Saturday, October 28, 2006

Evolving Mantras

Photo: Martha, Diane, Me, Dana at women's retreat

The other day I told a friend it seems there has been some sort of seismic universe shake-up this year. I am different now. Every cell of my being is changed. Nothing will ever be the same. Things are just not right.

To be expected, I suppose, given that my father died in March, six days before my birthday. (When we scrabbled together a fragmented birthday party, I opened a card that said "Love, Mom & Dad." Mom's color drained as I opened it, and that was the end of the charade.) But it's not just that - all manner of things have gone askew this year.

I won't list them, because tempting as it is, I will continue to travel the high road (new mantra #1) - those folks who've thrown obstacles in my path know who they are.

I suppose it's just as well - I mean, this year is already ruined. But these crises, coming one on top of the other, well - they offend me. I was doing quite well at grieving, if I do say so myself. My friends knew I was going to be quiet and reclusive for a while. My children understood that some days are weepy and others are dry. And I was really trying to give in to the grief.... avoiding the process would mean carrying around a sickness in my soul.

So as the other problems arose over the past few months, well, they distracted me from my grieving. Emotionally unstable, I was afraid to make decisions and unsure what to make of the additional stress. They were a rude interruption to my grieving and it was only recently, as things seemed to settle for a short while, that the anger struck like a lightning bolt. How dare they? What the hell is the matter with people?! I need to grieve for my father, I need to reinvent myself and my way of being in the world without him, and yet I've had to deal with some very unsavory things. Mantra #2 - People Suck.

Always one to 'seek the lesson', I pondered the possibility of karma. I admit I've always had a rather easy go of things... I've even felt somehow protected, grateful that the ugly side of life had not visited me, and often wondered why I was so lucky. So perhaps this is just my time? My year of reckoning? I shared this thought with my grandma Alice. She told me there doesn't have to be a lesson. She said, "Oh honey, you're just emotionally exhausted, that's all" and held me while I had a good cry.

The stress of dealing with many big things at once had me quite nervous and shaken, and so a retreat with some of my favorite women friends was a welcome refuge. As we sat in circle, someone asked me to share all that had been happening. Too tired to rehash everything, I gave the short version. As I told my stories I got more and more riled up, and I suddenly felt a new clarity. I used to be quite confident and out-spoken, but these past many years have been marked by a 'softer' me - a kinder, more empathetic, inclusive me. It served me well for those years of childrearing, homeschooling, and networking. But now... these times call for a new spark. Or an old one, rekindled.

After sharing my utter disgust with certain things and certain people, one wise and wonderful friend blurted out, "Oh, f*ck that sh*t!" The severity of the comment gave us all fits of laughter, and first I replied, "Yeah! F*ck that sh*t!" And next thing you know, she laughed, "Let's all say it together! One... two... three.... F*CK THAT SH*T!"

Definitely mantra #3.

There is freedom in accepting that some things are just ugly, and I don't have to fix them. So here I sit, acknowledging that some things can't be fixed and that's ok. If this year has taught me anything, it's that. I will take the high road for my own integrity and peace of mind, but I will walk away from darkness and seek light. When people suck, I don't have stick around and be the punching bag. F*ck that sh*t. I've got bigger things to attend to.

"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life exists in the elimination of non-essentials." ~ Lin Yutang


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