Archive | February 2018

The In-Between Place

A while back, on Facebook, I posted a prayer asking God to help me let go of worry when I’m in the in-between places in my life. It got larger than normal responses. It also continued to resonate in my heart, circle my thoughts and settle into my mind. I don’t care for the in-between places in my life. I want to say I hate them but… [huge sigh here], my experiences taught me they are a necessary part of life when it comes to growth of any kind be it emotional, spiritual, or personal. I have a five-year timeline, technically four and a half years now, for where I am moving my life and work. My yoga and writing figure prominently in this timeline. They will in fact figure prominently in my Life moving forward.

Yet I’ve felt stuck and stagnant again with both. Which seemed contradictory since I attended a writer’s retreat in Hawaii, completed a 20-day deadline oriented online writing workshop, and participated in full weekend workshops in Los Angeles, where I’d previously attend 1 of the 2 days! I teach a regular Sunday morning yoga class at my home studio and I substitute for other classes regularly. I’ve been invited back to the Hawaii writer’s retreat as a writer this year, but more importantly, I’ve been paid to offer my services as a yoga teacher for part of the retreat again!

Where are the disconnect and the sense of stagnation coming from? Part of it is that I have not been writing or sharing any blog posts with any regularity or consistency. Another part is my day job I’ve been at for eleven years and counting. The 9-5 corporate cubicle grind is back to draining and stressing me out. It’s driven me back to many of my old dysfunctional avoidances such as emotional eating, mindless television, and reading. I injured my right knee in early November of last year and 3 months later it’s still not right or close to 100%. I’m unable to walk/hike or do more of the strenuous yoga I’d like to.

I haven’t blogged regularly because I’m tentative about what to write now. When I started my blog I chose to write about building my brave while I  navigated the next phase of my life. This included living a heart-centered life of presence. Yoga showed up on my path almost immediately after I began my blog and the end of my yoga teacher training opened my heart and eyes to the path of social justice and trauma-informed yoga practices. This awakening showed up on my path almost simultaneously with our Presidential election of 2016.

My growing awakening to our current social injustices is so overwhelming and has evoked a reawakened trauma response. All through this, my eyes have been open, my heart has been hurting, but my mouth has been essentially closed. I don’t know about you, but I was raised to sit down somewhere, shut up and be quiet. I learned those lessons as well as I could to survive my childhood, but I was not always successful at it. It leaked out in rebellion, sneakiness, lying and living a dual life of sorts. I don’t want to keep doing that. I can’t keep doing it.

I boycotted the NFL this year because I stand wholeheartedly behind Colin Kaepernick and his willingness to peacefully and patriotically protest the continued killing of unarmed black men, women, and children by the police in this country.  It’s been difficult to respect people I know who deliberately voted for a third party candidate or didn’t bother to vote at all last November, blithely protected in their privilege to do so. The #METOO movement sprung up so suddenly because women in the public and positions of power were coming forward and not backing down. The collective conversations about these injustices and pushback from systems which are the principal cause of the injustices have been swirling about social media.

This has been I feel the source of my fear and reluctance to write in this space. However, now, I believe I can reframe how I feel about my “in between place”. It’s been more of a self-cocooning until I was ready to reemerge on to this path that has been so clearly set before me. Answering His Call or The Call was something I committed to long ago right here in this space. That doesn’t mean I can’t curl up and rest in a protective ball from time to time. As long as I don’t lose track of my path, ever inward.

This entry was posted on February 10, 2018. 4 Comments

His Last Words To Me

I don’t remember his last words to me. My father was back at Johns Hopkins Hospital calling from his room there. The doctors thought his recently transplanted kidney was rejecting. This was after he’d been out in the world for several weeks living from the belief the transplant was successful. He’d gone back to work and was attending church, a strange thing to say about my dad. In any case, he was sick again. I was at work on my new job I’d started a month ago in August as a messenger desk clerk for a land title insurance company. It was September 21, 1998, and I was earning enough to support myself and the kids as a single parent. We were finally off of welfare and thanks to a welfare-to-work initiative implemented by President Clinton, my childcare was paid for a year. My baby girl was 3 and the boys were 8 and 10, so having free childcare for a year was a huge financial relief for me. I was also less than 2 years clean and sober. I tell you all of this because I was still a self-centered, dysfunctional hot mess and my dad had been sick for the past fifteen years.

Here’s what I was thinking at the time. He’d been living with 3 separate medical conditions since he was 37 years old. He was diagnosed with cirrhosis, diabetes, and hepatitis due to his alcohol consumption up to that point in his life. After that, he quit drinking and changed his dietary habits in an effort to take care of his health. However, over the years his kidneys gave out and he’d been on dialysis the last few years before the transplant procedure. All of this seemed pretty far removed from my awareness and comprehension since he lived 3000 miles away on the East Coast. I couldn’t see the toll this had been taking on his body. There’d been a false alarm of sorts almost 10 years earlier with him. He’d been at the hospital and doing bad enough that the family back East thought my sister and I should come see him before it was too late. So my mother flew my sister and me back there but the doctors drained his lungs and he recovered.

For me, my father remained the emotional bully he’d always been. It was something I either realized or was finally able to admit as an adult. I was sensitive and excitable as a child and as an adult, which he never liked. I couldn’t deal with the hurt of letting my guard down and being myself with him because his verbal abuse and chastisement were too painful. I didn’t have the voice or the nerve to stand up to him and our relationship took a hit for that. I just pulled away from him the last seven years of his life. I stopped my regular calls to him, but I did take his calls when he reached out on holidays and birthdays. The conversations were about him catching me up with the family back East and I caught him up on the kids. That was pretty much what I felt safe exchanging with him.

So on that last call that I didn’t realize was our last call, it was superficial in the way it was with us then. He told me he was going into surgery that afternoon, I think. I’m sure I must have said, “I love you, Chump.” I must have said it because I always ended our calls that way. Even with my imposed breach between us, I called him by the beloved nickname I learned from him as a child. And I always said I love you. So I know what I must have said but I don’t remember his last words to me.

I hear it, his voice a smooth, charismatic and soft masculine timbre. I hear his voice but not what he said.

I hesitate when I try to make myself remember or recall our phone call. Is it really so important?

I hose down the guilt that rises up from my stomach into my heart because I don’t remember his last words to me since I didn’t know enough to care it may be our last time with each other.

I hand over this useless feeling of guilt I hid out from for years because I refused to think or write about it.

I help myself now after the distance of time and the experience of personal growth taught me compassion. Compassion for self and finally, compassion for him.

I hang on to the good memories and laughter I shared with him. There were so many.

I hold up my smiles born of those stories, his stories about his life, our life.

I hover over the space inside of me I created for him. A space of compassion, healthy anger and acceptance.

I happen to believe I’ve come to this integrated resolution of my father because I don’t want to keep seeking him in relationships anymore.

For us, now it’s about being free. Making a space where joy fits in instead of guilt and anger.

This entry was posted on February 3, 2018. 6 Comments