Present Tense

So long, suckah!

pastSo, last year on this very day, I wrote a note to 2013 and told that year in no uncertain terms, how much it sucked. I kicked it in the ass and said good riddance; I even went on to say that I was sure that 2014 was gonna make me forget all about the challenges of 2013. I was right. 2014 was even worse.

I won’t go into all of the tribulations of the past year, other than to say that losing my dad in April pretty much set the tone. What I will say is that I feel as if the last 18 months have been my personal ‘dark night of the soul’ that is required of all humans. Could it get worse? Of course and at some point, it probably will. Far in the future, if I have anything to say about it…which I probably don’t. And that brings me to the year’s large lesson.

Control: we have none. Planning: kind of a joke. Loss: inevitable. Time: dampens the pain and gives us perspective.

“This too shall pass” is such a cliché, but it’s such a useful one. Time is like a power wash. If we can just get through another hour, another day, another week and if we watch and listen and pay attention, that time also gives us the space to see events in our lives with more clarity. For me, clarity is comfort.

I was listening to my latest guru Caroline Myss recently and one of her main lessons is that we will NEVER know why things happen the way that they do. We just won’t and wasting our time digging through our psychic and emotional archives for “why” is a waste of time. Life truly is unknowable and if you relax into that, peace will find you.

So, I bid farewell to the hardest year of my life (so far). I can look back and see a cross country move, leaving friends and comfort behind, losing my soul mate dog, losing my dad, navigating a new environment, trying to help my 94 year-old mother accept her ‘new normal’ and recently retiring from a 30+ year radio career. That’s a lot to pack into a year and a half, but it has passed.

I’ve emerged from my dark night and though I’m still a little banged up, I’m ready for 2015. I’ve come to the conclusion that my mom is in the right facility and she’s safe and comfortable. I’m completely at peace with leaving my job. I am ready to take more time to explore our new home and community. I’m going to get back into my health and wellness routine. We are heading back to my beloved Rocky Mountains for a ski trip in about a month and then spring will come, as it always does.

The biggest thing that I’ve taken away from this period is that I am now more in tune with other’s losses. I am a more compassionate and empathetic person and I’m able to express that now. In 2014, 9 of my friends lost their dads and I know that so many more humans suffered as well. The world has been a brutal, chaotic place for the past year.

Peace begins in each of us and in the choices that we make.

Peace be with you and in you. Here’s to a new year and a Detroit Lions play-off win. For my dad.

December 31, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

In order to wake up…..

question mark“You create your own reality”. Those 5 words are the bottom line of an 8 hour workshop by Caroline Myss, a brilliant spiritual teacher and author, that I have now listened to twice. It’s called “Energy Anatomy” and her theories revolve around our energy centers (chakras) and how key they are to our health and well-being.

I have a lot of work yet to do, but listening and absorbing her message has strongly reinforced my belief that I’m on the right path and those 5 words encompass what I think is the most important thing that I, personally have done and I’m going to tell you what that is: I have questioned EVERYTHING that I thought I knew or believed.

The good news is that this reassessment and subsequent realignment has changed my life. Spiritually, emotionally, professionally, geographically. Everything. I’ve done a 180. I’ve done a vigorous scrub of my belief system. The bad or maybe daunting news, is that it’s taken me about 5 years.

Caroline teaches that our first chakra, the root chakra is where our tribal beliefs are held. From the moment we’re born, our tribe (parents, culture, religion, etc) influence us to fit in with the tribe. This is about survival. We learn our role and our values within the tribe, but eventually we begin to question and this creates internal and external conflict.

We’ve all been there. At some point in our lives, we wonder why we have to follow a certain religion or political party. Why do we have to marry at a certain age and have kids? Why do men and women have to conform to certain roles? And on and on. Often, we go through these periods of questioning or rebelling and then go right back to the tribal norms. Even though we often are not comfortable with them and that can create problems, or as Caroline posits, disease.

Breaking from the tribe is hard. They will tell you that disaster awaits and that you’re contributing to the downfall of society (gay marriage anyone?). That doing things differently or believing something different is bad and that you are bad.

I’ve always sort of lived my life between these two worlds of tribal norms and marching to my own beat, but about 5 years ago, I started a quest to get my shit together in an effort to deal with my alcoholism. I studied religion and spirituality on a broad spectrum, from Christianity to Buddhism. I began to meditate and in my opinion, that was the key. Regular meditation gave me incredible clarity and that was when I began to see that my beliefs were based on nothing. They just weren’t true.

This is what I want to tell you: if you’re struggling (and we all are, let’s be honest) and you’re trying to find relief or a path or a solution or something, start questioning. Everything. Are your beliefs based on something you think you’re supposed to believe because “I was raised this way”. That doesn’t work. That may be why you’re struggling. You’ve found yourself in a place that just doesn’t feel right because you’ve followed the rules that were set out by your tribe, but it’s not workin’ for you.

My political beliefs were the biggest casualty in my awakening. I’m now ashamed at some of the things I stridently supported over the years. These were things that someone told me were true and based on my background and my tribal (family) filters, I just took them as truth. The only real truth is that we have no idea what is actually true or false; there are just too many gray areas and too many things that I just honestly don’t know.

In regard to religion, I have no idea what “God” thinks or wants us to do, other than be kind to our fellow humans and show compassion and be helpful, rather than hurtful. Again, I’m ashamed at some of my past performances in this regard.

For me, it was absolutely empowering and freeing to admit to myself that I just don’t know and that nobody does.  It’s the great mystery, isn’t it?  God or the creator or the universe gives us little hints as to which way to go and we just have to listen.  It’s in our physiology.  We have intuition that we too often ignore, so that we can listen to the tribal norms or the louder noise of “this is the way things have always been done”.

Start scrubbing and don’t miss even the tiniest corners because a lot of stuff lurks in there that needs to be rousted out and examined.  Don’t wait.  I wish I had started so much earlier.  Be well.

 

 

October 12, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

   

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