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Standing on the Ground

Awake at 4:30 this morning, I have choices. I can lay there and pretend to sleep while worrying about the election and the world and climate and difficult people. I can muse about conversations yesterday and decisions I made. I can plan ahead my day and foresee any problems I can solve now even though I don’t know what they are yet. I can worry about the future of my loved ones as they struggle. I can listen to music and relax.

Who else is in my head besides me? Honestly, sometimes my mother, my father, my kids, a sister or two, my Science teacher, Nurse Hayward from elementary school, a priest, a minister, friends, old boss. The list goes on and on and varies as my mind swims through my memories.

Sometimes I don’t feel in charge of my mind as thoughts wander in and out. I should know better than to allow intruding thoughts in! It’s disturbing. It’s undermining. It’s triggering. What will happen with the election? What if I miss something? What if we lose electricity and I can’t see the news? What if it rains on Tuesday? What if I get sick and I’m working the polls? What if I run into her? Why can’t I remember to say what I really feel? What if they hear my thoughts? I have a three-ring circus going on inside my mind. It’s all too much.

Look at my feet. Look at my feet. They are standing on the ground. I’ve had these feet since I was a baby. What an amazing thought. They grew without my doing anything. My bones are strong now and hold me up so I can stand. I know what sand feels like when I’m standing on the beach. Granules peek up through my toes and I can squish my feet into the warm sand. The sun warms the sand. I can feel the sun and it heats up the squishy sand. I feel the warm air tingling my skin from the light breeze. Now I hear birds and see the undulating of the ocean as it ebbs and flows in waves like my breath. I am one with the water. Back and forth. In and out. I am one with my breath. I am one.

I want to live in the beach scene. I don’t want to live in the circus. I call it a hard reset when I have to interrupt my railroading thoughts and slam in a roadblock. Roadblocks look like images of beaches or sounds of soothing music or videos of inspirational speakers or body movement to music that soothes my soul or creativity using art, or exercising or singing or taking a shower. The list goes on and on and varies as my mind swims through my memories of things I love to do.

I stand at the doorway to my mind and allow in what I deem helpful for my peaceful existence. I know what’s going on in the world without engaging in the circus. I know I can get distracted and in walks trouble with a capital TV news anchor announcing the hype and hoopla. I walk away. I know there are times I open my heart to a friend and they want to talk about the doom and gloom. I steer the conversation to comfort and ease. Sometimes the day is filled with flip flopping. My intention is to be present at my doorway and do my best. My intention is to be in charge of how much I take in before I hit the tipping point and slip into quiet hysteria.

Life is intense right now. History will memorialize the struggles we are living in. It isn’t easy. I believe I chose to be on this earth at this point for a reason. I believe we will get through this. I believe our death-phobic society is redefining its irrational ideals about death to determine transition is a key to living a full life. I believe struggling hearts are cracking opening and learning to feel. I believe this is the great awakening I’ve heard predicted for years now and it has arrived.

I choose peace as the world around me carries on.

I choose actions that support my truth

I trust I will find my center again

I trust my adult skills to problem solve issues that arise

I choose to engage with what I know supports my needs.

I practice gratitude for my choices and extend gratitude to others

Erasing the Line by Danna Faulds

The pagan priestess of my soul

Already knows many answers.

She leans out over the waters

Of life and peers beneath the waves.

She sees what I have been afraid

To see – the snaky eels hiding in

The shadows, the nameless creatures

That never rise to the realm of light.

The wild, Druid heart of me looks

From my eyes with courage I didn’t

Know was there, with willingness

to be temptress, crone, slayer of

fears, or holy fool. Banishing

nothing from her sight, she

witnesses the dark side. This is

how I grow, receiving in

awareness what was exiled

long ago, letting truth in, daring

to be whole and human, whole

and divine, erasing the line

between what I dare to know

and what I must keep hidden.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you for your writing. During the meditation, I was having trouble deepening and getting away from my thoughts. After a while, I said to myself, “don’t try.” Let the thoughts be and if they carry me somewhere, just watch them. That was much easier and more enjoyable than thinking I had to have a certain kind of experience. Sometimes it is easier to surrender than try to control.

  • Thank you for your writing. It was hard for me to focus this morning as well. I spent the last several days preparing for a meeting. My work is finally picking up again. The hurricane cancelled the meeting, and then, when I woke up this morning, I found out it will be a Category 2 hurricane. I’ve learned from your writing, and especially with the election coming up, I have the opportunity to return to my own breath and to choose to be centered and to trust. I’m learning navigating like I’ve never learned before in my life. I want to thank you. Some of those 4:30 AM moments happen at high noon.

  • I’m feeling very unsettled as we get closer to the election and I’m working very hard on political activism. I’m feeling frantic and frayed. For me, I always have to remind myself—I love the image of you on the beach with the sand between your toes. Where’s my thing to bring me back to myself? For me, it’s always music. So once again, I listened to the music piece that reminds me who I am (Barber’s Adagio for Strings). It connects me back, and I have to remind myself during the day. When I’m stressed at work, I put on my headphones and it brings me back. It’s my anchor. I’m going to do it many times over the next several days.

  • Thank you. This is 218 days of words, wisdom, and readings. I wasn’t here yesterday because there was a collision of fears and thoughts that happened two days ago and brought me to a very dark place. I was there a number of years ago. And I remember, I lost hope and I was sitting in front of the TV staring at it and it wasn’t on. That was all I could do. I was able to think it through and understand what brought me to where I was and I came out of it pretty quick. I’m sure my coming out of it has to do with all your teachings and your words. Thank you.

  • There were three things that stuck out for me. The vision of the beach. On my first day up and out, I went to the beach and stood there looking out. You were describing what happened for me yesterday, except for the toes. You nailed something I’ve been trying to name inside. It was the phrase ‘quiet hysteria.’ I’m going to play with that one. The other was ‘I stand at the doorway to my mind.’ And what does that mean. And the last one, which is something I’ve asked myself this week, is ‘daring to know what I must keep hidden.’ What is it that I know that I know and am not bringing to consciousness? I am beginning to suspect that there is quite a bit going on that I’m not having in my awareness. I’m calling it and opening to it. Thank you for giving me the words.

  • I too have moments of quiet hysteria about whatever is going on. I am also reminding myself that, whatever happens next week, the work goes on. We will and must deal with whatever we get. And we can.

  • And our feet can still stand in the sand, and our ears can listen to music. And we can move our bodies and feel our hearts and we can be in community. That’s still here, and it will continue.

  • Thank you for your powerful reading. It reminds me, when I joined the 12-step program, I started living one day at a time and living by a rule. If I’m not centered—if I’m hungry, angry, lonely, tired or in pain—my job is to get centered. And if I am centered, my job is to help others and do my creative work. That’s what keeps my mind at bay, instead of letting my mind obsess. I used to obsess about my spouse, what she was doing wrong. I’d give myself permission to obsess for about a minute and then I’d go on to something else. It’s why I always keep a creative project going on in my mind. It keeps me from obsessing about my fears and grievances. I like the image of the beach and of keeping my eyes on my own feet. It’s a great metaphor.

  • I feel like the reality of the world is coming closer and closer to my home. The riots last night due to the shooting is in the area where my family member is moving to. I walked to the CVS two blocks away from my house to pick up a prescription and it was boarded up because last time there were riots, they were all over the city and CVS got looted. I couldn’t get my prescription which is needed. I don’t know when I’ll be able to get it. With the election coming up, things are starting to become very real. It’s harder and harder for me to do the work. My hysteria is not quiet. Thank you for your writing. The skills I am practicing are a lifeline for me. I’m grateful I have them. What would this be like if I didn’t have them?

  • It’s important that as we face fear, I suggest people write down affirmations. “I am safe, I am following my wisdom.” Whatever the affirmation is because we take them out of our thinking and we reenergize our brains by reading them. Some examples: “I am always safe and protected.” “All is safe in my world.” “I am calm and at ease.” “I am healthy in all ways.” “I am at peace” “I love and accept myself.” Writing them down gets them out of our heads. Words have energy. As we say these positive words, they feed us energy that we need. When you say words like “I am safe in my world,” your world is your body, your world is right here where your feet are. The outside world is around you. You aren’t taking about that. An affirmation can be really helpful. And you can carry it and read, use it and read it. Tomorrow night I am offering an event about tools and techniques to help people problem solve and deal with their fears. Techniques for dealing with what we are in.

  • I liked what you said about your feet, how they’ve grown with you. I watched a Matt Kahn video Thy Will Be Done. It addressed the state of the world and state of our minds.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your fears, your space and your time. Doing it for yourself. It blesses the community. We have our breath; we have our feet. Let’s keep going forward. Have a gentle day.

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