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Life is certainly a rich tapestry isn’t it?  At least it is for me.  I’ve got some real stuff going on, both personally and of course, at a global level.  At the global level, I am feeling the angst, the dismay, the anguish and the anger of my fellow human beings.  I vacillate between wanting to go out in the world and do things, and realizing I can only do so much.  Every day for me I combat anger the likes of which I have not experienced since before getting sober, which has been over 33 years.  I combat spontaneous tears.  For the first time in over 33 years, I have a fear of people.  Dealing with this is a daily event, every day I must renew my faith.  I know what it feels like to live a fear free life, and quite frankly it is simply unacceptable to be experiencing a return of this kind of fear.  I know what I must do to replace that fear with faith; this is the ultimate in self care.  Not getting manicures and massages, although a massage is currently on my short term list of things to do.  But on this journey, I must remember that these kinds of feelings, the fear, the anger, the grief,  are normal given what is happening, even if they are not fun.  I must honor them, but not nourish them.  Instead, I must take a deeper dive into self care than I ever have before.  This means talking regularly to the person I have chosen to be my counselor to guide me through this uncharted territory. This means accepting offers of help.  It means loving the casseroles that people are bringing over.  That one is not difficult to do.  This means allowing loving people into my life, and eliminating hateful and unkind and ignorant people from it.  I’ve been doing a lot of rearranging on my Facebook page lately.  It means not feeling guilty that I simply do not have it in me at the moment to do more out in the world.  It means changing my thinking on a daily basis, using the spiritual practices of gratitude and affirmative prayer as I never have before.  I’ve been revisiting my book collection, and am rereading some old favorites that have always nourished me.
Yesterday I thanked one of Floyd’s doctors for quickly responding to a request we had made.  She told me not to thank her and I burst into tears.  Why would I not thank her?  I like this doc.  Others, not so much, but this one, I like.  I text her, she calls back within a half hour and our request is honored with one phone call.  She is Hindu, and has an approach to things that is part science and part spiritual, and I really identify with that.  She honors Floyd’s decisions regarding his medical care, and I love that.
Every day is a wild ride of witnessing people doing stupid shit and saying the most outlandish things.  Yesterday I heard a man proclaim, very loudly, that his daddy beat him regularly, sometimes with a belt and sometimes without one, and that he had learned respect because of it, and he was respectful now because of it.  Despite the fact that he was loudly proclaiming his respect in a very disrespectful way.  Sigh.  My anger came back.  The old me would have taken him on and told him to shut up in a physical way.  But that was my old life and this is my new life.  I do things differently now.   And I’m 65 years old and all of 5 feet tall.  I know my limits, and I also know that to engage in such dark behavior leads only to more dark behavior.  I inwardly acknowledged my anger and simply left the area.  Sometimes I bless those ignorant idiots.  But mostly I’m beyond even that now.  I leave them to their misery and move on.  The fact that almost daily there are opportunities to make a choice like that is a very good indicator of what is happening in society right now.  Then I did a wedding.  A sacred and beautiful thing, and I was left with the feelings of wonder and joy and gratitude that I get to participate in such important events in people’s lives.  And that horrible angry man was left behind to his own devices while I moved on to participate in and help create more beauty in life.
Every day I participate in wonderful new beginnings:  weddings are off the charts this year.  And I’ve taken to asking each of my wedding couples, “why now?”  And their response is always the same, no matter what the circumstances are, “it’s time.”  I believe that people want certainty in a very uncertain world, and for these couple, getting married is the way to achieve it.  Tomorrow I facilitate the last of a month long class I’ve been teaching, called “The Art of Uncertainty.”  Yes, there is an art to it.  And a beauty, and when we open up to uncertainty, we experience things we would never have experienced otherwise.  But I’m left thinking if there is such a thing as too much uncertainty?  Who knows?  What I know right now is that this time is populated with a roller coaster ride of emotions.  Daily I experience the kind of anger I haven’t experienced in a very long time.  Daily I cry. Daily I experience joy and gratitude and remember the peace that comes from faith and loving kindness.  Daily I even experience some joy.  Roller coaster.   I used to like those when I was a kid.  Go figure.  
What I know is that with the last class tomorrow, it will be the last class I teach for at least a few months.  What I know is that my interim ministry assignment will end on August 31, and I will not be accepting a new one for at least a few months.  What I know is that I need to spend some time at home with my dying husband.  People are beginning to refer to me as the care giver.  I hate that name.  And yet, because of what I do for a living, I know the important role that care givers play, and I know how important self care is for a care giver.  So I will continue on this self care journey.  
I once created a workshop on self care.  I presented it to ministers, who quite often are not the best examples of self care.  (This is a huge understatement by the way.)  I believe it was a success.  One lady showed up and complimented me.  She said, “if you had begun talking about manicures and massages I would have been out of here.”  No, self care is not about manicures and massages.  It is about self love. It is about self compassion.  It is about mindfulness.  It is about knowing one’s boundaries, and setting them and keeping them. 
So today I do the ultimate in self care, and I hope you do the same.

Last week I had a conversation with someone. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this conversation, and I doubt it will be the last. But what struck me was the source of this conversation. Usually, I have this conversation with folks who have a different set of beliefs than I do. Before I get off track about the beliefs, let me report the conversation.

Her: “You are very busy indeed!”

Me: “I always laugh when people tell me I’m busy.  My ministry consists of writing, creating memes/graphics, creating and doing workshops, classes and retreats, and some private coaching. And a once a week online discussion group based on the Science of Mind textbook.  I have time every day to either lounge around in the mornings watching the fat quail that hang out at our house, or to go horse back riding.  And to nest.  So...not too busy.  Life is indeed rich and full but not too busy!”

Her: “Busy-ness is a state of mind which obviously I was projecting on you.”

And there-in lies the source of the busy comments I get all the time. It is more about them than about me. Even when that comment comes from someone I consider to be spiritually enlightened.

And right there is my opportunity to speak of beliefs.

I believe in living a rich and full life. I have some fears, I have some anxieties but I do not allow those to prevent me from doing what I wish to do. Nor do I allow them to keep me from showing up as how and whom I wish to show up in the world. (And where is my editor when I need her?)

I know where some of these beliefs came from. Enjoying life to the fullest: that belief came about as a result of doing the process of recovery, and realizing I did not get sober to plod through life. I got sober to enjoy life to the fullest.

The belief that one should do what one loves for a living, no matter whether there was money in it or not? I have no idea where that one came from. When I was a kid and pondering what to do with my life, every idea or suggestion I presented to the parental units was greeted the same way: “there’s no money in that,” they would say. As for me, it has never made sense to me to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, doing something that I did not enjoy just to bring home a paycheck.

And my thought would be, “but there is no joy in what you are suggesting.”

I am a firm believer in “build it and they will come.” I’ve been self employed for most of my adult life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is great freedom in being self employed. I have a flexible schedule, one that allows me to do all the things I love doing. That I get to do all the things I love doing is, I think, the source of all the “you’re so busy!” comments. There is a discipline involved in being self employed, for sure. I have to work, I have to produce, I have to write, no matter what. I have to ask for support and trust from people, so I can continue to do this work and get paid even before the book is published or the workshop done. I have to have faith and trust, and I have to renew that faith continuously. I still wouldn’t change it.

So no, I’m not busy. I am a great proponent of self care. I even have a workshop on self care. Most of the time I’m in balance with work, rest and play. What you believe is what you receive, and I believe that we should live lives of joy, doing what we love to earn a living, being able to play regularly, and being able to rest regularly. And that is what I do.

I know the “you’re so busy” comments will continue. I won’t tell them that speaks more to them than to me. People tend to get defensive and shut down when I do that. I see it as an opportunity for growth, but that’s just me I guess.

So today I’m going to write a bit more, nest a bit more, work a bit doing the things that set up a multiple source passive income stream, and just generally enjoy my day. Nope, not too busy.

Let's face it:  there is a LOT of shit going on in the world these days.  It's global, regional, local and in your face.  At least it is that way for me.  Every day I log on to find some asinine thing done by some politician, or another instance of racism, misogyny or hatred, or another weather related disaster of epic proportions.  Then my phone begins to chime with text messages and phone calls:  another client having a crisis, a friend diagnosed with a life threatening illness, another with a drug addicted child.  How much more can we take?

Unfortunately, no one knows the answer to that.  I certainly don't.  But I do have some helpful hints to handle it all.

Here are some symptoms which may indicate crisis fatigue:  lack of energy, sadness, anxiety, lack of motivation, anger...lots of it, or a feeling that you just want to hide under the covers until it all goes away.

Hiding under the covers may help for a little while, but it doesn't really work for a long term solution, and it doesn't look like the politicians are going to grow up anytime soon.  The weather related disasters just seem to keep on coming.  I don't know that racism and misogyny will ever go away.

What are we to do?

Here are some things that might help:

  1. Acknowledge the feelings.  Denying them isn't going to help.  Stuffing them doesn't help.  You can acknowledge them without acting on them.
  2. Talk about it with someone who won't try and fix you but will just listen with compassion.  You don't need fixing, but talking helps.  We are only as sick as our secrets, so don't keep this shit secret.
  3. Be of service.  Donate or volunteer.
  4. Stay in the present moment.  Don't project into the future and don't fret about the past.
  5. Take care of yourself. Make sure you eat right, rest plenty, and let yourself cry if that is what wants to happen.
  6. Enjoy the simple things in life, and be grateful for them.  Hug your loved ones, pet your critters, or a neighbor's critters.  Bake cookies.

And finally, remember that we are all in this together.  You are not alone.

 

Ok.  I'm excited now.  I've got a lineup of workshops, classes and a retreat that is designed to ROCK YOUR WORLD!

Between now and June:  four workshops, one class and one retreat.  All are designed to do one thing and one thing only:  move you from a life in which you experience fear or limitation or frustration to a life in which you experience love and joy, no limits and easy flow.

Here they all are, on one graphic, for easy reference:

Topics on tap:  Balance and self care, creativity, meditation, success, forward movement and playtime!

Invest in one or invest in them all.  I will give you a hint:  there is a two-for-one special on the workshops at the end of the list.