Updated: Dec 22, 2020
I am held together with threads and beads, crafty things. I am held together with TV series and movies and livestreamed concerts and more. I am held together with puzzles and aromas and experiments in the kitchen. I am held together with grounding tasks that keep me focused in the now. I am held together with technology, zoom meetings and the telephone. I am held together with an intention of honesty and strive to own what I feel. I am held together with my promise not to hurt others because of my inner pain. I practice kindness and choose to receive gratitude in return. I practice fear and make choices how I experience fear. Sometimes fear makes the choice for me. I find my way back to love.
Some days I am tiptoeing across a tightrope so I don’t disturb the painful thoughts, the fearful thoughts, the lonely thoughts, the wishful thoughts, the irrational thoughts. Every day I make choices to stay centered. Some days I am successful and some days I am not. Sometimes I freeze in fear. On those days I pull out my heavy toolbelt.
Every moment is a choice. I choose not to abandon myself, a behavior I used to indulge in. Now I remember I am safe while making my choices. I may choose to sit in fear and if I do, I limit my time. I give fear a voice. I feel it fully and then move on. I find my way back. Redirect. Refocus. Reset. Begin again.
In the most difficult days, I find moments of joy.
In the most joyful days, I find moments of fear.
Day to day weaving happens with my choices. Mindfulness is my palette with colors and patterns. I know my way back to center as I have traveled it many times. My tools to focus serve me. My tools to support serve me. They hold me together.
As the year winds down
As the year winds down to its close And we are submerged once again In the seasonal darkness we have come to know so well, We have reason to think back upon the year that was, If only because it will soon be gone. We think back to the friends we have made, The sorrow we have endured The love we have found The loneliness we have survived. We think back to the blessings of being forgiven And the gift we offered to ourselves when we forgave. We think back to those who listened to us in our times of need And the times we could have listened more. We think back to the things we traded for our time And to what we may have overlooked in the process. We think back to the times when we were afraid and uncertain and we trudged ahead anyway, and the times when we were compassionate when we could have been cold. In this season of still-growing night May we see more clearly Against the dark backdrop of our living The true light of our lives: The love we give to others And the peace we nurture in ourselves.
I have been in tears for the last two hours. It reminded me of an incident that happened when I was five years old. My father sent my mother off to my grandmother’s as he secretly replaced the kitchen counters with brand new Formica. When my mother returned, she burst into tears and I learned that people can cry for joy as well as for sorrow. I am in a state of bliss today. So many wonderful things have happened with this meditation group this year. My bird feeders are teeming with birds. The squirrels are not around. My biofeedback device registered something I’ve never done before. When I’m in the groove with it, I hear birds. My heart rate was 10 points lower for 99% of the time. And during my 3½ mile walk this morning, I listened to a meditation about equanimity. I am walking on air. And today, with the solstice, I am going to tune into it which is new for me. I am so grateful. Thank you.
Thank you. I loved the lines ‘In the most difficult days, I find moments of joy. In the most joyful days, I find moments of fear.’ That’s what it’s all about. The ups and downs. In my 20s, I got afraid of the ups and downs. But now, I realize that is life. Ups and downs. I’m reflecting on the first four valleys of Attar; it’s all the same. The ups and downs. The good and bad. It’s all the same. It’s in how we choose to look at our life at any moment.
I loved what you wrote about the different aspects of your life that holds you together. I also live like that. I have my artwork, my friends, my baking, my music. Before, they may have seemed like hobbies. Now, I look at them as avatars of myself. They get equal time. All of that makes me. I also loved what you said about acknowledging fear, don’t dwell there too long. I like that idea, don’t deny it, but don’t sit there too long. Don’t pitch a tent.
Thank you. I held peace during the meditation. It was lovely to breathe in and breathe out peace. This solstice seems different for me. I have celebrated the solstice with ritual for a long time. This year, I am feeling so close to those I know who have died. Usually, that occurs around October. I’ve not experienced it this time of the year. Even my soul collage card that I picked this morning, it was two empty chairs. I sit in one and someone from my community sits in the other one. I connect with the person who has passed sitting in the other chair. I don’t know why but I am definitely holding those who have passed in my life. And beyond that, I am very aware of it.
I do believe as we transcend into this new world, the veil between the seen and unseen are closer. I had a dream last night that my grandchild was standing in front of me. We were looking at a living room knowing there is a presence there of someone we know who is not embodied. My grandson was starting to get fearful. I was telling him the gift of knowing that there is someone there that we love who doesn’t have a body, that they are actually demonstrating to us a way they can communicate with us, that the worlds are close. It was a full visceral experience feeling my grandchild’s energy changing from being fearful to being curious. I’ve been told in guidance that one of my jobs on this Earth is to bridge the two worlds so that we are not so death phobic, that we understand that we live side-by-side together. It scares me to talk about it because I feel people’s fear, so it clams me up. I will speak about it.
I didn’t want to speak because I’m not in a good place today. My family member has been home-bound for ten years. A pastor said to me years ago that it’s a hopeless situation. I called him because I felt down, and when I got off the phone, I felt worse. How could he say that? But now, things are getting worse and more complicated. I told my kids to never give up hope and I can’t.
When I was living with my daughter, I prayed for her to find some quality of life in every moment. Find some measures of connection where you are able to look into his eyes, to tell him you love him, to hold him in your heart. Those are the things you have to hold onto.
My family member is so alone, no friends, he can’t talk much because he doesn’t feel well enough. Before he got so sick, he used to volunteer with special needs kids, at an animal shelters, at a soup kitchen.
He has those memories and he knows you love him. Hang onto those when you experience the despair you feel.
Thank you. I’m listening to people speak of connecting to the other side, to those who have passed. I was at a store last night and I found a coffee mug with a dachshund on it. I just put down my dachshund. I don’t need another coffee mug, but I bought it. The dachshund has a Santa hat on his head and a little bird—a cardinal—sitting on his butt. I’ve always felt a cardinal is a sign of an angel. When I see a cardinal, I always think it’s a loved one coming to visit. I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee out of my new mug listening to you all, thinking of my beloved dachshund.
It’s important that, when we feel this despair, that we use our imaginations and send an angel to be with our loved one, send help. Believe that it is making a difference because it’s so easy to get caught in the despair and feel the bleakness. But there is power behind our love and power behind our imagination. Believe it.
Part of the equanimity meditation I was listening to this morning, it’s not like Pollyanna thinking that everything is going to be wonderful. An example would be if you are feeling love and support for someone, that doesn’t mean just think everything is going to be fine. We can’t control what happens, we can try to influence it with our love. But life is what it is, it holds both.
With a breath in and a breath out, life is exactly that. An ebb and flow. In fear and love. In despair and joy. We all do our best. We can send gentleness and compassion to others as well as hold it for ourselves. I wish you all that knowledge that you can do that—that you can send compassion, that you can send love, that you can send angels to accompany and to comfort. And you can also ask them to be with you. I wish you all a peaceful day.