week 3: lesson 3 http://inkypath.com/programs
Write about the things you are grateful for as well as some of the things that are driving you absolutely mad. Think of it as a gratitude journal or grievances record. Instead of writing appreciations and complains, describe why you think these things are present in your life. What have you done to bring them about?
What can you do to change them?
Write to a 3rd party who knows nothing of your life and has no stake in the outcome. Get dirty. Lay all the gritty details on the table.
Dammit. i am so tired of *feeling*. i’m tired of the tears. i’m tired of tired. i’m tired of so much and there are times i long to return to the numb, disconnected, frozen person of years ago. i am weary of knowing and loving and hurting and feeling so deep in my heart of hearts.
gratitude :: thankful :: appreciative
a silent morning alone, nestled in my golden yellow chair, feet propped on my kapok zafu, listening to the gentle rain on the skylight. facing north, gray clouds settle in, flocks of geese fly in formation, crows rest on bare branches, airplanes continue to take off and land :: there is something comforting in a schedule. yes. i am grateful. as i breathe deeply and slowly, today, the privilege of abundance is mine. i have more shoes than i will ever need. i will never go hungry. two dozen red roses, fill the room with their heady, intoxicating scent, reminding me that i am loved.
it is impossible to know what is under a word or one life, under pretense or profession, under a name or perspective. the veneer of living can be deceptive.
i can only know what is true for myself ~ when i slow down, breathe, sit and listen. there is always something else, underneath.
under the gratitude is regret. under regret is frustration. under frustration is embarrassment. under embarrassment is that question, “What have you done to bring them about?” under that is anger at the question.
putting it all on the table, getting down and dirty is so frightening, so difficult, so against everything that i have been taught and internalized my entire life.
the family motto has been “look good, be good”. the most important thing in the world is to appear “good”, to have everything neat and tidy and orderly, to appear as if everything is perfectly fine, no worries, no concerns. dirty laundry, divorce, addiction, suicide, unplanned pregnancy, unhappiness, and “oh, my goodness” even ‘living together’ have been hidden, unspoken and unacknowledged.
for years my experience in religious community has imposed similar demarcations between external behavior and internal life. sit in the same place. don’t disagree, or if you do, say so politely. believe what they say, do what they say, act like everyone else, look like everyone else, talk like everyone else. don’t think for yourself, trust the Word, trust the words of others.
don’t you see the madness this invites? don’t you know that there is an internal world that screams to be set free, to be let loose from the binding rules of family honor and religious piety?
you tell me ~ where do i go with my story?
who do i tell ~ that this week i filed for unemployment?
who do i tell ~ that i don’t know how to figure out medical coverage?
who do i tell ~ that i applied for social security early because i need $507 a month?
who do i tell ~ that i am angry as hell that my husband is blind?
who do i tell ~ that i am sad and lonely, that i miss my children and my grandchildren?
you see, i have heard the questions “What have you done to bring ‘them’ about?” and “What can you do to change them?” the questions and answers historically have come from politically conservative, religious people: work hard and you will get ahead. pull yourself up by your bootstraps. don’t take advantage of the system. don’t rock the boat. trust God. have faith. reach out. you know how to use the phone, call someone. all true, but missing the mark. (and in some circles that is the definition of sin.) and i want to scream from my belly, “what do you think i have been doing?”
i don’t need fixing and i do not want someone to take care of things. i just want to be able to tell….to share….to say….this is my experience, my truth without the expectation of someone else trying to change things for me.
i do what i know to do ~ i sit with my cuppa tea, compassionately present with the both/and of my life ~ acknowledging my life experiences, the truth of my internal journey and paying attention to the coming and going of the birds, the planes, rain, the feelings and the knowing.
yes. i am grateful. as i breathe, in and out, deeply and slowly, today, the privilege of abundance is mine.