The Elephant In The Room

I have an affinity for elephants. I always thought they were kindred spirits of mine. I am taking a Kundalini class and tonight we explored the tools and symbolism of the First Cakra.

Some of the questions asked are “What is the foundation I stand on and what needs to be updated within that foundation?”

I was sure my foundation is based on well fitted and firmly placed footings. As I learn and explore the world I created for myself I feel that I am in a pretty good place. 

What I didn’t suspect was the fissures running through the support structure.

Is my foundation built on decisions made out of a sense of fear? Fear of not belonging, fear of not measuring up, fear of financial hardships, fear of becoming my parents?

I know I have to consider fear when making life decisions. How can you not? It’s alway present and causes a bit of anxiety for us all. Has it interfered with my path? I would be lying if I said it hasn’t at all.

What tools in the First Cakra can help with fear? The Child Brahma makes the gesture that all fear will be dispelled. I have to set the intent with sincerity and humility. I can practice that. I gaze upon the goddess Satki Dakini. She holds a spear in one of her hands. What animals dwell within me that need spearing? Do I operate with instinct or awareness? The mastering of hitting the target comes with practice and skill development. The basics are here to renovate my foundational core. I can use the staff to help me clear my cluttered mind. Fear lingers in the monkey chatter and tends to obscure my ability to see things through an unfettered perspective. What is true and what is false? What is still distracting me from my purpose and the goals I have set out for myself?

How do I move out from a platform of fear?

I must start where I am instead of where I think I should be. I am encouraged to move slowly with purpose and discrimination. This reminds me of the purpose of silent retreats. When you remove a sense the others are heightened. In this case, not all sound is removed but a significant portion of physical chatter. The art is in quieting the inner chatter while dismissing the need for outer voice.

I glance once again at the First Cakra. The Elephant of Indra draws attention and I smile at the instant analogy of “The elephant in the room”. What does my elephant look like? I do feel clumsy sometimes when I try to meditate or do some of the yoga poses. I wasn’t born very graceful I am afraid. Yet, that isn’t really the purpose of the poses. It’s the connection to the mind and body that counts. Do my preconceived ideas about how I am supposed to look while doing yoga hinder my progress? I would have to answer that sometimes it does. I have proven to myself that I am strong and able to overcome many challenges in life. Like the elephant though, I am stubborn and sometimes hold onto hurts that hinder my ability to heal completely. My words sometimes are clumsy lacking the clarity of intent. I have worked on getting better at choosing my words if they are needed at all and when the right time appears to share them with others. Saving your words and choosing to listen with silence, even in the mind, is truly a remarkable skill to fine tune.

Once in a while, in meditation, I reach a level of complete silence. It is a blissful moment when all noise is gone and the cosmic voice can be heard. The vibration generated is like Prana.

Synchronicity, cont…

After writing last night, I started to think about the events occurring for me right now, and how they may or may not be related. Whenever matters of the Universe seem to be at play, I feel called to my oracle cards.

I pulled another card. It was the butterfly. Today, I wanted to see if the message was reinforced, and pulled the lion.

The butterfly represents undergoing great change and transformation.

“The energy of the butterfly is with us during periods of transition. Since air is the element of the heart, this change usually involves relationships (or if you love your job, perhaps your career).”

Last week, the term “synchronicity” showed up twice. I also had a company approach me about working for them. I’m having to decide if I want the security of where I am now, or take a leap of faith and start somewhere new. It’s a very attractive offer, and in many ways, is what I’ve defined as my “dream job”. (I checked with Martin, and he assured me the relationship is good for him, so I don’t think it’s dealing with matters of the heart).

I wanted to see what the cards had to say today. Lion appeared.

“The Lion is a master of the Fire element and the living mascot of self-transformation. A Lion personality dedicates their life to personal and spiritual growth.”

Is anyone else sensing a theme? Again with transformation. It appears during the time I’ve been seeing a psychologist and working through “The Artist’s Way” to unblock my creativity.

OK – let’s see what the other decks have to say. I pulled Tsunami from the Magic Earth deck.

“You are getting a wake up call. It may be in the form of a significant loss, or other dramatic event in your life, typically one that you were not prepared for initially. You may feel stunned at first, surprised by the unexpected events that are occurring.”

Ummmm…yes. I was not expecting a casual conversation to turn into, “What would it take to get you to come work for us?” This card also seems to summarize the last year of turmoil – separation, finding out spouse is gay, moving out, buying a new home, rehoming my dog. Now, it feels as though the wake-up call is – “What are you going to do with your life? It’s yours for the taking!” This job offer, on many levels, seems too good to be true. Is it the wake-up call I need to start a new life now that I’m more settled?

Now, my curiosity is piqued. I have another deck – the Nature’s Whispers cards. Two were stuck together.

The Big Picture card: “There is so much more going on than you realize…If you’ve been struggling with a problem or tough situation, this card can signal that you will find the answers if you stand back and view everything from a larger perspective or someone else’s viewpoint.”

The Amplify Your Positive Emotions card: “There is a ripple effect of energy flowing from you. Be positive…There is a chance to bring good fortune and influences to all of the events in your life. As circles also represent cycles, know that you are continually going in and out of cycles, growing and changing. With every ending comes a new beginning.”

Oh, I know there is more going on than I realize! I haven’t slept well all week, since starting the “morning pages” from “The Artist’s Way”. I suspect there is much ‘bubbling under the surface’ that has yet to show itself. I’m talking to the psychologist, to Martin, and to friends to get their perspective on what’s going on in my life. I’m also fully aware that with every ending comes a new beginning: marriage ended – new home and relationship. Now, maybe a new job? I started my current job while still living in the same house as my ex. Is the presentation of a new job a result of the Universe giving me a truly “clean slate” from which to build my life?

What are the odds of five cards sending the same message, at a time when synchronicity has made itself known? There was a time I’d have puzzled over this – over thought it. Now, I’m going to accept it. I know I’m still in a period of transformation, this time more internal than external. It’s part of the healing process and coming to terms with the direction life is taking me. I simply need to trust the Universe has my best interests at heart.

Adding Brushstrokes

I loved Vanessa’s last post. I chuckled at the comment about how our lives are “about to change” – I think that happened the day we were both let go from our employer within 15 minutes of each other. 🙂

So much of what Vanessa wrote resonated with me. We truly are staring at a blank canvas. It’s exciting, and yet scary. The last few weeks, I’ve been experiencing higher levels of anxiety, and even a few anxiety attacks. I’m no stranger to them, so I know what’s happening. My first action is to get my thyroid levels checked. 🙂 Sometimes, anxiety is a symptom of having too much Synthroid, and my medications need to be adjusted again. Failing that, I need to look at other causes.

I suspect part of it is living in a nearly-post-Covid world. Did anyone else find it weird to walk into stores without wearing a mask? For two weeks, I carried one with me. Sometimes I felt I needed to wear it, other times not. I don’t like when strangers stand to close to me – something I never used give much thought. I’ve gotten used to going without a mask (most of the time), but I still sanitize my hands every chance I get.

Truthfully, most of the anxiety is coming from not having a clear path before me. I’ve always had a plan. Now, like Vanessa, I’m looking at a blank canvas. Hers is a new van; mine is the life I want to create. In our early days of blogging, we talked a lot about creating space, through decluttering and purging things that no longer serve us. Now, what do we do with the new-found space?

If you read my posts, you know it’s a question I’m wrestling with right now. I’ve got tonnes of time, and yet, am well aware that I have more years behind me than ahead. The vision I had for this stage of life has been erased. I’ve taken the metaphorical sledge hammer to it because I wasn’t about to settle for less than I deserve.

I’ve added a few brush strokes to my canvas in the past few months. I have a long way to go to complete the picture.

Doesn’t “Calm” Come First?

I haven’t been very active in this blog for the past couple of months. My life has taken some unexpected, sudden turns and I feel like I’ve missed the “calm” and have landed firmly into the “storm”.

Some of the storm is physical – my dad moving into long-term care, my roommate deciding to buy me out of our home, finding a new home, getting ready to move, and work projects coming fast and furious.

Some of it is emotional – feeling as though I’ve let Dad down (even though he’s the one who asked to move), angry at my roommate (soon to be ex-husband), frustrated from dealing with him, excited about my new place, sad that my CrossFit gym is permanently closing (thank you Covid), and happy with how things are going in my current relationship.

Some of it is mental – I find myself paralyzed by indecision. I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase and set up a home just for *me*. What do I like? How do I want to set it up? What works for *me*?

I alternate between feeling as though I have everything in order and, like today, feeling as though everything is out of control. It’s uncomfortable.

I try to get comfortable through “to do” lists. I love the sense of completion I get when I can cross something off the list. Thing is, the closer I get to the closing date, the longer the “to do” list seems to grow. It feels like a hurricane increasing strength as it moves towards land.

Will the storm’s strength decrease before it reaches land, or will it hit land and wreak havoc?

I need to stay on top of my self-talk and reflect on what I’m feeling.

Yes, I feel overwhelmed. I need to focus on what needs to be done *right now* and not think too far into the future. What do I need to get done today?…tomorrow?

I need to focus on creating a new home and filling it with things that sustain my physical, emotional, and mental well-being and rather than dwelling on what I’m leaving behind.

I need to remember that – yes – as I pack and realize I have a lot of “stuff”, I don’t have to unpack it all in one day. It’ll be OK to move things and decide it doesn’t serve me anymore. Reduce, reuse, and recycle – I can do that anywhere.

I can peruse Pinterest to get ideas for setting up my new home. Or, I can set up the rooms next week and feel free to change my mind as I live in the space.

I may not have experienced a calm before the storm, but I feel there’s a tremendous calm waiting for me after it.

Change is Tough

“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus

This quote, along with “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” have been running through my mind a great deal the past while. Do you ever think, “Enough! I’m strong enough! Stop testing me!”?

For the past four years, I’ve been the primary caregiver to my parents. We lost Mom two years ago, and today, I moved my dad into long-term care. I had no idea how difficult the day would be for me. On one hand – he and I are both ready for it. He asked to move. I’m burning out. I know, deep in my heart, it’s the best move for both of us. With his vision loss, he was getting more easily disoriented in the house and it was scaring him. I was responsible for getting his meals, medication, doctor appointments, transportation, and keeping an ear open to make sure he was safe at all times. I couldn’t leave the house for more than an hour or two at a time. We were thrilled when a spot opened at one of the homes we had chosen.

Today was moving day. I thought I’d feel relieved. It’s the last thing I feel. I’m sad because Dad won’t be in the house anymore. As much of a toll as it was taking on me, I feel sad that he won’t be cared for by his family. I feel sad that Dad can’t see what a lovely place he’s at now. He’s got a room that faces the mountains and the airport runway. I know he’s love to sit and watch the planes take off and land. The home has pool tables, plenty of couches for cozy conversation areas, raised gardens outdoors – all things he’d enjoy if he was more able bodied and had his vision.

I’m concerned that he’s going to get disoriented in his new room, despite setting it up much the way he had it at the house. I spent 30 minutes having him walk to/from the bathroom so he felt confident he could find his way on his own. I had to teach him how to “see” with his hands in his new environment – a bit of a challenge for an 83 year old man who is also in cognitive decline.

I worry that he won’t get the care he deserves. I have no reason to believe he won’t, but this is brand new and it’s not me anymore. I need to put faith and trust in others. The people I’ve spoken with the past week, and met today, are lovely people. I’m sure he’ll be well cared for, but I’ll need to hear from him that he’s content.

Dad has to quarantine in his room for 14 days. My niece and I are the only two people who can visit him. His meals and activity workers will spend time with him – but will it be enough stimulation? Will he be bored? How scared is he?

Once quarantine is over, he can leave his room and socialize with others. He will require assistance to get out of his room and into the social areas. Will the staff remember he can’t see? Will they get him out and about? It’s all so new for both of us.

After getting Dad settled and hearing him say, for now, he is happy, we left. I cried all the way home. I feel that I’ve let him down. I know he’d say I haven’t.

It’s tough. Even though it’s a change we were both ready for, and wanted, we’re not prepared for it. Within an hour of getting home, I fell asleep. I can’t remember when I’ve felt this tired. It’s weird not having Dad here. Dinner time came and went. I didn’t have to get him to the table, get his meal ready, and his medication out for him. I don’t hear the TV blasting from his bedroom. There’s an emptiness in the house.

Dad’s move marks the start of more changes. There’s no reason for my roommate and I to live together anymore. I’m free to move. Our mortgage is due and it’s the perfect time for him to buy me out. I’m looking at being a home owner on my own for the first time in my life.

None of this was in the 5 or 10 year plan. Will there ever be a time when my life feels settled, when change isn’t the constant it’s been the past few years? Or, has it always been like this and, as I age, am I simply more aware of it?

So much of how we react to change has to do with mindset and resiliency. Tomorrow, I’ll go back to being a strong, dependable, optimistic woman who can handle whatever life throws at me.

Tonight, I want to be the little girl who misses her dad.

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