Journal Entry July 21, 2015
Part four of how Morning Pages(my journal)helped
me process through a change.
I want to ask but I don’t want to know or rather, I’m afraid to know the answer. Are they or are they not moving away? I don’t know. To me no news is good news?!? I feel like I’ve been through this before. Gut aches and tears, right there waiting for those words.
Instead, the text yesterday was “Our 12 week appointment went great. All is well. Heartbeat 155. J still think’s it’s a girl. I think it’s a boy.” And I’m happy for them and I want to distance myself from falling in love again.
My day with my grandson was wonderful, as usual. He grew over the weekend. Now he walks to the refrigerator and says “Milk”. We spent the day doing little things; going to the construction site, watching a excavator dig a big hole, then swinging at the swing park.
He sat in the swing so long that I thought he was ready to sleep. So, I encouraged him to stop (“10 more pushes and then we’re going to stop.”) so we could actually get home for his nap. The ride home woke him up enough that we had time for some lunch and the read several books before his nap.
While he napped, I worked on a video of this past weekend. I had uploaded a song hoping it would be allowed. The words were perfect.
It’s a beautiful , truthfully peaceful song and I couldn’t use it in the video. Copyright infringement. So it’s written here as the message that came to me as I was trying to enjoy the beauty of the weekend that was so hard.
When my daughter and her family move, I will go sit by that river. I will listen, well, to the messages that flow off the surface of the water.
But for today, I will go back and enjoy that little boy who is growing right before my eyes, and I will “let the river run, as they always do. It’s not up to me. It’s not up to you.
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…
Surrender to the Ups and downs of life. Make each day a reflection of your soul. Mirror the beauty you see in front of your eyes. Everything God created carries messages of love. Remember that you were given life to carry lessons too.
Soothe your mind Of all negative intrusions. Let fresh air cleanse your thoughts. Stay focused on the warmth of the sun. Take in the light of the longest day of the year. Inch by inch, feel your body fill with renewed strength. Center your thoughts on your incredibly unique journey. Enjoy the fact that you have this moment, this day, this life.
I have finally learned how to listen to your messages; to be gentle with myself.
But being a mom wasn’t easy. I made so many mistakes. I worried all the time. I questioned myself and my decisions daily.
Now, I believe that, all along, you were guiding me down the right paths.
Although the paths were uneven and I lost my balance often,
It was you who believed that I was strong enough to handle it,
You taught me to be patient; to just keep going.
You helped me to breathe.
Thank you for focusing my attention on the beauty of this gift.
You were always there, whispering softly, “Appreciate the little things.”
“It’s your job to build a home. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
It just has to be safe and full of love.”
Thank you, God, for filling my world with such joy.
Through hard days and challenging times, you kept reminding me that I had a beautiful song inside me. You helped me to share that song with my children. You kept me positive. You showed me how to point out life’s joy.
And through all of life’s obligations, your were there to remind me to slow down; to pace myself so I didn’t miss important moments. You were trying to teach me to just go with the flow.
Still, I’d find myself flitting here and there with nervous energy. I know, now, that it was you who continued to ground me, reminding me, again and again, to just appreciate the magic and mystery of life.
And while I was busy guiding and teaching,
you said, “Remember to take time for fun”
because you knew that all too soon my babies would be grown,
and the nest would be empty.
In the middle of all those years of parenting, I may have been too busy to hear you,
but now I know you were always there.
Now, I am listening.
And now I know that Mother’s Day has been
every day since I became a mom.
It’s me, now, who wants to give thanks
for my two beautiful daughters, who have been the light of my life,
and for my baby grandson who is now flooding my world with new light.
Thank you, God, for giving me a lifetime of gifts.
For a few years, now, I’ve been on a journey to “find myself”. I know, people used to think that’s something for the young and foolish but when I was young, I didn’t have the time to find myself. Now, I do.
So, currently, I am engrossed in a book entitled “The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity“, by Julia Cameron. I am actively participating in multiple, suggested exercises, feeding my brain with positive affirmations, unblocking negative thoughts and fears – things that block creativity.
One of many, simple activities was to go on a rock hunt. Search for rocks that stand out for some reason. She said that they were, then, to serve as “small constant reminders of creative consciousness”. That’s all… Hmmm. Ok.
So, off I went to find rocks that spoke to me. I walked and walked, looking for the first rock that stood out. It took a while! I was, finally, drawn to one but it was snug in the ground. The earth was muddy and wet. I wasn’t inclined to kneel down in that mud to dig out a rock, so I tried nudging it with the toe of my shoe. No luck. After several failed attempts, I noticed a rock quietly sitting right next to the stubborn one. I picked it up and looked at it. The first word that came to mind was “Ease”. While I was trying to force one out of the ground, this one had been sitting there all along, just watching and waiting. Maybe out of frustration…or gratitude, I put it in my pocket and moved on.
The next one I chose seemed to, actually, jump out at me. It was far from pretty or unusual but it had this rugged exterior and, instantly, the word that jumped into my mind was “Toughness”.
Then, I knew that I wanted to find one by the waterfall. That water, surging over piles of rocks, to me, stands for “Power”.
When I returned with my rocks, I simply put them on a piece of paper wrote the words “Ease”, “Toughness”, and “Power”. They sat there, trying to be my “creative consciousness”, but they needed further definition. So out came this:
Ease: Life doesn’t need to be hard. We don’t need to force things. Sometimes the things we’re searching for are right there in front of our eyes; almost calling out, “Hey, over here. Choose me. Choose me.”
Toughness: Rugged exterior. Can hold up under pressure but not so tough that it can’t be influenced by weather. Still it survives.
Power: Water powers over rocks. The rocks try with all of their massive weight, to hold it back, but they can’t. And so, they concede. They let the water rush over them, and accept change as part of their life.
As I reread the book, I understand that the author is constantly reminding us to think about personal affirmations –
“An affirmation is a positive statement, of (positive) belief,
and if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk
as we are at negative self-talk,
we will notice enormous change.” (p.34)
I looked, once again, at my rocks and my descriptions of them and I realized that these were indeed affirmations for me!
Ease: Life doesn’t need to be hard. Things shouldn’t be forced. Perhaps, the things I’m searching for are right in front of my eyes. And I realize that I am that rock; that rock that’s just sitting there waiting for my turn, watching while other rocks are picked because they’re prettier, more interesting, more intriguing. “Hey, what about me? I’m right here. Choose me.”
Toughness: I might have a rugged exterior. I know how to hold up under pressure. But, I am not so tough that I can’t be warn down by the weather. Still, I will survive.
Power: I am the rock, at a waterfall, using all of my power to hold back the water. Yet, no matter how hard I try, I can’t. While I feel so strong and mighty, I have no strength when that water rushes over me. So I just let it cleanse me. Over time, it wears down my hard exterior and then, once again, I become something new.
Looking out on the horizon, when you’re young, you are confident that you’re sailing towards great things; you know, that pot at the end of the rainbow. that buried treasure. During my generation, I assumed that I had to start at the bottom of the ladder and work my way up but when I wasn’t at the top by the time I reached 50, I got impatient and resorted to dreams of winning the lottery. Then I’d have that pot of gold, by, say, tomorrow! And then, I could just go out and buy that fabulous life. I mean, come on, now, I’m 50 years old! Well, I waited for that instant wealth, but, still, I had to go about the day to day business of sailing the vessel that I had, in the meantime. I’ve never been fond of water. I don’t swim well, at all, so thinking about being on a sailboat out on open water, with all of the elements, makes me just quiver. But, symbolically, it is a perfect way to talk about life’s journey.
So, now, I reflect on my life as a sailor. I knew, kind of, that I needed a plan (map), the right tools, and the skills to sail. But life doesn’t automatically set you up with those things. I actually had to put this all together myself?
Again, this is a big ah-hah that I’ve learned now that I’m old and know what it’s like to get on that damn boat without all of the above.
I suppose someone told me that going off and sailing my own boat wasn’t going to be easy but you know, kids! I assumed all those “old people” were just trying to scare me to keep me stuck at home.
For me, I went sailing off to college, with all my graduation presents (still in boxes) to set up my first dorm room; a brand new clock radio, a portable hair dryer, and a new portable typewriter. My new three piece luggage set carried all, and I mean all, of my clothes and other valuables. I was ready! Let’s do this college thing.
But then, I got to my designated room only to find out that my roommate was the floor monitor which meant that she was a Senior and was supposed to have the room to herself only there were too many new Freshman. That meant that she was forced to share her room with me! So, guess what, she was mad. She had also been told that I was a non-smoker but she was a smoker so now she was going to have to leave her own room to find a place to smoke. Lucky for her, I had taken up the habit over the summer and when she found that out she didn’t think I was half bad after all. That was the only time, I think, that smoking worked in my favor. Still, she didn’t plan on hanging out with me much. I mean, really! I was just a freshman; such a newbie that I had to read the directions that came with my new clock radio to figure out how to set the alarm!
My mother thought that college was a waste of time for a girl so it didn’t help that I had no plan for a major. I guess I thought I’d figure it out as I went along. And sure enough I did. There were little clues along the way that rocked my boat but pointed me in the right direction. For instance, I found myself begging one teacher for a “C”. The course was accounting. Did you know that the role of debits and credits change depending out which side of the ledger you are looking at? I promised him that I’d leave the school of business if he’d just pass me. I was drowning in assignment due dates, test after test, after test. My ship was rocking in a sea, of courses, that I didn’t even like! It was the end of my Sophomore year that I decided to pick up a map and plot the course. What a concept!
I charted out a course and found myself in calmer waters for the rest of my college days. In fact, for a period of time, there, I even got to enjoy the peacefulness of sailing and the beauty of a sunset or two.
Still, you know, it probably would have been wiser to get my sea legs steady, on a little boat, on a smaller body of water, rather than putting that sailboat into the ocean and just trusting that there would be enough wind and that the wind would take me to my destination, when even I didn’t know where my destination was.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I set sail and then veered off course, sometimes on purpose, sometimes purely by accident. I can tell you that even when I did plan out the course, it wasn’t a given that it would be smooth sailing. Usually, the storms took me by surprise and some of them threw me around wildly before tossing me up onto to shoreline and there I’d be, looking around, thinking “how the hell did I get here? This wasn’t part of the itinerary.” And “friends” would seem to come out from behind the rocks, everywhere, to say “Well, I could have told you that would happen.” or worse yet “I TOLD YOU THAT WOULD HAPPEN but you didn’t listen.”
But, sometimes, these events feel like some kind of cosmic occurrence, pushing you whether you like it or not. And, it’s here, right here, where we decide our course. Our response. Do we push against the current or let the tide take us? This is exactly where I was and how I felt about my divorce. I was in the middle of a storm, and I felt the wave pushing me, throwing me. Then, there would be periodic calm spells, time to collect my thoughts and almost enough calm for me to turn back but then the winds started blowing again and now, instead of being pushed, I was being pulled into my destiny. I don’t think, at that point, I could have stopped it. But, you know what, I could have. I could have turned back, avoided the storm. And then what? Then I would have been left, back on the beach, left to live in the body of a person I wasn’t destined to be. I know too many people who have denied their storm, too afraid to let the winds take them to their next destination. I see them, now, as empty shells, trying to figure out why God abandoned them. So they, in turn, abandon God.
I know that people who call themselves “Friends” try to convince you that you’re headed in the wrong direction but if your inner voice is strong you need to just stay the course, remain calm in the middle of your storm. I know I didn’t want to end up an empty shell, feeling discarded on the beach. I needed to continue to develop my inner pearl. So, I sailed, again and again, metaphorically speaking, because that’s what you do. It’s like the song sung by Garth Brooks called “The River” (1992).
The River by Garth Brooks
You know a dream is like a river Ever changin’ as it flows And a dreamer’s just a vessel That must follow where it goes Trying to learn from what’s behind you And never knowing what’s in store Makes each day a constant battle Just to stay between the shores…and
I will sail my vessel ‘Til the river runs dry Like a bird upon the wind These waters are my sky I’ll never reach my destination If I never try So I will sail my vessel ‘Til the river runs dry
Too many times we stand aside And let the waters slip away ‘Til what we put off ’til tomorrow Has now become today So don’t you sit upon the shoreline And say you’re satisfied Choose to chance the rapids And dare to dance the tide
There’s bound to be rough waters And I know I’ll take some falls But with the good Lord as my captain I can make it through them all…yes
I will sail my vessel ‘Til the river runs dry Like a bird upon the wind These waters are my sky I’ll never reach my destination If I never try So I will sail my vessel ‘Til the river runs dry.
I walk the woods nearly every day. They know me. We look each other in the eye and I say, “It’s ok. I am a good person.” And then they stand and wait while I take their picture. They are not afraid.
I walk gently through their home, trying to be respectful of their surroundings. They, in turn, welcome me with that soft, gentle look.
In the books regarding the language of animals, it is said that the deer carry the message that we should be gentle with ourselves. I feel that sense when I look into their eyes. And as I walk on, I feel that message resonate through me. There is no reason for me to be hard on myself. I am just a humble being, here to carry out my life’s mission.
Over time, I have wondered what exactly my mission was. Sometimes, I felt as though I was lost in a sea of carrying out other people’s needs. Is that my mission? If so, than I often felt inadequate. With each failed attempt to be the person someone wanted me to be, I feel a sense of guilt, frustration, and anger. I just want to do my life.
But, what is my life?
And then, here I am greeted by the deer with this message to be gentle with myself.
Finally, I breath deep and say, “Ok, ok. I hear you.” I can just take it one step at a time. I don’t need to know the answers to everything right now. I can simply believe that things will happen as they are supposed to happen and I will live the life I was sent here to live.