As a gracefully aging, seasoned woman, I have long believed that memory loss is a myth. Having had a sharp as a tack mind that could have anything I wanted stick to it, I am sadly noticing some things falling off the cork board. Another analogy that makes sense to me involves a techno concept. If I think of my mind as a computer hard drive, I have no problem with storage; but retrieval is another matter. I used to have at my disposal the title, lyrics and performer of any song I liked and even some I didn’t. Remembering names of those I met in personal and professional capacities was a piece of cake and now it feels like itsy bitsy crumbs left on the plate sometimes. Walking into a room to get something or do something was a no brainer, literally and now there are times when I need to return to the scene of the thought to recall what it is I needed. Thank heavens for GPS and Smart phone when I am feeling in need of guidance and not particularly smart myself.
Enter the world of Lumosity. I heard about this brain training website via Pandora (the DIY of personalized radio stations) and reminded myself to look into it and then forgot about it. Last night, while I was interviewing Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams for my Vivid Life Radio show called It’s All About Relationships, we were speaking about the idea of aging as a self imposed limitation and that we three agreed that we feel more vibrant, vital and youthful than we did a decade or so ago. I chimed in that my memory has been fading a bit and he recommended Lumosity. I didn’t need to hear about it a third time and tonight I climbed aboard the Brain Train, lest I experience more brain drain, and set up a few skills tests. I had no problem with identifying shapes after seeing them flash in front of me. Then came spatial relations…uh oh….I was able to match 5 tiles as they showed up and then disappeared, asking me to replace them where they were. Six was a wee bit of a stretch and then came 7. I could feel my heart racing and a some anxiety present itself, as if there was a live human being observing me mess up, rather than a computer who didn’t know me at all. And then I cut myself some slack, reminding myself that it was the end of a long day that started about 5 something, had me driving nearly and hour to take a training for work that focused on Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases; lovely topics all. Heading back to the office to do some paperwork, followed by a drive in torrential rains and flooded roads, I am feeling whooped. Writing this column feels like no work at all, since most of the time when I create, I am in The Zone and don’t need to think. The words just flow. It is when I effort or believe that I need to know the answer to something or be ON that my train of thought gets derailed.
This peppy/poppy/folky song by husband and wife duo Pete and Maura Kennedy leapt out at me today and reminded me that my day to day existence is far more than my ever-changing routine, which sounds like an oxymoron, far deeper than surface concerns and far more impactful than I might have myself believe in my weakest moments. A few random lyrics tugged at my ear:
“Life is large. It’s bigger than the both of us. Life is large. All you need is just a little trust.
“Be yourself and stand your ground. Don’t you let no one turn you around.”
“How do you want to be remembered? A raging fire or a dying ember?”
Last night as I was driving home from one of my jobs as a therapist in a substance abuse outpatient practice, I thought about all of the people I have connected with professionally over the past 30 years as counselor, facilitator, minister and writer. It would likely number in the many thousands. What seeds do I hope I have planted with them? Seeds of desire for a life that takes them beyond what they expect into something phenomenal. Seeds of healing of the wounds they have experienced. Seeds of prosperity that has them knowing that they can do the ‘abun-dance out of scare-city’. Seeds of love for themselves and all those they encounter. Seeds of trust in the Highest Possible Outcome. Seeds of creativity so that they can color outside the lines in outrageous hues and tones. Seeds of the music of their souls so that they can sing out with gusto. I also know that each of them has left an impression and imprint on my heart and mind, long after what may have been fleeting contact. How could it be any other way since we are all so interconnected?
How large are you willing to let your life be? I am open and willing to have mine be so expansive that I am unable to see to the end of the line, so wide that I can’t wrap my arms around it, so high that I have to crane my neck waaaayyyy back and still can’t get there with my eyes, but can with my vivid imagination and open heart and so deep that even in my childhood fantasy of ‘digging to China’ would never have me arrive.
http://youtu.be/ppR4poXbrdI Life Is Large- Pete and Maura Kennedy
I was speaking with a retired pilot today and wanted to ask him a question I had wondered about for years that I had heard was so. Is an airplane off course much of the time and requires moment by moment course correction to keep it aloft and flying in a straight line? He smiled and assured me that wasn’t the case. He went on to explain that the pilot gets a flight plan and instructions from ground control and that much of the time, the plane is on auto pilot. The only time they change the plan is when a storm is coming up in front of them and they need to re-direct around it and the plane goes on manual control at landing.
My writer/ therapist’s mind automatically went to metaphor mode as it occurred to me that recovery has the same components to it. In 12 step parlance, GOD, stands for Good Orderly Direction that offers us a daily flight plan, direction and destination. If we go off course, the Air Traffic Controller, guides us back on track. If we are able to surrender and trust, we can go on auto pilot. Now, that doesn’t mean relinquishing responsibility for our choices and for keeping an eye on what is in front of us. It means allowing God to be your co-pilot.
Most people who see a storm approaching, take cover or maneuver out of harm’s way. Sometimes we need a barf bag when turbulence occurs and then we ride the current, knowing that we can get through it. Sadly, many who are facing addictions, keep flying into that same darn meteorological phenom; get struck by metaphorical lightning and then wonder why they crash and burn.
I then asked about the landing. Since he had over 3 decades of experience as a commercial pilot and a number of years as an Air Force pilot, prior to that, he has likely made many thousands of touch downs. It is about knowing the precise moment to take back control of the plane, so as to make the transition from air to ground as smoothly and safely as possible.
How often do we know when to surrender and when to take ahold of ourselves and circumstances so that we can travel the friendly skies?
http://youtu.be/3bxwEscWZEI From A Window Seat- Dawes
“Sometimes the only available means of transportation is a leap of faith.”-Margaret Shepherd
I have never met this woman, but if I did, I would tell her that her words are brilliant in their simplicity and speak volumes about the daily events in my life and yours. For some, it takes that kind of faith to get out of bed in the morning and keep on keepin’ on. For me, faith is about knowing something is so, without benefit of actually having experienced it. Folks like that are the resilient thrivers and are such wonderful models for all who find life on life’s terms to be daunting. Recently, I was speaking with someone who has the same thought each morning…”Oh no, not again,” meaning that he was facing another day where things would be the same as they ever were. I reminded him that nothing need be the way it was if we did all we could to change the outcome, by altering the input. Habitual thoughts keep us in those stuck places that aren’t much fun. What if, at every point, we could do a literal, physical hokey pokey and turn ourselves around until we were facing the direction we wanted to head? What if our leaps landed us precisely where we wanted to be? I have learned that they are far more likely to do so, if we set a landing point.
Some of my leaps look like starting over again after being widowed at 40, going to seminary to become an interfaith minister, beginning relationships, ending relationships, quitting a stable, but draining job I had held for 11 years. Hard to imagine that at the end of this month, I will have crossed the threshold of the one year mark and I’m still going strong.
I have been in free fall often throughout my life, wondering if my parachute would open on time, or I would come crashing earthward. Although I have never and will likely never jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I can imagine the time between heading out the door and being back on terra firma…a sense of terror mixed with exhilaration. It really is like that in life sometimes. I prefer to focus on the whheeeee~ aspects of emotional skydiving, enjoying the scenery along the way.