Blessings, Daily Life, Growth, Healing, Humanity, kindness, Love

Crossing Paths on the Corner

I am so blessed.  I am simply so blessed.

This happened about a week ago and I can’t shake it from my mind. I was driving down the neighborhood and I see a young lady sitting on a corner. Not doing anything, I just happen to notice her. She kind of looked like a street person but she didn’t have any packs or anything with her. I go home. 5 hours later I am driving down that same street.  She is still sitting there.  Just sitting there on the sidewalk.

I can’t just drive by.  I turn around.  I approach her. I ask her some questions, is she okay, waiting for someone, can I get her anything, is she hungry, thirsty?  Anything, how can I help?  I can tell she is mentally out of balance.   There is no logical process to her thoughts.  I am pretty sure I was talking to multiple personalities.  There was a lot of “we” in her verbiage.  She was polite but definite in not wanting any help and “no police please”.  Over and over “no police please”. I offered her food, no thank you. Can I call someone, no thank you. Can I help you at all, no thank you.

What was I supposed to do?  We do not have good services in this town for mental health.  They closed all that down claiming money issues. Especially on a Saturday night.  If I called the police they were not going to take her to get help anywhere.  Either they would take her in and book her for the night, or just tell her to move along. No real help.  She wasn’t hurting anyone, she wasn’t in immediate danger.She has a right to live as she chooses.

Really, I have to walk away?  I did.  And then I drove away and cried.  Cried because I am so blessed, and she is so lost. Cried because she was someone’s child once upon a time. Cried because my child is safe and loved and blessed and I am grateful. Cried because I am helpless sometimes against the cruelties of the world. Cried because she is another me, and I could not reach her.  This, this is whats stabs my soul, there are humans lost out there.  They started out with the same promise as I did.  To live life and live it well. To love life, to feel joy, to feel safety, to feel loved. But somewhere along the line they became broken and lost.  And no one caught them when they fell.

broken

So I drive on, as she mirrors back to me, all that could have been. But I was lucky because my paths to get to where I am now have been twisted with lots of forks in the roads.  Only I know all the choices I could have made and didn’t.  Somehow Grace saved me.  Over and over, Grace saved me. And I am grateful. It is those of us that have cracks and stood on those edges that know how fragile life can be. How a couple of steps one way or the other can change everything.  No one caught my girl on the corner and she stepped too far.

I drove back by a couple of hours later and she was gone.  I hope to a place where there was some welcome. A kind voice and some protection.  She is haunting me now, making me look harder at myself and my life.  It was frustrating to not be able to fix it, even a little bit.  But I guess that would be about making myself feel better, less guilty.  Perhaps the lesson is that we are all human, we all walk our own paths. To  respect each other and help as we can along the way. And to be compassionate without overstepping boundaries. It is hard to keep that balance. Maybe my best advice for myself is to think how I want to be treated and act accordingly.

My young woman on the corner, you are in my prayers, sleep peaceful and safe tonight.

Namaste

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Balance, Growth, Healing, self love, Soul, Wholeness

Balance and Wholeness, Can We have Both?

Wholeness and balance, what is the difference? I was having a discussion with my friend the other night.  We got into the balance/wholeness topic.  So my friend was speaking about balance, needing balance in her life and working towards that.  So I comment that I am focused more on wholeness and then question comes up “can we define those terms?” And so that is what is on my mind.

Balance: super important. When I am out of balance my skin just doesn’t quite fit, my life is uneven and I am invested in one area way too much. This happens all the time. I take on too much work and I quit having fun. I share way too much and then withdraw. I focus on a relationship and everything else goes out the window. I decide to get healthy and forget to relax. I could go on with many examples. Probably you could too. It is not necessarily bad, in fact I think it is human. We become engrossed, passionate, committed, and it feels good, until it doesn’t.

I have learned to recognize the symptoms more quickly these days.  I can say “I am out of balance, I am spending too much time on this, i have neglected that.” I am much quicker to correct the situation.  Sometimes I cannot, life does not easily allow me to move out of the situation. For instance, if I was  put in a care taking situation, or any kind of crisis where I want to help, it would be hard to step away. But I can recognize it and work towards taking care of my needs. I can look at the what I am putting my attention to and dial it back a little. I can see that balance will be regained in the future and therefore have peace with the present.

But if my very life has created the imbalance, well I have the tools to fix that. There is no need for me flounder and feel out of control. I make my choices and I look at the big picture.  Am I paying attention to my health? Am I paying attention to my Spiritual life?  Am I paying attention to my responsibilities? Do I have enough love in my life?  Am I laughing enough, am I enjoying myself?  When all of these facets are full my life flows with balance.

But wholeness, that is different to me. I realized they are not one and the same. For me, wholeness is being complete in myself. Wholeness is accepting all parts of me.  Accepting the good of me, the difficult parts of me, the intellectual me, the crazy me, the driven me, the relaxed me, the funny me, the cryptic me. All of me. And loving all of those pieces of me.

Wholeness means I do not look for something outside of me to fix me. I know that cannot happen. I look inside for that. I am responsible for my being. Wholeness also means I will walk beside you but not try to fix you. I accept your wholeness just as it is presented to me. If you have pieces missing right now,  you are still perfect in this moment just as you are.

Wholeness does not mean I am not broken, but it does mean I have put the pieces back in. I have worked to fill the cracks and mend the scars. Wholeness means I do not search for someone to complete me, but to complement me. There have been times, even in recent years, I have felt fragmented. Like I had left pieces of myself all along the way of life. Mostly with people, sometimes places. I have gathered many of my pieces and brought them home. I recognize that I am One with The One. This last time when I lost my Grandmother, I felt broken inside, like there were little pieces of me broken but still within my skin.  This time I did not leave pieces behind. I kept them and I healed them. I am full of scars, they are part of my wholeness.

What I know is this, wholeness feels like peace, like love. Wholeness feels like I am enough, just as I am. Maybe that is it, I am enough. Broken, scarred,. fractured, healed, good, bad, beautiful, wistful, curious, searching, lonely, full, loved and loving, all of this and more, I am enough. I am whole, perfect and complete and I am enough, just as I stand.

We need both, Balance and Wholeness.  We will lose our way over and over with them,   We are here to learn about life and lessons come in all sorts of packages. But if we can remember along the way to take a step back and say “Am I in balance, Am I feeling whole?” then we are ahead of the game and surely at the end of the day we have a certain peace and calmness that lives within us.

Namaste

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Change, Expansion, family, Growth, Healing, home, Love

Where is home anyway?

First off my friends, I apologize for going missing.  I have been feeding this last year way more than being fed.  I had to go internal for a minute and recharge.  This blog is important to me and I do  a lot of processing here, but lately my mind has been jumbled and the words simply would not take form.  But I am returned and ready to share with you…….

So how do I define “Home”? Is it a place where I reside? Is it a feeling? Is It a community? Is it family? Do I even have one?  Can I have one?  Do I want one?

When I lost the house I lived in, raised my son, had so memories in, I lost my home.  And I have not found it since.  The last 2+ years I live in a nice apartment very comfortably.  It is not home to me. It has given me many things, safety, time to re balance, a place of non attachment, a place of little responsibility. It has been a resting stop and for that I am grateful. The apartment is attached to a home and the owners have put the entire place up for sale.  So for me, that means a change, again.

Here is what I know, I cannot re create the past.  When I think of home I remember my house, my son, my sister, holidays, our pets, my friends, parties.  So many memories I cannot begin to list them. But that is what they are, memories.And I kinda get it, that for me, home is memories, making memories.  You can’t buy that, you can’t move into that, you have to live it.

A long time ago a man asked me “where do you stay?”  It took me by surprise and I said “well I have a home, I stay there”. But now I understand because lately this is where I stay.  I complain that friends and family don’t come here, don’t stop by, but the truth is, I don’t ask them.  I have not wanted to make this my home.  I have been resistant to letting go and moving forward.  I have put all kinds of blocks up and made this into both a refuge and a place of isolation. So while one has served me, the other has saddened me.

Is home a person?  Somehometimes with friends it feels like coming home.  You share laughter and tears.  But home cannot be one person, it is bigger than that. We are bigger than that. Our lives are so big and complex.  There are too many pieces to call one thing home.  I find home in my friends, my family and my community. I hope they find that in me.  Because feeling at home, safe, comfortable and loved, there is nothing on earth that can touch that.  You cannot shrink that down to fit inside walls.

When I moved in here  I was wounded and reeling from the circumstances surrounding me.  But much of that has healed and I am ready for more.  I simply have to decide what that is and manifest it. And what I want is wholeness within the place I live.  I want peace, I want the sounds of nature, I want the feeling of love, especially self love, in my home.  But I also want the world to come by and share my home with me.  I want memories, I want welcoming, I want ease and grace. I think that is what I really want, ease and grace.  And so all of those I shall now have.  I am ready for them.

Because home is not one place.  It is not that simple. What I am seeing is that my life, the wholeness of my life is my home.  I am my home.  Wherever I go, I take my memories with me, I take my sense of peace with me, I take my laughter with me, I take love wherever I go.  So I can never ever be without a home. It will  look different at different times in my life.  And it is up to me to create whatever kind of space I need at that moment.

So whether I stay here or move on is unknown.  I am available and ready for the Universe to send my Good. And some pieces of it have already arrived.  There is comfort and peace in knowing that there is no struggle, there is no worry,  all good comes my way,  ease and grace is mine to enjoy.

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

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Choice, Daily Life, forgiveness, Growth, Healing, Inspiration, Mother

You are the Star of Your LIfe

This is your life, own it.  Everyone else is a spectator, you are the star.  If you do not live your life, your way, you are missing out on the greatest gift the Universe has to offer, your own wholeness.

There are many people around you, most of them have an opinion on how you should live, act, think, believe. Who you should love, why you should love, where you should love.  Everyone has their own agenda, it doesn’t matter.  Own your life,  this is your gift to yourself.

Even the most well meaning loving people have their own agenda.  I have one,  I have ways I want people to react.  I might want them to believe something because it is important to me.  I might want them love me, because I love them.  I might want them to behave in a certain way because it supports my belief.  And all of this wanting is done with a loving heart.  It doesn’t matter. It is not up to me.  I need to at look at what I want for others,  as my mirror for myself.

I have sat at bedsides of loved ones dying. I attended my mothers, and more recently my grandmothers death.  As heart wrenching and painful as those moments were, here is the truth, they died, I did not. It was their death, not mine, It was their life, not mine. At that moment what do you want to remember?  I want to remember I owned my life.  I did not give it away.  I felt my pains, I celebrated my joys, I chose my loves, I made up my own mind on my beliefs.  This is my life, not anyone else.  And when I die, I take my life with me.  The ones left behind are free to live theirs.

So this is our moment, this is our time to say “I am going to live my life, I am going to own my life. It is too precious to give away.  My beliefs, my decisions, my scars, my joys, my loves, my struggles, my lessons, my triumphs,  they are mine. I have earned them. I will keep them and I will celebrate them.”

I know it has been said way too often, but today I need to say it one more time….Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Have a beautiful day

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Change, Daily Life, Growth, Healing, mantra, Self

Turn the Page

Change, transition, acceptance, release. surrender…..oh my gosh, turn the page. Sandy, just turn the page.

“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?”
Mary Manin Morrissey

I have been noticing mantras in my life lately.  So mantras are good to have.  I can’t really accept a mantra that comes from outside myself.  I can read them and think oh that sounds good.  I like that.  But to have it in my head and working in my life it has to come from my Source.  And I have to pay attention to those. I have a really good one right now “I am a money magnet, it’s the Law”. That comes up for me, a couple times a day.  It feels good, it feels positive and it feels authentic.

And here is another one, and this one comes up more frequently and has more struggle around it.  Turn the page. Well  it feels bigger, turn the page, turn the page, turn the fucking page. Everywhere in my life, just stop with the past, embrace the present and live right here, right now.  Turn the page.

Sometimes I do it visually.  I see a face like in a book and watch a page turn to cover it up. Turn the page, let it go. I see a way of life that has passed, turn the page. I see a friendship that is completed, turn the page. I see an unhealthy habit I no longer need, turn the page.  I see a role in my life that has played out, turn the page.  I long for my old home, turn the page. I mourn relationships past, turn the page.

But here is the problem, I can turn those pages from here to eternity but if I am not stepping into something new, I will keep going back.  Turning the page and seeing the blank slate scares me.  I don’t know what to do with myself.  I am so free in my life. I really only take of myself.  I only have a couple of relatives left and both of them are adults who have their own lives. Sure if they need me I am there to help, but in daily life no one is dependent on me. I don’t even have a boyfriend. So what do I do with all these blank pages?  I don’t know and I think that is why I am stuck.  And I turn the same pages over and over.

I can take today and enjoy it, and honestly I will.  I will have a good day, I will talk with friends, smile at the world. I am off work this week  so I will relax and enjoy myself. But somewhere in the back of my mind and buried within my heart is an echo of “I don’t know what to do with myself and I am a little lost.” And then the past calls me back, and I have to turn the pages all over again.

I don’t know how to step into the future except by one breath at a time. Yesterday I was out walking and I had a moment of fearlessness around the future.  I had a moment of my heart saying “I will say yes to everything placed before me”. I had a moment of releasing the past and being right in today.  I had a moment of freedom. I had a moment of endless choices and the ability to move into them.  I did have that moment. Can I have more than a moment, can I have a day, a week, a month?

Was yesterday my baby step into the future?  I believe this to be a truth for me.  I need this to be a truth for me.  Otherwise I am spinning my wheels and wasting my time.  And I don’t really have time to waste.  So I am going to remember my baby step and that is page I am holding open. Here I am, free and available to the Universe for a beautiful and fulfilling future. Perhaps Tupac said it best:

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.”
Tupac Shakur

So I really have to be willing to leave the past in the past.  Yesterday I cleaned out drawers and closets, filling bags with things that no longer work in my life. It is a step forward, to let go of what does not fit, what never fit, what someone else thought I should have, what is worn out, torn, stained, simply over. My closet is a microcosm of my my life.  A snapshot of who and what I am.   I kept the most precious, I kept what works in my life and makes me feel good.. The rest I release to the the Universe. If i can do that with clothes and shoes I can let go of thoughts, ideas and habits that no longer support my growth and my joy.  Let it go Sandy, turn the page.

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family, Gratitude, Growth, Healing, Love, Mother, Relationships

Mother’s Day Without Our Moms

For myself and many of my friends we have Mothers day without our mothers. Be it mom, grandmother, aunt, mothers of our heart, the woman that loved us. They are passed, Whether 1 years, 5 years, 20 years, it doesn’t matter. There is an empty spot where mom should be. There is a sweet longing that comes up, a melancholy for times past and the feel of her hand on my face. I miss her voice, I miss knowing someone loves me, no matter what. I miss having her support and her unwavering belief in my good, even when I wasn’t . That is what a mom does. I miss having that wisdom ahead of me, teaching me. I miss having someone to rebel against. I miss that feeling of two women in the world determined to live their own lives and still be so interdependent in each others. I miss her laughter, I miss her fierceness. I could go on and on.

And I know this is the same for so many of my friends. We are at an age where the torch is passed and we step into the spots our mothers and fathers left behind. There is honor in that. There naturalness and beauty in that. But still, on these special remembrance days, there is a wistful sadness for times past. I guess the best we can do is honor our mothers and stay in a place of love. Take the day and recognize the woman who raised us to be the people we are today. And celebrate the present with the humans who are here with us today. For someday, we, or they, will be a memory. so make it a good one.

Happy Mothers Day my friends.

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challenges, Daily Life, daily practice, Growth, Honesty, Inspiration, Self

Flexing my Spiritual Muscle

It seems like there are 2 types of people around me these days.  Like minded and challenging. Sometimes (often) they are one in the same.  Human’s are complex, when I am in agreement in one area I can be polar opposite in another. It is those opposites that strengthen.

When I am in class, in church, among like minded friends I feel loved and supported.  I feel like my beliefs are solid, I can expand them.  I learn how to deepen my faith and my core beliefs.  There is no challenge, I hear thoughts and comments that support the path I am on.  And this is good for me, it is a safe place to grow.

But then I go out into the world. And that is where I get stronger.  Because the world does not necessarily agree with me.  I am constantly challenged by different belief systems.  Some of those challenges come from people who I love and respect.  This is where I step up or step out. Can I stand in my truth and not be afraid to share that?

It is pretty easy to take an anonymous stand.  It is pretty easy to say some headline news story is horrible.  We can mostly be in agreement when comes to global disasters, we can all be aghast at kidnappings, human slavery, famine.  This is when we are wonderful as humans who come together for a common good cause.

But when it comes down to individual beliefs we are different.  I was talking to a friend the other day and he was on a little rant against one of the recent police/black deaths that seem to prevalent these days.  We stand on opposite sides of this.  I didn’t want to argue, I didn’t want to have separation between us.  But I couldn’t agree and feel good within myself.  So I simply said “I have to believe that in the end Love will win”.  And there we found a common ground.

I have another friend who I love dearly.  We have common beliefs but we veer away on others.  There was a post the other day I disagreed with.  I tried all day to avoid it.  But I couldn’t let it go.  For me, if I stayed quiet, then I was complicit. I had to speak up, I tried so hard to be respectful.  I was not trying to change them. But I have to be willing to stand behind my beliefs.

And that is where I strengthen my muscles.  It is in the trenches I get stronger.  I believe in being kind.  I say it, I post it.  I’m all about kindness.  What about when it is not easy?  Can I still be kind?  When I am in line at the grocers and your baby is crying and annoying me…can I still be kind?  Can I see you are tired and simply trying to get home to feed the baby.  Can I just see the humanness and be kind?  When you cut me off in traffic can I bless you instead of flipping you off?  Can I see you as distracted or hurried rather than arrogant? When you snub me in the hallway at work, can I smile anyway?  Can I know a bigger truth about you, and not see you as rude?

Those are some simple daily actions that strengthen my muscles.  Life is the classroom.  Life is where I do the work.  Life is where I put into practice all of the beliefs that develop when supported by like minded people.  So my challenges are my greatest blessings.  They show where I have growing to do. I can meditate till the cows come home, but if I am rude to someone, feel anger, or impatience then I have more work to do. If I am afraid you won’t love me if I disagree or stand up for my beliefs, I have work to do.  And I am not going to see that in my little bubble of bliss.  I have to go out in the world and flex my muscles.

So thank you world, for making me strong. Thank you challenges for letting me see where I have work to do.  Thank you humans for showing me I truly believe my talk and am willing to walk it.  Thank you like minded people for giving me a safe place to grow.  Thank you Universal Spirit for this amazingly complex classroom we call life.

Namaste

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Choice, daily practice, Growth, Healing, Love, Relationships

Go Where the Love Is

You know how phrases get caught up in your mind.  You could call in an affirmation, a mantra, or simply something that is stuck in your head.  For a few days now this is mine….Go where the love is.  I have struggling lately trying to get my footing again in the world.  I make a few steps forward and then life comes along and blows me down a different path.  And I need some healing, some way to stay in my center.  So, go where the love is.

Love is everywhere.  It is not a person or a place.  It is that and more.  Love is a feeling of being wanted, being welcomed.  Whether walking among the redwoods or laughing with a friend, there I find love.  Love is a feeling of peace in my heart, I can find that in a sanctuary or by the water.  I can find love in a good meal, a good book, watching a little league game or while writing this. Love is a state of being, a calmness within that allows me to recognize I am supported by the Universe and that God wants only to give me my good.

And my good is love.  So why not go where the love is? Why spend any time in places or with people that do not support this?  Sometimes I am strong and I can go out there and be the love of the world.  I can take on the haters and show love anyway.  I can let their opinions and negativity roll off my back.  I am armored in love. I can lead the way.  Those are amazing times.

And there are times like now, I am more fragile, I have broken pieces.   I love this practice from Japan.  How they fill the cracks with gold and the piece becomes even more valuable.  I want to fill my cracks with love. That is how I will heal myself. fill with gold I will be richer, more valuable and have more depth in my soul.  I will let these jagged pieces smooth with love.  I will patchwork myself back together with love.  I will breathe in love  and I will breath out peace. Love is the strongest force in the Universe.  Love always wins.  Love is stronger than hate, sadness, fear, despair, anger, apathy.  So letting love heal, I will be amazingly strong.  My cracks and fissures full of the most valuable energy ever known.

So I have to go where the love is.  And that means listening to the call of my heart.  That means saying no to the people, places and things that do not love me.  In those circumstances where I know I am out of balance I have to step away.  I must close my ears when I hear things that do not support loving me.  When I feel uncomfortable or anxious I have to look at what I am doing and who I am with. I have to be willing to step away and say this does not support my healing.

That can mean letting go of people or circumstances already in my life. Although I am pretty careful about who I let in,sometimes someone comes in through a crack. Perhaps I am lonely or emotional.  Maybe I think they need me, my ego wants stroking.  It could be an outgrown job or social connection.  Old friends, who somehow have hung on.  And it  is mainly me, holding on to fears and outgrown ideas.  Hanging on to the past to avoid the future.  Clinging to today because tomorrow seems scary and unknown.

So right here and now this is my mantra, this is my daily prayer…..Go Where The Love Is.

And when that moment is done, again, Go Where The Love Is.  and again and again.  Stay where the love is. Only accept love.  Fill myself body and soul with love.  Seal those cracks with love. Be Love. Live Love. Breathe Love. Stay where there is Love. Because that is what will save me, Love will save me. Love will make me whole.  And then, armored in Love,  I can step out as warrior for Love.  So then, when you need to “go where the Love is,” I am here for you.

Namaste

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challenges, Choice, Daily Life, Gratitude, life, Love, Today

Just For Today

Oh my gosh today is beautiful. Just for today I am setting aside my complaints, my stresses, my sorrows. Just for today I am stepping into the moment. I hear the song of the birds and the call of the dove. I see the gentle breeze flicking the bamboo. I feel the freshness of the morning air and I know I am blessed. For today, I do not worry, I do not argue within my mind. For today I accept all of God’s blessings and claim them as mine.

This was my Facebook post this morning.  And then I thought why “just for today”?  Why not everyday?  Everyday feels big to me.  Forever?  Really?  Not worry, not stress, be in a place of calmness and peace…..forever?  Wow, all kinds of resistance comes up around that.  All kinds of monkey mind starts chattering.  But what about all the things that I call challenges?  Finances, relationships, health, those are the big 3.  I can’t just let that all go can I?

Well…..just for today I can. Because it is a beautiful day out there for me to enjoy.  Why should I miss that?  What if this is my last day?  And I missed it.  What a shame that would be. I am sitting here in my little apartment with the morning air and doves are cooing. And it is beautiful.  And the day is mine.  Mine to enjoy or worry away. Mine to see the blessings or the sorrows.  Mine to feel Universal love and support or stress and fear.  I choose Love.

I know it is close to impossible to live this every day.  I am not sitting in a secluded place where only love and peace touch my world.  I live in the real world.  It is messy, it can be stressful.  There is loss, change, worry. There are many interesting challenges.  And there are people everywhere showing me all kinds of mirrors.

But today I am looking at the mirrors that show me how blessed I am.  The big mirror of beauty, of love, of peace. Just for today I am going to breathe in the beauties of life.  And maybe tomorrow also.  Because the more I practice the more easy it is for me to slip into a state of grace and ease. Mainly I simply have to remember it is there and available all the time.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.…….Dr. Seuss

Have a Beautiful Today

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challenges, Change, Daily Life, family, Growth, Love, Relationships, Self

Feeling Guilt and Moving Forward

“The problem with surviving was that you ended up with the ghosts of everyone you’d ever left behind riding on your shoulders.”

Paolo Bacigalupi, The Drowned Cities

Guilt…..guilt of all kinds does not feel good.  That feeling inside of us when something is wrong.  I think you have to be basically a good human to feel guilt.  We have to have the self awareness that our actions or even simply our thoughts, might have caused harm; to other humans, to our planet, to the animals, even to ourselves. So I guess guilt can be a useful tool on the road to growth and self knowledge.  It helps us see what feels right and what does not sit well.

This is what is coming up for me, Survivors Guilt.  Yes I used capitals, yes it feels big. This guilt was not brought on me by anyone but myself. And it comes out of love. I tried to talk about it in class the other night and I could not move the words out of my body,  Maybe I can write them out.

Here is the deal. my sister had a stroke last fall.  She is not really recovering well.  She is in pain every day.  Her left side is compromised and she does not have much use of her left arm and hand. Yes, she goes to therapy, yes there has been improvement, but the truth for today is that life is hard for her.  And I feel horrible.  And I don’t know how to step out of that place. She is my best friend, cradle to grave, she is my girl.

So I try to give her what she needs.  It seems what she needs most is space.  I can’t really get close to her.  I try,  I call, I ask to stop by, I invite her places.  Mostly she shuts me down.  She is in pain and all of those things make it worse.  So we text, maybe talk on the phone.  Yesterday for instance, it is a beautiful day here.  I am headed out for a walk at the lake. I text her to see if I can stop by and visit.  She says no, hard day, going back to bed.

Okay, I go ahead with my day, but there is a sadness and heaviness in my heart.  Because I am out there in this beautiful day with people, and sunshine and laughter.  I am engaging in life, I feel good.  And my sister, my best friend, is laying in bed in pain. How the fuck am I supposed to feel good?  I know it serves no purpose to feel guilty about my good day.  I know she does not want that.  But when I love someone it is hard to be joyful and happy when they are in such a difficult place.  Even though I know it is her path, not mine, I cannot separate my feelings and my humanness.  I have to figure out a way to move forward in my life, but it feels like I am leaving her behind.  And it is breaking me.

I have felt this before, when I was married.  Eight years into my marriage my husband was in a car accident.  He had head injuries.  He was never the same.  Physically he pretty much recovered but mentally there was a disconnect.  There I was, 26 years old, healthy, looking to the future and my husband was changed, damaged, and the man I had married was gone. What do you do?  Well I stayed in the marriage another 12 years until his alcoholism killed our marriage.  But honestly, the accident killed our marriage.  He felt less than the man he had been.   Finally, for myself and my son, I knew I had to survive. It was not safe or healthy for us to live in an alcoholic household. But I knew I was leaving behind someone who who had his chance for a full life stunted.  And I felt horrible guilt.  Guilt that I wanted  everything that life had to offer.  And to have that I would have to sever our relationship.  So I did. There is still, 20 years later, a wistful sadness around that.

Another time I felt this to a lesser degree was when my Mom had a terminal cancer diagnosis.  I remember a short period of thinking this should be me and not her.  But that passed pretty quickly.  I think even in my distress and craziness I realized that thought had no basis or substance.  It was a reaction to everything and my way of trying to take on her pain. To save her.  I could not save her, no one could.  I recognize those thoughts as an emotional reaction to a extreme situation.  And everything after her diagnosis happened so fast the guilt did not have any time to cling to me.

Okay so in writing this I can see my survivor guilt comes up when I truly love the person. I have friends that are fighting cancer or have other big challenges in their lives.  I feel compassion and caring.  I send love and positive thoughts their way. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel it should be me and not them.  I have a healthy boundary around it. But let it be my close loves and  I feel bad that I get to be whole, happy and healthy when they are suffering.  I don’t know how to fix this.  This situation with my sister is a long term process.  I want to move through it with grace and ease.  I want to help her, but also be okay with having joy in my day.  I want to understand that no one (least of all her) want or need me to suffer also. And I do know this mentally, but emotionally I am struggling .

I know her path is her own.  I know i cannot walk that for her.  I know sacrificing my joys serve no one.  So I move forward in my day and in my life.  I see my friends, I connect with family.  I talk with God. I meditate, I walk. I laugh.  I find joy, humor and love out there.  But somewhere inside of me is this little place that knows while I am out celebrating life my best girl is home, in pain and struggling.  And I feel guilty, guilty she does not have the same chance to enjoy her life like I do.

I am working through this, writing it out helps. So if you stayed with me  this long, thank you.  Life is here to teach us, we are here to grow and create.  This is a lesson on my path. Once I learn it, truly learn it, I can release it.  As with everything, baby steps.

Namaste

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