Today's answer isn't so very pretty. It's one of the rare days I can't shake the blues of chronic pain and one more symptom to handle. Vertigo has decided it's time to call again on top of all of my other house guests: poor sleep, stuffy nose, headache, sinus pressure, neck ache, shoulder and hip pain, tight jaw, and constipation. I have a daily regimen of supplements, netti-pot, exercise and food intolerances to handle. I am grateful that they have worked all summer. Until the hammer of stress came crashing down as it does periodically on all of us. And I kept pushing through.
That mess of annoyances is about all that I can see. My pattern is to retreat, where it takes less energy to survive until symptoms recede. But I don't think that's the healthiest route. It seems one of the patterns I need to break. Last week, I spent a good deal of time pouring over some astrology interpretations from the amazing monthly group I attend under the guidance of my spiritual friend, Char. In this space, I have been able to delve deeper into who I am, or am meant to be, and look beyond the drive-me-crazy symptoms. According to the stars (and planets and their interactions), I have been blessed with many gifts and the means to use them. I am, they say and I know myself, a late bloomer. I married later, had my kids older and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I also must follow my own path, which includes a lot of excavation. I joyously e-mailed Char Monday that I had meticulously gone through all of the material and how happy it made me, how affirming and confirming it had been.
So what's changed in a a day or two? Nothing that I haven't already dealt with the past 16 years. Shortly after I began this post, I looked up, frustrated. I didn't want to whine or be in that self-pitying place. The large signing dangling from my studio ceiling saying "Take a Break" was the first thing that came into focus as I adjusted my eyes away from the computer screen.
I get it, I thought. I doubt the instructions could be any clearer. I quickly Googled what movies were playing and opted to forgo unproductiveness and truly take a break. I settled on the "100 Foot Journey" with Helen Mirren. I'd selected the book a year ago for book club and was thoroughly delighted and entertained ... to the point I'd forgotten it was fiction. In my rushing to the car to make the show, a van driver flagged me down, lost. I drove her to the highway, stopped home briefly and was on my way, arriving ahead of the previews. What wasn't to like: food, France and Indian culture. The scenes shot in Paris brought tears of gratitude for the trip we had as a family this summer. "God, you have been so very good to me," I said silently. I didn't add the "but why am I always struggling" as I had earlier.
One of the things I have been learning about myself by studying my natal chart is that I need to periodically treat myself and take breaks. I tend to push through and deny myself. I've been pushing ... all summer. From a wonderful vacation at the beginning (that I completely planned from scratch, which I love but can be stress-inducing), to balancing kids home and more outside work, some stinging upsets (learning I must relocate my studio and Artsy Fartsy and that I missed a major grant deadline), getting my girls off to school while my husband was out of town (I honestly don't know how single parents do it) and settling my oldest into college courses this week as part of the post secondary enrollment options program. Did I mention we have also have a new driver?
It is just life, dished out to us all. I live it hard, forgetting to breathe and, often, to enjoy. One of my recent astrology lessons is to let life flow through me. I wonder what that looks like, exactly. Here are a few of the other lessons I am cultivating:
• To live out of abundance, confidence and trust;
• To follow my dreams and truth;
• To let go of fear;
• That boundaries are necessary, barriers are not.
• To bring the past forward;
• That my security in life rests in Spirit.
• To put power and energy into intention.
• That healing requires pruning the excess;
• To rely on my (inner) resources and that looking within gives me the most clarity;
• That's is ok to risk and create new structures to replace what isn't working any more.
I am calling all of this lean love and am thinking that I used a little of that on myself today by going to the movie instead of wallowing in my studio. Hooray for me – I AM learning.
• What's my gut reaction to stress?
• What are my go-to patterns?
• What patterns must I seek to change?
• Where do I find Spirit in the mess of life?
• What lessons about living and loving am I learning?
to drop my daughter
at school even
though my husband
why? I now
finding the grace
to take a few hours
off, dreaming of
France and food
sneaking in a grocery
dinner, an aborted
bank stop and
getting my daughter to
her first night
class on time
do I insist
on killing myself?