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Archive for June, 2011

The Wonders of Want

It’s amazing what a week can bring.  Monday after writing I felt great, ready to go.  Tuesday came and I was depressed.  Are you kidding me?  Yesterday I was so ready for this great lesson and the very next day I’m scrambling, ready to do anything to get rid of the sorrowful fog I’m lost in.  All those well-intentioned ideas go out the window and all I want to do is whatever will make it go away.  I don’t want to go into school and volunteer, I don’t want to clean the house, or write.  Hell I don’t even want to stand upright in the shower!  My head hurts too much.   So I take a Jacuzzi.  The Jacuzzi tub is the one “extra” we put in when we built our house and I highly recommend it.  I make a deal with the man upstairs (I don’t even have the ability to think “universe big” right now)  If I get out of the tub before 10 then I will go into school; if I get out after then I will skip.  I should mention that I generally take about two hours whenever I take a Jacuzzi.  I have to clean the tub, fill it, relax, wash my hair and contemplate the universe.  I started the tub at 9:15.  There was no way I was going to make it.

I climb in breathing in the steam hoping at least my headache will go away.  I focus on my pain, which believe it or not usually makes it run and cower, and I hear; “what do you want?”  Easy, I want the depression to go away.  “What do you want?”  I want my headache to go away.  I want to not go anywhere today.  I keep going.  I want to be happy.  I want my husband to not worry so much.  I want to finish my book.  I want my children to grow up to be good people and I want them to be happy and NOT in trouble.  I want to help people.  It just keeps going. 

Just yesterday I wrote I was ready for the spiritual lesson that would lead me to change my center, to become a person of automatic love and compassion.  Do I want that?  You know what?   I think I do.  I don’t expect it to happen overnight.  I know I will have to work for it but yeah I think I want to be a person who thinks of others.  So this is it right?  I found the lesson.  I had to choose my own path.  Make the conscious decision.  I’m done for the week right?

Wrong.  So I get out of the tub and it is 9:57.  Can you believe it!  I didn’t rush, really!  It’s 9:57!  Grudgingly I get ready to go into school.  I pull into the front parking lot; there are never spaces available in the front parking lot and I again hear in my head.  “What are the wonders of want?”  What?  The wonders of want?  Are you kidding? Want is not a good thing.  Want is about being selfish and only thinking of yourself.  I have been trying to teach my children the difference between a want and a need for years.  There are no wonders of want!  Want is bad.  The idea doesn’t leave my head so again I start going through my wants.  I think I want to make a difference in the world.  I want to feel good, I want to feel successful. 

Understanding want has been instrumental in thwarting my depression.  Before I became afflicted with postpartum depression, which is how this all started, I had never thought about what I wanted.  Now I take the time to figure out what I want to do to rejuvenate in order to be a better mom, a better wife and a better me.  Was my last determination to become a person of compassion contradictory to my need to keep my own wants and needs in mind.  Ok so the lesson is about balancing wants for others with wants for myself.  Ok, do I have the lesson now?

Nope.  My husband is going camping this weekend, Cub Scout camping.  Do you know what that means?  No air conditioning, no bathroom in the next room, and no bed.  After carrying and giving birth to five babies my back and bladder are trashed.  Being a 40-something woman I am premenopausal and my body runs at a decidedly higher temperature than normal, especially at night.  I haven’t slept under the covers in two years.   Let me make this clear; I do not want to go tent camping!  He wants me to go.  I feel guilty and that guilt starts to make me mad and that anger begins to morph into depression which apparently is my emotion of choice, but it’s Father’s Day weekend.  I haven’t gotten him anything because I know what he wants most is for me to not spend any money on him and to show him my love and appreciation with my actions.  That is the way he is and I do love him for that.  So I make a decision.  I will go tent camping with him and the kids as his Father’s Day present.  Once I made the decision to give that gift the guilt, anger and depression vanished.  When I started to stress about the pain I would be in ,or the fact that there was no bathroom that didn’t require shoes, a flashlight and a stick to fend off raccoons and bugs, I would just remind myself that I was doing this for him for Father’s Day.  The pain and lack of sleep was just how I was paying for his gift and really it was a small price to pay to show this wonderful man how much I love and appreciate him.

The weekend weather was perfect.  We had no running water, a port a potty instead of a bathroom, and lost a day due to a severe thunderstorm warning but I survived.  I took two Aleve to prevent my back pain and I woke up every two hours to go to the bathroom or to take a child to the bathroom but again, I survived.  At 1 am the practically full moon was high in the sky it made the woods seem almost like day.  On the 2am bathroom trip I heard the frogs sing in the nearby lake.  During the 4 am trip I heard a whippoorwill for the first time in my life and I was able to note the path the moon had taken since the first bathroom trip.  The camp was awake at 6am and so was I.  There was a slight breeze coming off the lake (not to mention from the port a potty) and the dew on the grass made my toes wet but I was standing. 

We fed 20 boys pancakes and scrambled eggs in baggies and I helped pack up the tent, very motivated to get home to a real bathroom.  As I drove away I breathed in the amazing summer air and felt my body’s satisfaction at being outside for a full 24 hours.  Sometimes I think our souls crave nature, at least mine anyway.  In my mind I planned an outside dinner of cheeseburgers on the grill, my husband’s favorite, and smiled.  I hadn’t wanted this; I gave this.  It was in that giving I reconnected with my soul and my soul remembered its place in this universe.  We are all a part of the same energy, the energy of the earth, the energy of the sky, the energy of the water and the energy of all living things.  I am one small part of something so much bigger and there is comfort in that.  This was the lesson I was meant to experience and remember and it was well worth the slow meandering path it took to get here.

   

 

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Be Gentle with Me

It may appear, from my last post, I had a setback but actually it is quite the opposite. I’ve attended Spiritual University before so I know.  The classes are long and the work is constant and usually failure is part of the learning but the teachers are extremely effective.

First off the universe doesn’t make you wait 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.  The lesson usually arrives within days, if not hours, from the moment you say, “Yes I want to learn Quiet Wisdom” or “I want to learn to be more patient.”  And secondly the lessons are hard. I know nothing worth learning is easy but these hurt and half the time you don’t realize you’re in the middle of one until your crawling out the other end.  It is no wonder so many of us never receive the Diploma of Enlightenment, as soon as things got difficult for me I wanted to quit.  “Stop the world I want to get off!”  I quickly ran back to my well worn distractions of books, computer games, crafts and TV.

While I sat on my deck finding forgiveness in the poem, struggling to sweep aside the guilt and depression so I could possibly see what was really being illustrated to me.  I heard words in my head again, why do you want to be forgiven?  The answer was simple and automatic; I want the pain to go away.    For whom do you want to be forgiven? For me, of course!  Silence.  Ohhhhhhhh.  I want to be forgiven for myself.  I want the pain to go away for me.  I’m not worried about my words hurting others I’m worried how those words are going to make my world more difficult.  I want this for me.  A bit self centered?

My second husband is an amazing man.  Too many years ago I married young, had three kids and finally divorced a man who worked so hard NOT to be with his wife and family.  My second husband is the exact opposite.  He wants to be with me. He enjoys my company and conversation.  As a matter of fact I am his person of choice if he could spend a day alone with anyone.  His children are his life and purpose. He has coached, been more involved in cub scouts than any one person should and attends every school event he can fit into his insane schedule.  He has taken the kids fishing when he hates to fish, suffered through countless kid’s events and birthday parties where he was the only man because his kids wanted to go. He taught himself soccer when his sport of choice is baseball or football just because our son was interested in soccer.  From the outside it looks like he is the perfect father (and admittedly he is pretty close) but he will say himself, “The only difference between me and your ex-husband is that being with you and the kids makes me happy.

Everybody does what feels good to them…

it just so happens being a good husband and father feels good to me.”

I started to go over everything I do.  I sub because (well other than the paycheck), a good day with the students feels good to me.  I do girl scouts because a successful meeting keeps me happy for a week.  I talk and joke because when I make someone laugh I feel good.  When I am doing this I am not thinking of others; I’m focused on myself. I thought I was doing so well. I thought I was a good person. I do a lot for those around me but just shutting my mouth isn’t going to stop the stupid things I say. Until every word and every action come from a place of compassion and connection to others, everything I say will be at risk of being thoughtless or hurtful. I don’t need to stop talking I need to completely change where my words come from.  I need a shift of consciousness.

Well, that’s rather big.  Have you ever tried to break a habit?  How about staying on a diet?  I can’t stay on a diet for more than three months how am I supposed to shift my way of thinking, my way of approaching others, my core.  There’s a part of me that says; this is too hard.   Let’s go back to ignoring the problem and effectively using our distractions.  But there’s another part of me that whispers.  God won’t give me anything I can’t handle.  The universe thinks I’m ready.  My guardians will never leave me to do this alone.  Ok, I’m ready for the next lesson: Delivery Imminent.  Be gentle with me.

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Me vs. Depression

I did it again.  I said something stupid.  You would think I would be used to it by now, but I’m not.  I’ve spent the weekend beating myself up, being absolutely miserable trying to come up with some way to fix it before what I said got out into the world and hurt others.  There’s no way.  I went through all the possibilities in my head.  Saying something would only make it worse.  The only way to stop this is to stop saying stupid stuff.  Obviously I have not yet mastered Quiet Wisdom.

I started reading a book Friday night to take my mind off of everything. I read until well past midnight and passed out.  Saturday morning I woke up and the pain was still there sitting in my solar plexus infecting my whole body and mind.  I had my morning coffee in my favorite place, my deck , trying to focus on anything else and desperately praying for the pain to go away.  Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me, I muttered into my coffee and this is what came to me.

Forgive Me

I leaned back and wobbled in my weak plastic chair.

The air smelled of a childhood summer,

The scent of promises and adventure,

Of a time before Guilt knew my name.

“Forgive me,” I whispered to the still air.

A breeze caressed my face.

The pain pulsed in my stomach.

I closed my eyes against the agony,

“Forgive me,” I said a bit louder.

The breeze stirred up again

Wafting across my arms, my legs, my face.

The rock in my abdomen became heavier.

I shifted in the feeble chair,

Put my coffee cup on the table

And covered my face in my hands,

“forgive me, forgive, me forgive me.” I begged.

The wind picked up,

trees swayed, leaves spun in mini twisters

And I was completely enveloped in a powerful wind,

But the pain still pulled at me,

Weighing me down

threatening to drown me in its sorrow.

“Forgive me,” I sobbed quietly

The pain hurt so much.

There was no forgiveness.

The wind changed back to a gentle caress,

“I have forgiven you.”

I heard from somewhere.

“But I still hurt,” I cried.

“your pain is your doing. “

“It will only leave when you do the forgiving,”

“When you forgive you.”

“Forgive you,” The wind said gently.

“Forgive you, forgive you, forgive you.”

I couldn’t.  I couldn’t remember how.  Haven’t I been here before?   How do I get back to where I once was?  So in my head I wrote this and in my writing I found peace.  I found forgiveness.  It took me two days to realize the forgiveness was in the poem, two days before I stopped feeling miserable and made these words real.  I had forgotten that I had had the power all along.

I’m sorry there’s sadness and depression in this post. I know nobody wants to read about such things, but I have been waging war against depression for nearly 9 years now.  It is an elusive foe.  Nobody can see it.  Those that love you can’t fight it for you and it sneaks up on you when you least expect it and seems to take from you the very things you need to fight it.

But, believe it or not, my depression has also given me something.  I never wrote until this enemy tried to take me.  I never had this power until I needed to wield it and now that I have found this power, this ability, I will never let it go. Writing is in me now.  It fills my days and fuels my future.  I always considered myself lucky that I was led to my passion in teaching but I am unbelievably blessed and privileged to have been given two passions.   The absolute joy I find in writing is a gift that rose out of the ashes of my depression.   I will write until my last breath, even if it is only in my head, but I will write and depression will never fully take me again because of the power writing creates for me.

I have more days that belong to me now rather than “it.”  I lost 2 days to this lament because I forgot I knew how to implement the battleplan I had been given.  I should have known.  I have been doing this a long time.  Bit by bit I have taken my life back and soon depression won’t even command a minute of my days.  Someday soon every day will be mine.

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