Lately my life has felt much like the I Love Lucy episode in which she and Ethel are working at a candy factory and their job is to wrap the bon bons as they initially coast and then speed down the conveyer belt. They are doing well in the beginning and then the pace is picked up. Knowing that they can’t possibly keep up, they stuff the sweet treats into their mouths and then down their shirts and in their chef’s hats. Rather than admit that they are challenged by the expectations and risk being fired, they pretend that they can do it. When the demanding supervisor comes in, she doesn’t suspect what they were up to and tells them that they are doing a “splendid job” and yells “Speed it up!” to the person sending the candy through.
I pride myself on being able to keep on keepin’ on in the face of whatever shows up. Today it was my son calling from the road while making pizza deliveries because he had a tire blow out in the rain. It got resolved when my friend David who I called who earned his angel wings for the next month at least, came to assist and get him back on track. It showed up in the form of my sister telling me she wasn’t feeling well and her BP was still low, following a heart attack on Saturday which meant she wasn’t being discharged home tomorrow. It came with the conversation she and I had, in which she told me she was concerned that I, like she, had a hard time saying no when people asked things of me and it could lead to the situation she found herself in. Both of us are amply aware that ‘no’ is a complete sentence and are becoming every more facile with expressing it. It arrived with more, albeit, satisfying things to do in my work as a writer and speaker. A friend asked me to collaborate with him in teaching workshops and we are scheming ideas. All of these things are what I have asked for and they are indeed responding at an ever more rapid pace….thus far I haven’t stuffed any metaphorical candy down my shirt or into a hat…maybe I’ve nibbled a few.
Tonight I was speaking my wise friend Ondreah who was pointing out ways that I shut down emotions in the service of avoiding looking at the mess that comes along with this human package. I sometimes experience sadness to which I don’t give voice because I reason that it would keep me from checking off tasks on my ever growing list, as if the world would cease to spin if I fully engage my feelings. I responded that my writing is a way to process emotions and she still feels that it is a way of avoiding real feelings since I “still doing it alone.” The justifying part of me calls out that I am sharing my observations with the world, rather than stuffing them. “Yeah, but…..they are observations, not emotions”, cries the little one inside whose Mommy and Daddy used to be here to comfort and ease the ouchies. Since they have died, ‘she’ has been in the background watching as the adult part of me has taken on my mother’s role of being ‘the rock’ who could handle any crisis; except my mom would add that she would “fall apart afterward.” The strange thing is that I never saw her do that. She always seemed to remain steadfast. When crises have occurred in my life, I just tick them off the list, like being at a customer service counter. I have told clients/patients over the years that in the midsts of their seemingly overwhelming issues, they could imagine being behind that counter and have their challenged line up in front of it. “How many people can you serve at once?”, I would sweetly ask, to which they would respond, “One.” And yet, I often attempt to offer support, service, ideas, resolution, healing to multiple people at a time, fully expecting that I can do them all justice and feeling a bit like a failure if I don’t. Even as I type these words at 3:28 a.m. on a blustery, rainy last day of January night, I know how preposterous that is. And yet, as Ondreah in her lovingly kick ass manner, reminded me, I keep calling out “Next, next, next…” ticking off the things that show up and not taking time to just sit with my heartbeat and simply BE.
Over the past week or so, I have written about these very things in the Bliss Blog. Life Gets Lifey (January 29th) and Wake Up Call (January 27th) have been the containers for some of the spillage. I have been in this mode for the several years and wonder how to safely and easily get off the conveyer belt. Humor helps, speaking with friends, turning it over to God, reaching out, asking for and being willing to receive support, and yes, writing about my journey keep me from having to resort to eating too much chocolate.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NPzLBSBzPI I Love Lucy