Friday, January 17, 2014

Letting Go and All that Other Crap that Goes Along with It

Buddha said it. Great poets and writers have written it. Teachers, therapists have lectured it...
Let it go! Let it go! Let it go! (read to the tune of Let It Snow) Let go of anger. Let go of hostility.
Let go of anything and everything that bogs you down. Let it go; release it like a feather on a warm, mid-day breeze. And in doing so, you will find peace of heart and mind everlasting. Ready?
Let's get started! It's as easy as one, two, three...
Or is it?
Letting go of a hurt, a lie told to you, an action(s) that led to mistrust, sadness or even physical and emotional detriment is easy when you're sitting at the water's edge and pretty monarchs are dancing around your shoulders. Sure!
Good-bye thoughts that bring me down! Good-bye tightness and unforgiving images that create illness in my body! Good-bye all the memories and reminders of what you promised and didn't do or your actions that have left an invisible scar on my skin. Good-bye judgmental thoughts!
BAM! Good-riddens!
Hello forgiveness! Hello moving on! Hello sweet letting go!

But what about when you fall short?
What about when you're not in the "sunny side of life" space at water's edge? What about when you're driving in your car or awake at 3:00 a.m and the little bastard of a memory creeps up from behind, out of nowhere, and fills your head with so much anger that you just want to re-live the unjust over and over again and then punch the person's lights out? Then you work, work, work and you breathe in, breathe out and work some more...

Okay, that would be truly immature, now wouldn't it? To punch someone's lights out? And yet, that feeling heats up like liquid in a pressure cooker and then it bubbles and bubbles up to the top of your throat; the place where all your self-control must take residence...
I know I'm not alone in this.  You just don't talk about it.

So, there's this guy whose quotes speak to the whole healthiness of letting go:

“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!”  

“It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.” 

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” 

Okay, Mr. Steve "Fucking Perfect" Maraboli, aren't you the fortunate one?  I'm always skeptical of these dudes (and women) who publish books and hold expensive clinics and conferences on this subject. Like, what's  happening in their private lives, behind closed doors? 
But that last quote, that last sentence, flickers at me...

Now, isn't that the truth. And perhaps the hardest pill to swallow. Relinquishing control is one thing, but letting go of control that you never had is pretty damn rough for some of us, at least those honest enough to admit it.
Those of us, who from time to time, experience that lack of control, are reminded of that in the middle of the night, at some ungodly hour, and that's what makes it so challenging. I'm referring to personal situations, of course, not huge events like where our tax dollars go, etc. The personal events that hit one's  pissed off, achey, breaky heart even though, it's a simple fact:  You had no control of how the other person treated you or handled a situation that involved you.

And then where do you stand? I mean after all the self-help books have been read. After all the meditation cd's have been purchased and played.  After all your hard-earned money has been spent on workshops, shamans, life coaches, psychologists, day spas, vitamin supplements and green tea cleanses... I mean, where does one turn? What does one do to just let it all go?

I'll tell you. Why not sing a catchy tune of Do Re Mi?  Could anything else be more healing? 

Can you think of a better way to let go of anger, sadness, resentment, regret or just the f@!#king blues than to belt out a verse of Do a deer a female deer...Re a drop of golden sun... Mi a name I call myself...Fa a long, long way to run, especially butt naked!? 
Me either.

I want y'all to try it next time this crap gets in your way. I know I'm going to. In fact, I'm singing it loud and proud as I type this blog this afternoon! It seems to be working, at least in the moment, and HEY!  Isn't the moment all we really have anyway? I mean a massage only lasts for so long, then the neck ache returns, right? Go ahead.  It worked for the von Trapps, now didn't it, and it can work for you and me.

This works too:
Bear and I so beautifully captured by the artistic genius of The Cousin

This aids in the letting go process as well. Joining in a group activity, while retaining your own unique style:

"Screw you guys. I'm doing my own thing!"
I don't know about you, but it takes some work to let go. And then it takes some reserve or back-up for when the little conniving bastards return.  Because unless you're Mr. Rogers or Dora the Explorer,
both perfect in every way, my presumption is that you too have trouble letting go from time to time.

Perhaps that's the weight of being human. 

Today's writing is a bit reckless, kind of all over the map with perhaps a beginning, but certainly without a consistent trek to a well-planned destination. My sincerest apologies for that.
Welcome to my head.
But since it's come to this, I will add even more directionless chaos by closing with a poem that a dear friend sent to me this week. Sometimes, timing is everything and I hope the timing of Mary Oliver's words are perfect for some of you as they are for me.

When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,
like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.
Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.
Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
    like the diligent leaves.
A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.
Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.
In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.
~ Mary Oliver ~

Friday, January 10, 2014

If Wishes Came True

"Hey!  Move your ass to the left a little."

"Do you have a wish today?" I asked The Cousin this while, she, Sweet Pea, Sweet Pea's mom and I were having cocoa and lattes at our favorite coffee shop in Pacific Grove, CA.

"I wish for fish" she replied with a newly acquired kind of smile that stretched with wit from corner to corner.
"Wish and fish rhyme!"  Sweet Pea sits across from the smarty pants, rhymer twirling and flinging the whip cream with her straw. Sipping's not in Sweet Pea's vocabulary.
"Do you have a wish?" I ask Sweet Pea.
"Yes! I wish for Halloween!"  
"Right on! Well, you loved Halloween, didn't you?"  "I like Snow White and Cinderelli.
Yes. And Christmas Eve." She continues.
"Oh! Christmas Eve? You wish for Christmas Eve?"
"Yes. I wish for presents."

All-righty then.  Basically, we have the makings of a literary poet and a capitalist.

You know, wishes are happening every second, everywhere by every human on this diverse and amazing planet.  Wishes for peace, prosperity, joy, good health, mended relationships.
Remember when you were a kid and you'd run outside to your front yard and wish upon the first night star?  "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight...Wish I may, wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight."  
My childhood wishes fluctuated between meeting the perfect boy to wishing my parents would stop smoking.  And fighting.
Once I remember wishing I was Meg Murry from the book, A Wrinkle in Time.  Sure she had flaws, so did I. I was fat, pimple-faced and my clothes reeked of Kents cigarettes. I had warts on my right hand and was the weirdo who loved Wednesdays because Mrs. Miller brought in the plastic flutes. Meg (Murry) was a misfit too, but she evolved and gained so much understanding of life and of herself. She was also excellent at math and science, subjects to this day, I suck at.

But I always made wishes and I still do. For me, the term "wish" holds less baggage than the term "prayer". Wishes are non-denominational, belong to people of all religious and non-religious paths.  Wishes are fiction and sweet and don't raise debate.

This kid's a big-time wisher, and not just for fish!
"When I get to school, I'll show the teacher the ropes."

Her wishes extend like a world map to include sweet sentiments for her new baby sister, health wishes for her dad who has a "hurt back" and the biggest wish, which was also mine as a child; that her mommy not return to work.
Her mom's on a 6-month maternity leave and that feels just right for The Cousin.  And it should. Studies show that a parent that stays home with a child, especially in the first 5 years of their life, contributes to that child's academic excellence, positive emotional development and general well-being.  The Cousin and her mom are bonded like an extra-strength Elmer's glue stick.             
Her mama is one hellava woman. 
Often I wonder if that calm, language appropriate, positive self esteem building tone just goes to shit when no one's around!  This woman, who now has a 2.5 year old AND a 3 monther, is so calm that I feel the urge to check her pulse from time to time. Seriously.
A "stay-at-home" parent, especially one that is conscious about what a child needs during every developmental moment, is awesome in my book. 
However, unlike in Sweden where each set of parents gets 480 days of parental leave per child, which must be claimed before the child turns eight, the U.S. spends a majority of its tax dollars elsewhere.
( Graciously, I will not go ballistic or Code Pink on y'all!)

"I don't need school. I'm swimmin!"

And then there's Sweet Pea.  One of her parentals is home with her , and it's a blessing because this kid would run any child care provider into the earth and bury him/her deep!  She's a "no-holds-barred" kinda girl. Always has been since the day, around 3 months, that she fought me while I attempted to put a diaper on her. I had to pin her down, using elbow and forearm, as if wrestling.  Like The Cousin's mom, Sweet Pea's mom deserves an award. (or 50) She's patient, loving, steady and calm in the face of "all hell breaks lose" and she has a terrific sense of humor.  
Sweet Pea's wishes float away into the magical realm where fantasy and magic exist 24/7. When she hears the tune "Frosty the Snowman" she becomes Frosty. When you mention "Cinderelli" suddenly she's sewing the dress in the company of all the mice. And her mom is right there with her, pretend needle and thread in hand. 
I know I have quite a few parents that read my blog. Thank you very much!! I have just one question for you, and it blares through my veins every single time I'm around children for more than a few of hours: "HOW THE FUCK DO YOU DO IT?"
Today, I noticed a playful article of quotes, from Huff Post, by Tina and Amy and have placed the link here for your smirking enjoyment. The Gospel of Parenting According to Tina & Amy...
Here's a quote in case you're a skimmer: “When you’re a twerking mother, balance is really important because you don't want to go too low and blow out your butt and bust your knee." 
-- Amy Poehler

If wishes truly did come true, I'd wish that all adolescents and twenty-somethings be required to live with screaming, bossy, needy, colicky children for a minimum of 6 months and also, live with a teenager for an additional 6 months prior to deciding whether to use birth control or not.
But alas! Calm down all you parents jumping out of your skin and wanting to rip my eyes out right now, as you defensively coo and ahhh over your contribution to over-populating the planet...
I never harmed the girls! Never laid a hand on them, and as you know, somehow miracles do exist 
because they managed to ooze their way into my parentless heart like a tube of honey or gooey berry jam.

"What'd you think of Doonesbury today, cuz?"

"Baa Bee?"
"Do you like funnies?"
"I love the funnies."
"Baa Bee?"
"You funny."
"Do you have another wish to share with me?"
"Yes! Ice Cream!"
"Well, let's go!"