Friday, April 5, 2013

Dork Alert!

So, this is how life is...

There's something to be said about lupus fog...and the effects of multiple mind "affecting" medications. One of those somethings is that you can't remember anything. Or at least, anything you want to remember. So, here's a little story about my life.

About a year ago, during the height of my blogging, I was finding myself becoming involved with a number of what I would call, "professionals". People who have successfully written books and are now professional writers/bloggers. This is pretty much ego candy. Especially when you are housebound and no longer in the career world you loved so dearly. It feels good to be socializing with the bigwigs. I had found a new purpose in life.

During this ego frenzy I was having issue with one particular writer/blogger women. For whatever reason, I got the feeling like we were competing. And then the ultimate happened. She had written something that I felt very passionate and knowledgeable about. I spent a significant amount of time composing and re-composing a comment to this particular blog post. As I hit the "post" button I felt really "psyched" about what I had written. So much so that for the next couple of days I obsessively and compulsively checked her blog to see if she had reviewed my comment and written her response to it. In my head it went something like this,

"Dearest Theresa (of course, she would call me by name, unlike all the other anonymous, canned responses to other less educated responders).
Your comments have "resonated deeply within me" (this is a big one in the blog world) and I find myself changed forever by your words...." 

You get the picture.

Day one passed, no response. Day two, day three, and so on. And then I started to notice that people that had written days after me had been reviewed and made public for all the world to see. Yes, she had decided, for whatever obviously mistaken reason, to not "allow" my comment to be viewed.

Of course, I did not save a copy of my response to her (why, that would be extremely vain), so I went over and over in my mind what could have possibly disagreed with her. Had I been too cynical? Was I over emotional? Had I rambled on and appeared too self-edifying? I had I written too late at night and said something totally incomprehensible? Was my response so brilliant that she somehow felt threatened by me? Or was I so beneath her that it would have been too embarrassing for her to allow it to be seen? And on, and on, and on my brain went. Until my stories became so painful that I Unliked her professional page on facebook, Unfriended her personal page and took her blog off my Google Reader. So there!

I decided, out of sight, out of mind. And I moved on.

Until today. Months and months  and months later.

For some reason one of her posts showed up on my facebook feed. And it was really good. Before I read it (it was a link that directed me to her blog) I had an ever so brief quiver of "hey, I don't like this lady" but clicked anyway. And it was excellent. Just like before the separation (yes, I'm pretty sure that out of her 68K fan base she missed me terribly) I was completely moved by what she had to say. Poignant and beautiful. Straight to my heart....yes, it resonated deeply. I fell in love with her all over again.

And now for the kicker. I have no idea, no recollection, no memory whatsoever of any details other than I know I got my feelings hurt. None at all. Nada. Zip. Zero. I'm a blank slate.

So, I find this interesting (actually a little hilarious) on two levels. One, this is indeed one of the perks to having a severe case of lupus fog. I feel no pain. Two, what a great lesson to be learned here. Oh, how we create our own suffering! For all I know, she simply forgot to review mine. Or I somehow missed it. Or her computer crashed and she lost a few responses to the great black Internet void. Who knows?!?! Definitely NOT ME! Yet, look at all that I put myself through. Let me tell you, I went through ego hell for days on end. I practically felt like I had lost everything and was doomed to become a mush-mind, thrown into the depths of the forever unimportant and unproductive. It was harsh. And yet, here I am, back in love with this amazing writer, this beautiful women with whom I find I have a deep connection with on so many levels. Poof! Just like that.

The moral of the story is this: Don't let it take 365 days. We have the choice right in this very moment to wipe it from our slate. Poof! It's gone. Just like that. Because almost always, we don't know. And even if we do know, 100%, beyond the shadow of a doubt KNOW... we still have the choice to let it go and continue on loving.

It's our choice. Period.

Today, I choose love. How about you?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What Are YOU Holding On To?

Me, freezing in Florida this past week!
If I had to pick my favorite part of the day, it would almost always be morning. Even though I wake up with the usual myriad of aches and pains of someone with multiple autoimmune diseases, I still find this part of my day to be the best.

Of the the things I like most, like the feel of a fresh new start or the knowledge that in an hour or two I will be in the easiest part of my day physically, I would have to say that my morning coffee is the pinnacle of my a.m. routine. I love everything about it. I love the smell of a pot brewing as I lay tucked into my favorite soft blankets. I love the methodical movements as I reach for the cup, set it on the counter, lift the pot out from the maker and pour it into my carefully selected mug for the day (I have a collection of mugs made by an 80 year old potter I dearly love...the potter and the pot). I love the smell and the steam as I move the mug towards my mouth. I always let it linger there, just a moment, before I give it that first test sip of the morning. Slowly, always slowly, as to not burn my lips or the tip of my tongue, I tempt my senses, just for a moment. And then the full rich taste of coffee. Nothing tastes like the first sip. In fact, if left to "sip amok", I find that by the sixth or seventh cup the taste has progressively gotten less satisfying. Funny how one will continue to drink something that no longer tastes good merely out of habit. And then there is the warmth. The soothing warmth as it moves from mouth, to throat, to esophagus, to belly. Ummm...the warmth of coffee in my belly. Nothing like it.

The world moves slow as I sit at my counter and drink that first cup. It moves slow and easy and I cherish the stretched out tick of our old kitchen clock.

In the realm of letting go...

There are things I have had to let go of in this life. There are things I have chosen to let go of in this life. And then there is everything else in between. The stuff that lingers. I don't think I can say that one or the other is any more or less difficult, in fact, it's definitely relative. But the stuff that lingers can be particularly and chronically painful. For example, I know I shouldn't drink coffee. I've been told this by every doctor that I have. Yet, as I sit here typing these words, a cold cup-o-joe sits directly to my right on a silver dollar coaster brought back as a souvenir from a vacation out east over thirty years ago. Every day a little battle goes on in my brain. Every day the health conscientious, rational Theresa waves her little white flag of surrender as the caffeine addicted, habit mongering fly by the seat of her pants Theresa does the little Starbucks happy dance of victory. We'll, there's always tomorrow.

I heard a quote the other day by a guy I can't remember. Oh, I could go look it up, but today I am just typing freely. I'm not really working at it,  and going to my iPad and finding out the name of the guy who gave the last Dharma talk would definitely be considered "work" for me today. Getting up, walking to the living room, opening the iPad...need I say more? Anyway, the quote was this...

"We hold on to things that we think are gonna 'do it' for us."

You know, the stuff that we think makes us happy...finally. This is usually the stuff that makes us skinny, creates well adjusted kids, gives us the perfect job, makes us healthier, solves our financial woes, mends broken relationships, keeps us awake, answers all our spiritual questions, makes our parents finally understand us, numbs our senses and bestows on us a blessed cloak of eternal peace. You know the stuff. It's the stuff we obsess about in our minds. It's white noise. It's mindless....or mindFULL chatter. It's the story we tell ourselves day in and day out, without even realizing it. It just plays quietly on and on and on. These things we refuse to let go of because we think they're helping.

And maybe, like my coffee, it is...temporarily. My coffee does wake me up. It does put me in a good mood. It does make me happy - in my ever fleeting breath of a moment. But the bigger picture says differently. The bigger picture reflects a huge energy and emotional drop in about an hour, and then maybe some irregular heart beats, and then maybe some especially swollen joints, and then a headache....

Yet, we hold on. Why? What are you holding on to? And why are you holding on to it? Why am I?

For me it's about fear. It's about being uncomfortable. Feeling shaky and groundless. A little personal note here about myself. I can't sit still for very long. (yes, that might have something to do with eight cups of coffee) I'm working on it, believe me. Me and two very good therapists, along with the help of countless others who come to me by book, or CD, or ancient text, or podcast. I can't sit still for long and I feel the intense urge to fill space up. I fill it up with thought, or writing, or picking at hangnails, or eating, or cleaning, or reading, or whatever. I just fill it up. It's why meditation is still work for me. (I refuse to give up though! I believe the sages to be true...along with all the well founded scientific research!) It's painful, and not just because of my joints! I get uneasy in empty space.

So I fill myself up. I fill my space up. In a sense, I try to make myself FULL of what I think is "gonna do it for me". And this stuff can be pretty sneaky, disguising itself as spirituality or even mindfulness. In my effort to "let go" of self, I simply put on the cloak of the moment. Today I am blissfully much so that I need to rush to my computer to write and tell you about it! Get it? Anything but just sit and experience it.

This is the thing...

A lovely picture taken by my husband of the gulf shore. 
Let go. Period. If we have to say it to ourselves a thousand times a day in order to let go of just one thing, then it's worth the work. Life is meant to be lived, not thought. Filling ourselves and our space might give us a sense of temporary safety, but in the end it just makes us a big solid mess. Thinking way too much and missing life in the meantime. When we allow ourselves to be open - to stop the chatter - we become translucent. We allow ourselves to be open and curious, trusting in the moment instead of hiding within our past experiences or in what we think the future holds for us to make us happy. Give up those old and frightened parts for something new and fearless. Loosen up a bit and see that this life is a vast ocean. And guess what. We float! Learn to trust and we will all find that it's a wonderful ride. I truly, truly believe this.

So you ask, how much do we "let go"? We can't very well walk around in life letting go of everything. There are things that need to be thought about and things that need to be done, bills that need to be paid. If you're anything like me, you try to pin down the details because the vague is...well, painful. We want to know the right mix. How much can we let go before we are considered down right irresponsible? It makes me think of this cute little story I heard one time about a question that was posed to a wise old monk. His student asked him one day, "How much of the self is needed?" to which the monk replied, "Enough to get out of the way of a bus." Believe me, when the time comes, you will know what to do! Making decisions based on the reality of the moment is the best way to care for your future.

We don't need to pin it down my friend. You and I are beautifully and wonderfully made, intelligent beyond our imagination. Letting go and revealing what really resides within you will only make you better. For within you and within me lies the Kingdom of Heaven. All we ever need. No need to fill or cover or boost anything up. In fact, we only need to let go .

Can you trust that you are good enough "as is"? Because you know what? "As is" is as good as it gets. Anything more is less.

I wish I could end this with some grand proclamation in regards to my future caffeine intake. I'm working on it. I'm working on a lot of things these days. What I can promise you is this - that every day I will let go of something - if you will too. It may be the same thing over and over and over again in the same day. And that's perfectly okay. It's not so much about the arriving as it is about the journey anyway.

Oh, to be transparent
I shall feel

in my nakedness
finds its way


I find
it is worth

letting go
solid self
to join the
as she
moves freely

Holy, holy, holy
Peace to you,