Move your mind, Move your body, Move your soul.
I am grinning that my title for this is "Teen Life", like the old magazines of my youth - Teen Bop! etc. Not quite sure how to wrap words around it, so "Teen Life" it is.
I have always felt pride in the fact that I haven't really be-moaned the passing of time. I have made every effort to be present with my kids in their lives and to take each phase in stride.
I haven't wished moments away or tried to "stop time" or any of that. I welcomed in each new year and said good bye to the old. Well-meaning parents note that once they go to college I might feel different, or once the youngest is gone, or or or. They may be right. But I haven't felt that pang of loss until recently.
I've worked from home since before it was cool (and before COVID made it mandatory). I have loved being here to greet them off the bus, to be the one who is able to make all the sporting events, the one who can drive the friends around. The one who is here to hear about their day as they grab the after school snack.
The COVID-year changed things, of course, and there were plenty of moments when I wanted to be alone, when I struggled with meetings while "home-schooling", when it was too loud and there were so many emotions (from all of us). Moments when I just wanted to be alone.
And now that my kids are all vaccinated and they are going back into the world - and it's summer, which means no school structure -- well, I'm feeling it, parents. I'm feeling like all of a sudden, they have left me alone.
They are in and out in scattered timelines. I don't always hear about their days. I don't hear what's going on with friends. It does seem like just yesterday that I knew when they last ate, pooped, had class, saw a friend, etc. I used to go on their playdates with them, for goodness sake.
And now - they are all just-- OFF. In a million directions.
I almost feel silly or stupid writing these words for all to see. Like OF COURSE they are off. One is almost 18, another 15, and the youngest 13. Their jobs, friends, phones are much more exciting than I am. Their friends encircle them with warmth and acceptance. It is age appropriate. I am grateful that they have strong friendships and are having fun after this past sh*t year.
I want to make these summer memories and they don't have any interest. The swims at the river - I head down alone. "Want to go to the beach?" "Not really." I ask what they DO want to do and it's see the same movies at the same theater with their friends. Go biking. Do henna. But not with mom. So I go to the river. I bought myself a mountain bike. I go to the beach. I'm still here when they get home in the hopes they will tell me about their day.
I am glimpsing it though. The fact that it goes by so incredibly fast. And it's a daily reminder to cherish it all.
I realize that this is my third post about silence this month.
It has certainly been a theme in my life and something that I am working through this eclipse season to not only uncover and think about, but to ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING about. I am frustrated with myself and my silence. My hiding. Perhaps this frustration is my safe-word for "anger." And anger, as I have come to recognize, tends to highlight when a boundary has been crossed.
The boundary is about self-love.
Hiding, for me, has been a strategy to stay safe. In my relationships, in my work, in my social life. If I am silent, no one will leave me. That's the thought. I am preventing my heart from abandonment.
But the sad thing about closing off your heart is that it stays blocked both ways. When you try to protect your heart from pain, you also block the joy. Expressions of the heart are not necessarily love notes and kisses. Expressions of the heart can be any of your feelings. You can express your heart's truth with anger and sadness. When I hold back, I am holding all parts of myself back.
And this self-restraint is itself a self-abandonment. It's not my truth. How painfully ironic that I am silent because I am trying to save myself from abandonment, but that silence itself it self-abandonment.
Insert brain explosion emoji here!
In my efforts towards action and feeling rather than thinking, here we go! Here are a few of the practices I am working on this month as I heal my abandonment wound:
Have any tips to share? I'll let you know how it goes!
Shame game is on over drive in FaceBook and Instagram worlds. Shocking.
Please remember, Self (and others) that being open to different perspectives encourages our growth and collective evolution. Being open doesn't mean agreeing or being complicit or being wrong or right. Being open means taking a little more into your lens of reality.
It could mean reading/following/listening to people who don't look like you, believe what you believe, of different political persuasion, older or younger, mask wearing or not.
For many years (most of my life), I championed "Being Right." I felt that if I was right, then I was good/accomplished/successful and worthy of love. At one particularly difficult marriage counseling session, our therapist looked at me and asked, "Would you rather be right or open yourself up to feel loved?"
I see the need to be right in members of my family, in my workplace, and on social media. If we let ourselves be wrong - or even simply open to the fact that we *might* be wrong - we could receive a whole new perspective.
Our brain is constantly predicting and sorting our experiences (whether out in the world or inside our bodies) in order to make meaning of our lives, keep us safe, and create order/normalcy. The more we open to wider possibilities, the more concepts we develop, the more our future (perspective) changes.
This is literally true.
It is also true that it's easier to be open (mind) when our internal landscape is working right (nutritious foods, moving the body, and sufficient rest all help in this regard).
And if you feel crappy? Or closed off? The fastest way to re-set that internal landscape is to move your body around. This changes your brains predictions. Second thing you can do? Change your location/environment.
I did this today. I was spiraling down the interweb pathways, reading articles, barraged by emails, feeling "meh." Nearly every day for the last two months, I have taken a walk around my 3 mile block. It's great to move my body, but I felt like today I needed a change of scenery. So I walked somewhere new.
A little thing. A little change-up of my routine. I nearly cried at the beauty I noticed around me. My "after" photo found me positively glowing. I felt giddy and excited.
We can do hard things, as we are often reminded. Sometimes we can do easy things. And it makes all the difference.
Some days I can't find the words to describe what I feel or what I need. The last few days, I have been angry.
Yesterday I wrote "I need wide open spaces." I suppose I could pick up and move to Montana, but that wasn't it. I need space I have in my day. A clear mind and an open heart. The ability to start again. Space to be me.
Today I wrote that I need to hear of the value of human life. When I responded with You are worthy. You are love. You are Source (God/Universe/Spirit/Divine)... The words didn't do it for me today.
I searched for a word that resonated. I ended up with a reminder that we are made up of stardust. We are 99% hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. Some of what is within us has existed for millions of millenia. And within all those atoms? 99.99999% wide open spaces.
The word Source originates from the Latin surgere which means to spring forth, to Rise.
I rise (source) from the sun and the stars. Literally.
I started this writing before I heard about Ahmaud Arbery. A black man who was shot when jogging. He was made of stardust, too. Today as I think about value and love, I feel outrage in my body. I feel pursed lips and hot hands. I feel jittery.
I am hit with rushes of remembrances that are small in comparison. A yoga business discussion when I was told that my community "had no value". A job interview I experienced two decades ago where I was chastised for asking about rehabilitation for sex offenders. The article written by me but posted as the words of my physician colleague.
All examples of people diminishing the value of others.
We all have value, goddammit. We need to be seen and heard. We all have something to offer to this broken world. I see more and more division online - more name calling, more rejection, more lumping people into categories, more "I am right; you are wrong."
When we de-humanize each other, we reject ourselves.
Self-rejection is an age old issue. This is what the healing community, the yoga community is all about. No need to reject your shadow side. Get to know yourself. Honor what comes up. Accept even the most challenging parts of who you are. Because you are human. Practice self-compassion for your humanness.
When we de-humanize others, we find ourselves in a world where a black man can be going for a jog and be chased and killed. All of the memes you share about how “the other side” is stupid, less than, or not worth your time? That is where it starts. It is that serious.
When we diminish the value of others, when we focus on "us vs. them", not only are we narrowing our perspective on the world, but we are also narrowing the perspective on who we are. Let's widen the lens.
I want to live in a world with a wide lens. Where perspectives are encouraged and shared without fear of condemnation. I want to live in a world where we remember our humanness, our value, our voices. Black people. Biracial people. LGBTQ community. Women. Let’s remember our value. It starts with you.
Let Rumi remind you that “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there."
Meet me in the field, Stardust.
You gotta feel it to heal it.