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From Palmer Parker: "Did I use my limited lifetime to show up fully with what I knew how to do and with the gifts Iíve got?"
Today, I suddenly understood that the art store is not my calling. Being there with open ears and in that way, facilitating truth telling with words or with art--attentiveness--is why I'm there. Not as before, as the listener in mediation: a creative act...no, and not as I did as a social worker; sucking the story out of someone so that I can help fix it. No, just attention, just witnessing.
Today was my day off, but just because it was a snow day, I thought I'd open the store in case there might be kid customers. I stayed until 4:00pm. I went to the movies as a pay off. Yuck. Mortdecai. I left before it was finished. My neighbor used her snow blower on my driveway two days in a row. Sweet. Makes me wonder what the hell her husband is doing. He's her third husband. Number two was abusive. Today's my late mother's birthday. She died seven years ago, of Alzheimer's. Dad couldn't speak of her without crying.
Today, a prisoner in Jordon (?) was put in a cage by ISIS terrorists, drizzled with fuel then set on fire while being videoed. What an atrocity! NPR had an interview with scientists: doom and gloom for the planet. Wake up! Wake Up! Now the measles has become a major epidemic and NBC Dr.Snyderman says, "look out for polio coming up next!" Can I really entertain myself by asking, over and again, whether or not this is a viable job? Can we all continue to divert our attention from the huge events that will end life as we know it?
Dream: Bert and I were at his new place. It was a well equipped kitchen with lots of chairs around like a bar. He was cooking. I looked across a great plain of squares of small food crops and at a great distance was a massive house. It was 3 or 4 stories, like a plantation, except in the style of a big barn with giant x's. It was painted a soft pleasant olive green. I said to Bert, this is your dream come true! This is what you always wanted--a restaurant. He gave a sad smile and nodded.
You treated me like shit when we were married. You were a vindictive, nasty, attention seeking, pedantic, unreasonable, blaming, isolating, tantrum throwing jerk. Why in the world do I want to continue to have these unnecessary, twice a day, checking in phone calls with you? I donít! And by the end of this month I will not. I will consent to talking with you once a week, gradually shifting to bi monthly, then monthly. You were not a good person for me to pin my north star to. And yet I followed you, unreasonably becauseÖI donít know.
Another layer of reality softly skimmed over me like a low fog. This aging thing is real and it's happening to me. My body is experimenting with interesting ways of breaking the news. Old healthy bodies can't walk as far or as long as youthful bodies. Walking, one step at a time, looks like it could continue forever. But the amount of effort with each step builds. Then there's the psychological response; a surprise that, for the first time, sends a big doubt cloud over the terrain...what does the final step look like? Because, there is a last step.
1. extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world. synonyms: delicate, exquisite, dainty, elegant, graceful; fragile, airy, fine, subtle; unearthly
If I could will my energy into a form after death, it would not be into a person, or into an animal or plant. I would like to be a morning fog resting on the dewy grass as a pink sunrise glows seemingly from within. This, I saw with my own eyes here on earth and it was like looking at heaven. It would be such a pleasure to recreate.
Suffering: The Colonoscopy
A day of eating jello and broth...,why? It doesn't fool the body into thinking it has been fed. It was so uncomfortable. And I thought that was suffering until I started to take the horrid meds for prepping for the test. 14 days worth of one kind of laxative and 4 doses of another. My poor body convulsed at being so mistreated. The following morning there were more hours of starvation awaiting me, so I slept in. But, behold, a new sensation-- there was a noticeable improvement in my sinuses; breathing so easily. And no hunger.
My friend, Nin wakes up early each day and reads inspirational passages and Tara meditates throughout the day and studies Jungian archetypes. My new friend, Sheryl is deepening her Judaism. It all sounds intriguing, vaguely interesting and admirable. I remember when I was hungrily chasing new wisdom. As if this book or that practice was going to give me the gift of peace and contentment. I've stopped searching and I can't tell if it's because I've arrived at my spiritual home or that it's all too much for this aging brain and I've landed on apathy. I'll just accept it.
I had a temperature last night. I was shivering and hot. This morning, all my muscles ached from the tension. I was so tired. So I set my alarm to noon and went back to sleep. I didn't want to go to work, so I compromised. I went and stayed in the back office where I could heat it adequately and I allowed myself to just sit and read a book. Hmmm. It takes an illness excuse to be able to rate a day semi off? I should do nothing days at least once a week. It feeds the rebel.
Dream: A weird and wonderful sensation of being on the ground looking across various colored crops and simultaneously overseeing the same fields. Across the field is the BIG house where guests stay. I said to Brad, "You got exactly what you wanted in retirement, it's all here." He gave an unconvincingly affirmative response. Revelations: living in the present yet seeing the arc of the end is taxing. The skillet and fire were not where they needed to be. Brad's isolation from his family made him unhappy. Justifying one's life, to who? Who gets to judge the significance of our efforts?
How am I doing? Today, I realized how social an animal we are. How criticism and judgements by anyone can effect our performance and our moods. How even if we say we don't care, we care. Think of the inner wounds created by anonymous social media that result in young suicides. As employees, we care fervently about our evaluations, how we relate to co-workers. We want to belong to an inner circle of close friends (or is that just me?) We crave acceptance. But in the end, it's only I who can judge how well I lived my life.
Procrastination: What defines this ailment as pathological? I have important documents to send to the state treasury that will protect my health insurance eligibility. I've been hovering over them, copying them taking them to and from work but I never get to them. What's that about? Answer: I don't know how to make the two documents jive. My bank accounts don't report the same facts of my debits and credits. So I'm scared. I avoid as if an answer will come to me. Rubbish. Tackle it! Do one month before work, one during work, one after. Just do it. Tomorrow!
fiction: He arrived with his little girl for art night. He molded the hard clay with his strong hands while she decoupaged a heart shaped box. We talked, while attending to our separate tasks. One of his expressions cut to my heart. I felt it open to the possibility of coupling. Bewildering! That wall had been bricked over, layer upon layer as a default pastime project. The next time he visited, my heart skipped a beat and I had to pretend normalcy. My mind was swimming with weird fantasies of serving him wine on the patio; both of us smiling.
Today is the second anniversary of my father's death. My dear aunt says she still can't believe he's gone. Says, he was larger than life. He was a good socializer, a good debater, a good wise man. What I appreciated about him the most was his ability to nurture us. He truly loved his children. In the end, he got a little skewed by the hateful influence of the internet and became a bit more extreme in his political views. Even then, he asked me thoughtfully, about my political choice and he listened to my answer. I love you, Dad.
I watched the special tribute to Stevie Wonder last night. One got a clear sense of his message of love. He is a man that oozes it through his music and thrives on it in his life. It made me question my theory about love and examine the positive side. I have built a belief system that love only happens in fairytales. But a man with the capacity to really love, really dedicate some effort into showing support, being there through all of life, receiving love as an offering instead of what is due him. That could change my beliefs.
Coping with loss: if you don't have a plan, then you fall into adoptive strategies. With the loss of my husband, first I rejoiced. Then I covered over the wounds of the past and invited friendship. The same old voice checking in, the same tales about the cats or the old property. Then I became aware of my resentment. I saw it was a fall back to the way I always handle hurt; the sweep it away and under the rug. Unacceptable. He did a lot of damage and he never apologized. I have not forgotten. My memories are throbbing.
I am unique in that I've walked the fence between career and other (mother, inventor, Rv sales) my whole life. Not the straight and narrow for me. A dabbler, a multifaceted person. The odd thing about me is the fact I could never find peace and comfort in romantic relationships. I chose the familiar emotional vibe of tentative approval over comforting acceptance and wound up marrying my narcissistic mother. Twice. The exciting thing about me is that eventually, when I finally learn from my circumstances and counseling, I can make big changes and I'm not afraid to try adventurous paths.
Coping with loss, 2. With the loss of my sister, I bubble wrap the hurt in a pillow of anger. I think of her everyday and the mental sequencing is almost instantaneous. But I have to reach for the dose of justification because being estranged from her seems unacceptable, inexcusable...until I remember that this shift in relationship represents growth and mental health for me. I wonder, sadly, if I'll ever see her again. Or if I'll see her daughters? I think of our summer cabin weeks with fondness, and yet even there, I wasn't living up to her expectations.
Another layer of reality softly skimmed over me like a low fog. This aging thing is real and it's happening to me. My body is experimenting with new ways of breaking the news. Old healthy bodies can't walk as far or as long as youthful bodies. Walking, one step at a time, looks like it could continue forever. But the amount of effort with each step builds. Then there's the psychological response; a surprise that, for the first time, sends a big doubt cloud over the terrain...what does the final step look like? Because, there is a last step.
Do you suppose that the reason older people stop doing so many things, is not that their energy is low, or that they haven't the stamina, but that they don't need to? My theory is only based on me, of course, now that I'm on the cusp of old age. To so many things, I find myself asking, what for? I believe that in younger days, the answer to that question was to bolster my sense of self. "I'm active." "I'm studious.""I'm a world traveler." Living the dream and making sure people know about it. Fitting in. Being cool.
One of the most bothersome parts of my life is that technology seems to slow down the process of taking care of business. Recently, I've had to tackle these three problems: Getting a refund for a car battery, scheduling an in-network audiology appointment, and proving to affordable healthcare that I am a USA citizen. In each case, the struggle to find the correct form online, the calling for more information, the constant telling and retelling the membership numbers, birthdate and address makes me want to rip out my hair. Computer interaction really takes more time than visiting an office.
I'm making my own art therapy project. It's about how the sins of the mother effect the daughter and about staying in relationship while abusive behaviors should have lead me to leave. Each page has pasted on it, the abusive tactic or the need for control, followed by the steps to get out of the relationship. Inside each folded pocket, I'm going to put the memories of incidents that I tucked away; I hid from myself. On the right side of the book, each page has a letter over the article text. The letters spell ACCEPTANCE: What we all want.
The biggest local group, the fastest growing group that never was. Expressions of Art was a dream that would enable artists of all kinds to share their work, their process, commune with other art types. All good. The group is still growing. Yet come time to meet, once a month, there are only five of us!!. We sit and try to figure out what should we do? The internet is really thoughts with energy attached to them. Younger people need to bolster their self image by gathering energy from others. They join to attach the energy to their own image.
So, again we are sitting around a table dissatisfied with our little group. The talk turns to how to attract younger people. We are the source of agism. We're aware that anyone under the age of 50 will be repelled at the look of us; the grayed and wrinkled. We succumb to the repulsion. We strive to "youthenize" our group...why? because without their approval, we're not hip, cool? We're wiser than that...surely! Screw 'um. We are not failures just because we're old. We are still here, dedicated to making art, knowing the value of a circle of friends.
I think there's a haunted spot in her life that she somewhat frenziedly tries to cover up. It's a black mark centered on her once functional, teammate husband, who has now fallen asleep at life. Of course, he's still there to share coffee in the morning, to kiss her goodbye as she heads out the door. She's chomping at the bit to add some excitement to her life, through challenges in home remodeling, gardening or through her gift at building community. But Hubby is never part of our conversations these days. Armchair bound, he's become another boring, stagnant retirement casualty.
Who am I without you? Who am I without an audience? Who am I alone, unattached? There is no one I'm trying to please, or impress, or lure into liking me. I'm not measuring my self worth anymore by my relationship to others. I have fallen outside the social milieu with all its striving to fit in. Fit into what? When I dropped the social construct of having to be paired to someone to attain social status (IE, society would then deem me lovable or desirable), I lost interest. Now, everything I do is outside and off the social grid.
Five years ago I was a different person. I've been revisiting her for the last two hours. She seemed to have a clever, flexible, creative mind. She was better. A better writer, more insightful, had more wisdom about what was important. Her 100 words were worthwhile. My 100 words read like a pathetic diary. Here's the unsettling wisdom I've learned looking through photo albums: Even though the present photos look god awful and wrinkly old, in five years, I'll see how wonderfully youthful--comparatively--I look now. Scary that the mind, like beauty, is on a tragic trajectory spiraling downward.
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