Music has the power to delight, to entertain, to soothe, to uplift, and to heal. In this particularly trying time, when the world is awash in chaos and off the charts unpredictability, it provides additional magic mojo. I have a friend named Robin D. Brackbill who has been doing amazing karaoke covers of well-known songs […]
This morning, my eyes opened and I looked with delight at the time on the clock: 8:04 am. For the first time in months, maybe even years, I have been getting seven to eight hours sleep a night. What a relief, when a few years back, I was lucky to sneak in five or six with a work schedule of 12 or more revolutions around the clock. That led to several serious health crises. Even as recently as a few weeks ago, I would be wide awake in the wee hours. I attributed it to being an empath and picking up on all of the chaotic energies on the planet. I had become a repository for the pain and struggle of the people around me as they faced illness and injury, loss of loved ones and financial changes. How can anyone with a heart and mind not be impacted by world events on top of it? Gun violence, bigotry, murder on mass scale, rape, abuse, environmental devastation, addiction, unspeakable loss impacting people on a daily basis. I wonder how those on the receiving end of such acts can function. As a therapist, I have witnessed off the charts resilience among my clients. As a friend, I have listened to stories of atrocities committed and I am honored to know these souls and see what they have transcended.
I kept attempting to push it away and bury it in hustle and bustle. Blessedly, I have my writing skills to get me through the darker times; a candle for me to light my own way. As I am typing these words, the mid morning rain is providing a counter point for emphasis, washing away the sticky humidity that I know awaits beyond my door. I can allow the tears that represented my own inner water works to cleanse me as well. Alone and in the presence of supportive friends, I have let them flow. There was a time when I would refrain from crying, since I wondered if the torrents of tears would ever stop. Of course, they did. They always do. I also denied that I had normal and messy human emotions, subsumed in the service of keepin’ on keepin’ on. After all, how could I hold everyone else together if I was falling apart? What I discovered, paradoxically, is that if I am fully human; strong and vulnerable, I am more reliable and capable.
This past Sunday I spoke at Awakened Heart which is a New Thought church based on Science of Mind teachings. I visit there four times a year or so and I always feel welcomed home when I head down the stretch of highway that takes me the 90 minutes or so door to door. Hugs and smiles abound. This time, I shared on the topic being raw and real. Standing in front of the congregation of kindred spirits, I offered my take on the dynamic of vulnerability and self revelation. Being emotionally naked and baring our hearts to each other is no task for wimps. I pondered the idea of asking for what we want being riskier when we are invested in the answer. I also focused on the concept of self assurance. If I am at ease and peace with who I am and how I present myself in the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental realms of my life, then it almost doesn’t matter how anyone else perceives me. If I am able to nourish myself from the inside out, then I don’t require it from another. Does it mean I don’t still want to be loved and affirmed? Of course not. No woman or man is an island and we are intertwined. I laughingly told them that I live with the paradox of wanting to be loved best of all and being embarrassed about being recognized; sometimes when I am washing up at the ladies’ room sink. “I know you from Facebook, or I heard you speak, or read your writing, or you’re the hug lady,” are some of the statements made when I have my hands under running water. The last time was right after spinning class at the gym and I was red faced and wringing wet with sweat. Another woman in the class knew me from a local Facebook group and the FREE Hugs events I organize. Blessedly, I had the presence of mind not to ask if she wanted a hug.
How do you want to be seen?
I shared with the group that I had two major fears.
- Losing my marbles and memory, since both are essential for writing and speaking articulately. I have noticed that the more deeply I connect spiritually, the more the mundane fades away. Names, directions, what I walked into a room to fetch or do, seem less accessible than once they were. I have learned to smile and laugh it off, attributing it to middle aged/wise woman moments and the proverbial hard drive being full.
- Being incapacitated and requiring consistent care. When I had the heart attack two years ago, I annoyed myself with thoughts that I wouldn’t rebound and would have to rely on others. As a result of changing lifestyle, including cardiac rehab which has now progressed to four to five times a week workouts at the gym, spinning class, and recently at three mile hike on steep and rocky terrain. I have more than proven to myself that I can hold my own in the face of challenges.
I am also awakening to the realization that joined with others, I am more powerful than I ever imagined. Yawning and stretching with y’all as we greet the new day together.