I’m alone in the house for a small piece of space. I’d call it time alone but I’m really tired of the word TIME. I don’t have time to worry about time. My worries are more about how I’m filling up my NOW which is highly questionable and murky in its content these days. Plus I’m never really alone. Even when the people are all gone, the house is filled with 2 dogs, 3 cats, a turtle and a slightly restless spirit that no one feels or sees except me. Grant says the gentle toe tapping that occasionally wakes me in the middle of the night is simply the neuropathy acting up, a residual nuisance I’ve experienced since my left ankle surgery. I’ve quit arguing with him. Even though it’s often my right foot that gets gently tapped by a not at all scarry entity that maybe just wants some company in its restlessness. “I am here! I am real! I wish you could hear me and so we could talk! But the fact that you woke to my touch is enough! Let’s hang out and be soothed by the reality and bassaddedness of all the fascinating forms of life that feel epically eternal!” My kids HATE when I talk about the toe tapping or the occasional blurry movement down the hallway. They think that 1) spirits are scary 2) mom is crazy and should wear her glasses more. Me? I’m enamoured with the possibilities and have very little fear of the unknown.
At least when it comes to the presence in my house.
Now all the other stuff? Fucking scary these days. It’s something I’m working on. I mean one would think that if I’m not scared of a ghost, everything else should be a cakewalk, right?
Why do we use this expression to mean something that is easy? Anyone who has actually participated in a cakewalk knows it is VERY stressful. I can remember in grade school, wanting to win a cake SO MUCH, my heart pounding in my throat everytime the music started and I and the other participants (DARK EVIL ENEMIES disguised as innocent children) walked around the circle of chairs that were one by one eliminated each time one person got caught without a chair when the music stopped, robbed of a cake: pure devastation. I mean it’s CAKE. What kind of fucker came up with the idea of making something as wonderful as cake into an anxiety ridden game of horror? It seems that pie would better serve this wretched game.
I still have PTCD. (Post Traumatic Cake Disorder.)
It’s a dark, thick, pungent, plague that seems to have taken over many hearts and minds these days. And it is the most destructive thing in the universe. Fear manifests itself in all kinds of ways, depending on a person’s personality. Some run, hide or deny. Some make a ton of squawky angry noise. Some medicate themselves with numbing tools that can become addictions if they take over too much of the day or become rigid and punishing: drugs, sex, booze, shopping, work, exercise, religion, pie.
My lovies! We need to find a way to shed our fear before the world literally goes to hell.
Now, I’m not talking about rational fear, like when a pack of hyenas has you surrounded or someone has you at gunpoint and demands you to give them all your cake. This kind of fear needs to happen so that your adrenaline kicks in enough to help you get out of the situation and protect your cake.
It’s the less rational fears that have the power to destroy our lives. And most fear IS irrational. It’s being afraid of something that MIGHT happen, that MIGHT cause pain, hardship or death. Don’t you think there is enough of that inevitable stuff already? Why act that shit out in our brains? Fear can be like the heads of the Hydra, a Greek mythological creature that would grow two more heads each time one was cut off. Fear will multiply and grow unless we literally cauterize it, like Hercules’s nephew Iolaus did each time Hercules wacked off a head, finally ending the madness with some damn good teamwork.
Lately I have found myself abnormally paralyzed with fear about a whole lot of big world topics, desperately seeking truth so that I know where to dig my heels in and KNOW who I am and what I stand for in the world. And the more I focus on trying to understand all of these things, the further and further I get from any kind of certainty, untethered, lacking purpose, strength and joy, further embedded in darkness.
At what point did so many seemingly big things become center stage in my brain? I mean a person can only worry about so many things at once before some kind of “thar she blows” thing happens to their psyche. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that there seems to be a lot of Moby Dick scenes going on around us and it’s a challenge to not get caught up in the geysering mess.
Daniel, my fourth born and I were talking about the current state of affairs in our nation and world and I found myself talking in circles, ending in the same place each time “I just don’t know what to believe”. Daniel said (in a nutshell) “I have decided that I just don’t care if someone does this or that, believes this or that. I have these goals and these things I want to do and that is what I am putting my energy onto. A lot of people probably don’t like to hear that, but I just don’t care. I don’t want to be distracted anymore.” The young man is twenty years old and more centered than most people twice his age and I ended the conversation thinking “Yes. Enough of this madness.”
Yet. Right after we talked I found myself sneaking a peek or two at online statistics and news and opinions on social media…yada yada yada, before jolting myself back to the question:
At what point did it become so important to be concerned with so many things that are out of my control?
I once went ten years without once watching the news. I was in the thick of all the babies, focused most days on just putting one foot in front of the other and not leaving one of them behind when I went somewhere. I stopped watching about a year after 9/11 happened. I was smarter in some ways then, knowing my brain could not handle the fear that the news brought every day. I knew that if something epic happened, Grant would fill me in. In the meantime I had more important concerns that were tangible and right in front of me: painful aching, desperate love for six little people for whom I was responsible to help to keep alive and strong of heart so that they could be people who were good for the world. Nothing was more important than that and I refused to be distracted by things less important.
But the last couple years, thanks to my rather unhealthy addiction to social media, I have watched myself fall more and more often into the hyperactive, soul diminishing concerned citizen role of worrying and fretting about WAY TOO MANY THINGS I have no power over instead of getting my tunnel vision on and pursuing what is important to ME, the shiny joyful things that put my soul back into its rightful place of love, where fear has no place.
I watched a TedTalk by Jordan Peterson called “Potential” that speaks of this. My son Dillin (a fellow searcher) sent the link to me. I highly recommend it if you want to hear what, in my opinion, is a profound way to put fear in its place. I am probably not summing up his twenty minute talk as accurately as Mr. Peterson would like, but my take on what he said is this: the only way to avoid succumbing to pathological belief systems (look at history and look at now) which creates massive fearful, growing hysteria (Hydra) that could potentially cause complete annihilation of humanity, we must each follow without question that which interests us, the shimmer revealed to each of our unique selves by whom I believe to be a loving, creative joyful God. When we are doing this, pushing through the pain that may come from doing something that is contrary to what the world thinks is ‘right’, we continue to be transformed into more fully aligned and magnificent humans. This is what the world needs more than anything else: for each of us to open our eyes to what shines for us, chase it with all our hearts and souls and not look back, sideways or too far ahead.
Zero in on your shimmer my lovies. The world depends on it.
Also: eat some cake. That helps too.
I actually won a cake one time. I don’t recall that there were chairs present, but it was many moons ago when my children were small. I do recall that it was a very good cake! 🙂
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Love your work and your toe tapping ghost! I’m a believer!
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Thank you Gail and much love to you!!!
Or, as a very wise man told me once in the context of recovering from a very destructive hurricane: do what you can, not what you can’t.
As I tell everyone (or anyone) who will listen, get off social media. Period. Bake a cake and take it to your neighbor. Or scrub a floor. Choose the real world every time, and you’ll feel better.
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