My Soul in a Vise Grip – and What About those Chakras?

{Saturday}

Ok, I’ve been feeling a bit less like pond scum since I was assured that there would be no problem finding my cat a good home, so that’s helpful.  I’m discovering that now I’m just really sad.  That sense of relief I was expecting has not kicked in yet and I keep crying.  Little things are making me cry – not all of them connected directly to the cat, but to feeling a sense of loss.

My job is one of the things that’s been difficult today.  I wanted to take some time off to grieve, but wasn’t able to do that because of some projects that are coming up.  And I feel like I’m being micro-managed to the point of not being able to move.  I don’t do so well with that.  So between that and missing my cat, I feel like this:

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Ok, so that’s a picture of a heart in a vice grip, not a soul.  That’s because I could not find a picture of a soul in a vise grip.   In fact, when you google images for soul, you get pictures like this:

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And I’m pretty sure you couldn’t even get that into a vise grip, much less tighten the grip.

Anyhow.  My heart is probably a bit pinched too.

So then i started thinking about how out of alignment my Chakras must be about now.  And wondering which ones were really out of whack.  So I pulled up this image:

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and pondered. My solar plexus – energy, vitality, desire/power – feels off.  I feel a lack of energy and a lack of power.

My heart Chakra is definitely unbalanced.  I needed to re-home my cat, for his sake and for mine.  It would have been nice if i could have done that with love and compassion – for him and for me.  Instead, i carried anger and shame.

And my throat Chakra.  Communication, creativity, and healing.  I’m not feeling a sense of creativity or healing.  I feel dry.  As if i could choke on my words, or need to moisten them with tears.  My well of creativity feels dry.  And i’m in need of healing – and not in touch with resources with in myself to make that happen.

Clearly, with those Chakras unbalanced, the Third Eye can’t possibly be balanced, and I assure you it isn’t.

Also, y’all know that i have no idea if i’m doing this Chakra thing right, but it feels right to me, and maybe it’s helpful.

{Sunday…}

Feeling better today, and beginning to feel more balanced too, thank goodness.  It occurred to me sometime after i started this yesterday that i have dismantled my life as it was and am rebuilding it slowly.  Stop and think about that for a minute.

In my 60s and I have taken my life as it was and essentially removed just about everything.  The things around me – where i lived, my house, my volunteer work, my office, my clients, friends i could see irl, and some of my identities – gone.  And i’m continuing the process.  i guess eventually i’ll be stripped down to the most essential me.

Except i’m also adding back on.  A new house, a closer connection with family, a new career path, new identities…

It is not surprising that i am a bit out of whack.  It’s not surprising that i am out of sorts more often than i used to be.  It is possible that i need to be more patient and less irritated with myself.  This morning, it seems like i might be able to do that.

This is not exactly the BDSM blog i once thought it would be either.  So there’s that.  But while there’s life, there’s hope, right?

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Love

There was a time in my life that i was very focused on love.  Not romantic love, although there was some of that back then too, but what I thought of as “agape love .”  A more spiritual version of love, love that is unconditional.  God-like, perhaps.

My guiding principal was to do everything i did with love.  That absolutely didn’t mean being weak or letting people treat me any way they felt like, I had too many things in my life that required toughness and hard decisions.  Too many people with conflicting needs to balance.

It was literally a question i asked myself throughout the day, “How do i do this with love?”  Which is not to say i always succeeded, or even ever succeeded really, but the effort created a warmth within me that felt like it made life worth living.

Pema Chodron says:

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”
― Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

I don’t feel that in the same way, and i’m not sure what’s changed.

Life is still worth living – absolutely!  That’s not what i’m saying at all.  But it’s different. i think i was more invested in living in the moment then, maybe?  i don’t know.  But i am different now.

Pema also says:

“We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased.”
― Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change

When i wonder if i need to recapture how i was then, i remind myself that how i am is not “wrong,” it’s different.  If i miss how it was then, ok.  That’s fine.  But i think it is more about being where i am and staying in tune with where i’m going.  There’s no need to label things – not better or worse, not worthy or unworthy.

On a much more mundane note, i am going to start limiting how late in the evening i eat.  Realistically, i think i can do a 6:30 cutoff, 7:00 if there are extraneous factors.  It worked last night to limit my hours long “dinner,” and that would be helpful.  And i’m going to start including my step count in my check-in – even if it’s pretty pathetic.  Just paying attention to it is one thing I can do to see if it changes.

And i would like to slow down.  i made some mistakes at work last week – not major mistakes, minor things that just made me look careless.  One of them inconvenienced others, which was not my goal.  They were little things that happened because i got to the end of something i was working and thought i was “finished” just a couple of minutes too quickly.  Clicked “send”or logged out without checking to make sure the work was really complete.

i’m not beating myself up for that, it really was all minor.  But i’m taking it as an opportunity to make a small change.  To make sure a document is stored where other people can get to it, that a draft email is finalized without dangling bits and pieces before it goes out.  AND to do it without moving back into anxious perfectionism!  That’s the real challenge.

i feel like, maybe, i am on the verge of something.  You know?  Like i am growing in ways that i don’t recognize, because they’re new.  Working on relaxing and embracing the open-endedness of it.  Feeling open and curious.

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Sunday Silence

I have the house to myself again today – MP left on Thursday so it’s been quiet around here.

Yesterday, since i didn’t get to go to the play party, i went to the March for Our Lives, which was pretty phenomenal.  Then i took myself out for dinner, where i sat outside for the river view (all zipped up in my hoodie, cause it was windy and a bit cool.)

I had some delicious seared scallops and a glass of white wine.   And um, whipped garlic mashed potatoes.  Super yum.  Thanks to the March – and the hike back to my car – i hit my steps goal for the first time in forever, which totally made up for the mashed potatoes – yay!

New experiment today – i’m going to try to stay off Facebook all day.  (I have already been back on there 4 times since I wrote that sentence 15 minutes ago.  Sigh… But now I’ve turned off my notifications.)  It will be interesting to see how that goes!

i also spend too much time checking for comments here.  Not today.

i want to go for a walk and maybe drive out to the beach later if it doesn’t rain.   Whatever i do – whether it’s cleaning up the house a bit, which totally needs to happen, or other things (like i just ordered the new Maren Smith book, Seducing Sandy) – i want to make sure that i have time and space to feel the silence around me.

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Sunday Special

I’ve spent part of the morning planning the rest of the month and next quarter.  I’ve started using a paper and pen planner, something I haven’t done since I had a “Daytimer” in my pre-computer days.  i bought myself some fancy gel pens and have color coded my life, which is something i’ve never done before.

I’m using the Dragontree Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner  which i really like.  I’m not using it as fully as i could, but i think i’ll grow into using more aspects of it.  And if i don’t, that’s probably ok too.

But i’ve been listening to this – Sacred Spirit Drums with David and Steve Gordon – which i really like.

As i listen, i begin to breathe more deeply, more slowly.

i had put some tasks on my calendar for today, thinking that i’d feel better if i got them done now rather than waiting until Monday when i have all kinds of new things beginning.  But i notice that when i think about doing them, my body hunches over and my chest gets tight, my stomach feels weird.

I remind myself that i don’t have to do those things today.  I can if it will make me feel better.  But they aren’t due today.  I’m not obligated to do them.  It’s Sunday.  I’m off work.  i can spend my day taking care of myself if that feels like what i need to do.

It’s ok.  The stuff will get done.  And even if i decide to do it later today, i don’t have to be all tense and miserable right now.  Right now, just doing what i’m doing is enough.  And – let’s go for the big cliche – i am enough.

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A Story of Being Called to Oneself

Today, i’m feeling overwhelmed and worried.  I feel like the foundation i’ve been standing on has turned into sand and i’m slipping around in it.   i’m working on trusting myself to reach out to others for help where i need it and to resolve the new problems that have come up as best i can.

i’ve posted this story before, maybe not in quite this form.  When i read it, i usually think about how different our culture would be if we had this approach to people who do wrong.  i was particularly thinking about that lately when i read about a renowned trauma expert who was apparently also a bully to his staff.  It seems like the original wrong-doing has been compounded by his denial and unwillingness to recognize the problem and to change.

It makes me think about our shadow selves and how if we don’t recognize and own that aspect of ourselves, it acts out in the world in harmful ways.  i was reading about the allegations against this man and wondering where my own faults lie.  Am i doing things now that could someday lead to me being publicly called out, chastised, discredited?   Maybe.  More importantly, would i be able to hear feedback that would let me correct my course now?  i hope so.

Today, when i read this story, i’m about to share, i hear it as an opportunity to be called to myself.  Feeling uncertain, feeling ashamed of maybe making the wrong decision, i can smudge with sage and connect with the Six Directions.

I can call on the East, spirit of new beginnings; the South, spirit of warmth and love; the West, spirit of the setting sun and autumn’s harvest; the North, spirit of quiet, stillness, and deep earth.  I call on Mother Earth, source of support and bounty and Father Sky, source of light and understanding.  I ask them all to be with me.  I ask for blessings and wisdom and invite them to join the spirit of my soul within, a place of union, love and reverence.

This story reminds me that we each have our own song, even if we don’t know it, and move in our rhythm.  We are each called to be the best of who we are.  And we are still loved even when our flaws threaten to overwhelm us.

Of all the African tribes still alive today, the Himba tribe is one of the few that counts the birth date of the children not from the day they are born nor conceived but the day the mother decides to have the child.

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When a Himba woman decides to have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child who wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches him the song. When they make love to physically conceive the child, they sing the song of the child as a way of inviting the child.

When she becomes pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people gather around him/her and sing the child’s song to welcome him/her. As the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or gets hurt, someone picks him/her up and sings to him/her his/her song. Or maybe when the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.

In the Himba tribe there is one other occasion when the “child song” is sang to the Himba tribesperson. If a Himba tribesman or tribeswoman commits a crime or something that is against the Himba social norms, the villagers call him or her into the center of the village and the community forms a circle around him/her. Then they sing his/her birth song to him/her.

The Himba views correction not as a punishment, but as love and remembrance of identity. For when you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when the Himba tribesman/tribeswoman is lying in his/her bed, ready to die, all the villagers that know his or her song come and sing – for the last time that person’s song.

Today, i forgive myself for being less than perfect.  Today, i send you love and joy – from my spirit to yours…

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