Well, I sure meant to post a bit more this year, but spent a lot of time thinking about it and less time doing it. Though I did do a bunch of other stuff, like had my first kayak experience and traveled to Ireland by myself and biked around gorgeous Donegal County. But I recently looked back on my journal and felt that my November 7th thoughts would be a nice post for the end of 2018. And I also am sharing a few pictures from Christmas. Kesha kitty made sure we never got that puzzle made...
The picture of the rainbow tunnel is a cool image for 2019. May we all enter the new year through a rainbow tunnel of sorts.
There is something so delicate and crazy beautiful about realizing that life has been good and has delivered so much to you, maybe more than many people on earth have been able to have. I feel that at 55, I have already been gifted many enormous things! Kids, big love, education and fulfilling work! Whatever is left is pure grace. Still, I do dream of my life moving forward and with hope of discovering new things and finding out new ways to love. Can I find new ways to love now?
I wonder if I will find it with another, in another, or if it’ll be more in myself and in god, life.
I don’t worry as much as I used to about the length of my life. Of course I want to live to be 100! But at the same time I know that I probably won’t and that the nature of life is wild and surprising, mysterious, deadly. I think too that I trust the fact that my kids will remember me now, even if I die too soon. We’ve had enough time together for them to have internalized me (for better and worse I’m sure, snort snort) and carry me with them for the rest of their lives. I love them more than anything.
I’ve been trying to build faith, faith in life. Trust. Developing the sense that I am not totally in control of what happens to my life. I can control what I do in my life but then life itself has an agenda too. Like they say in AA, living life on life’s terms. I’m trying.
Honestly I do want more travel, another big love, home ownership for crying-out-loud (more on that another time) but I have moments when I remember, that I won’t feel any different even if I get those things. My life is my life. Period. Breathe in, accept the mid-life belly, the rolls, the chin hairs that pop out suddenly and send shame waves though my limbs. Rest in the fact that I’ve found dignity in being truthful, happiness in allowing this moment.
I wrote a poem a couple of months ago during a particularly trying time. I was reading different things for inspiration and found some helpful words from Anne Lamott and Pema Chodron. They are both great writers with a directness and honesty that is so healing because we can all relate to the way they describe suffering. And they do it with humility and humor which I adore. At about the same time I had heard about an app called WeCroak from my friend Emmeline and immediately started using it. The app sends several reminders to your phone that you will die someday. How awesome is that?! Sure, not for everybody, but definitely helps to keep denial to a healthy minimum.
I see my writing poems as a sort of mindfulness practice. Doing it requires a level of attention to moment and an engagement with an immediate focus, like counting syllables or thinking of rhyming words. It’s fun and also ironic that I both lose myself in the process and at the same time find myself right here in the now. I’m learning that practicing mindfulness sometimes looks like sitting with eyes closed and trying to stayed focused on breathing. And other times it is remembering to be kind to myself by letting fearful thoughts move on or catching my judging mind and then inviting a softening and allowing attitude instead.
Here is my poem.
For Anne and Pema
About suffering, Pema says to me
be curious, look closely and you'll see
it's not reality but reaction
to experience that is unpleasant.
Anne teaches me how jealousy is but
an emotion secondary to our
feeling excluded and also deprived.
When my heart was pierced unexpectedly
I searched for a cure for this misery
which brought their enlightened wisdom to me.
I invite my mind repeatedly, to
rest in this moment right now with my breath.
To safeguard against sleepwalking through life
my app shares five quotes a day about death.
So, I am writing my first “mini” blog entry, an explanation of what I intend The Relational Mind blog to be about and what I hope to accomplish with it.
The first part: My intention. I am interested in sharing ideas that involve a psychological, spiritual and/or human development focus. Within these wide areas I can imagine writing about meditation, psychotherapy, life transitions, loss, creative expression to name just a handful. I think I’ll probably end up writing about situations in life that I am moved by (both positively and negatively) or aspects of living that make me wonder.
Since I began writing poetry this year, I imagine that I will share some of that here, as well as poems by other people. To me, poems are a therapeutic tool that help us better understand ourselves and life.
The second part: What I hope to accomplish. I hope to become a better writer!
I also hope that my writing will move others from a mindful and heartfelt place in the spirit of The Relational Mind.