Name of the Game
I’ve seen so many work hard for what they have. Underappreciated but undeterred, they worked till their fingers literally bled. With little fanfare or even a thank you, you do what you have to do when it comes to your survival. For the abused, doing anything for praise or respect is a wasted effort; especially if you’re waiting for it from those that didn’t even respect themselves.
Abuse is a vicious cycle, handed down generation after generation. Often bleeding from a misdirected doctrine, where servitude is masked as purity. How can I now live my awakened life, knowing so many are still afraid of their own strength. Giving whole portions of themselves away to a fear and belief that they are nothing without pain.
Breaking the curse that’s placed upon us is no easy task. Making it simple for us to fall back into old patterns. Especially the abusive ones we learned so well. Often the defensive mechanisms we learned can become abusive themselves . During my “so-called enlightenment”, I often find myself becoming the bully. But at least I catch myself, most of the time. So I’m learning to apologize way better then I used too. Being imperfect, that’s the name of the game. We need to learn to give grace to ourselves, to those that wronged us, as well as, to those we have wronged.
Drives Me Crazy
It’s windy, a little cloudy, and my stomach is growling; so what else is new. Does it ever seem like moments you want to move on drip like cold molasses? I often get this way around moments I’m anticipating. I know that my philosophy tells me to live in the moment. But good Lord, when that moment is days away, I’ll admit it drives me crazy. I suppose it comes from my fight or flight survival mode. That for periods of time can lay dormant; but at a moments notice can once again spring into action.
It is such a peaceful day, even with the sound of traffic and landscaping humming in the distance. Even though there are no leaves blooming on the trees yet, I can still hear birds chattering in the distance. Even so, the pings of hunger are reminding me of a not so distance past, where fear and vulnerability held my mind. Living in such a heightened state of awareness put a lot of stress on an already unhealthy body and soul. Till the moment came when physically and mentally I was broken.
Teetering near death is a stern reminder of how fear and stress compromise your well-being. My earliest journey of searching for peace of mind was only a part of the healing puzzle. It took making major lifestyle changes to accommodate my new normal. Things I once took pride in doing were put to the wayside. Leaving me to seek a new path, redefining what the word satisfaction meant to me. Let me tell you it is a struggle to pull yourself away from the edge and back to a peaceful center. But this crazy ride was worth it. Because the peace I found out shines any of the residual pain that often reappears.
I’m catching the scent of honey and coconut from the soap and shampoo I use. I’m also noticing a hint of lemon from the scented trash bag I just changed. If you detach yourself from your worries long enough it’s amazing the things you can pick out. This morning I was so worried about our finances for the end of the month. Worried about feeding the family, worried about putting fuel in the SUV. Fearing that once again I’d have to “borrow from Peter to pay Paul”.
But my wife and I gave it some serious thought, and we decided to see how far we can go on what we have. I mean it’s not like we’ll be homeless or without internet, we’ll not. So I picked my son up from work, ate leftovers for lunch, and took a shower. Now here I am, smelling myself in the breeze. We all have our weak spot where the Devil or whatever you call your negative energy likes to prod us. Reminding us of how inadequate or helpless we are. Believe me I wake up everyday being reminded of that “fact”.
It wasn’t until I stopped “leaning on my own understanding” or limited perspective. And starting listening to a “higher power” so to speak. When I stop thinking I start listening. I can hear the fears that run through my mind. Hear all the deceptive voices that poison my soul. But then I hear the chatter of birds, feel the sun’s rays, smell the scents on the wind. And in it’s own inevitable way, I’m brought back to peace. I often feel I have a difficult explaining my journey. When talking to others I hear the “what ifs” and the “I don’t knows” they give me. All I can do is explain my experiences and explain what I do to find peace. The point is, “seek and you shall find, knock and doors will open”. If you will only try.
I'm Wearing Pants...Again
Well I got all my usual Sunday morning chores done. Got up, called my father-in-law, made the bed, and took my pills all the usual stuff. At the moment I’m sitting outside, it’s a little nippy with a steady breeze and plenty of cotton ball clouds. For the second day in a row I’m wearing pants…again. You might find that an usual statement, but for the past several years I’ve worn nothing but black sweatpants. Not so much as a fashion statement, but more out of convenience and discretion.
For a number of years I’ve suffered with digestive issues, as well as, heart and mental health issues. My heart and mental health issues are fairly easy to deal with in terms of the public. In other words, creating work arounds to function in society. But my digestive issues, once they became practically uncontrollable, it was no pleasant task to deal with in public. Over the years I've created work arounds for this situation. Such as limiting my travel, scheduling restroom stops, and keeping a diaper bag (with cleaning supplies and a change of clothes). This all sounds embarrassing and frankly it is. But traumatic changes in your live, call for either defeat and isolation or adapting and overcoming.
I choose the latter. My panic and anxiety caused me enough damage in the early years with isolation and fear. My subsequent heart failure, slowed my activities to a crawl. For 25 years now I’ve been dealing with all this shit. And while a lot of people wouldn’t blame me if I decided to just give up. I choose to be proactive and continue to fight for my normalcy. During this fight I’ve found the right medical and spiritual combination to deal with my panic. The same is true for my chronic heart failure. Hell I’ve even used my out of control digestive system to help bring my weight under control.
Mind you that none of this is full proof or maybe even recommended. It’s just the best I could do under my given circumstances. Following the advice of my doctors I’m focused on survival. By being proactive and setting a positive course to getting healthier. I mean, it’s nice to feel confident to wear pants again. And while other little naggy issues continue to pop up; I’ll continue to fight the good fight and try to be a better person then I was today.
Going to Visit
I guess today was a go visit the grandkids kinda day. First we went over to our youngest daughter’s and visited with our grandson and granddaughter. Just listening to the kids and chit-chatting with our son-in-law and daughter while they cleaned. We then headed to the next town to visit and check in with our oldest daughter and grandson George. George is her chocolate labrador and although our daughter is expecting her first child, we still give George our undivided attention.
Grandparenting, at least for us, is a much more laid-back sport then parenting. It’s nice to see that our children learned from our mistakes and waited till they were far more established to begin their families. While I would love to take credit for their maturity and decision making. I think watching mom and dad stumble through life was a far better teacher. As you may well know, I’m not one to gloss over my mistakes. And I’m pretty damn sure my parents rolled their eyes a time of two watching me parent. But thank the good Lord I suppose, all the screwing up stopped at one generation.
But who the hell am I trying to kid? Children watch their parents like a hawk. Learning from actions they take. If this theory is true, then maybe my wife and I at least showed dedication and purpose, if not always good judgement. I still strain and worry still the small details. Like making sure my wife remembers the simple little details or that our son is well fed. So in a way the parenting never really stopped, at least for me. I try to remind myself to just let go, that legacy is only created when the lessons are appreciated.
I’ve gotten a surprising amount of work done today and it’s not even noon time. All but a few of the clothes were washed this morning and are drying on the line. I also ran some errands in McRae, Georgia; then drove back in the opposite direction to Mount Vernon, Georgia for a doctor’s appointment. Now here it is a little after noon and I’m sitting outside soaking me up some vitamin D. All and all I’d have to say it’s been a pretty productive day.
I suppose it doesn’t sound very inspiring or riveting to hear the tales of a sad old Southern refugee like myself. But as I have stated before, I’m writing for me more than anyone else. Recently I’ve been laser focused on finishing another collection of my stories. This one’s titled, “Footprints in the Sand” and it consist of some 300 pages of my half-ass tales of woe and feeble attempts at poetry. It may not be my best work, but I’ll leave that up to fate to decide.
At one point or another, I’ve carried a lot burdens. I worried and labored over the lives of others till the very weight of it nearly killed me. But at my very point of breakage I finally got to stare at my worse fear face to face, and you know what? I wasn’t afraid anymore. Life has a funny way of teaching us the lessons we need to hear. The sad part is that many of us don’t take the time to listen. We thank our maker for allowing us to dodge another bullet. Never realizing there wouldn’t be any bullets to dodge, if we’d only listened. Life is what you make of it, good or bad, face it with confidence and presence. Especially when you’re afraid.
I don’t want to succumb to the anger as so many have done. But every day I see my patience and grace being tried. I see myself boiling over with rage at the slightest thing. Justly or unjustly, this much anger isn’t sustainable. I don’t have to tell you how pissed off the world is, how pissed off everybody is at the moment. Even the simple act of waiting in a checkout line has become a classroom in how to build an atomic bomb.
I hear words everyday with such hatred and vulgarity. And this is coming from the very halls of leadership and compromise. In my own life I have moments of justifiable anger. But when that anger is broken down, is it really justifiable or necessary? The cruelest of anger comes from the seeds planted within ourselves. From the darkest of places that we do our best to hide. Often these seeds were planted by those we loved. And again, justly or unjustly it Is these seeds that bear the anger we put on display.
As I continue my mindfulness journey my conscience or whatever you want to call it, shows me my pain. The pain which I continue to give to myself, and the pain which I continue to give to others. It’s a vicious cycle of hurt. That rather I like it or not begins and ends with me. So I continue to ask myself why? Listening compassionately to the hurt within me. Asking myself the question, what is it that you really want? None of these truths are easy to hear, but they need to be heard. Resist the easy path of anger. Speak with as much grace as you can muster. Search your soul in the quiet moments. It’s there you will find peace.
Often How it Feels
I guess I’m just a total jackass for saying this; but being a caregiver is all about them, and not a damn thing about you. Now is that selfish statement? You bet it is. Are those same words left unspoken by many? I’m pretty sure they are. I’m writing this with no real intent on saying them out loud. Too many people I know would only condemn me for just thinking them. I mean after all for them life is a blessing and to think someone in need is a burden is unforgettable.
Well buddy, that’s often how it feels. A family member one time pointed out time that my writing was too negative. After reading the comment I had to laugh. First for them missing the point of the story. Second, for them believing the world is all sunshine and rainbows. But hell, maybe we both just misunderstood each other. Writing for me is a therapy, it’s not just a vanity project or a source of recognition. The reason I spend my time writing is to let others know that I understand.
Like I said, I’m just blowing off steam. Still I believe in looking at a situation head on. And while I may not see an answer, at least I admit there’s a problem. To ignore the things that bother you only buries the roots of pain deeper. Often causing you to have hard feelings towards those you love the most. The people I take care of can’t help their situations. And while some may be inclined to point out my imperfections. Giving those emotions a voice is the first step towards healing. So forgive me for speaking. But silence, other then helping you seek peace. Can also fuel the pain and abuse you give.
Hell of a Long Ride
I was having a lively little conversation with an associate down at the local dollar store. She’s about the same age as my youngest and like myself she has four kids. While my youngin raising days are pretty much done, for this young single mom, they are just beginning. I just turned sixty last year and have two grandchildren with one more on the way. I’ve been married for thirty five years. And if you count the other one I’ve been married nearly forty years.
My mind doesn’t feel like I’ve been around that long. But when I reflect on the milestones in my life, it’s been a hell of a long ride. There are moments when I think, “what the hell have I done with my life?” There are moments when I saw no purpose, no goals, or accomplishments. But when I filter through the forgotten memories I begin to see where none of that is true. I understand that while I never became the architect I dreamed of being as a kid. I did become a father, a husband, and a provider. Things I never thought I’d be.
And while many may see me as a failure at even these things. The fruit is there for all to see tucked away in my children’s lives. I don’t know, maybe I’m just feeling extra good about myself today. But listening to that young lady, brought up a lot of memories. Memories that are both good and bad, justified and delivered out of spite. My point is, it shouldn’t hurt to take assessment of your life every once in a while. To plan or change course when needed. But to bury your heart in guilt will never fix anything. So seek forgiveness from others as well as yourself. Hopefully then the path of your life won’t seem so long.
Welcome to the Weather
I know, I’m outside in a T-shirt and shorts. If you notice I got heavy sweats and a long shelve pullover drying on the line. The wind is blowing the cotton ball clouds to the east. And while it’s a very comfortable 74°f right now; I know that in a couple of days it will be below 50°f again. So welcome to the weather in Southeast Georgia, where winter and summer clothes never really get put away.
After four days of muggy rain, it’s fortunate that we caught a break, if for a day or two. It gives me and Lisa a chance to catch up on the laundry and allow it to dry. The surrounding rivers and ponds are overflowing their banks. But hopefully the ground will be able to hold some of that moisture for the dry months ahead. Life is so hard to predict. It may stay wet cool the next few months or it may be unforgivingly hot as it has in the past.
But life is not without hope, stubbornness, and ingenuity. If evolution has taught us anything, it’s that we are a resilient creature. Our survival instincts have pushed us to moments of greater good or horrendous evil. I suppose it’s free will that gives us the power to decide which one we’ll choose. But life changing conditions aren’t meant to be pondered on such a peaceful day. Instead we should carry some morsel of gratitude for these moments of calm. So that when difficulties come, we’ll know what to do.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.