Created: Thursday, 22 May 2014 15:37
She grabbed small packages of prepared snacks. I tried to show her how to cook nourishing meals for herself so she wouldn't waste time opening so many packages and we could avoid the wasted expense of prepared foods. She kept reaching for the tiny prepackaged foods. I gave up. I cooked for myself.
This dream offered me an image illustrating what it is like when people don't receive. It's like they won't let you love them.
We talk about gratitude a lot these days. Receptivity comes before gratitude. I had extended myself for her, and she didn't notice.
In real life, she eventually left, taking her metaphorical prepackaged foods with her. She scarcely looked back. She felt no gratitude because she hadn't received.
She moved on to bigger prepackaged vistas, and I hear she's happy. I am happy for her.
It's okay. My world is not for everyone. I can still "cook" for myself. Plus, I have lots of friends and associates who like my cooking - both metaphorically and literally.
I have lots of friends who receive me with gratitude. It's a gift, and I reciprocate that gift.
Created: Monday, 19 May 2014 19:29
Janie went through shoulder surgery. That ordeal was followed by years of debilitating issues with her feet. She referred to her forced confinement as convalescence. "Now I'm out and about...reborn," she told me.
Difficult periods are times of rebirth - or they can be.
I see many people struggle to get back to where they were before the storms hit. I find the wise ones let the dark days transform them.
Transformed and reborn. I liked the old Janie. The new one is amazing.
Created: Monday, 19 May 2014 19:21
It was a touchy conversation - the kind that could get contentions. This time, the conversation created connection.
"Can I tell you what you just did right?" she asked.
"I'm not trying to get it right," he replied with tears in his eyes. "I'm just being real."
She understood the distinction. She rephrased her statement.
"What I really appreciate that you did is..." Her revised phrasing liberated her acknowledgement from a rating context.
It might sound picky, but we all are sensitive to subtleties like this. The fact is, context changes everything. Language creates contexts that we might not be aware of, but that we respond (or react) to.
Created: Tuesday, 20 May 2014 16:56
The repair that should have taken five minutes took... five minutes!
"The planet Mars went direct today," I told Noel, our tech support guy.
"Oh, thank God," he responded.
I didn't know if Noel would have any idea what that meant. Clearly he did.
When I first heard about it, I didn't know what it meant that Mars had been retrograde and was going direct on May 20th. I just knew I felt like I had been living in a pressure cooker and that things seemed stalled. The idea caught my interest. I related experientially to the descriptions - like this one -
Think of capping a volcano and sending the energy back into the Earth— that's what happens to each of us during this part of Mars' cycle. That's why some folks will explode with frustration and make very poor decisions and moves now, responding with violence and anger instead of patience and dialogue.
That's how I felt yesterday.
Today is a new day. Noel and I went downstairs for Bob's computer repairs. The things that should have taken a half hour took... a half hour!
Today IS a new day. My to-do list became a ta-da list. The lid is off the pressure cooker.
How cool is that? Enjoy the new spring!
Created: Friday, 16 May 2014 15:39
Bob says the perfect thing when I get mired in the Gall Bladder Blues. He asks:
Those words offer support without inflaming me further.
The Gall Bladder Blues make the world a dark and dreary place. I remember the sun, but don't see it. I try not to spread my gloom around, but it's tangible. Bob feels it the minute he walks in the room. Like Perseus relating to Medusa, Bob knows not to look me in the eye lest he be turned to stone.
But also like Perseus, he does look through a mirror. Perseus used his shield to see Medula's reflection. Bob's mirror is in his own heart. That shields him.
Normally I don't explain my perceptions when I'm at a low. Recently I did. I told Bob, "You're sitting across the table from a woman for whom everything seems wrong right now." He said he'd lay low. I continued, "It's important to understand that there's no way you can make me happy right now, but you're obligated to try."
Instead of speaking from my toxic mindset, I spoke about it. It's a fine line. I know I'm toxic, and I don't want to infect anyone. I also don't want to be completely isolated, either.
I sipped a new herbal tea. The tea I had switched to in the more recent stage of my recovery triggered my Gall Bladder Blues. I hoped this would ease my malaise.
By the end of the conversation, my cup was empty and my Gall Bladder Blues were gone. I saw the sun again. I still had some physical symptoms, but peace was restored inside of me.
Happily, peace was never lost between Bob and myself.
Bob gets most of the credit for that. He stayed present without drinking the poison himself. He looked at me through the best possible of mirrors and waited. We had a lovely evening together.
Created: Monday, 12 May 2014 15:47
It hit Bob and me six months ago that my health issues could actually take me out if we didn't unravel them. That kind of awareness changes a person - and it changes relationships. Only a few people understood that it felt like I was fighting for my life. One well-meaning friend wouldn't let me finish a sentence. She interrupted my attempt to explain what I was going through by pointing out all I have to be grateful for. Yes, I knew and know that, and I am grateful. But no matter how beautiful my home is, I still need to be able to digest my food. One of my blessings is in the people that do understand.
The healing process is organic, not linear. Every morning last week, when I stepped on the scale, I discovered I had gained another pound! The healing process shifted from repair to strengthening. I celebrated Friday by returning a pair of pants I bought one week before. I explained to the merchant I had gained seven pounds in the week since I got them. She was thrilled for me. Her concern was revealed by the joy she displayed over my progress.
I hadn't spoken of my ordeal to my dance community as a group, but I celebrated my progress again on Saturday by briefly speaking of my struggle and gains. The support was heartwarming. Clearly people had noticed and been concerned. One woman told me she appreciated my mentioning it because she and her husband had noticed, but didn't know me well enough to ask about it.
To me, if you know someone well enough to worry about something like rapid weight-loss, you know them well enough to ask what's happening with them. Ask and listen deeply to what they say.
If I were to do it over, I'd address the elephant in the living-room at dance sooner. Did I know them "well enough" to share persoanlly? Who is to say? I will say that I know them much better now, and I like that.
I still have a long way to go, but last week was well worth celebrating - with the friends who get it, with the community I celebrate life with each week through dance, and with you.
Where are you holding back from asking or sharing because you don't know someone well enough? Might it be that sharing is the very thing you need to do to know them better? It's worth the risk.
Created: Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:38
Each week after dance, I take the wave (music playlist) we danced to home and I immerse myself in it. The following week I review my experience of dancing to that wave to help community members decide if they want to buy a copy. It's a fund-raiser. It helps to pay the rent - plus doing it expands my musical horizons.
Sometimes there are songs on the playlists that don't hit home with me at all. This week, the wave I internalized includes the song "Kiss" by Prince. It took me a while to warm up to it. After skipping it the first time through the wave, I danced to it, hiked to it and washed dishes to it. I even watched the video. It is unlikely to ever be my favorite, but I am liking it a little.
Plus I'm liking Prince himself a whole lot more since he made the news yesterday.
Prince hit the news last night because he pledged to quit cursing and start showing more respect.
In a cover story for the latest issue of Essence magazine, Prince explains that he quit cursing as a show of respect to others by saying:
"Did you ever hear Muhammad Ali curse? Would you curse in front of your kids? To your mother?" He cites several current female musical artists, then continues, "They're all my sisters. We shouldn't curse at them. We need to treat all of them, and all people, like royalty."
Now, THAT'S Speaking Strong.