Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Day passes quickly
darkness ascends too early;
I’m one of those freaks who have a hard time making and keeping friends. I am opinionated and manage to share my opinions in a sometimes not so friendly-seeming way. I have trouble reading people’s reactions and often do not recognize I’m being made fun of or disrespected until after the fact. People I’ve befriended and loved have stolen from me, lied to me, cheated me, and used me. Since I seem to alienate people so easily I often disconnect or keep people at arm’s length; I’ve learned many people I grow attached to really think very little of me. So I have a tendency to not reach out or connect myself too closely with other people. Because the connection is difficult for me, connections affect me very strongly, and I’ve had to teach myself when unreturned phone calls, or e-mail replies fail to show it’s not about me but about the other person’s story.
This is a real dichotomy for me because I believe this world and culture is all about sharing and giving to others. What gives me the most pleasure is to do something for someone else. Granted, I often fail here: the party is a bust, the gift is wrong somehow, the meal doesn’t come together right, the words I say are inane not soothing. So now my modus operandi is to keep giving out love in my own style and I no longer give one iota of thought to people giving it back. A little bit pathetic I know, but so much has not been returned by the ones I gave too, I proceed guardedly. Yet I know what I want to do in this life is to give to others. I’m not Mother Teresa, and I imagine life was hard for her too. I’m selfish. I want. Desire kills me.
Here’s the thing. Love always comes back to you. Maybe not from the ones you give it too. And maybe not now. Maybe it just doesn’t matter who you give your love out to as long as you continue to give. Being attached to the love you are giving is the stumbler. As one of my yoga teachers said, “Lower your expectations.” I repeatedly find when I expect less I receive more.
I was pleasantly surprised this week when my pool pal sang “ Happy Birthday” to me at the top of her lungs while we were in the pool. Everybody heard. She didn’t stop. Sang it all the way through. I could feel lots of love coming at me.
And then. A woman I admire, whom I shared responsibilities with during my scout years, asked to have lunch with me. I don’t usually accept invitations as they often backfire, my car fails to function or the person fails to show, but she was insistent and we were able to spend 40 minutes together having fun chatting. She shared her news and I didn’t share any horror stories or heavenly wonder stories about her situation.
She was sensitive and kind enough to my sensibilities to tell me in person she would be having surgery on my birthday. She didn’t want me to find out arbitrarily through the grapevine, over the phone, on Facebook, or after the fact. She cared enough to know I would be upset if I didn’t know in advance and put some of my special weirdo energy out into the universe to help her heal. Hopefully through early detection and early intervention, this will be the only event she will face.
Breast cancer is scary for women. Our society and our media judge us so much on our bodies and how they look. When boobalas have been a part of your life since you were eleven or twelve it’s hard to think what to do without them. Any time the “c” word comes up it’s not just about appearances; cancer can be pervasive, elusive, and sneaky.
My family gets heart disease, and lung and brain cancer. Her family gets breast cancer. Every family has a story. When I lived at the coast, I knew one old gentleman who probably had every kind of cancer there is. When first discovered, they told him to arrange his affairs as he had six months to live. He’d had at least fifteen surgeries and he used to say they should install Velcro in a few significant spots, they’d had to open him up so many times to remove tumors and lumps. He died a good 30 years after his first diagnosis and he lived a full long life, with a wife, a son and daughter, and a tiny chihuahua named Cujo, whose reproductive equipment was nearly as large as the whole dog. This man spent most of his retired years dumpster diving and feeding the friends and neighbors in his low income neighborhood with perfectly good food thrown away because it was past a sell date. He’d find fresh fruits and vegetables that didn’t look perfect, but were so good inside.
Let’s repeat that: “didn’t look perfect, but were so good inside.”
So if a woman finds the cancer is pervasive? The breast tissue is compromised? I can’t make a decision for another woman, but for me? My boobalas are not me. They are not what I’m about. And if it meant I could live a longer life and die with my wit about me in my own home when I’m too old to move any more, then by God, take them. I’m grateful I don’t have to face this decision for myself.
I muse on today, thinking about my friend facing surgery, and extremes in our lives. I get these feelings sometimes and because I am selfish and autonomous I like to think they are right. I’m sending out energy that this is all for her, all she will face with this disease, one tiny piece of tissue removed and done. Done, done, done. And any further treatment will be easy on her. She’s raised a lovely family and I know she has a support system of caring people. She shall be well and well loved. And I shall call her friend.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week –
the trees on my block are every color of the autumn rainbow;
my mullein which continues to produce pretty yellow blossoms and drops its petals onto the moss below;
creamy white mushrooms growing in my green lawn.
Currently Reading – The Sky Behind the Forest: Selected Poems (poetry) by Liliana Ursu; Barbecued Husbands and Other Stories from the Amazon (traditional Brazilian rain forest tribal stories) by Betty Mindlin and indigenous storytellers; Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown (global economics) by David Wiedemer and Robert A Wiedemer; Hanging Out the Wash: And Other Ways to Find More in Less (simplifying life) by Adair Lara; How to See Yourself as You Really Are (enlightenment) by the Dalai Lama. Yes, concurrently.
Winter Classic Reading rules:
1. You must never have read the book before.
2. The book must be recognized as a classic, and can be contemporary.
* Extra points if you’ve never read the author before, if the author is female, or if the title or author have won a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.
Winter Classic Reading choices as of today:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; I’ve never read this author.
The Stranger by Albert Camus; I’ve never read this author.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne; I’ve read House of the Seven Gables.
Something by Anthony Trollope, suggested by the co-worker; neither of us have read this author.
Can you suggest any others? Do you want to read a Winter Classic you’ve never read before? We’ll decide by the winter solstice. Or maybe I’ll decide, I haven’t decided yet if I want to be the decider since it’s my tradition or if I want to share.
This week I have been grateful for:
- Taking care of myself, being gentle with myself on my 60th birthday, my first birthday after the death of my mother.
- Nature’s vibrant color this fall.
- Enjoying the high school homecoming parade which marches about half a block from my house. Weather was crisp and clear, perfect parade weather.
- Enjoying the fruit from my fruit basket.
- Birthday wishes and gifts from so many friends and family.
- Fly strips after “losing” some fruit on my fruit bar and “finding” it too late.
- Looking forward to some much needed time off this week.
- Warmish late autumn weather. Autumn seems to be progressing quickly this year.
- Finding a few dried Mr. Lincoln rose petals on the floor by my desk and holding them as close to my nose as possible to see if they still bore the fragrance I remembered from the gifted rose I received earlier this summer. Recalling the fragrance though the dried rose held none.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.