Help Me Breathe!

Journal Entry - July 17, 2015 
Part three of how Morning Pages(my journal)
helped me process through a change.

Yesterday: chilly, ending with rain. Today: windows steamed up, heat arriving.  Supposed to be in the 90’s.  Prepare thyself for sweating it out in a tent tonight and tomorrow night.

Time for the annual (now) Dancing on the River’s Edge.

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Yes, this will be the third year, Chris.  This year, some have taken to the idea and actually invited their friends.  A “Friends of Friends of Friends” party, just like you liked.  It’s exactly what Cindy wanted year one for your memorial celebration.  Maybe, it’s growing into that, maybe!  Be with us this year, ok?  Protect everyone out on their canoe rides.  Protect the children near the water’s edge.  Keep us from making poor choices with too much alcohol.  We love and miss you, Chris – you know, in that special way.  You were one of a kind, that’s for sure.

Night sleeping is interrupted fits of reality.  Are they moving?  Prepare yourself.  Well that means a gut ache every day.  Tears that come on out of the blue because of a random thought. I try to wrap my head around a new form of normal.  Facetime chats, once a week…maybe.  It will seem like they’re right there…maybe.  Maybe I’ll fly there every two months.  Maybe not.

And the new baby.  Will she know me?  Will she be afraid of me?  “Who is this stranger?” she’ll scream.  Well, the shaman said it best; this is not my family to raise.  So stand back, Grandma.  Stand back.  Your help is no longer needed.  Thank you for your service.

Do I sound bitter?  I don’t mean to. What do I really feel like, now?  Right this moment?

Old, I feel old!  I’m entering a dark place.  It’s deep and cold and damp.  It’s scary.  I know there’s light and I should reach for it but I don’t even want to.  I told my daughter that she should take me out of her mind when making the decision to move.  It’s not about me.  I’ll figure it out.  Right now, I want to back far far away…from the hurt.

When my brother was dying, I didn’t want to see him.  I didn’t want to be there to say good-bye.  I don’t want to be with my daughter and her family, now, either.  I don’t want to say good-bye.

I think I need help with this one.  I was wrong when I told my daughter that it’s not about me.  It is about me this time!  It is about me! And, the only place I have to talk about it is here in this journal.  Many other parents have children move away.  They give their blessing and wish them well and move on.  I made my daughters my whole life, especially after their dad died.  Yes, I remarried, but even my new husband knew that my daughters came first.  Always first.

Help me, now, fill this gapping hole that’s being dug.  Help me breathe!

Help Me Breathe

Searching For Guidance

Journal Entry - July 16, 2015. 
Part Two of how Morning Pages(my journal)helped me process through a change.

Searching for a way…to reconcile my feelings with what will, inevitably, happen.  I walked my woods looking for a sign.

There was the robin, never leaving my path.

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“Let go of the drama and allow as much joy and laughter into your life as you can.” (S. Farmer, 2006)

Dragonflies have been plentiful, as well, and I have been ignoring this part of the message because I felt safe.

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“Be on the lookout for any falsehoods, deceit, or illusions that are clouding a current situation or relationship.”

In the pond, turtles are poking their heads up between crowded lily pads.

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“At this time, pay particular attention to the shifting sensations in your body, as these are, energetically, resonating  with subtle changes in the vibrations of the earth. Get out on the land and walk around at about half  your usual pace, using it as a meditation.”

Then, the geese.

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“This is a time of good fortune.”

Ah, it doesn’t feel like that, actually.  

“Call on your ancestors for guidance and protection and once you do you’ll notice a significant increase in your spiritual awareness.  Even though it may not always appear to be so, you are very well protected.”

Then, I came upon a deer, too suddenly, and scared it a bit.

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“You’ve been involved in some aggressive, negative circumstances and need to seek out safe, nurturing situations and people.”

And, that’s what I did last night.  My head hurts from a bit too much wine, but it felt good to listen to the prospective of another (outside eyes).  She gave good sound advice even through my tears, of which there were many yesterday.

Ok, so here it is again…my daughter and her family are working on a move to North Carolina.  Her husband is committed to finding work there and has indeed interviewed, now twice, with a company.  My daughter is pregnant with my second grand baby. It doesn’t matter. My other daughter and I have tried so hard to help with their son, giving them opportunities for nights out, even whole weekends for small vacations, not to mention providing weekly childcare so he has never had to deal with the rush of a morning schedule, or leave his home.

I think, my daughter wants to go 100%.  My other daughter thinks that she has to want this for her husband. She doesn’t have a choice.

Still, yesterday, I nearly lost it when I realized that this daughter sought out guidance, from a trusted shaman, on how to deal with ME!  I had picked up vibes that something was going on, so I asked her if her husband was interviewing for another job.  When she said “yes”, my only response was, “Where, this time.” I stayed quiet.  No tears.  Still she contacted her shaman.  As I reflected on that, further, I did, indeed, feel as though I had become a burden; the one obstacle in the way for their true life.  Here, I had been thinking that I was working hard to be a great help.  I called my other daughter, sobbing. She helped right my sinking boat for the time being. Yet, still today, I feel old and in the way.

But then this daughter calls  and says,

“Could you come early today.  I have a meeting at 8:30.”

And, of course, I will be there.

My grandson doesn’t know the ache I feel, right now, anticipating lost moments.

Finding My Flow

July 15, 2015
First in a series of journal entries that 
mark my path through a deep and hurtful change.
Writing, in a journal, each 
day helped me see my thoughts
on paper and guided me to my strength.

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Breathe deep!  Just let life happen.  I knew it would come.  It was inevitable but still my gut aches. My head pounds.  My body feels heavy.  I need to find that place inside me that gives me the strength to move through “this” because “this” will happen whether I move through it or not.  That is how life goes.  Life moves, keeps moving…forward.  I choose to go with that flow or become a puddle off to the side, where, of course, I will soon dry up and disappear.  Right at this moment, I’m leaning towards the puddle idea.  That’s how my body feels, that’s what my head wants me to do, pull out of the flow.  You, kind of, think that if you do that, you will somehow be missed and “this” flow of life might reconsider because it wants you in it.  But who are you kidding?  Flow doesn’t stop to notice a leak.  And, you are just a small leak in a massive, powerful flow.  Don’t think that you have the power to make a difference in this forward movement.  So, it might be better to just go with the flow.   But what does that mean?

The current has changed.  The direction has changed.  I will not be in the front, now, helping to lead the way.  I will be further back…important but not necessary.  Does that make sense?  Well, it does to me.  These are powerful forces that have picked up your movement and added new energy to it.  Your work to get to this spot was, indeed, important but the new force can take it from here.  You are being told: “You can stay in the flow, if you want.  Thank you very much for your service, but we can take it from here.  We’ll always remember and appreciate the work you have done.”

Stay with the flow or go?  Stay with the flow or go?  How much strength do you have?  You don’t need to be a small leak that puddles off to the side.  You could forge a new route of your own.  It’s, for sure, scary.  I mean, what if you don’t have enough strength to cut through the rugged terrain?  It’s also lonely.  I will have to have strong conviction and belief that I can do this alone because I have no guarantee of followers.

Stay with the flow or go? Am I a follower or a leader? Do I really want life to just happen or do I want some control?  It’s scary.  It’s lonely.  But, right now, I am basically just going with the flow and I don’t like the lack of control.  Some days, I’m important.  Other days, I’m in the way.

Ok, I will not block forward progress but I think, no I believe, that I am a leader.  I forge my own destiny.

Stand up straight, then.  Be strong, focused, energized.  It’s time to choose your own adventure.  It’s time to follow your own light. And don’t be surprised if you find out that you had actually been a drag on their flow.  Celebrate your skill, your own power, your own freedom.  Let them celebrate their’s.  Let life flow as it should.  Now get out there and find your own flow.

Morning Pages Become “Mourning” Pages

They came into the house together, my daughter and son-in-law.  Why?  It didn’t take long to find out.  They had news they needed to share…together!

They were offered a job.  They’ve accepted.  They’ll be moving away in October.

My initial thought was “I want to throw up!”

Instead, I picked up my grandson and gave him a hug.

I’m going to miss taking care of you three days a week.  I’m going to miss watching you grow.  And then, I walked away for a moment.

I wanted to just walk out the door; go home, crawl in bed, pull the blankets up over me…but first, drink a bottle of wine!

Collect yourself, Jane.  You need to let them tell the story.

And so, I walked back into the room.  Then, I found a way to say the right words:  “Life is short.  You have to do the things that make you happy while you can. This is a door (an opportunity) that has presented itself.  You’ll spend your life always wondering “what if” if you don’t walk through that door.  This will provide you with life lessons.  It’s meant to be.”

God, please help me to truly believe all of that.

I cried but hugged them both

Then, I found a way to drive home.  There, I sat with a glass of wine and a stomach ache.  I kept repeating the words I had found to say to them.

  • Life is short.
  • Everyone should do things that make them happy.
  • This is a door.
  • They would regret not walking through it.
  • This will provide life lessons.
  • It’s meant to be!

I prayed to God to just let me fall asleep

I slept.   And then the next morning, my clock radio woke me up to this particular part of this song by Rascal Flatts:

What hurts the most was being so close
And havin' so much to say
And watchin' you walk away
And never knowin' what could've been
And not seein' that lovin' you
Is what I was trying to do

The words say it. I’ve tried to tell my daughter before but it always came across as unsupportive. I want to support.  I thought I had been supporting.  They are walking away from nearly two years of open arms childcare.  They’re walking away from a willingness to continue indefinitely. I was ready to  welcome child number two.  I thought I was loving them the deepest, most profound way I possibly could.  And they are walking away from it all to live hundreds of miles away.

I wrote the words of the song down

in my morning pages and just sat there, looking at them.  And I cried again as I wrote the whole event out in longhand, dumping it onto paper, with all the anger and grief that filled me, hoping that I could find some relief from the pain.

After three pages, I wasn’t crying anymore.

I had moved on to the reality that my daughter is pregnant, has a two year old little boy and she is now moving away from her family, friends, a job she loves, and doctors she trusts.  Her burdens, right now, are heavier than mine.  She doesn’t need to carry me as well.  Stop crying in front of her.  Let her talk about her fears.  Be her mother!  I was able to support her through my divorce from her dad, his death, multiple boyfriend breakups, buying her first home, getting married, having her first baby.  I can support her through this.

She is trying to be a support for her husband.  She loves him and her family.  That doesn’t mean that she no longer loves me.  It also doesn’t me that she is walking away without appreciation for the things I’ve done over the past two years.  It’s time to let go.

And so I closed the journal

with a new resolve.  I closed my eyes for a minute.  They were burning from all the crying and too little sleep.  When I opened my eyes, I said to myself, “Alright, it’s time to open your arms up to your daughter this morning…

With a vow to help her walk through that door.

Morning Pages – Finding My River

Again, I find a post that fits both blogs.

S.M.I.L.E - Simple Messages In Life's Eye

It wasn’t long ago that I received the ultimate gift.  I was given direction; advice on how to proceed with this desire to write.  It came through a book by Julia Cameron called “The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity“.  In it, she suggested tools for unlocking creativity.  The number one tool, for me, has become “Morning Pages”.
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Every morning, without fail, I write.  Three pages.  Long hand.  So far, I’ve filled four notebooks.  More importantly, though, I found an inner voice; one that I just let loose to write as it wishes.  In the beginning, I have to admit, I spent a good amount of ink on simply writing “What in the world am I going to write about this morning that will fill three pages?”  Then, that turned to spewing accusatory words towards a poor deceased parent or an ex-husband.  But then, there…

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The Many Faces Of The Tree

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Creepy.”

I looked up and saw eyes staring down at me!
I looked up and saw eyes staring down at me!
Then, one day, another tree frowned at me!
Then, one day, another tree frowned at me!
Can you see a face pushing it's way out of the tree (upper left) with a bit of a heart (lower right)
Can you see a face pushing it’s way out of the tree (upper left) with a bit of a heart (lower right)

Did I Choose That Path or Did That Path Choose Me?

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Originally posted in 2015 – Time to revisit this message

My life has been the ultimate journey.  I’ve heard it said that your life is a series of choices.

But really:

Do you actually get to plan your trip?

Do you really get to lead your life your way or …

Do you simply follow paths that are laid out for you?

I Was Not A Planner

I remember realizing, during my junior year of high school, that my friends had plans to go to college.  What?  I hadn’t even given it a thought!  Good god!  I visited the guidance counselor for the first time, about then, saying something like “HELP!  Should I be going to college?”

Two years later, I was in college and started out in the Business School.  Why?  Because, I don’t know.  It sounded like a good idea, and I had to start somewhere.  It didn’t take long to realize that I actually hated business classes and there I was, sitting on the floor of my shared apartment, combing through a course catalog trying to find something that sounded interesting.  Did I plan on the field of education or was I guided there?  I don’t know.  Did I choose to leave the field of business or were my lack-luster grades telling me to GET OUT while I still have a grade point average of some kind?

Subtle little messages along life’s pathway are not planned.  They’re just there.  When I got married, did I plan to get a divorce?  Not at all.  Yet there it was.  And when I retired from thirty plus years in education, did I plan to walk away from a beautiful new house to move to a little apartment?  Ummm.  NO!

Planning Without A Plan

I’ve never gone on a vacation without some forethought.  I  choose the destination and pack accordingly.  I also take enough money to allow me options once I arrive.  However, I never enjoyed vacations where too many things were preplanned.  And, it’s been that way with my life as well.

Of course, there is fore thought that goes into choosing a career, getting married, or having children, but beyond that initial “plan” there are no guarantees.  And so, I have learned to plan without a plan.  I plan for things to change.  I plan for surprises.  I plan to sometimes be disappointed and sometimes be pleasantly surprised.

Feeling Blessed To Be Alive

I come from a family burdened with heart disease and cancer.  My father died when I was in 7th grade, my mother when I was a brand new mom.  Since then, two brothers have passed away and one more brother had a severe heart attack and has had triple bypass surgery.  Add to all of that, my girl’s father gave up on life, choosing suicide, instead.

I need to simply be thankful for each day.  I know that I can not choose every path my life takes but I can choose what I do…today!  I choose to be happy.  I choose to accept life as it is.  I choose to reflect light.

I Choose To Breathe In Positive Thoughts

I produced this video during a time when I could have been depressed.  Instead, by some miracle, I found myself living on the edge of this beauty.  Some people, who live in this same apartment complex, have never stepped into this woods.  They say “It’s too hot!  There are so many mosquitos!”

I, on the other hand, chose to follow the paths and listen to the messages that were  there to guide my way.  If I hadn’t done that, I would never have seen the beauty that lived right outside my back door.