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It’s been a while since I posted my last blog post, as I was on vacation in Newfoundland with my father. It’s been a long journey to get to this trip, and I feel like with it, I’m coming to a new chapter in my life.
As many know, I lost my mother last September after a long battle with lung, heart, and immune system illnesses that she’d been fighting for most of her life. She finally had a heart attack which caused her to lose blood flow to her brain, and the family had to make the decision to take her off life support. As she was a real fighter, it took four agonizing days for her to finally pass on. Those says were very difficult for me, my Dad, brother and sister.
During that time, I knew that it was going to be very difficult for my Dad. They had been together for 53 years, and I wanted to have something positive for him to look forward to and not just loss. I had gone in 2007 to Sweden to visit all the villages where the family came from. My mother’s entire family and my Dad’s father’s family all came from there. The only part of the puzzle I was missing was my Dad’s mother’s family who came from Renews, Newfoundland. I proposed to him that we go and made all the arrangements.
It was a great trip and I learned a lot, and it was good to spend time with my Dad. I didn’t get to do everything that I wanted, but that’s reason enough to go back. This trip was me being tour guide for Dad and for him to have this experience. What is really noticeable for me is that this seems to close a couple of chapters in my life. I’ve been to all the ancestral home places (those where items on my bucket list) and the final remnant of my Mom’s death is done.
What’s next? What’s new? All messages coming to me through meditation and friends seems to be that this is a new chapter. I probably need some more quiet time to plan and reflect, but I’m realizing that every moment is time for something new to arise.
What’s new for you? Are you creating it it letting it happen to you?
I’ve just returned from an intensive weekend program at Easton Mountain called Authentic Eros, facilitated by Kai Ehrhardt and Don Shewey. I had heard great things about this program and knew that it would force me to look at myself more closely to see how I was being in my interactions with other men.
I came onto this workshop with the intention of being present all the time. Like many others on this high speed world of ours, I tend to always be thinking about many more things than what I’m doing at the moment. While my meditation practice has helped me be more centered, it’s much harder for me when I’m out in the “real world” and have more inputs.
We also did a lot of exercises on saying what you want and negotiating when that doesn’t align with others wants. This is a big one for me. As someone in the helping profession, I want to help others, many times to the detriment of my own needs. It’s and ongoing learning process, and this took me one more step.
Some of my key learnings were:
- I have a difficult time doing more than one thing at a time – I know this is why I like playing the hammered dulcimer (two hands doing similar movements) better than playing the guitar (two hands doing different movements).. My mind just doesn’t function well in that situation. This also got me to recognize my coping pattern of trying to build systems where things are automatically bunched together. That way, my mind thinks it’s all one action.
- When I’m present in my body and all the voices in my head have been quieted, I can feel the rhythm of my body – We did a lot of meditative type activities (thanks Kai!) and one that really worked for me was when I was invited to take an inhalation and have the back of my pelvis go down. In all the breathing and yoga work I’ve done, I’ve always had the front of my pelvis go down. It probably just came at the right time, because it felt like my whole trunk relaxed. I then was feeling a pulse of my body like when I’m laying on the acupuncturist’s table. This revelation felt like finally finding your balance when learning to ride a bicycle. Now at least I know what it feels like and I can shoot for getting that feeling again.
- I tend to go out in the world with armor on – I’m finally accepting something that I’ve denied for a long time: people find me attractive. This may seem a silly thing to many of you, but it’s been something that gas been difficult for me. I’m realizing that I’m in such need of control, that I get scared if men approach me and I’m not interested. I sort of freeze up and armor myself against everyone, or at least the shields cone up when I sense “danger”. More practice needed in claiming my own power to get what I want in the world, and to gracefully decline what I doesn’t serve me.
Any similar experiences? If you were at the retreat, please feel free to leave your own comments.
Update as of November 2011: This has been my most popular blog post as far as people finding it on Google. If you wish to see more of my thoughts on the subject, check out http://resonare.wordpress.com/tag/mindfulness/ and you can keep updated by joining the Spirit-Work Connection Facebook Page.
Like many others, I tend to be pretty task driven. I know what I want to accomplish, and I make my priorities and plan what I’m going to get done. The has served me to an extent as I have achieved quite a bit in my life, but I’ve also found that it’s been accompanied by an anxiety that my list is longer than my capacity to complete things.
In this time of too many inputs, I think that many of us are running around s little crazed as we see the possibilities of what can be done, and unlike our forbears, it’s a lot more than any one human can realistically do.
I’ve been struggling with this for a while. My meditation practice has helped, and my implementing if the Getting Things Done practice has also helped to take things off my mind. I have learned through his that it’s not the amount of undone things that really bothers me as much as the worrying about it.
Last weekend, I had a little bit of a revelation. I had the afternoon free and had just come back from a massage appointment where he did the equivalent of re-braking a broken bone that hadn’t healed correctly (damn that scar tissue!). I was really sore but had the afternoon to get something accomplished. The big difference was that instead of asking myself what I wanted to get done, I instead asked:
“Who do I want to be at the end of this afternoon?”
As you can imagine, that’s a very different question. I said I wanted to be calm and relaxed, and feel good about myself. Well, I had a very different afternoon that day, because I didn’t do anything that would make me crazy or frantic (which given how high energy I can be, is common with me). I did have things to cross off my To Do list at the end of the afternoon too.
I’ve been trying to incorporate this practice into my daily life, but it’s not easy for me. I’m trying to break my “rushing to get a massage” mentality, but it’s yet another practice.
What changes for you when you Be more than Do?