Morning Meditation

The dog barks from somewhere outside,
High pitched shrill barks,
A small dog for certain, Perhaps a Maltese…
Clearly unhappy for being left,
Is this an irritation? Or an opportunity to become present?
The cooler which contains the 5-gallon jug of water,
Buzzes and rattles as it seeks to cool the water,
Smacking it will only cause it to reside briefly,
Is this an irritation? Or a reminder to return to the present moment?
The dog stops barking, the cooler ceases running,
Quiet. Lack of noise. Silence seems so profound,
Gratitude for the noise, causing the absence of it to bring great peace.

Sensing the body, how is it today?
Appreciating all the areas that don’t ache,
No tension headache,
The lower back is tolerable, the left knee feels great.
Enjoying a full breath.
The air is refreshing and cool as it flows through the nose,
Expanding the lungs in a fulfilling stretch,
Sitting deep inside this body.

Observing the mind as it tries to find problems,
After all, that is the job it has been given,
To find and fix problems.
The dog begins barking, bringing back the present.
Breathe. Set intentions for the day. Begin.

Why I Write…

I am a 36 introverted divorcee who lives alone with two dogs. I work from home. I go to school online. I have very few friends. Writing is what helps keep me sane. There are days where the only one who hears my words are my dogs and this screen as I type them. I post my words out into the digital universe, realizing that they potentially will never be read, but somehow the slight chance that they will, makes me feel less alone. Writing makes me feel heard.

Relationships are hard. I get triggered by people. I take meds to try to make me more balanced, practice mindfulness, go to therapy. I do all kinds of things, but in the end, being alone is just easier. It is less painful. I think of myself as a fairly funny person with a good amount of insight. That is the one good thing gained from a ton of isolation, you become extremely insightful. I’ve begun to accept that my life, for the most part, will be an alone journey. An extremely insightful one, and from this I will do my best to make lemonade from lemons. I will continue to try to find purpose. To be a better person than who I was yesterday. To enjoy each moment for what it is with comfort in knowing that this is the path that was handed me. A path that has many positive aspects. We all have positive and negative aspects of ourselves and our lives. The discontent is found when looking at those around you and comparing.

Writing to me is release. It is like taking the steam kettle which is screaming like no one’s business and removing the heat. It is taking the 2-liter of soda which I just dropped and accidentally kicked across the kitchen and slowly loosening the cap. It is the feeling of taking your shoes and bra off after a long day. For those that drink, it is the feeling after your first drink. I can turn to it when overcome with emotions, good or bad and I can write until those feelings become more manageable. Neither emotion in their extreme form is bearable to me. When I write I am not judged or critiqued, at least not during the actual act of writing.  While writing I do not feel anxious that someone is tired of hearing me talk. That I might be, being selfish by only expressing my thoughts. To write for the sake of writing, with no intended audience, there are no rules. No limits. No restraints. True freedom of expression.

When I write, there are times when I feel tapped into something almost supernatural. I can physically feel my heart peeling open and some sort of energy, flowing out or in, or both. The words, that flow, almost don’t seem like mine. I feel apart of something much greater than myself. Other times when I write, I am very aware that it is just me. That is ok too.

When I sit down to my computer, there is a sense of excitement, because I rarely know what words will end up coming out. Sometimes I am quite pleased and other times, I think, what rubbish. Regardless of what I think, how I feel is always better.

There are days and times, when I will be out doing something and I am struck with this overwhelming need to write. It is almost like the writing fairies tapped me on the shoulder and whispered sweet nothings in my ear. I can’t wait to get back home to write and I just pray that the inspiration doesn’t leave before I get there.

Writing is my companion. My dearest friend. It listens, it accepts, it is always there whenever I need it. Writing is a dream, a vision unexplored, new territory just waiting to be discovered. It is a sad monologue in times of grief, an angry rant about the unjust world, a sappy poem from a love-struck heart.

I am never sad when the words stop. I expressed what was needed. It is similar to the last bit of toothpaste being squeezed from the tube. Being drained but in a good way, like the relief when after the second flush everything goes down. I know the words will return. They will ask to be shared and when they do I will be here, ready and waiting.

Compassion?

Where do you find compassion?
Where does it hide?
Why do I have so little?
Why am I so mean to me inside?
Others recommend, treat yourself as you would a friend,
Unfortunately, I am also hard on them.
If I have no understanding of my own mistakes,
How can I have any for yours?
How do I cross this ocean of self-damnation to forgiving shores?

It’s hard to see a future when things will be different…when I will be different,
When you’re in your emotions things feel like they will always be the same,
Looking back I know, that statistically, this isn’t true,
As long as I keep seeking change,
My circumstances will change and I will too.

Someone said recently, that what kept him going was the thought,
That what if tomorrow is the day when things will get better?
Castaway said it best, “So now I know what I have to do. I have to keep breathing. And tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring in.”

Vulnerability

I unbutton my shirt and open the window,
Revealing the dirty parts of my heart.
With my words I display my flaws,
Forming a mirror in which is a reflection of you.
Courage departs to doubt,
Did you hear me? What do you see?
Old wounds lying bare, scabbed partially bleeding,
Each disclosure rubbing them ever so slightly.
Am I being helpful or seeking acceptance?
Does it aid in my healing or delay it?
Painful to be seen, but even more so to carry this alone.
Relate and not compare.
Connection only through the removal of masks.
I will continue to expose myself to you,
Will you get naked with me?

Future Me

This heavy sheath,
Draped around my shoulders,
Pressing against the curves on my hips,
Pulling on the skin beneath my arms,
Tugging on my second chin,
Hate oozing out from within.

Unable to perfect my goals,
Self-discipline steps out for a meal,
Dictating how I feel,
Not giving up,
But not getting there.
As my fat disappears, so will my isolation,
Acceptance and love, always just another 10 pounds away.
Unable to be seen, until I am worthy to be seen.

Cognitive dissonance puts the monster in hibernation for awhile,
Psychologically incapable of holding it for long,
But it returns,
It awakens,
Like walking out of a dark theater,
Disorienting.
Painfully blinding.

Digging in my heals,
Trying to stay in today,
Drifting,
Impatient for the future me,
You’d like her.

Faith and Fear

The topic tonight was Belief and Doubt or Faith and Fear. The lady introducing the topic altered the way I look at these two things. She discussed how she heard a speaker once talk about how these two things were inextricably linked. Which is totally contradictory to how it has always been presented to me which is the classic, “fear and faith can’t co-exist.” Thinking of it in this manner though is very black and white, which as I am learning, few things in life really are. It is a much more compassionate way of thinking of faith. The black and white thoughts caused me in the past, to feel like there was something wrong in what I was doing, because my faith at that time was lacking. If faith is on a spectrum though, then it is OK, in fact, only possible to have at any given moment a certain percentage of faith. It is vary rare that anything is an absolute.

Eastern philosophy talks a lot about this concept with the yin and yang. “..energy, which is in a state of constant flux, is composed of two elements that have opposing characteristics but are yet unified.” Supporting that you in fact couldn’t have faith without fear, if it indeed is something that is in constant flux, then it is not something to be fretted if at any point in time you have a moment of fear or doubt, because you will know, that it will pass, it will at some point flux in the opposite direction toward faith.

Someone else mentioned that it was like Netwon’s law of physics, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That not only can you not have one without the other, but you would be incapable of appreciating one without the other. Which how true is that! It sort of reminded me of what Wayne Dyer used to talk about with silence and space. That you couldn’t have a vase without space. Without space it would just be a lump of clay. That it is the space that makes it a vase. Same with music, that it is the silence between the notes that makes music.

You don’t really appreciate breathing until you can’t due to either a head cold or having the wind knocked out of you. No one is able to fully appreciate something unless they’ve experienced the absence of it. Someone else discussed that this is why we in recovery appreciate peace and serenity so much, because for so long we experienced chaos and fear.

This flux, this ebb and flow, is also why Buddhism stresses to not get attached to anything, because nothing will last. It is this attachment to a thing that brings pain. If we get attached to peace and serenity, without the concept that it is not something that is a constant, when it goes, we become very distraught. For myself, when I revert to old thinking, I am so hard on myself. This new perception allows room for more compassion.

This provides a new way of looking at Steps 6 and 7 in recovery and our “character defects”. When I worked this step, my sponsor had me pull out my defects from my 4th step, then I had to list the opposite of those defects. For example, if my defect was selfishness, the opposite is selflessness. My goal then was to strive toward the opposite of my defect. To pray to have my “defects removed”. In that example, to have my higher power remove my selfishness. If we will never fully be rid of our defects (because you can’t have one without the other) it allows for more compassion when I still exhibit some of these “defects”. This thinking is not to provide permission to be a dick. I think it is just to understand as any other energy on earth, we cannot have one without the other, we cannot have good without evil. We would not even know what selflessness is without selfishness.

This same person who mentioned Netwon’s law also talked about when devastating things happen, like cancer, or what happened in the Bahamas, it causes many to question their faith. She mentioned Mr. Rogers, whom she paraphrased what he said, which was that in those situations to look for the helpers. To quote him, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Tying this into the previous discussion, without the disaster we’d not be able to see the helpers. We are able to see and appreciate the good because of the bad.

Fear and Doubt allows me to understand and appreciate Faith and Belief. What a beautiful compassionate thing that is. If I am in fear or doubt today, I don’t need to worry, this too shall pass. Faith is on the other end of that fear. Nothing is permanent. Nothing. Not even Faith.

 

Energy Storm

A thick foggy haze of fuck you, surrounds me,
The forecast had not predicted disturbed energy,
Perhaps there was a red sky this morning,
Or other signs that this was forming,
The disease under my skin,
My allergies of people kicking in,
Itching to run,
My emotional clouds smothering the sun,
Zero visibility through this thinking,
The rains of this storm have me sinking.
It’s terrifying, the drama, as it rages through,
Wondering, will this be the one to cause me to unglue?

Eternal

No offspring to carry me on,
Once I die, what’s left of me is gone.
Two certainties in life, death and taxes.
The fear of not being remembered,
A struggle unique to humankind.

A tree worries not what happens when it’s time to feed the worms.
The tree thinks not about the futility of life,
By the strength of its limbs,
Within its fruits and flowers, the tree honors the past.
The habitat it creates with its leaves,
The creatures it feeds, the tree provides for the future.
Using my strengths, I honor my history,
Living my purpose, I become eternal.
Like the tree, I have one job.
Only one job.
To live my purpose.
Finding your purpose is as easy as reaching for the sun,
Simply grow towards what lights you up.

 

 

 

Chicago River Dreams

The most memorable trip I took as a kid was to Chicago with my mom and sister. My mom was there for work, and my sister and I were permitted to tag along. We got to miss a week of school, with a week’s worth of homework packed in our bags. My sister and I were allowed to roam the hotel while my mom worked. This meant vending machine snacks and time at the pool. This was before the days of cell phones or any other kind of technology that would distract us from hour long games of Marco Polo.

My memory is spotty at best regarding that trip, but what I remember most is the view from our hotel room. It looked out on the Chicago river in downtown Chicago. At night the lights from all the buildings glistened and danced across the water top. It was mesmerizing. I stayed up late every night just staring out that window.

I recall leaving that trip with a new drive to be a hotel manager. Not because I had any idea what a hotel manager did, I didn’t. It was just the idea of living in the permanent excitement of that week and that city. It felt like the life I wanted to live.

Who knew that a little more than 10 years laters, I’d be living out of my suitcase, and spending about 70% of my year in hotel rooms all over the country and the world. Finally I was living the exciting life in big cities that I’d dreamt of. Like most things, the reality didn’t live up to my expectations. I began having a huge case of germ-a-phobia and I couldn’t shake the thoughts of, “were these sheets clean?” and, “how many dirty asses had sat on this toilet before me?” I couldn’t figure out what was missing from that excitement I had as a kid, staring out at those sparking lights.

Perhaps it is always like that…the thought of a place or things far exceeding the reality of it. There were a lot of really cool experiences I had in my travels, but in many ways because of where I was in my life, much of it I was unable to fully appreciate. I was unconscious, unmedicated, and immature. I was still chasing happiness outside of myself. I became determined to get out of my traveling career and settle down. I was lonely and wanted the beautiful wife, white picket fence, and a dog.

I never got the white picket fence but I did manage to find the other two. There were moments of amazing beauty and pure joy in that marriage/relationship. There were also two sick people living under one roof destined to make each other miserable. Once again, reality failed to measure up. All those romance movies, The Notebook and When Harry Met Sally, had let me down.

When that dream unraveled, I was left only with nightmares for many years. My mental health rapidly declined, and everything close to suicide started sounding good. There was one last dream I hadn’t yet pursued, which was living the single life with warm weather and long walks on the beach. Salt air and sunshine for sure contained all the magic of every childhood vacation memory.

3 years now a Floridian and in many ways it has not disappointed. Florida is every bit as beautiful as I had remembered.

I’ve learned a lot from all my adventures.

Sometimes late a night in my pool, when the lights sparkle across the top of the water, my thoughts travel back to the Chicago river. I find myself trying to put my finger on what exactly my heart felt or had been seeking. What was it in those memories that I had been chasing all this time? Then when I come back to the present moment, treading water, staring up at the night sky…I realize that I’ve finally found it.