Sunday, September 6, 2020

But You Laugh Inside, Remembering

Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I'm not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you've felt that way.”

― Charles Bukowski

A woman with unruly hair and tape-repaired glasses smiles. The text reads "Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I'm not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you've felt that way.”  ― Charles Bukowski"
Ever since joining the Druids, my approach to the Challenges has been to use the dates as bookends, identify the pieces of my life that are in play during that time frame. In the process, what I'm worried about or excited about, or fearful of always shows up, and those are the real challenges: to navigate my life peacefully and with contentment, mindfulness, and presence in the moment even when there is chaos, conflict. Goodness knows my life certainly knows how to bring it in heapfuls. 

In the past decade, but especially the past five years, there was so much to be overwhelmed by that there were days I had no idea what to do or which way to turn. In these moments I learned to be still and sit with the uncertainty. This is a magnificent tool and it continues to serve me well. 2018 was the darkest year of the lot, and I don't think I will ever be so beset again (or at least I hope not), but if I find myself in even that level of hell again, I know that the answer is to stop, breathe, and be in hell. Last year I survived the hell of 2018 only to find myself in the literal dark and suffering from a head injury that has resulted in a permanent TBI. I found myself physically off-balance and unable to read, a manifestation of spiritual imbalance and illiteracy. I was absolutely incapable of doing anything other than sitting some days, sometimes for days in a row. I learned to be non-productive, a lesson that was brutal -- you would think that it would be easy to simply accomplish nothing, but it almost felled me spiritually. I had to confront my inability to say "no," and to learn how to value myself for myself, irrespective of what I accomplish or produce or do. While I still have days of suffering and periods of imbalance, I have learned to value myself as a spiritual being having a human experience, and a frail one at that. As the days unfold with opportunities, I am learning to choose carefully and mindfully, opting for a few quality endeavors with built-in accommodations for my own care needs. Rest assured, my ability to get excited at each and every opportunity that comes along is not diminished. The lesson has been to learn to act in the belief that the Universe loves me and wants me to be happy -- there is no scarcity of wonderful things ready for me if I am willing to be available for them. This is so hard for me!

Anyone who has been part of this journey has gotten accustomed to the Court-date-per-challenge routine, and this challenge is no different. [For the record, I've been on this treadmill with my daughter's dad for over four years, and I know there's a day that it will end, but -- like being on a treadmill at a fast walk and having the power go out suddenly -- I have a feeling that it will be unsettling and weird and might feel like a bit of a faceplant.] The court date comes at the very end of the challenge this round, and her dad has already started with his annual autumnal tug of war. What is it with him and September? Anyway, I have learned well how not to play this game; my focus remains on healing my relationship with my daughter. All the rest is immaterial line noise.

The challenge starts out with classes beginning, a Writing workshop starting, and the commencement of my new position as an editor. Remember when I said the Universe had a million high-quality opportunities for me? It totally does. And now that I have an armload of them, it’s time to practice some of that balance and boundary setting that I spoke of, too. I can get panicky at new things that matter to me -- what if I’m not good enough??? I have (finally!!) begun to know that I am enough. I am kind and good and worthy of love and compassion. I am pretty good at what I do, too, when I stop shooting myself in the foot with panic. So there’s a weekly rhythm to be found, and if I let it unfold, the Way will open.

The first official week of the challenge I’m moving house, and that’s always a beast. I’m looking forward to it -- expect pictures, since I have no idea where everything is going or how it’s all going to fit. Maybe it won’t fit anywhere and I’ll go through another Druid-esque round of minimizing my earthly possessions. Stay tuned.

Through all the struggles, insults, and injuries, I have found that nothing matters except how we treat ourselves and each other. Thanks for being along the path with me. Having a place to be honest about everything is huge. Successes are all alike, and their universality makes them meaningless, in a way. Our sufferings and struggles are unique to us, though, and unique to a particular time in our lives; they individuate us, and in sharing them, we get to know each other. This is what community is for me. Thanks for being part of mine.

Some dates
September 14 Pack Sabbatical House stuff into Jeep
September 15 drive to Virginia; pick up new key. Unload the Jeep while I Wait around for the Cable Guy.
September 16 counseling with Vivian; communication counseling with Vivian’s dad
September 17 drive to North Carolina; clean sabbatical house, pick up Little Dog Tiu, pack the jeep of Very Last Things
September 18 Walkthrough of Sabbatical House; drive to Virginia
September 19 move stuff from storage.
September 21 Paper Due: Marriage, A History, Coontz
October 6 Paper Due: Becoming Dad, Pitts
October 16 Court

Every Week
Monday: The Republic
Tuesday: Demography of Families Response
Wednesday: Visit with Vivian
Thursday: Demography of Families article; 8 pm Writers Workshop
Friday: Enter posts for the coming week for the APA Blog; Republic response paper; 3:30 pm Philosophy accountability zoom
Saturday: Visit with Vivian; APA Posts
Sunday: Workshop pages