My parents didn’t realize the importance of teaching me, a daughter, to care for myself. They taught me to be kind, thoughtful, and take care of others. My parents and I came from separate sources. It seemed to me as if we were as different as salt water and fresh water.
As society changed for my parent’s generation, they were still swimming in their saltwater tank. From the viewpoint of my culture, saltwater can kill you. Structure. Rules. Binding contracts.
I’ve learned to celebrate discovering my needs, all of them–for comfort, happiness, and safety. It started when I was feeling abandoned. I needed to GIVE and GATHER for myself–not wait and allow resentment to build when another doesn’t come through for me. Being polite wasn’t helpful anymore.
Caring for yourself
Once I was hanging out with a guy at his friend’s house, (boring) which was to be a short visit. After an hour, I NEEDED to eat. I took some initiative and told him I’d be back in a few minutes. I was going to grab a bite to eat (tacos.) It upset him, surprising him a little, but my needs were dire. Blood sugar issues are more important than a man’s ego. Quite honestly, I realize now that I was having a panic attack. But this taco moment is when I realized I had power.
Keep your power. Reclaim any scraps you find along the way–any.
Every breath I take has been taken before
Every note’s been sung………
Who can I sing them all again for? Baba, Baba Baba….
Please don’t give up - please don’t lose that sound
So many people fought to gain that ground
Please don’t give up – please don’t hide your voice
So many people did not have that choice. - Bellow/Unzip The Horizon, lyrics from a song released on April 7, 2018, Moira Smiley
The dragon is old and always hungry—needy. Ages ago, alongside her teeth, her mouth fused splinters, blades, knives, and other strange objects—things your mom warned you. Her claws and teeth are now deep in my neck, and my muscles seize in response. I’m recovering from a recent Posterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion.
Pain is an annoying Dragon
Some moments I cry—weep like a baby. One morning, I was fixing my hair and make-up. While I was doing the mascara, my neck muscle knotted and seized. The pain was so intense that I went into the bedroom to sit. The tears flowed and flowed. After a few minutes, my body finally calmed, and I went to repair my makeup.
I wish I had a picture to show you how my face looked after that. It was a mess with black smeared eyeliner and mascara. I had hilarious raccoon eyes—a complete do-over on the makeup.
I chose to have a second surgery. I am no victim. My spine will heal stronger, straighter. I like this. I know this dragon isn’t going to hold me, keep me on my knees, beat me down forever.
The other day, my therapist asked me how I was doing in this worrying time. Without familiar touch and close contact, some people become depressed, she said. I smiled and told her I’d enjoyed the freedom this time has brought me. I don’t like human contact except with my closest family.
Every culture has their comfort level. And in each culture, there are differences. The area is not so easily defined. How do you decide how close to stand to someone? Are you in their territory?
Moments such as these are history makers. They are a little uncomfortable, a little too tight, like a pair of new jeans. If we break them in, they’ll be old favorites. But until then, we have to learn to live as they are today. This is a time for rethinking our lives.
It is not a right or wrong challenge, contrary to the talk around the water cooler. We don’t need to pick sides. Let the others dispute over the correct number of people allowed to gather. Or, if any, should congregate.
Know one thing, it matters how well you can adapt.
For me, this is time for space clearing. Healing, learning, and creating are on the list today. I can do things differently. When the rules are changing, pay attention.
I wish you health and joy in the coming days. And remember to take care of those you love.
We wish for the good old days when times were simple. Snapping green beans on the front porch or eating homemade ice cream. What I desire the most is the idle time to spend daydreaming.
I feel bad about the struggles on the other side of the world, but I’m limited to what I can do. I can listen to Beatles music. Maybe say a few lines of Rumi. It’s not by any means stopping the skirmishes of fighting tribes. I don’t wish for the old days, not really. They had their issues. Days were devoted to food preparation and lives cut short by disease. What I want is simplicity—living with this moment—making the most of what I have now. I don’t want to be always thinking about the fun of tomorrow or worrying about the issues that are not in my control.
This We Have Now
This we have now is not imagination.
This is not grief or joy.
Not a judging state, or an elation, or sadness.
Those come and go. This is the presence that doesn’t.
From Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks
The next time you’re watching the news and paying your bills while trying to phone your mom and pet your cat, stop. Do one thing. Only one. Choose your activity wisely and give it your full attention. Save your sanity and realize your limitations. It’s okay if you can’t fix everything. It’s okay if you can’t save the world. We can put on our tie dyed shirts and chant OM.
The flip side of survival and the fear of failure is thriving. Thriving shouldn’t be difficult. How is it so difficult to win? To succeed? Well, the difficulty is when you have achieved, what’s next? You’ve met your goal. Do you coast or do you keep pedaling?
Keep pedaling. This is why slow growth is better than the lottery winning. If you’ve slowly grown a business you got there and grew into your success. Lucky breaks give you false hope.
We are good at striving. Making changes, adjusting, sacrificing, but actual thriving seems so dull sometimes. Oh, yeah we all have the fantasy of buying an island and not having to work for a living, but how long would it be before we would want more? A month? Six months? A year maybe? Somewhere in that time, you start feeling the itchy feet. The need to contribute is too great. Building something even if it’s only a garden is a rewarding experience.
“I will not give up the flowers in my heart for stones just because the world is a hard place. The world is only hard because it needs more flower-hearted people.”
Do you need some inspiration? How about an easy read?
Being Strong is a collection of my writings from when I began soul searching. I was so miserable. I didn’t know the girl in the mirror anymore. My life had changed. All of it, including my friends, my beliefs, and even my manner of doing things, had transformed. I was learning what made me strong.
We are learning to fly by intention instead of brute strength.
It’s a new day. We are learning new ways of seeing the world. And we remember long-forgotten ways. If germs make us sick, what about our emotions and the emotions of others around us. I agree that actions count, but activities without a connection are dry and blow away. Please enjoy.
I follow trends. Fashion is a hobby of mine and in my blood. As far back as I can remember, my very reason for getting out of bed was to pick my outfit for the day. The magazines influenced me on the colors I liked and the amount of brightness. It’s subtle. Soon after indulging in the magazines, I’d forget who I was. Do I like lace? Why am I suddenly craving, needing their product? I’ve been swept into a river of marketing.
Do I remember who I am?
There were terrorists on the news. Now, it’s politics. I watch stories of sickness, epidemics, murders, crime, and war. Can I hide at home? I can’t stay this way. I don’t want to be swept into the kinetic frenzy of herd mentality. How do I handle my life?
I remember me.
I have made it through many rough times and difficult trials. Victorious. I know am strong enough to make it through the dark night. There’s light. But in the dark moments I still feel hopeless. I had to find focus on a good thought and remind myself of it over and over again. Sometimes it helped to have a physical token as in the movie Inception. Recently, I started listening to positive podcasts and guided meditations. Brain Software With Mike Mandel: Dealing With Disaster is a good episode. I also like Tracks to relax: I Am Deserving Sleep. I’m trying to laugh and do silly things. I know it’s one day at a time. It will get better.
Sometimes after bad things happen, after the storm, it takes time to find footing. I’m still finding mine. My surgery left me weak. Our nation, this world, we as a whole will need to find our strength again. It will get better. Remember who you are. You are strong. You are funny.
In my years of recovery from abuse, I’ve learned that a victim’s coping methods are smart. List making and stocking up on supplies are virtues we admire in others, but we can use them to hide also. It’s like procrastinating until it’s too late. I’m the same way, there are many healthy habits we can develop.
Creating small memories throughout your day is a great way to build a beautiful life. Totems can be made to honor your life. It’s an easy way to remind yourself of your values. You can have unique traditions or days of your own. My two girlfriends and I created our winter holiday in which we exchange socks. The holiday is our day. And it is sacred.
Only you are in charge of your life. Yes, others cause things to happen around you, but you are the ultimate chooser. Be well in your life today.
“Simply asking yourself the question, ‘How am I doing right now?’ is a gentle reminder to take care of yourself,” Hill Kooienga said. – HuffPost
Thanks for your patience while I am recovering from my surgery. Healing is slow but sure.
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