Thoughts on Ripples and Chance

It’s been a while. Okay, it’s been a long while since I’ve blogged. Seems I hardly got started before I was missing-in-action. Maybe you’ve had those seasons of Life yourself?

Here’s the clincher: I’m not sure where I’ve been.

I’m wondering if I was MIA or ME (Me Exploring) or if it even matters. Still, a vague something about the months-long process seems significant. I’m continuing to process what the “something” is.

There’s been action: major house repairs/remodeling with one change birthing another, health concerns in the family, storm damage, death in the family and the changes that grief brings. I’m going to call that messy mix LIFE, in all caps.

Still, when I step back, the action is less significant than the internal exploration that followed the intensity of change, especially the uninvited change. I’ve been hurled into the melee that I think of as relationship realignment. It’s what happens when what slams one person ripples throughout the system.

Ripples. That fits if I allow the ripples to fluctuate into waves and the occasional tsunami. It’s the need to create meaning within my Life changes that’s had me riding the ripples into the coves and inlets of roles I’ve played with before but not dived into.

A poetry group I’ve been a part of for a couple of years now has a larger place in my Life. Hearing the perspectives of others, as we explore the human experience together, has given me welcome connections and new community.

With these folks, I’m creating meaning for these moments. For NOW.

Here’s a recent poem:

journal

By chance

She came across the journal,

College-ruled and bound in black and white.

Hardly used, it ended,

Bluntly with unexpected words:

 

“Maybe I shouldn’t have called,

But if I hadn’t

I’d have never heard

The tone of his blindness

Morph into fatal words.

I tasted the bitterness of his anger,

But I did not swallow.”

 

By chance,

Today

As she was set on forcing the blind to see

She came across the journal again,

Not at all by chance.

~~~~jaylene

Thoughts on Presence and Pushy People

Thoughts on Presence and pushy people: Those with Presence don’t have to push against others, which, by the way, takes energy that could be used elsewhere.

They aren’t in conflict or confrontation constantly with others. They influence what happens around them simply by who they are. They are beacons of Life/Light who connect rather than confront, who invite rather than challenge, who use the energy of righteous indignation with mindful dignity rather than blind rage.

They can stand alone, if they must, because they are never truly alone.

They are rare beings. They are treasures.

The Unheard Story: The HeartStory

Good Morning, Fellow Travellers,

You know that saying about being kinder than necessary because everybody is fighting some kind of battle? It sets me to remembering too that everybody has a STORY, the story of his or her Life that contains experiences I don’t have a clue about. Everybody has a HeartStory.

To have the privilege of hearing a bit of another person’s story is holy to me. It’s a trust. Yes, it’s part of my profession, but it’s more: it’s something we can offer each other anytime. “Tell me about when___? What was it like when____?  Who was there when____?”

I’ve been married thirty-eight years to the same man. You can probably imagine how well I think I know this fellow. Thirty-eight years and just the other day he shared an event from his childhood that, for whatever reasons, I didn’t know about.

It was such a stunning, intense event that I had to question myself: How could I have not known that? Had it been mentioned, maybe as a matter-of-fact, and I was so caught up in my own drama that I completely missed it? If he hadn’t mentioned it, was there something about our relationship that he didn’t entrust the story to me til now? Was it something he assumed I knew because he did?

Or maybe it just came up exactly when it needed to come up…..nothing more complex that perfect timing!

However it came to be part of not just his story but now part of our family story, I am grateful that I now hold it with him.

And I realized one more time how little I know and how ignorant I am to think I know….

Today I will listen to someone I think I know well.

And I’ll hear an unheard bit of the story.

And we’ll be changed by it.

 

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

 

A MESS with purpose

Doing what I can where I am this morning, whilst in the midst of repairing and reworking both home and office/studio. It’s a MESS. Yes, Fellow Travellers, a capital letter MESS! Both spaces….so what can I do to lessen the MESS?

The shelves in my office I can clean up and straighten. Tidy desk, cull papers. That’s about it for the moment. Everything else I either need help to do or it’s in process and tidying up would only slow the process. I cannot herd this mess into a neat and tidy corral and pen it up. This is the “Oh #*%#! I have to live with this MESS a while” phase of change. 😉

The workmen would kindly invite me to exit my own house if I go in there and start sweeping under their ladders…lol…and well they should because they know what they are doing (yes, they actually do!) and I’d only stick a broomstick in the process and, in trying to help, I would do a lovely job of “not helping.”

Before it can be anything else, it has to be exactly what it is. A MESS.

There is no clean sweep.

That’s pretty much how all change is. Whether it’s repairing and re-working a physical house or a Heart-house, it’s messy. Start a house project and there’s no telling what we”ll run into. Step into Heartwork and questions show up that cannot be corralled. Often we need help to move deeper into the re-working. Try to detour or speed up the work and it really won’t save time. We’ll have to circle around and still eventually address the problems. No clean sweep.

It takes as much time as it takes.

So I am doing what I can in this moment. And reminding myself to breathe, breathe, breathe.

There is such a thing as A MESS with purpose.

It’s your JOB to be on your own side

Good Morning, Fellow Travellers,

If you aren’t on your own side, tell me who’s going to be? It’s not simply okay to be on your own side; it’s your JOB to be on your own side.

It’s a responsibility to shape our Lives, each of us, into Lives that are meaningful to us. That’s not one-size-fits-all. It may be trial and error. It’s probably going to change from one phase of Life to another. And, it’s going to be messy! That’s all natural. It’s how we know more about ourselves.

When we do the job of living our own Lives, others may not understand, but it seems to be human nature to want the important ones in our world to understand — to GET us, please.  For years, I wore myself out trying to explain where I was in my journey, why I was there, where I wanted to be, until I finally realized “they” were still looking at me with puzzled faces and nothing had changed. Absolutely nothing. All of my well-thought-out chatter was futile and took energy I could use actually Living, thank you very much. Finally I stopped. Insert big sigh of relief here!

When we begin living our Lives, others may not like it. They may call us wasteful, frivolous, and oooooh, worst of all, SELFISH! The dirtiest word of all! That one word has the power to shut many of us down and keep us in line.  There was no thought that what they called selfish was more about self-knowing, self-actualizing, self-moving beyond the visible to what could be.

We get this Life and then, because of these shaming messages, we deny ourselves the very living of it.

Some (many, actually) of us were given jobs as children to be sure everybody else was okay.  When we pay attention to our own lives and let them be in their own lives, they no longer know what to expect of us.

The powers around us taught us to always to attend to others, and that would make us happy and keep us safe. They never asked us what made us happy, so how could we learn to ask ourselves? If we did ask, we were shamed for it.

Result: many of us have no clue what makes us not only okay, but we have no clue that we are truly wonderful and can risk failure and success and thrive emotionally in the midst of questions.

And that is not shameful. It’s called going after one’s own Life!

What wonderful, wasteful, frivolous, “self-moving beyond” gift will you give yourself today?

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

Mothers on My Heart

Mothers are much on my heart this weekend: young mothers holding their babies for the first time; mothers of children with chronic care issues; mothers of children who feel different, who feel lost; mothers who are watching their children struggle; mothers who are rejoicing in their children’s successes; elder mothers who are less active and still a presence to their family; mothers who nurture the differing natures of each of their children.

I have been privileged to work with mothers who look deeply into the Big Picture of family, saints and skeletons; mothers who are letting their children be exactly where they are, though it breaks their hearts.

I know mothers who are dying; mothers in the sandwich years, pressed between care of older parents and the desire to be there for their children and grandchildren; mothers who are burying children; mothers who are caring for grandchildren; mothers who mother whatever is available, plants, animals, abandoned whatevers, because nurture is their nature.

Opening to all the ways that mothering can look, I am touched to the heart. I am in awe.

Blessing on all who mother.

And travel lightly,

Jaylene

“NO” with no angst…

Many of us grew up with little or no modeling for what a lively and healthy relationship looks like. As a result, because we didn’t have that model in our younger lives, we’ve been unconsciously drawn to what was familiar as we got older.  Yucky, but yet familiar!  Automatically, we still found ourselves around people whose ways of relating to others replicated what we experienced in our youth. That’s natural.

Even when it’s uncomfortable, we find ourselves in repeating patterns in relationships until our awareness of the bigger picture supports our developing new roles to play in relationships.

I’ve found, in my own life and in working with clients, that it helps to develop a few key indicators, a baseline founded on personal experience, to signal our boundaries to ourselves.  This can be particularly helpful when we’re working our way out of the old patterns and new ways of relating aren’t yet comfortable.  I call the itchy-scratchy phase!

One of my key indicators, in any kind of personal relationship, is the freedom to say NO to the other person without experiencing fear. If we have pangs about the consequences if we say NO to a person we are in any kind of intimate relationship with, it bears exploring.

It could be there’s nothing about the other person that’s threatening and it’s our own hard-wired fear that goes back to something that happened in the past that creates a knot in the throat when NO needs to come out. The past has come into the present moment with us and cuts us off from being there with the other person.

It could be something about the relationship itself that makes NO an unsafe word.  The past may have come into the present moment with us and need to be unlocked so we can allow ourselves to have new kinds of experiences. The past (where we saw parents and other influential people interact in limiting ways) may need to be cleared up, so we can let go of the automatic draw we feel toward domineering, or perhaps passive aggressive partners, or those who simply cannot see (and honor!) us as human beings with our own desires and priorities.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the complexity of relationship …that’s all for us to each look at for ourselves, our own explorations. A competent therapist can help with this.

Here’s what is true for me now: When we co-create relationships where NO is a word we can say without angst, relationships where what we want/need is honored by the other person, then we’re developing mindful boundaries and have the potential for a lively, invigorating, respectful relationship.

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

P.S. I must add, and this goes for all I post here, these comments are no substitute for therapy. They do not constitute professional services. They simply are my observations and experiences, which I offer in the hope they might jog a bit of personal questioning and awareness on the part of the reader and enrich my own Life experience too.

Good morning, Fellow Travellers,

My now experience of Patience: Allowing My Life changes to unfold at their own pace. Allowing others to be where they are.

This is not the version of “patience” I was taught growing up. Oh no no! The patience of my parents was a pushy, active sort of waiting, which confused me and seemed to require an inordinate amount of energy.

So of course, that’s exactly the kind of patience I practiced for most of my Life.  That’s the only pattern I had, til therapy, meditation, different friends, new readings, mindful artwork, entered my world.

Ms. Pushy Patience. That could have been my nickname.

Sigh…yet trying to make changes happen on my own schedule consistently backfired on me. Always backfired.  I’m judicious when it comes to saying anything always happened, but this is for sure an italicized boldfaced always.  I kept pushing though…maybe some of you dear folks have done that a few times too?

This works better and, if wisdom is using what works better,  this is wisdom to me today: Allowing others the freedom to change (or not) at their own pace, allowing visions to become real-ized when they are ripe, allowing ourselves to do what’s within our ability to do at the moment and be at home with that, even while we have visions beyond this minute….abiding in what is, holding possibility.

Truth be told, I can’t tell any difference between “patience” and “peace” and “bliss.”  There’s a dropping of shoulders and a sigh of gratitude that all feels the same: a coming home.

One more time. There’s a coming home to today. Letting be. No urgency.  I can be both right here, right now and, in a lovely un-forced way, be my own vision for what’s unfolding, too.

Sure, I still get scared — I know I’m scared when the pushiness comes back. And it does, believe me, sometimes with a vengeance! Ouch!!

Yet, in all that human-being-ness, I feel the warmth of coming home to My Life.

Today, may I stay out of my own pushy way and let My Life — and everyone else’s — unfold.

Amen.

~~~Jaylene