The sky is filled with smoke this afternoon. My windows are half-open and when I smelled the familiar smell I thought the neighbors were burning some steaks again. Seems to be a favorite hobby of theirs. It wasn’t, though. Stepping out onto the landing I realized the sky was all white, all around me. It wasn’t a little bit of smoke trickling out of the neighbor’s Big Green Egg. It was a lot of smoke.
Super sleuth that I am (/sarcasm) I decided to check the local neighborhood watch Facebook page for information. Sure enough, there was a post from a local newscaster that Fort Benning – which is about 15 minutes down the road from me – is doing a “controlled burn” today.
Walking through the parking lot to my car, I grinned a Cheshire grin.
Controlled burn. Isn’t that an oxymoron? What are we – humans – and what must be the size of the collective egos of anyone, rank notwithstanding, who believes he can control a thing like fire? FIRE! The wildest of the elements. Not necessarily the most destructive, although the argument could be made. The hubris. The unabashed gall. The very notion that fire – (or water – or earth – or wind) – can be caged? Can be tamed, or made to follow rules or stay in between the lines?
Controlled burn. Isn’t that a terrific metaphor for… well, I can think of several things. We are never in control of the fire. We cannot control the burn. We may find ways to convince ourselves otherwise. I think we are good at that, as a species. We may draw barriers and tell ourselves “the flames will stay inside this patch of land” but that isn’t ever how it works out. That isn’t how it’s supposed to work out.
That isn’t what fire is, what it does. That isn’t what any wild thing does or is made to do.
I’ve learned a lot this week, maybe the past few weeks. Some wisdom came at random, from YouTube videos or others’ insights I happened to be privy to in some way. Other knowledge, I sought – an answer to a question, a meaning of a dream, the origin of a certain painting. It feels like I am a sponge, and for whatever reason I am able to soak up and retain more information now than I was before. Perhaps I am just moving out of the haze of deep grief and returning to mental clarity. I do not exactly know the reason, but I am enjoying the result.
In meditation this week I saw what I thought were wires and I heard the word “frequencies”. The wires were red and blue and I was simultaneously looking at them from outside, and touching or traveling through them. I realized after a moment or two that the wires were more like muscle fibers, like sinew. Something to do with electrical current flowing inside? I also knew that the red and blue have different frequencies. I researched that later on and found that it is true, but I didn’t know it going into the meditation.
Human Design. It’s an interesting concept. Moreso to me than Enneagrams, which I find to be tedious and too general. One day I might identify as Enneagram 9 and the next day I am certain I must be an Enneagram 4 and honestly none of it has done any good for me, as far as self-knowledge or self-awareness. Human Design, though, speaks to me. Something about it feels authentic and true. Manifesting Generator with a right angle cross of the sleeping phoenix. Sounds like a riddle straight out of a Harry Potter story, doesn’t it? In reading about all the various terms I found a blog and the author is a woman who is fascinated with reading others’ HD charts, so she features and explains several celebrity charts. She mentions in her write-up that being the type she is, she finds herself naturally drawn to people who are that same type. On a whim I looked up what type David Bowie is, and we are the same. Go figure. Super interesting to read about, but be warned – you may lose hours of the day once you get started.
I wonder if observation can exist without curiosity. This is something that came to mind one night as I was trotting off to bed, books and tea in hand as usual but carrying a big ugly gray blanket heaped over my left side. (It’s ugly, but it’s warm.) The blanket normally sits in my “giant’s chair” for when I curl up to watch tv (read: never) or a movie with the kids but I decided to take it to bed with me and layer it with my extra blankets. Anyway, I thought it must look odd but I wasn’t questioned about it. It’s odd behavior to me, to NOT notice a thing, because I notice EVERYTHING. If a book is moved on my bookshelf, I see it. Continuity is an issue for me with movies sometimes because if the hair is parted on one side, then we pan back and it’s parted on the other side, it irks me. So I wondered: Can a person be observant if they don’t have the desire or compulsion to know and understand the people and circumstances around them? I think being a good observer is driven by a genuine and ongoing curiosity. That’s my theory. So when a person doesn’t notice a thing – or question it – as large as a woolly mammoth blanket hanging from my shoulder, it means that they do not want to notice it. Does that make sense? It makes sense in my head.
We didn’t have a “100 Day” at school. This morning I cut out 100 felt insects and later I will glue each of them on a t-shirt for my 4 year old to wear tomorrow morning to celebrate attending school for 100 days so far this year. On the one hand, I’m always up for a celebration. On the other hand, what is it that we are teaching them? I’m not a huge fan of meaningless milestones that are lauded as achievements because they devalue the actual achievement. This is a low-vibe thought so I’ll leave it.
Speaking of! I met a real grumpy-potamous this morning. Wyatt likes that word, it always snaps him out of a scowl. So the kids and I were walking to the car to drive to school, and there’s a mail truck full of boxes and packages in the parking lot. Both kids pointed it out to me, as the mail here isn’t usually delivered until late afternoon. We saw the mail-person walking down some stairs and so I smiled and offered my cheeriest “Good morning” to her. She immediately began complaining about the weather, her job, “these people” (whose packages she was delivering – and I might have been one, I’m not sure), just on and on, saying awful things like “this is worse than Christmas!” and “How do they even afford to buy all of this?” The disgust is evident in her tone, and the way her face scrunches up. I smiled and waved and then promptly ushered the boys into the car. Once we were all seated, I used it as an opportunity to teach them. Not in judgement, but just self-awareness. We have been doing a new “game” in our home where when a statement is made – “This is yummy” or “I hate carrots!” – we evaluate it. We simply ask, is this GRATITUDE, or is this COMPLAINING? Am I being grateful? If not, how can I say what I feel in a way that expresses more gratitude and less attitude? Even I have to use it.
Related to that, our new favorite thing is something I made up, called “resets” or “resetting”. Sometimes the day, or life, or a situation is overwhelming and we get angry or sad or mad. Which is fine, feelings are good and we include all feelings in that assessment. The danger comes when we lash out at each other because we’ve allowed those feelings to take over. When that happens (honestly it’s me at least half the time), we all kneel down (so that I’m on their level) and we practice deep breathing. I ask each child what they are inhaling, (calm, peace, love) and what they are exhaling (meanness, a poor attitude). I also take a turn. Then, we forget about that part of the day and decide to start over together.
Veggies today, and craving apricots. I shall search high and low for them, but I don’t think they’re available in winter. Perhaps some preserves.
Full Moon is on her way. Always an exciting time of the month. I’ll update with more thoughts later but it’s lunch time.
It was just yesterday. Well, not really but sort-of.
I *thought* I was having a heart attack. I’m bradycardic anyway and my blood pressure has been dipping lower and lower. I also have a bit of a heart valve issue, but nothing major and otherwise I am, in my own estimation, a healthy person.
Standing at the stove last night, I suddenly had sharp pains in the front and back of my left shoulder, followed by tingling down my arm. My left hand got very cold.
Uncharacteristically, I was calm. I turned off the heat to the front eye, backed up a few paces, and put my hand to my chest. I don’t know why, maybe I was feeling for a heartbeat? I couldn’t breathe and the sharp pains were still shooting. My forearm and hand were asleep. I walked quietly to my big comfy chair, thankful my boys were preoccupied with each other in their room. I text my husband, “how close are you?” He text me back, “2 minutes.”
Ok. Two minutes. I can breathe and remain calm for two minutes.
Then, I started to cry. Despite my best efforts to quell them, quiet, hot tears came trickling down my cheeks. My thoughts went to my sons and how happy I am that I made journals for each of them, so that at least they’d have letters to read about all the things I love and enjoy about each of them. And they’d have my handwriting. I don’t know why that feels significant, but it always has. I want them to have that. I thought about my brother and I hoped he wouldn’t still be angry after this. I thought about friends I haven’t spoken to in a while and whether they’d know how special they are to me. I thought about how strange it was that I thought, “well, at least I’ll get to see Bonmama”. I thought about my friend and felt sad that loss seems to be a lesson for her this lifetime. I hoped my parents would be ok, would think about me and smile rather than cry.
I even hoped someone would find all the the things I’ve created – my poems, stories, drawings, paintings, all of it – and collect them and keep them safe. They are earnest pieces of my heart and my soul and my energy is present in them.
All of these thoughts existed within the span of maybe a minute or two. Time is a funny illusion.
My husband arrived home (I had not told him anything yet) and I described what was happening in my body. He felt my left arm and hand, then my right. The left side was freezing. He asked if I wanted to call an ambulance. I did, but mostly I did not. I took two aspirin, and put the boys’ plates together for dinner. I tried to call my mom, who is a nurse, but she didn’t pick up. I sat in my room in the dark and tried to connect to my inner knowing. What was happening?
If it was a major cardiac event, it left as quickly as it came and for that I’m thankful. If it wasn’t, well, lucky me. I slept fine knowing that I am at peace with passing when it is my time, at peace with the love I have given to this world, at peace. This morning I think it likely that I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder, or that it was simply a series of unfortunate neglects on my part. I was dehydrated, exhausted, and had pushed myself pretty hard all day. Eating very healthily, which is good but sometimes too much good is bad. (It’s true.) I have to remember to eat salt or drink Gatorade sometimes to get my heart rate up.
I meditated before sleeping, and decided to try something different. I don’t normally activate my chakras in meditation but for some reason I wanted to, so I followed that intuitive nudge. All was normal until I reached the heart (green) chakra. That one blew outward to both sides, a bright green light wave, almost like it blew a fuse. I could see it clear as day. The heart runs on electricity, so it’s not really a leap to think it’s possible. An aha! moment. Don’t know what it means, but there it is.
After meditating, I checked my fitbit, which monitors my heart rate. I saw a dip to 44 around the time of the incident, which normally I don’t hit unless I’m asleep (then it’s a range of 38-46). Maybe it dipped too low and caused my heart to freak out a little? I’ve even wondered if there are so many energies around me (in spirit and in physical) dipping into and rubbing against mine that it caused a bit of a shock to my heart space? Like when you scoot around the carpet in socks and then ZAP! the kid closest to you. Anyone understand that reference? Anyone?
This morning I woke up early, meditated and worked out before anyone else was awake. I felt a renewed gratitude for my life and a sense of responsibility to give love and kindness to everyone in every circumstance for the time I am here.
Anyway… long and boring story, shortened…
TL;DR – Thought I had a mild heart attack, even though it isn’t likely for me. Meditated and received a message of “electrical overload”. Blew a fuse. Felt calm throughout, managed to not freak out my kids while avoiding ER visit. Grateful for my life and loves and that I’ve set things up to be well if I do depart this plane early. (It was not a panic attack, although I know some people have similar experiences when they experience those. Mine are not like this.) Got up and got back down to business. Life is good.
I’m reading a book called The Art of Letting Go by Dr. David Hawkins.
When I was twenty I was interested in Buddhism. Buddhism says that attachment is the root of all suffering. At that time, I was not ready for this message. Immediately I felt a knot in my chest, a pit in my stomach. My ego was repelled by the thought that to progress spiritually, I would need to let go of all the things I was holding so tightly. I simply did not want to do that. So I put it aside.
Attachment in any form is from the ego, which is not a ‘bad’ thing in itself, as it serves to protect us. However, it often keeps us attached. The opposite of attachment is non-attachment, or acceptance. There is freedom to be found in the space of realizing that you are not your ego mind, that thoughts are harmless (and we do not have to believe every thought that passes through the mind), and that nothing in life is permanent.
Now, at forty years old, I am receptive to this and other concepts laid out in the book. The vibrations of different emotions, for one, and anger being very powerful energetically (thus the feeling of exhilaration that often accompanies intense anger). More importantly, I find myself ready to consider the idea that pain is caused by attachment, and to learn how to continue to grow by being honest about what attachments are present in my life.
This does not mean not to love things, or people, or places, or ideas, or experiences. Love is not attachment and attachment is not love. Attachment comes from a place of fear, of desperation, of wanting (like an empty well that cannot be filled). Love comes from a place of generosity and wholeness. When we release attachment and learn to become whole within ourselves, then we experience love as we are meant to. Others experience love from us in a way that they likely never have. This is a level that I think most people never reach.
So today’s lesson, as I see it, is one of revisiting. It’s time to perform spiritual and emotional inventory. Take a look at your belief systems, your cherished ideals. Examine what still fits for you and what perhaps has no place in your current life. Pick up a book that you rejected in youth and try it again. Does the message still feel dissonant and wrong to your heart? Does it now feel like something that might be true? With any luck, you’ll surprise yourself as you explore the inner workings of your spirit.
***Everything expressed here is mine, not copied from the book itself. Highly recommend reading the book in its entirety.