Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blind Spots

Recently, I've gone on three blind "dates." That is to say, I've had coffee with women I'd never met before - women who are friends of friends or somehow linked to other women I know in the special-needs world.

We've met under the auspices of me sharing my information, experience, resources, etc. with them. And a little of that happened each time, but very little. What these women really needed and wanted, was someone to listen. Not just anyone, but someone that walked a similar path. Someone that identified with and understood their fears, neurosis, exhaustion, burdens, joys, transformative experiences, life-alterations, isolation, epiphanies - basically, life with the volume turned up.

There are innumerable ways life can turn up the volume and bring us to our knees, either in defeat or surrender (two sides of the same coin?).  At these times all our "stuff" gets activated. The strong parts of ourselves, the parts that are unhealed, the light and shadow sides of our basic personalities.

I'm trying, once again, to understand where I am on the Enneagram. Richard Rohr is breaking it all down in his daily emails. He has done this before, and yet, I still struggle to determine where I am - which probably is a very telling sign of where I am (whichever one is most in denial and out-of-touch with their shadow). I am, most likely, a TWO, the Helper, which sounds great, until you learn more about it. One thing that rings true, unfortunately, is the need TWOs have for recognition for all they sacrifice.

Oh, if I had a nickel for how often I've thought, How hard would it have been to say, "Thank you," ? Is that why I continue to go on these blind dates? Because it feels so good to be recognized and appreciated? Because I just thrive on that?

It's not fun exploring the underbelly of our personalities, really seeing and understanding all parts of ourselves, how and why they got started, and what we can do to heal and unify ourselves. But what other option is there? Perhaps, going on blind dates, is a way for me to open my eyes to the parts of me I am blind to.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lost

Had a dream last night that I was driving a car full of people, and went the wrong way, made a wrong turn, and ended up on the wrong freeway. This was not a nightmare, this was par for the course, as I am very likely to do just that in my regular life. I have lived in Portland for 31-years, and still need people to tell me how to get where I want to go. I have gotten lost, walking, in my own neighborhood, where I've lived for 20 years. It's as though the chip for directional skills, is simply missing from my brain. Don't you dare try to tell me to go north, south, east or west on anything. Don't give me the numbers of highways and freeways, all I hear is, "Blah, blah, blah." Don't muddle things by reminding me how I've done it before - each day is a new opportunity to get lost all over again.

Because I have an excellent sense of timing, and would rather die than make someone wait for me, I always allow plenty of travel time + strong-possibility-of-being-lost time + looking for parking + general chance of delays. All this is to say, I am generally the first one "there," and spend a lot of time waiting for others. I have found ways to over-compensate for my traits and tendencies, at least as it relates to timing and travel.

In the dream last night, I was driving in the middle lane, struggling to converse with my passengers, while simultaneously looking for the way off the wrong freeway, and onto the right one, I noticed a car approaching me. Sure enough, there was one car in the fast lane, that was coming toward us, not driving ahead of us. I first saw the headlights, thought that was weird, then tried to get back to my other problem at hand. But a few seconds later, another car's headlights approached, and then another. All the cars in the fast lane, were going the wrong direction. Those of us in the middle lane were confused and disoriented. The people in the slow lane were just over there minding their own business and moving along, unaffected.

Was this a dream that reinforced slow and steady wins the race?

Was this a dream that taking the wrong route can be scary, but not necessarily a bad thing?

Was this a dream that life in the middle part of life, is disorienting?

Was this a dream that being in mid-life feels like the younger generations are going too fast and out-of-control, and the older generations are oblivious?

Was this a dream that the Middle Way is the way of wisdom?


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Flow


We've all heard the advice to just go with the flow. Good advice. Hard to follow. More difficult, perhaps, than going with the flow, is identifying it, and discerning how to get in it, and making choices that keep you there, rather than letting the external conditions toss you all around.

You know when you're in flow - things click along, line up, the Universe feels like a collaborator, and not a punisher. There are more "chance" happenings, more "perfect timings," more "meant to be," experiences. It feels great, and you think to  yourself, Ah, I got this. That very thought, it seems, invites chaos and your feeling in the flow is threatened.

When you are feeling out-of-the-flow, when everything you try to do seems to make it worse, the only thing to do is stop doing. Step back. Take yourself out. Remove the boulder from the flow, which is you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Moving Over

I have a friend going through an extremely difficult time. The layers and layers of the issues she is addressing are daunting and paralyzing. Where to begin? She can't do this until she does that, but she can't do that until... and so on. Most resources are depleted: financial, emotional, physical, time.

What is not depleted, is her faith. "I have learned through all of this, that the more I stand out of the way, the more God sends angels in to help." She then told me story after story about doctors, fellow parishioners, teachers, neighbors and friends, stepping in and stepping up, in a big way, and leading her out of this dark forest of burden.

She has helped remind me that sometimes, when you don't know what to do, do "nothing," just move out of the way.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Love Rocket

I've been playing upwards of 16 races of MarioKart now, for weeks. You'd think I'd be great, but if I get in the single digits, I'm thrilled. Wil and I typically come in 11th and 12th place, and whichever one of us gets 12th, shouts, "DEAD last!"

The great thing about being in the back of the pack, is you are able to get what we call, the rocket. When your guy/gal is in rocket mode, you zoom ahead and get caught back up, and are given another shot at competing. It wasn't until I tried to find an image for this blogpost, that I realized it's not a rocket, it's actually a bullet. We'll go on calling it a rocket.

I have quite a day ahead of me today. I decided to do a little morning meditation, imagining a love rocket zooming ahead of my day for me, and soaring ahead with all things good, paving the way for me to "stay on track" and get through the finish line. (Today's "finish line" will be binge-watching the second season of "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.")

I'm an excellent worrier, one of the best. I can go to worst-case scenario in 0.2 seconds. It takes greater effort to move through life's challenges with a sense that love prevails, that there are forces of good, both seen and unseen, working to conspire and collaborate with us.

See you at the finish line.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Veil

One friend recently became a grandma.

One friend just lost her father.

One friend learned this morning that her friend of 35 years, passed away in the night.

The baby was born on Good Friday. Two weeks before he was due, but apparently, wanted to be born on one of the holiest days of the year.

The father waited until his wife of well-over 50-years briefly stepped out of the room, threw open his arms in full surrender, and died peacefully. "That was Daddy's last gift to me, not to have me watch him die."

The friend defied all odds, had eaten virtually nothing in two-and-a-half months, her body nothing more than a skeleton, yet her face angelic, peaceful, radiant, beautiful. An anointing ceremony was held over a week ago. The song, "On Eagle's Wings" was played on the piano and sung while her friends, relatives and priest gently placed holy oil on her face and arms, and said their goodbyes. "I'm ready to go, send me off," she said. Eight days later, she was "off."

As you know, I'm a big fan of Theresa Caputo, aka the Long Island Medium. After watching every episode of her show over the years, I'm even more convinced that the veil between "here" and "there" is thin and fluid, and Spirit (as Theresa calls it) moves freely amid them.

"Your loved ones are safe and at peace on the other side," Theresa says all the time. When something "weird" happens, a "coincidence" or unusual occurrence, she says, "Know that that was their spirit with you at that very time."

As "new" spirits come into our lives and familiar souls "leave," it is comforting, for me, to think of them as part of the continual cycle of life and death, and not the beginning or end.

We die a little each day, and ideally, we are awakened, or born, a little, too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bookmark

Woohoo graduates from college in 19 days. How is this possible? As they say, the days are long and the years are short. So true.

We decided we both needed new dresses and shoes for the big graduation. Not enough can really be made of this milestone, and new outfits would help to make a little more out of it. Sunday, Woohoo and I went to the mall where we've been together a million times, but not for a long, long time. That, in itself, was sentimental, just walking by the stores where we used to get her children's clothes, then her tween and teenage outfits. She's not much of a mall person these days, but recalls when going there was what she most wanted to do.

Times change.

Because Woohoo and I are similar shoppers (quick and efficient, no dilly-dallying), we were able to select our dresses and matching shoes pretty easily, and had plenty of time to go across the street and have a beer. Not enough can be made of having your children reach drinking age.

As we were leaving the mall, we spotted a woman who has a son that went kindergarten through high school with Woohoo. We stopped, visited, caught up, laughed and marveled that this woman and I met on a pre-dawn, chilly, dark January morning in 1999, as we stood in line outside the school, waiting to register our preschoolers in kindergarten. There weren't a lot of spots, and it was first come,  first serve. I was number 2 in line, she was number 3. We chatted. We got acquainted. 17 years later, there is still a strong thread that runs between our lives. Through 40th birthday parties, travel, divorce, re-marriage, the natural waning and waxing of most friendships, we have an unbreakable connection.

No accidents that we ran into her, of all people. She is a living bookmark of where we are now in the book of life, where we've been, and the exciting possibilities of where we will go.