Morning download, 2.22.19

Yesterday was rough. A dear friend for over 20 years was in the hospital having breast cancer surgery with preparation for reconstruction. We’d had ceremony Wednesday night for support, a gathering of friends to hold her and another friend with a serious health issue in our big collective heart as we move through this difficult part of the journey, walking each other home.

I shared part of that ceremony with three other women, and we laughed a lot. Fishermen’s Friend does that to people. May our laughter contribute to the healing of all.

Dear goddess, bless you for the gift of levity in the face of the unknown.

The surgery was longer than expected — 9 hours. Pauline’s older sister Marie was there at the hospital with her, and I was Marie’s contact person to post progress in the ceremony’s Facebook event for all to see.

Surgery started at 8. By 10:30 am, Marie shared that the sentinel lymph node that was removed and examined was cancer free. Good news. Marie said the surgeons expected her to go to the recovery room about 3-4 pm.

At 5 pm, I’d heard nothing and contacted Marie. Marie texted that Pauline was in recovery but she (Marie) was still waiting for the doctors to come talk to her.

And then, finally, the news came that both surgeons were pleased with the outcome. Whew.

I also did some deep digging and writing yesterday morning to a friend on something he’d challenged me to examine. I love doing that kind of self-examining work, and I needed time to let it cook into coherence.

It takes attention to go within so deeply. I went back to a time when my legs went out from under me, the beginning of not wanting to be here, having learned very young of the existence of unspeakable cruelty in a very personal way. Wrote it, sent it, went out to meet the day.

After my morning obligations were met — and my networking group laughed a lot — again, thank you, dear goddess — I came home and crashed. I needed my own space and stillness to let my earlier self-examination continue to unwind its gifts and flow through me with attentive care.

I lay in a heap of exhausted sorrow and realized this happens when I go there. It depletes me to remember. This is why I don’t do it often and not just for anybody. It’s always for me, really. I could have said no, but I was curious about where my behavior was coming from too.

I cried. My tears felt good and tasted salty.

I didn’t get stuck with the raw bleeding heart sensation. It was there but wasn’t as intense. It’s open and tender today, a bit achy.

It’s vulnerable, revisiting a trauma. Sometimes the truth — or a truth, because when the spiral comes back around, truth will be different, with different insights — is hard fucking won.

I learned something valuable about myself, that I need to push, and sometimes I push against others, and it’s probably not very pleasant to receive. I come across as blaming and misunderstanding, rightly so, on a superficial level. I grasp at an excuse to push. And really, it’s an indicator that I need to set a healthy boundary and perhaps offer a challenge myself.

Where does this behavior come from? I push to get out of the box, the box of being violated, disrespected, dishonored, crushed, silenced, dominated, overpowered, overlooked, robbed of my agency, minimized, underestimated, isolated.

I push to make space for me, to stand on my feet, connected to heaven and earth with the horizontal embrace of humanity as well, life force flowing through me freely.

I am a troubled person too sometimes, and I’m working on it. I’m trying to think of a name for the troubled part of me, because I can, much of the time, come from a healthy place, and when this troubled part comes out, I’m usually aware of it but sometimes not, and I need others to help me see it so I can do my healing work.

I’m learning toward Harriet, because I don’t know anyone named Harriet. “I’m wondering if Harriet would like to say something.” “Hi, Harriet. What are you experiencing now?” “Harriet, what do you need?”

Do you have any other suggestions for a name?

Eventually my energy moved toward equilibrium, and to cheer myself up, I remembered my favorite cartoon, What’s Opera, Doc? I must have watched it half a dozen times. Elmer and Bugs sing Wagner. Elmer is pretty funny, but Bugs is my cartoon hero. He’s brash, witty, unpredictable, a wisecracking carrot-eating trickster — and oh, yeah, he’s Jewish.

Third time: thank you, goddess and Chuck Jones, for the gift of levity.

Then the good news about my dear friend’s surgery.

Feeling so much appreciation for my offspring, my sistren and my brethren, for the ability to process and learn, to dive for a fish and come back up with one in my hands. Today, it’s all good.

Many different flavors of joy

Today’s post centers on a quotation I received this morning via email from Tricycle magazine’s Daily Dharma subscription service. I subscribe to several of these — The Universe, Tricycle Daily Dharma, and Ocean of Dharma are the main ones, and I’m currently testing one for my Enneagram type that I’ll write about later.

I enjoy opening my inbox in the morning and finding words of wisdom.

This is what I found this morning:

Joy has many different flavors. It might overflow from us in song or dance, or it might gently arise as a smile or a sense of inner fullness. Joy is not something we have to manufacture. It is already in us when we come into the world, as we can see in the natural delight and exuberance of a healthy baby. We need only release the layers of contraction and fear that keep us from it.

The author is James Baraz in Lighten Up! 

Joy. I seem to be in a groove in my life in which I often experience joy. It’s delightful and welcome.

Here are some ways joy has shown up for me recently:

  • Singing along with remastered Beatles songs in my car brings me joy.
  • Responding to an invitation to improvise my movements to music (aka dancing ecstatically); to seek a groove, release it, and find  another groove; continually discover the balances between ease and stamina, attention inward and attention outward, and staying in one place and circulating through the space; of connecting with others and choosing how much to engage; lying in a circle on the floor afterward in silent community.
  • Laughing with a certain friend whose laughter is loud, full, wild, and raucous. Her laugh makes me laugh.
  • Taking two road trips with dear friends recently. Road trips engender good conversation while barreling down the highway and exploring the destination.
  • Making chicken soup for my visiting grandchild who had a fever and sore throat and being comfortably together sharing our lives while it cooked.
  • Attending a house blessing for my friend who is bringing her aged parents to live with her until they pass or need more assistance, and literally filling the house with didgeridoo and rainstick and human sounds, filling every room, closet, and space with our presence and love and joy, decorating altars, and inviting our parents and grandparents, living or dead, and others with similar caretaking responsibilities to benefit from our work together.
  • Massaging people, experiencing the difference between before and after, and knowing I made a difference.
  • Waking to the sound of rain on the roof of my trailer.
  • Having Mango curl up on my chest and purr and put his “hand” on my face when I visit, knowing that my friends who gave him a home love us both. Yeah, kitty reiki!
  • Experiencing a long close embrace with someone special, breathing joy.

Being present and allowing life to unfold as it will inevitably brings moments of joy in some way, shape, or form. Letting joy go when it’s over instead of trying to hold onto it invites it back.

May your day hold many moments of joy, and may you savor each one fully, and let it go.