Her slippers arrived today. I choked up when I held them – because now she won’t. Clara, my mother-in-law passed away last week. While we knew it would come, it was unexpected. We thought we’d have Christmas.
Robert made an Intent the spring of 2013 – to “take care” of his “momma.” And he did – he took care of her. I watched them; the independent, feisty woman and her determined, gregarious son. We didn’t think she’d make it two months, but talk about resilient; she hung with us for a year and a half.
I learned from her about accepting help; no mean feat for a woman who was a self-sufficient rolling stone – and chaffed at the constraints of her illness. I learned from him about giving from the heart; despite his own ginormous health issues. They fussed and teased, then shopped the thrift markets. They poked and prodded; then kicked back and watched the birds & squirrels.
Our world; Robert’s and mine included and reflected Clara – daily. Clara’s world included and reflected us; especially her son. We were an alliance; a family unit. I am him; he was her; she was me and back again. Clara lives on; in us, her daughters, sisters, grandkids and great grandkids.
She’ll be missed – but her influence, her love lives on.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ― Matthew 11:28
Part of my work-day routine is to get a “good” cup-a-coffee at the Company Coffee Shop before I hit my day. And usually ask: Why? Why are the baristas so grumpy and slow? One barista in particular seemed particularly disgruntled and sulky.
After several (um, yes)–years of inward grumbling about the cranky, sluggish service, I thought I’d do some experimental “flash prayers” specifically on Her Grumpiness. Flash prayers are an idea developed by Frank Laubach that I read about in The Celebration of Discipline, by Richard J. Foster; (wonderful book gifted to me long ago by a dear friend). Laubach says “Flashing hard and straight prayers at people is a great thrill and can bring interesting results.” I’ve practiced them on and off for years. My brand of flash includes a shot of white light onto my prayer recipient.
It struck me like a – BIG HARD BRICK – this week that it worked! But with an unexpected twist. As I was checking out early one morning, I saw her across the room – she turned, smiled and waved at me. I smiled and waved back. BAM! How did that happen? Turns out she is a really nice woman, has a college-aged daughter, gets to work really early every morning (5:45am), enjoys her comfort foods at night while relaxing at home and has a great smile.
What changed? Me – I changed. I stopped seeing her as someone who serves me, and started seeing her as SOMEONE. I began treating her with kindness and interest. And she reciprocated. I know this, most of know this – I just needed a reminder! How does it get any better than that?!
“If you treat a man as he is, he will remain as he is, if you treat him as he ought to be and could be, he will become as he ought to be and could be.”
I was interrupted while I was speaking during a business meeting/ conference call this week by a colleague who whispered loudly: “You are yelling” …
It is disconcerting to be interrupted like that mid-speech, in front of people, whether or not they could see (or hear) the exchange. I don’t think his motives were bad; he probably meant to help. My initial reaction was annoyance. Of course I had to keep talking (being mid-sentence), but I was definitely thrown.
Days later I was still bugged. Was I really that loud? WTH? Do I need to do something? Say something to him? How do I handle this unsolicited feedback? Is it him or is it me? Could my annoyance be signaling a past wound? My ex-husband used to call me “Bullhorn Hawk” when he wanted me to quiet down. Do I have unresolved issues there? Why is this bugging me so much?
AAARRRG!!! Please stop the voices inside my head!!!
Michael A. Singer says in The Untethered Soul that if I’m smart, I’ll “take the time to step back, examine this voice, and get to know it better.” Although I may not be to objective (since it is literally in my face/ head) – so I have to step way back and just “watch it converse.” I am not that voice. I am who notices that the voice exists.
When I step back and watch I find my mind constantly jabbering about something. Singer says the best way to free myself from this nonstop noise is to simply stop and listen to it – observe it. I can’t stop it by force of will. It is not me. The only way out of this trap is to know that it is not me. So by being conscious I can decide that I’m not going there – into the snare of not me and I will let go of all that junk. Singer also suggests:
“If you truly want to grow spiritually, you’ll realize that keeping your stuff is keeping you trapped. Eventually you’ll want out, at any cost. You will then realize that life is actually trying to help you. Life is surrounding you with people and situations that stimulate growth. You don’t have to decide who’s right or wrong. You don’t have to worry about other people’s issues. You only have to be willing to open your heart in the face of anything and everything, and permit the purification process to take place. When you do this, the first thing you’ll see is that situations will unfold that hit your stuff. But, in truth, that’s exactly what has been happening your entire life. The only difference is that now you see it as a good thing because it’s an opportunity to let go.
Was going about the business of being me this week – being the “business me” on a conference call; just saying what I needed to say, saying what I wanted to say. No biggie. Turns out this one guy really didn’t like how I showed up – and challenged what I said, how I said it – told me all about it. Hmmm: totally surprised me. It actually wasn’t what I said, or meant, which was a bit confusing. Anyway, told the guy – profusely – sorry about what he heard; don’t recall saying what he heard – sure don’t disrespect his knowledge of his business. He pushed hard and told me someone “pinged him” on chat “WOW” about my comments, basically validating that he was right and I was wrong. Again: profusely – sorry about what they both heard; don’t recall saying it (Am I crazy?); sure don’t disrespect his knowledge of his business. I don’t think he liked my apology; I didn’t validate his point-of-view or that of his witness; but he grudgingly accepted that I don’t disrespect his knowledge of his business.
Checked in with my boss, who I totally respect and admire. Turns out she admitted that she “cringed” at my tone and wondered if I knew the guy was on the call. What? (Now I really must be crazy!) I was being me – said what I thought – no disrespect for anyone – wasn’t pissed – wasn’t in a bad mood. What?
How can I be me and not be swayed by other people’s reality, but consider feedback? How can I do that? After serious reflection and meditation on my motives, I know I meant no disrespect, have no recollection that my “tone” was in any way out of the ordinary. I was just being me. I am not crazy.
NOW: how do I not want to change me and mold myself to be more pleasing and acceptable to others? Do I throw “me” out for approval and to fit in? So uncomfortable. Just being me, speaking my truth. I feel okay to apologize for the guy hearing something I didn’t intend. But what he heard was about him, not me. So much harder to hear someone I respect and care about see me in a negative way; but that is about her, not me.
Being willing to be me even when no one “gets me” is hard. Of course I want to be accepted and liked. So uncomfortable to not accept that “I must be crazy (wrong) .. whatever” in the face of the response I got – way uncomfortable. I want to be me. I want to be me no matter what. The “no matter what” may be lack of understanding, no acceptance, people I love insisting I am wrong, my desire to be loved and wanted edging me to give “me” up. This life ain’t for sissies!
It is not a coincidence. I’ve been observing (and scolding) myself recently for judging others; after asking my higher self to be more conscious and kind. So it was quite a surprise, and a thoroughly new concept for me to read today that maybe, just maybe, I am simply aware.
Dr. Dain Heer asked in his book Being You, Changing the World do I “buy the lie that you are judgmental.” What?
“.. let’s say you’re walking by somebody who has judgments of their body and you look at their body and perceive all this judgment that the person is inflicting on their body, and that they have of themselves, and you think those are your judgments because you can perceive them. Now at this point you go; “Oh, I’m so judgmental of people’s bodies. I can’t believe I’m judging somebody’s body like that!”
“Are you really judging their body or are you aware of their judgments of their body and of the projections of other people placed on their body? And does it mean that you’re judgmental, or does it mean that you’re actually aware?
I just assumed I was judging. Dr. Heer says this is a lie. These judgments of mine aren’t harsh, critical or put-downs. Truthfully they do feel more like observations. I’m telling myself that I must stop this judging! But I like being aware. I like being tuned into the vibe around me. Something new to think about, to meditate on and consider. I like this concept. It makes sense.
Coincidence? No, this came to me as I was ready to see it.