Is this my life?

What I know beyond a doubt is the surest way to add more pain to your life is to assume you know it all and to not question the reality of your assumptions. Open, honest and clear communication is the secret ingredient in all effective, loving relationships.

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Remember when I promised to reveal why Thursday’s are often very hard for me?

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with my 84 year old mother over the past months.  It comes as a welcome opportunity to really explore the past, to ask questions about why certain things happened the way they did and to share funny quips and stories. These days, even when I may not feel like going over there to sit and talk for three or four hours, I go any way, because I know for a fact, that the days are running out.  I have to take my opportunities where they come.

Once upon a time, I shared everything with my Mom.  We were the closest of any of the relatives in my immediate family…and then somehow things turned upside down.   I still struggle to figure out what changed so much that I ended up estranged from her for over three years.  I’m grateful the lines of communications have been opened again for many years, yet sad that some things are never going to change and are outside of my control.

A while ago on a Thursday, we had a tough few hours talking about events of the past.  I was floored when out of nowhere she dredged up one of her perceptions of an event I have absolutely NO recollection of.  (I’m not even sure it really happened.)  The saddest part of all is that this is something she’s held over me for more than thirty years, (I was a senior in high school according to her)….yet she never bothered to talk to me about it.  I’ve spent countless hours and thousands of gallons of tears trying to understand what I ever did to deserve the treatment I’ve received.  Now it comes out and it turns out to be something that I cannot even remember and even if I did; this is NOT something you lay at the feet of your daughter….ever.

I wish I could be more forthcoming with the details of what was actually said, but at this point I cannot.  What I can share, however, is how important it is to never EVER to make assumptions. We lost thirty or more years of a good relationship because she made something up in her mind and then told herself it was true. She never once spoke to me about it. Reflecting back, I see this is a pattern of many years with her.

This morning I’m still struggling trying to make sense of this life I’ve lived.  Friends tell me I should write a novel (or two or three) based on my life experiences…if I could make sense of most of it, I might.

What I know beyond a doubt is the surest way to add more pain to your life is to assume you know it all and to not question the reality of your assumptions.  Open, honest and clear communication is the secret ingredient in all effective, loving relationships.

Despite the pain I might have today as a result of knowing what I now do, I am still grateful for these times with my mother.  I am grateful there is still time to heal the past.  I am grateful God has given me the tools I need to process this silly life and grateful I’m able to be open enough to share my feelings.

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Prayer for today:

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;

So I will know my people’s plight.

Free me to pray for others;

For you are present in every person.

Help me take responsibility for my own life;

So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;

For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;

So that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;

So that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;

For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;

So we can change the world.

Amen.

-César E. Chávez

Journey to the Cocoon

Today I ponder the fact that we are all a part of the caterpillar and vice versa. In a sense we are all trying to make our way across the asphalt jungle of life, trying to get to a place where we can finally feel free enough to release our inner beauty.

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What seems like a hundred years ago I used to be one of the top bloggers at MySpace (back when MySpace) was popular. (Stop laughing.) Like clockwork, I began every morning at the computer taking dictation from my heart. I wrote from my soul, with passion, about anything and everything. Nothing was off-limits. It came to me very easily.

Lately I’ve been traveling around other people’s blogs and have found a few that really speak to me on a heart level. Most of them are written about real-life struggles with depression, addiction, family issues and the like. Most of them are about sweet people trying to fight their way back (or towards) a healthier way of life. I can relate on so many levels. This is a worthy fight that I feel continually part of.

I admire the people who are able to write from the place of brutal honesty. It seems like I have been spinning my wheels trying to get back to that place for a long time. Somewhere along the line I’ve become guarded with my expression of what’s inside me. I really want that to end. I want to be able to write like I used to write. I want to rid myself of anything that is currently in my way.

Okay a little side note here: The moment I typed that last sentence, “I want to rid myself of anything that is currently in my way.”, a box popped up on my screen that actually said, “Bill W. is in need of catering this weekend.” Don’t A.A. people say something like, “Are you friends with Bill W?” Ha Ha. (So funny how the Universe works. Looks like I’ll be ridding myself of my evening cocktail come Monday.)

This morning for no apparent reason I decided to go visit an old blog of mine and this is what popped up. I think the Universe wants me to post it for my new blogger friends who are working on themselves. It’s for me too, because I seem to be a constant work in progress!

Metamorphosis

I am no fan of the caterpillar.

Funny, as children we joyfully grab them from the pavement, talk to them, pet them, let them crawl on us and even try to keep them in jars.  Thirty years later the mere site of one gives me the heebie jeebies.  Gross!

Last week after watching hundreds of these slinky silken beings travel across my deck and front porch-each of them in search of a safe haven in which to transform- I had an epiphany.

Maybe as children we intrinsically recognize the caterpillar as part of our own selves.  I can remember feeling a certain empathy for these creatures, which is probably why I used to pick them up and carry them across the parking lot, assuring them a safe journey to the woods.  I didn’t want to see a single one meet an untimely and squishy death.

Today I ponder the fact that we are all a part of the caterpillar and vice versa.  In a sense we are all trying to make our way across the asphalt jungle of life, trying to get to a place where we can finally feel free enough to release our inner beauty.  I look back on my own life and recognize there have been a lot of little kid hands lifting me up and carrying me when I didn’t feel I could make it across the lot on my own.

Over the weekend I saw a caterpillar making his way up my front door.  I didn’t stop long enough to see where he was trying to go, nor did I really care.  I was busy with my list of tasks for the day.  A little later on, after I’d been in and out a few more times, I noticed something interesting.  He’d spun his cocoon and gone into his chrysalis right on my doorbell button!  What a fitting symbol for me at this time in my life.

The butterfly has been a personal sign of mine for many years (I’m sure I am not alone in this).  Throughout my life I’ve had many experiences of cocooning, hiding myself away from the rest of the world, spun into my own little nest, trying to transform and emerge anew.  Maybe this is why I recoil when I see a caterpillar. Eek, bluck, and gross. Sometimes it’s not easy remembering the journey to the cocoon, even when we have all ready transformed into butterflies.

That caterpillar deliberately placed himself on my doorbell so I would see him every day and be reminded that I am Blessed beyond comprehension.  In just a short while, he will emerge a transformed being to fly off and begin anew.  In much the same manner, I will be opening the door to a new and wonderful life as well.

The door bell?  Well of course you do know that “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings”?  (Couldn’t resist that one, sorry)

The butterfly is a universal symbol for the transformation of life.   It is a symbol of great joy and great change.

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But most importantly, butterflies remind us that the power of metamorphosis is always within our reach.

May you find a caterpillar at your front door very soon!

I don’t feel like it.

How is it possible to wake up on a Monday and feel defeated even before I’ve had breakfast? I had a perfectly lovely day yesterday and I went to bed feeling grateful and happy.

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How is it possible to wake up on a Monday and feel defeated even before I’ve had breakfast? I had a perfectly lovely day yesterday and I went to bed feeling grateful and happy.

(I had slated today to begin my protein shake program again since the last time I did it I was interrupted by a trip to Chicago.)

Yet, this morning when Charlie asked me if I was ready for my shake, I told him no. I don’t feel like it today.

I don’t feel like it today?

Translation: I don’t feel like having any rules today. I don’t feel like being restricted. I don’t wanna. I.DO.NOT.WANT.TO!

Looks like yours truly needs a really big attitude adjustment or perhaps just a fresh pair of soul glasses. How is it that just a few weeks ago I was excited to begin this program and not only that, I was having success with it. Today I woke up and said, “No. Not today. Nope.”

I’m tired, for one thing, and for another, I failed to do my preparation work. For me that means that I did not take the time over the weekend to feed my spirit with what it needed. I didn’t take the time to write in my journal. Although I always pray, I did not spend enough time actually feeling my prayers. I didn’t plan for today. I didn’t even think about today. I just went on my merry way letting the spirit blow me around wherever it wanted to.

Did I mention I’m tired?

And so thankfully, tomorrow is another day. This evening I will revisit my reasons for wanting to do the 2 weeks of protein shakes. I will again look at the photos of my pudgy face and squinting eyes and I will reaffirm that I want this face back again.

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Yes, I know it’s been a while but this girl…she’s still in there. Is it wrong to miss my eyelids?  Methinks not. Last time I did this, after just four days I saw signs of this girl coming back to life…

Just so you know, it’s not just the face I would like again, it’s the confidence and the health benefits I want too. I’d like to be able to look in the mirror again and love the face looking at me. I don’t feel that way right now. I don’t feel I even know the person in that mirror.

I just need to set my sites and start again….AGAIN.

And so I will. (I end a lot of stuff like this lately! ha ha)

 

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