Archive | February 2012

Spirit, Mind & Body Say; ” Whoa it Up Girl!”

Knowing when to listen is just as important as knowing when to speak. I’ve been doing a lot of speaking through out my days of late, but little listening.

When Spirit, or mind, or body tells you its time to slow down one should listen closely. Very closely, and with intent to quiet yourself long enough to also absorb.

Not listening to my Spirit, my body and my mind is sometimes a problem I have. I get smug when feeling well and forget even just for a moment’s time how important it is to be mindful of each passing moment. I forget, get caught up in living life-like someone who is well and soon my body is telling me different.  To be running on ahead of my days whether in just my mind, or my plans, stops me from listening to what I should and need to hear.

And it stops me from listening to what my body, mind and spirit should be hearing.

Spirit, mind & Body have a funny way of getting my attention. The loud and firm; “Whoa it up Girl” was not enough.At least not enough on its own.

Nope!

Not for not for this Baroness who sometimes forgets that she is no different from anyone else.

Apparently to get my attention, speaking loudly and firmly was not enough. My ego was not to have the last word this week. The painful swelling in my left ankle that I have ben putting up with is now diagnosed as a very severe sprain. Yep!

It appears despite not having any recognizable injury, meaning I do not recall injuring it I have a pretty messed ankle anyway. The doctor said that she was shocked I’d not been in earlier. I was promptly scolded for ignoring the pain and swelling. I get it. I did not know the symptoms mimicked PAD. Peripheral Artery Disease. Not that an ankle sprain when you are in your 5th decade of life is anything to be messed with, compared to a diagnosis of PAD I was on my knees thanking God for such huge favors.

I did sprain this same ankle, same spot 5 years ago. I went to sit in a deck chair on our split level deck. I had not even given it a thought as to whether or not all four legs of the deck chair were planted firmly on just one level. Preferably the same level.  BUT>>> you see it coming don’t you? Yep, you guessed it, down I went out of the chair. Falling from just the chair to the deck floor might not have been bad….. But the chair just happened to be seated at the top of 14 stairs and I headed head  down those 14 stairs the gymnasts in me jumped into action and instead of continuing to fall I broke it by rounding my body and tumbling down instead.

Once I started the motion of gravity my poor husband jumped literally out of his house slippers trying to catch my fall. Not in time. There was no time – it happened so fast. His slippers laid alone  right where his feet had jumped out them, leaving us laughing about that aspect much later. We just found that so funny.

Once I had stopped, the sudden shock had worn off, and the wind returned  to my lungs we saw my ankle. Already a bright angry purple bruising while continuing to swell right in front of our eyes. My husband who is my knight in shining armor always picked me up and laid me gently on the sofa -all the time seemingly to all in one bring ice to my screaming ankle.  The moments were surreal. The swelling despite an application of ice and elevation continued on until soon the entire outside of my ankle had disappeared no ankle bone showing any longer.

I know a sprained ankle when one happens. This is why when the diagnosis was a sprain yesterday and I knew that I have no clear memory of hurting it or re injuring it that there was some kind of Divine Intervention happening in my life. It was so unlike anything that ever goes on with me it got my attention. I became prayerful and mindful of what I was feeling. What I was experiencing.

I’m not claiming I now what it is. I am also not trying to convince anyone of anything.

I do know after some internal reflections in looking back over the last couple weeks that I have not been as tuned in as I normally am. that includes being tuned in with the people in my life who fill out and compliment my world. I have not been the devoted dedicated friend to myself or anyone who loves me. I then start feeling guilty, the guilt rapidly turns to shame, and I close up. Close off. And I all this time I’m feeling so smug because I got this done, m almost finished with that, and got “you know what” started. All the while forgetting to be mindful of each moment ticking by.

Yet I know what I know. And I know that somewhere. somehow, something is screaming at me loud and firm;

“Whoa it up Girl!”

“It’s time to slow ‘er down. Time for reflections, prayer, mediation, and even time for the soul to know what the soul knows. And high time that I stop and hear what is so important to be listened to.To be heard.

By the way; It should never have to take a sprained ankle to get my attention.

                                                                                      ©tjhelser 212

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Sunshine Award & Me?

Once again by complete surprise by blogging friends have touched me so deeply that feeling humble is just a small drop if the bucket of emotions created in my heart.

THANK YOU MISS KATE!!

Thank you Kate!!  For the Nomination of The Sunshine Award bestowed down upon me. You are so generous~

Kate & her blog “BelieveAnyway” http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/how-someone-spread-technicolor-sunshine-into-my-life/#comment-3802

This is an amusing faith filled blogger that will brighten your days and add richness to your world that only a writer can give. Kate in all her colorful descriptions of life; and often bringing lyrics from much-loved vinyls from days long ago by will have you humming a tune in no time. This beautiful person we call Kate is actually a real blessing in my life, and so much so I choose to count her twice.

FROM KATE’S OWN BLOG~ “I told you in yesterday’s post how I got the nickname Sunshine in college. If you didn’t see it, the link is here.http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/my-friend-created-sunshine-in-my-life/ I wrote then that I had a further surprise. Here it is. Knowing that story, imagine my  true delight when Dor, my fellow blogger and all-around wonderful lady  at Technicolor Day Dreams http://notesfromtheblogusfear.com/2012/02/17/sunshine-coming-my-way/ recently gave me the Sunshine Award. I was delighted. Sunshine Award The Sunshine Award is supposed to be given to “bloggers who are inspirational, and who have impacted your blogging or your life.”

THE NOMINATIONS GOES TO:

https://tonij.wordpress.com/ my pal at Barefoot Baroness (aka Lady Barefoot Baroness will warm your heart and will be like cinnamon toast and cocoa on a sleety day).

(SEE KATE’S BLOG FOR THE OTHER NOMINATIONS:)

The Sunshine Award has some rules:

  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog (let me know if you need help getting the little old badge on your blog!

  • Answer 10 questions about yourself

  • Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers

  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated (post something on their blog giving the award to them)

  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

My Answers below:

TEN QUESTIONS

Favorite color:  Blue

Favorite animal:  Elephant

Favorite number:  Seven #7

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Chia Tea

Prefer Facebook or Twitter? Neither.  Blog, email, Skype, or maybe phone.

My passion:  children’s safety and wellness.

Prefer getting or giving presents:  Always giving. I love the challenge in gift giving just the perfect gifts. Gotta say I don’t hate getting…. too much.~

Favorite pattern:  Fractals.

Favorite day of the week: Friday~ All the possibilities of a weekend ahead. 

PASSING IT ON:

1. The Cosmic Carousel
2 .eitheory.com
3. Strange Trip Times
4. Daily Sweet Peas
5. Faces in the clouds
6. Four Blue Hills (A repository, of sorts)
7. On Windy Days
8. Mlissabeth’s Musings
9 .Blog Rest and Play
10. Halfway Between The Gutter And The

Since there are no absolute rules, no award police, no Grammy security, I am making an executive decision here. Because I can.

I am naming a Judges Choice Award for The sunshine award. Because this person lightens our days and nights with delightful stories regarding her sweet blonde toe head of a son. Part of the reason she is so engaging is her raw honesty. If you’ve not had the distinct pleasure of reading one of her posts you are in for a rare treat.

This lady has real, raw, and genuine talent.

The name of her blog is: WordsFallFromMyEyes ~

And boy do they ever!

~ NOW ITS YOUR TURN FRIENDS ~

©TJHELSER 2102

Paying To Play ~ Being Intentional!

This last week I played. Today I pay.

So much what having any chronic illness can be like and Fibromyalgia with other over lapping conditions is no different.

I played most a whole day, went to a Red Hat breakfast meeting by 8am. I was hostess which means nothing more than to facilitate the so-called business meeting of our weekly breakfast. Wild morning really when you consider a room of 20 to 25 women all wanting to visit and catch up, I want to get on with business, my heart just not in it as I was having pretty weird tracking issues. I would look at one person and could not for the life of me think of her name. I would be chatting along, talking about how the high school class of 2013 will not know who Bob Dylan is…… then I forgot my point.

THE INTERNATIONAL RED HAT SOCIETY OF WOMEN

The Red Hat Society began as a result of a few women deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor and Elan. We believe silliness is the comedy relief of life, and since we are all in it together, we might as well join red-gloved hands and go for the gusto together. Underneath the frivolity, we share a bond of affection, forged by common life experiences and a genuine enthusiasm for wherever life takes us next.”

– Sue Ellen Cooper, Queen Mother

Standing up in front of a large group of women or a large group of any bodies was a daunting  and anxious time for me initially. I was not sure in the very beginning I would ever be able to do it, at least do it comfortably. And to think that Law School is something I have still on my bucket list is hysterical.  But as time went on standing up in front of a group of 20 to 40 women in a sea of red hats has been a great accomplishment of mine. It’s no different from talking to a houseful of guests in my home.  I could do this too.

Speaking of Lent which is something I am very passionate about was on my notes, I even had some prompts. Just so I’d stay on track. Nothing heavy or even with any one denomination mentioned. So not my style anyway as my faith comes from many beliefs. Not one dogmatic belief. Not just one tenet, one canon, one law.

But I blew my whole point on this too; and  now pray that I was not being paid no mind. It just was not morning that’s for sure.

Maybe… maybe the cost to play was adding up by then. Maybe my spoon stash was depleting and I was not obviously paying any attention.

Leaving breakfast with the help of my BFF of a  husband who came to pick me up as I am still not driving because of my neck, we then spent the next hour – maybe an 1.5 hours  together running a couple of errands. Lastly dropping me off at a friend’s home where I was teaching a group of ladies how to create 3D paper roses.  The afternoon was a potluck lunch with some of the women from the morning main group and in that day I learned I still have so far to go.

Yet I have come so far….

I have been dealing with some exasperated symptoms that seemed to have no solutions. I’d practically given up the fight in many ways starting to think about rolling over to higher doses of medications. I’ve fought the last 4 yrs, bringing myself voluntarily down from high doses of two dangerous medications to now using medications that although not assured of their safety help me feel better. I’ve also found alternative life style changes and herbs to treat the symptoms that bled through and disturbed my ability to function.  

It was a quite nice day. One that I would not give up for even the current results. Maybe I should say;  I would not give it up even in spite of the results.  Yet finding the happy medium between what I want to do, and what I should do is not always easy.  And throw into that mix that I also have to figure out what it is I can do.

This is not a complaint. Far from it. I am most grateful to be learning the good grace of  what is important in my world. And what is not. I am, and have been blessed to have to find what things in my life should come first, second, and even last.  Or not at all. Why would this be a blessing I have been asked?  Why should you have to choose?

And I ask:  “As long as you are getting to choose, how can you not be grateful?”

This intentional ability to choose is just one of  my blessings of course, but it’s truly a blessing because if not for this need to choose when would I ever take the time to stop and smell the roses, the lavender, the sweet peas of life? 

And the Trillium’s of Spring in this Amazing  Great Pacific NorthWET

Seriously. We may take the time to stop and tuck our noses into a fresh bloom at its first sight.  But honestly, how long does it stay with you, that magical moment?  It’s a choice that I am able to make; and one that feeds me deeply for days on days. To stop and take my time, to be mindful, and to tuck myself in to many blossoms of Springs welcoming Hello ~ it  is a magical kind of thing. A  magical kind of time. ~

 Oh Lovely Spring Anew! 

But how many more blossoms will you tuck into? You’ll feel like you have crossed that small blessing off your list this spring and move on to look to find the new ones on your path. All the while missing the gorgeous fragile Trillium’s along the wooded paths floor.  Tucked down inside below and beside the earthy smell of  rich brown dirt and green moss are the low to the ground flowers.

When we were raising our daughters in the country we had almost 3 acres of this kind of loveliness. Just the kind of spots of  Mother Nature at her very best I adore coming upon. Its important never to pick a Trillium. It will not be able to grow back. That one plant is gone and no other will grow in its place. It’s a solitary generation of a  flower. At one time Trillium’s were placed on the endangered species list. And we had a whole back yard of 3 acres of them.

This native is one of a family of native plants, the Trilliaceae, that are unique to North America and Asia. Oregon’s forest floors are abundant in early spring and my heart would sing each first walk of Spring along our property’s paths.

I could choose to stop and tuck myself down low to the ground and gaze down at the newly blossomed Trillium. And often I did choosing this quiet and serene time to listen deeply and closely to the sounds from the ground. The greatest thing about the graciousness I have found in needing to make choices that feed me deeply is that now I know that one Trillium is not enough.  I been given the wisdom from my past & current health situation to know that when making my choices in how I shall spend my energy, (or my spoon stash if you will)

[see The Spoon Theory @ https://tonij.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/1343/  

It would behoove me to make a choice that will feed me for than a few minutes. A few hours, or even a few days. I want to choose wisely for the things that speak to me deeply I carry back in my mind to bring forth on dark winter days when the forest floors are not as friendly, and the Trillium’s are safely tucked under the forest grounds heavy blanket of composting leaves and debris.  All of Mother Nature soundly asleep.

I have grown into a woman who recognizes the beauty in simplicity, yet also in grand notions & wonders. I know that if I find one Trillium on a Spring morning walk in the woods and if I let myself stay mindful – in the present – I shall find myself tucking down to gaze upon dozens and dozens of  striking Trillium’s. I cannot pick one or even a bouquet to take with me, but I can sit along the path’s edge, drinking in the fragrance of wet bark on evergreen trees, damp critter droppings fertilizing the red volcanic clay soil. This is a choice that once I make I can take with me long after. Not some fleeting time I almost miss, because I am so caught up in thinking of being else where than where I am.

This blessing of choices that my illness gives me is something that I choose to see as a glass half full. I have the choice of staying tucked on the sofa with a pillow and blanket as my best friend.  Or not! And trust me, there are for certain days like this. Or I have the choice most days to Not. Instead to do as I please. And please myself I must say I do.

It’s not too hard in God’s country to be pleased.

The amazing adage “Pay To Play” rings true in my small world. It’s true that when I play; I in fact pay. But you know what?  Give me the choice to pay for playing any day that I can. It’s so worth it even if there is a day or even two spent paying. I think back to that forest floor path in my journey’s mind;  recalling with each calming and cleansing breath the Trillium’s of Spring.

And I’ll know that this is Mother Nature’s message ~

A gentle message~  as gentle as the Spring time drizzle in the woods, telling me its a lovely choice, that choice to play. To play along the Trillium’s path’s…..if this what I have to pay with… this recall of Spring’s Trillium’s a bloom…. than I’ll say with graciousness and great intent……

I’ll be Glad To Pay To Play  ~ Any Ole Day~

©tjhelser 2012

Today (Not) Brought To you By The Letter *T*

Just seeing that I am missing the letter T on many words in last few works.

So where did they go?

Just saying. I wanted you all to know if you see words that seem illiterate it’s not the author. Its her keyboard.

Canned Air?

Where are you when I need you?

©tjhelser 2012

Share Your World Sunday 2012

Sunday February 26, 2012

1. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life? “Wild World”, Cat Stevens, “Young Girl”,by Gary Puckett ,”Summertime”  By Janis Joplin,  “Longer Than” by Dan Folgleberg, ” “Day Is Done” &  “I Dig Rock n Roll”  by Peter Paul & Mary.  And any Moody Blues would be an appropriate fit here as well.

2. What is your favorite time of day?  It would have to be when you are all asleep. I write. I create. I love that the world around me is quiet as a church mouse, and the only thing I hear are the sounds I make creating.

3. What is your favorite part of the town/city you live in? I love he climate where I love, but more importantly I like that a least 300 days a year the sun is shining. It can even be snowing yet the sun will shine. The high Desert in Oregon is a phenom.

(part 2 of #3)) And what City and Country do you live?   Bend, United States

4. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? Creating anything with color and texture.

Thanks again. Go to Cee for this lovely and crazy fun idea. You can find Cee’s blog and incredible photography at:

http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/

You are never too late to join Cee and the rest of us who are participating in “Share Your World Sunday 2012.”

©tjhelser 2012

The Spoon Theory~ A Way Of Explaining

A theory I live by, a theory that saves my life~ It’s also an incredible and thoughtful way to express to people in your world/life what having a chronic illness is like. They’ll get it much easier by relating to spoons of all things~

Thank you to the author of this piece Christine. You have helped me save so many relationships with people who just did not get it. If you have read this before Bravo, you are doing as much as you can to communicate what your life, days are like.

The Spoon Theory

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

At that moment, The Spoon Theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands. I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted. Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point.

I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control. She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become? I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet.

I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus. I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.”

I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her a spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away.

Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.

I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone.

Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s “spoons”, but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less “spoons”. I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on “spoons”, because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.

We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night. When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry.

I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely.

Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.

I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse than others; some days I have more spoons than most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared”

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war.

It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons”. After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can’t go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine.

I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”

Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness.

Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my “spoons”.

© 2003 by Christine Miserandino Butyoudontlooksick.com

Shamed for Life?

~SHAME~

 

 

And what does that word do to you may I ask?

Does it conjure up thoughts and then feelings about a time or event in your life that at some point if even not now causes  a shame response?

I know that shame is not necessarily a bad thing. Shame, or the knowledge of the consequence of it can serve its purpose I suppose when one is weighing whether or not their actions could be shameful in someone’s eyes? But whose eyes count? Is it something that we carry with us in adulthood from events that happened while still maturing? I have no real answers to any these. Especially would I never condone that what I am feeling or writing about how I feel or think is the best for anyone else.  I don’t. I don’t because I come from a different history, I have different beliefs and thoughts on things than anyone else. Just as you do. We may be like-minded in many ways BUT WE STILL ARE INDIVIDUAlS with individual outlooks.

Shame is something that will cause you to have to pay for excess baggage. Its expensive. It’s a cost to you as a person that is likely to cause extreme hardship if allowed to continue to fester. Shame comes in many forms, comes from many things, and is insidious if left alone. Especially the shame that you had no say in. Shame that was being played out like a maestro orchestrates an orchestra.

I know Shame well. And shame knows me well. I am going to add a frame of reference to this post I rarely do. My past. Or should I say my childhood. I’ve spoken about it in simplistic terms, the good out of the bad because 99.9% of my time that is just how I see my childhood, the good from the bad. There were both. Just as there is in every one of us. For the purpose of this post, and for my own journey I hope that you’ll either bear with me or you’ll relate. Or both. Now you have options.

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON OF LENT

This quote from the Preface of Lent may seem surprising to those people who are accustomed to thinking of Lent solely as a time of penance: “Each year, you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed”.

Lent is certainly a period marked by seriousness, but, contrary to certain stereotypes, it is also a time of joy

We become aware of our sinfulness, our shames, however, not by remaining fixated on ourselves, but by contemplating the love of Spirit revealed by the Son in the Spirit. The readings for Mass during Lent certainly denounce sin but at the same time proclaim the divine mercy which is always ready to forgive

For those who do not know I am a recovering Irish Catholic. I mean no disrespect or offense to those who are practicing Catholics. Its my own personal spiritual choice based on personal history that made no sense to me to continue being under the direction of a church that protects physical abuse. Priests who have obviously disobeyed their vow and promise to God. My abuse, albeit not by a man of the clergy, but by one who should have been an even more trusted, a member of our close-knit family. My paternal grandfather. I was barely 8 yrs old.

Suffice it to say that I find no purpose in regurgitating up the details to be read here. I shall be no part of allowing anyone to “Float their boat” by reading a post that is intended to help, not hurt. The only thing needed to be known is this was my start to Shame. Something that I did not have control over, yet all the same I own the shame of it.

Growing up, and then out of an alcoholic home where parents had their heads in some other game than parenting. Seeing violence, arguing, and drunks at any time was my fear. I could not and would not let my friends see it. I would protect them from it just as hard as I tried to protect my baby brother of 4 yrs from it. I could not. This was beyond my control and led me to believe that this was also my shame. I vowed to never as an adult allow events and other people to have power over my life, the shame of others would never be mine again. I could master my culpability in life, but own no one else’s.

Its taken me 50 plus years to realize that the shame causes guilt of the hidden kind and that I don’t have control and never will. That as long as I let what ever happens around me to engulf me spiritually I make it my own. AS long as I allow my own children who are adults now to have me accept their shame and guilt I am keeping them from owning what maybe they need to heal. It’s not of any

Spending some time on Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent reading and praying I asked Spirit to help me quiet the chatter in my mind, and to still my heart so that I may be closer. What can I do to bring my mind more open to Spirit, and what my heart needs to let go of all old pains? What is keeping me from that complete openness that I no longer need childish things? Letting go of guilt’s and shame whether I own them or they belong to some one else is not helping my quest.

I need to let them all go, take down the screen that maybe helped me keep a guard up around my heart. Hanging on to shame is hanging to resentments. It’s akin to hanging on to an old lover who abuses your right to be happy. I can see ever so clearly now that what I believed was my baggage was a way for me to remain a victim, to hang on to events that are past whether years ago or yesterday only keep a screen of falseness up between myself and the spirit of contentment  in my life.

Taking responsibility for events not in my power were bricks put up through the years with mortar that has been crumbling. I had no idea why, only I knew there was this hole in my heart where I placed all shame. Shame has been keeping me from a lot of things.I did not feel worthy despite all the teachings I was forgiven. I had no idea I also had to forgive myself.

I need to let it all go. I’ve hung on too much, too long as it is. So long that there is actual fear of the idea of being without this coat of hidden shame. This is what happens when you own something too long that never belonged to you in the first place. Yet I stumble, I look over my shoulder, I run the other way, and shame wants to follow. I will have to master this letting go.

Letting go of shame. It does not sound like much. It may not even be what is thought of as the typical fasting for Lent. Yet it feels so right in my heart, and my mind knows how much I need to let it all go.

I am praying that This Reason For The Season of Lent also includes my giving up my shame. Letting it all go to something far more powerful than myself. I will cleanse all my resentments away, all the shame will leave my heart. Not just for the several weeks until Easter Sunday, but for always. My heart will no longer be a buzz with painful shame, and my mind’s self chatter of times gone will be free to be open to just today. Just this moment. Living in splendor with a whole heart, with a mind that can relish the now, and a spirituality that is quiet and free.

Good bye Old Shame, its been real.

 

©ttaylor2012