them, right about now… no sense lying about the world of Me – warts and all, well….
Many folks know about the downs of me – the fears and bumps in the night I still startle at – the flaws of me …
They know a portion of the times I walked through the underworld of internal fears, anger, depression – what I did (whether the best option or not) to make my way out of hell or the dismal swamp or dark forest or moonless/starless night I was lost in, to some ‘other side’ of
‘whew! Okay – safe – now – find my bearings – I’m hungry, need a shower and where is the nearest bathroom??No mater how we change, how much we remain the same 😀
That’s why I get those calls.
They think I have the answer or advice – maybe I do, maybe I don’t – sometimes, folks just are in want of ‘permission’ to do what they already decided they are gonna do but are scared, or know, deep within, not the best thing to do – really , if they wish to keep being the person they tell themselves they are –
And I give the only answers I really know…
(after asking more questions usually, which drives most impatient souls to the brink of anger – but I often feel the need to understand more about what they are TRULY asking -and well – they called me and they KNOW I rarely say anything in 2.5 seconds or 1,000 words or less – so who, really is to blame?? – :D)
- sometimes I say yes
- sometimes I say, “um, not sure that’s gonna turn out the way you think it will, because…..”and
- sometimes I say, “I’m sorry, but I cannot be a part of this. Your free will, but I tell ya, I’m not gonna help you with that plan/path and if you insist or try to force me, I will actively work against you – so walk away, now, or let us explore other options together that may work for you, that I can live with – …please….please… reconsider…you’re better than this! I know you are! No? Okey-dokey then – have fun with that….I’ll be over here doing my thing – hope you find what you’re searching for, or really need – but move on – nothing to see here…and…you come after me/mine? Well – um, ya already gave me your game plan – so be careful – :D”
But for this call?
Eazy-Peezy Lemon Squeezy –
I know the answer by heart – it has stood the test of time – it plays out over and over again, in the human condition….and many places we love, fear, worry, etc.
I tried to share a few short examples from my life, when on the wonderful receiving end of such love in action, regarding what I said to her:
Focus on your love of your friend – follow your heart – then you don’t have to worry about mess ups or anything – just show up with love in your heart, focusing on all you love about her, the most beautiful, strong and resilient things of her – her kindness, her strength, her generosity and compassion – and then be willing to hold that vision of her, even if she’s not at her best, just now.
Whether she responds or not is not your job. It’s only your job to show up in love, to let her know you are there for her, over and over, until you no longer can or until the time when she wakes up and does want/need you.
That’s it – and if you can’t do that? then don’t – but if you are called to? gird your loins, learn more if ya need to, focus, pray, meditate, whatever it takes, to show up that way – then go do it – best ya can, for as long as you can.
This is pretty easy to do, when we love someone – have seen their true gifts – have been blessed by their highest self, if you will, gifts –
It’s rather like learning then doing the Rural Version of CPR, Really…
I sat in the class my mother was taking – right after I went through the First Aid class I was allowed to take/test/get certification for, given my age (10-12 – I don’t remember, but I must, if I’m to care for the young and vulnerable of others, for pay…and mom and some of her Community Ladies Home Extension Club had decided they needed to take those classes too – being on the home front lines far away from rescue squads, etc…then this, just now, is what it looks like – evening classes with one who has already worked a full, long day to earn his living…)
I can still see the owner of the local Pharmacy/Drugstore (with real soda fountain!), that also served the veterinarian needs of wisdom & medicine for animals, in the local community – teaching those classes at night after long day of work – and what he said in the introduction to learning CPR….
Out here? You drive along and come upon one needing help? Something happens at home? They are knocked out, not breathing, no pulse? YOUR FIRST JOB is to Summon Help! Cuz if you start CPR, and you have a this card? You are honor bound to keep going until either they revive or you fall from exhaustion or someone else shows up to relieve you of your duty-
So before you start, call in the calvary – THEN, you can start – and if you start?
You keep going until you are relieved of duty or physically, no longer can – and this is not easy, folks – especially on one known to you – it will tax you, break you, your muscles and your heart – perhaps break bones in their body if you keep their blood circulating enough, with oxygen in it – to try to minimize the damage they must recover from or live with, should they survive – it’s not easy – it’s not pretty – and often? What you see on TV rarely happens in real life – you MUST know this – going into it…
[Silent, he looks around the room, makes eye contact with everyone in it, including me, in the back – in the ‘observation only’ gallery of kids allowed to be there, cuz no babysitters and keep quiet and behave yourself – some folks go white in the face, some folks squirm in their seats – some sit with arms crossed and steely stares, wondering when he’s gonna get down to the ‘how-to-do’ portion of the program..]
“Okay then – none of you got up and walked out – let us begin, During this course, you will learn how to…..”H.T.’s version of introduction to CPR course in early 1980s rural Americana – 😀
The call this past week is not a new story in my life
People die – livestock dies -crops die – and yes, children die.
My children have died. One after nearly 18 years and 2 before ever they were born.
Everything dies, sooner or later – it just is. Whether I like it or not – whether I had a hand in killing it or not – whether I did my best to appreciate it while it was here or not….whether it dies to keep me living or not –
And always there are those who have suffered the loss and then there are too, the folks around them who want to support their friend – and the caller that day wasn’t any different from the one who whispered to me at work, long ago:
“My friend just lost – I want to be there for her, but how? What should I do? I hope you don’t mind me asking you. I thought you could tell me best what I should do, just now.”
Here’s the long version of all the in-outs of the matter: Supporting Grieving Parents.
Meanwhile, back at My Personal Ranch…..
- Housework, maintenance and get ready for winter in landscape, vehicle and home all in need of doing
- Paid Work list still sometimes makes me blanche over how on earth I’m gonna get this @#$% to work, so it is done, shipped, invoice sent and move on to the next work to do
- Volunteer time on this, that and the other needs be done – on some fronts for transparency, integrity, good record keeping, and sometime, simply because I know what to troubleshoot on basic tech things first, to see if resolved, I am nearby and no one else local enough to ‘hire an expert’, unless it is beyond my abilities.
- Research to finalize decisions on voting options so I’m ready to fill out my ballot and submit when that looming day comes – in a divided nation…
- Wars and fights, and governments and economies and plagues and natural disasters all play out on scales often far from me, but impact my daily life or the life of those I love, anyhoo
So What do I do?
I look to the past – the past of many places, people and things – including my own past…
I remember movie clips, books, quotes, phrases, songs, for my needs or maybe helpful to others, just now.
All of which rather, to me, remind me of all the core needs, tendencies and realities that not only I face, but every human must face, at one time or another, if they show up and live fully –
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to live the width of it as well.”Dianne Ackerman, Poet and Naturalist
And so, sometimes, as I think of myself or listen to the tales of others, regarding, loss, faded love and better days –
I really wish I could sing well and play the tambourine, instead of trying to bring solutions to others via tech or protecting/serving others in areas they don’t want to mess with, just because I am willing to say, “okay – this, here, now even though, I’m not your best option”, or learning to be a Master Gardner/Herbalist, and I remember, for me, for ever so many, for a variety of reasons, we all just sometimes need to gather round, for the Loser’s Evening Prayer or the Late Night Benediction..
Me, Thee, We, rather all come back into focus, through music and lyrics…
The Y’all Come Back Saloon by the Oak Ridge Boys
A River Runs Through It
And then I think of the timelessness of the Universe I live in – of how often, what we have to give and are willing to give,that sometimes (often?) are not needed, or wanted.
Of how those we love best, often elude us. About loving completely, without complete understanding….
How things ebb and flow, all things merge into one – and a river runs through it.
And often, I am haunted by the waters of me.
I remember, too, there are rocks of me formed long ago and the river of me runs through canyons far and wide of many other living things, whether I’m aware of it or not – where I nourish, where I wear away, where I rush, hurry or become turbulent and destructive –
The Solitude of Self
But always, when overwhelm, external forces in pain, need or wants, show up faster than I feel able to keep my head above water and stick to my values – To be willing, able and ready to step up and do what needs be done, in an instant, that I can live with – needed? – just now?
I remember too, in the end, two things….
[paraphrased] “We journey towards this world, alone and we leave this world alone, why do folks think we need company every blessed moment in between??Nissa, in “Years” by Lavyrle Spencer – paraphrased cuz I loaned my copy out and it didn’t get returned and I haven’t replaced it yet! 😀
Followed by a phrase from Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s speech –
Whatever the theories may be of woman’s dependence on man, in the supreme moments of her life he can not bear her burdens. Alone she goes to the gates of death to give life to every man that is born into the world. No one can share her fears, no one can mitigate her pangs; and if her sorrow is greater than she can bear, alone she passes beyond the gates into the vast unknown.
From the mountain tops of Judea, long ago, a heavenly voice bade His disciples “Bear ye one another’s burden,”[xx] but humanity has not yet risen to that point of self-sacrifice and if ever so willing, how few the burdens are that one soul can bear for another. In the highways of Palestine; in prayer and fasting on the solitary mountain top; in the Garden of Gethsemane; before the judgment seat of Pilate; betrayed by one of His trusted disciples at His last supper; in His agonies on the cross, even Jesus of Nazareth, in those last sad days on earth, felt the awful solitude of self. Deserted by man, in agony he cries, “My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken me?”[xxi] And so it ever must be in the conflicting scenes of life, in the long, weary march, each one walks alone. We may have many friends, love, kindness, sympathy, and charity to smoothe our pathway in everyday life, but in the tragedies and triumphs of human experience each mortal stands alone.[xxii]Excerpt from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Solitude of Self Speech, before the House Judiciary Committee February 18, 1892
There Are Always, Burdens we Each Must Bear, by ourselves…
No matter our gender, station in life – no matter what comes.
Burdens on our body, heart and mind – that no one else can carry for us – our life mission, as it were – no matter what or how the world we live in chooses to label us –
No matter whether we are doing our best or our worst – or simply trying to find our way to better through trial and error, the burdens that are ours to carry –
Those burdens will remain until they are resolved, someone shows up to relieve us of our duty, we collapse under their weight, we realize, a burden we need no longer carry within or it was a burden that was, in the end, not ours to carry, afterall – not really –
And so, Often, I return to the Basement of Me, the past and the ever changing moments of Life
– no matter what the day, week, season brings to my eyes, ears, senses, heart?
I run to the only core things I think I know – as in eazy-peezy-lemon-squeezy – no matter what – to survive – to set boundaries – to be compassionate and take care of myself, without destroying others – or leaving a wake of destruction five-miles wide, behind me…
Yes, really, It is Always about Me, on the other hand, Never, Really is anything, JUST About Me – there is a ‘collective We’ as well – and my actions/responses add to or detract from the collective, shared experience.
I’m merely a grain of sand on the beach, and yet, without my grain, the beach is never exactly the same – so what kind of beach would I like to walk on, someday??Me, giving myself a pep talk and ‘remember these things…’ speech that I often tell others, to remind myself of –
And nothing left to do, but sit with myself and decide…
Who do I wish to be? Why? What do I wish to create/build, leave behind me? How do I go about doing that?
And finally –
Am I …..
- Educated enough to fully understand or meet [this] issue/challenge?
- Fearless or passionate enough to think outside the box of education/traditions to consider other solutions?
- Compassionate enough to see the fears/reasons posed by those on ‘the other side’ of a challenge we all face?
- Strong enough to stand in the face of bullies, those who demand by force or what others think is the only way forward, even if I stand alone?
- Vulnerable enough to hold the space for collaboration, brainstorming, teamwork and others to feel safe enough to show up with their gifts and flaws too, because they know my flaws?
- Courageous enough to move forth into unknowns? For myself or those who depend upon me to ‘lead the way’ on this or that I often feel ill-equipped to do but even after I told them why they could do better, they still want me??
- Patient enough to wait and see, observe more, be silent while I learn more?
At the end of the day ?
All that is left is me – choices to be made, consequences to live with and being able to look at myself in the eyes of my soul, come tomorrow…
Two last thoughts –
Take, Take What You Want and then Pay FOR IT!Another paraphrase from a Victoria Holt novel I used to own – with a poem within in called, “Pippa’s Song” – that is drawn up from memory. and, well, this is a tale of caution I tell to myself, and the hard boundary line I hold for both me and those external to me, who take, take – believing it their right –
Which is immediately followed by the hard rock of me –
A King May Move a Man…but….
Your Soul is in your keeping, alonefrom King Baldwin the IV in movie, “Kingdom of Heaven
And the Rock Hard parts of me are softened by the fluidity of water me….
And the power of water – over time or in a flash – when all things become distilled into one ….in the moment or hindsight – well…
All things become….
even when they are not or do not feel easy….
“In the end there is nothing to be done but to state clearly what has been done, without shame or regret and say: Here I am, and this is what I am. Now deal with me as you see fit. That is your right. Mine is to stand by the act, [my acts] and pay the price.
You do what you must do, and pay for it. So in the end all things are simple.”Ellis Peters, Brother Cadfael’s Penance
And the Universal River Runs through it…
May your week be full of blessings, gifts, challenges that grow you without breaking you and may you not succumb to your sorrows, until all accounts have been reconciled within/without and you calmly lay down your sword, no longer needed, to move to the next stage of new beginnings.