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.
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