In followup to the rental situation, I met the challenge head on by pursuing multiple lines of inquiry and search: several realtors, several mortgage brokers, buy vs. rent, rent a full unit vs a room, me and my son together vs separated in different residences with room rental only, garaage vs no garage plus storage unit, … I opened my mind to possibilities. In pursuit of the opportunity we liked the best, I filled out more paperwork than with prior home purchases; a truly ridiculous amount of paperwork. However, the end was met. Although the prospective unit owner had several offers to choose from, we (my son and I) were chosen. There were so many other aspects to the comprehensive situation that could have made me crazy: including thinking about the whole moving process, going through inspection, getting renter’s insurance, the cost of the unit which is far more than I expected or wanted to be paying. However, I’ve been taking it one step at a time. Now that we’ve closed the deal, my next step is to start figuring out how my furniture and affects will be transferred. And, the money aspect I’m tabling. While I started getting anxious about various aspects of things and started talking from a negative point of view, my emotions and projection not totally controlled in a positive bent, I observed retrospectively what I was doing and at least worked on keeping the vision in mind most of the time. Also, I decided instead of worrying about how much money I would be spending and not saving in paying more for rent, I can use it as impetus to figure out ways to generate income and improve my financial circumstances to make the increased costs overwhelmingly compensated by increased wealth.
Since I was recently notified of our landlord selling our rental unit, I’ve had an underlying level of pervading tension, but I definitely attribute the participation in MKE in having it not being at a very ratcheted up level of stress. Rather I focused on one thing at a time. First step, taking care of the owners interests, meant cleaning and organizing for showing in short notice. That was quite successful: the first couple who saw the unitimmediately put in an offer. Because the owner was motivated to sell, it was accepted in short order. Now, second step was taking care of our own interests. Although I have major concerns about credit issues that have impacted me since my divorce a number of years ago, I determined simple steps and took action to start developing a portfolio to put my best foot forward in moving along a new rental: such as getting references from my landlord and management company, getting paystubs, bank statements, et. In other words, I didn’t let myself get stalled in worry and paralysis; rather, I decided to work on creating the circumstances that would help me get a good unit.
I received a call this week from another mother and part of our conversation was discussing the common occurrence of being a recipient of blame. Mothers often inflict self-blame because they love their children so much and want to be perfect parents for their children but recognize and amplify in their minds their imperfections. Parents will blame each other for differences in child rearing practices and perceived short-comings vis-a-vis treatment of their own children. Mothers will be blamaed by their children’s siblings for unequal treatment. Other extended family members will blame parents for what they see as mistakes in raising their children. Outsiders, often with no child-rearing experience of their own, will avidly observe and blame parents for what they perceive as short-comings, possibly even filing reports to Social Services. These are only a few possibilities of the negativity that can be heaped on mothers. It is not a job for the faint of heart. What is the message of all this guilt? That we expect perfection from ourselves and others? While as human beings we may have a bias to expecting perfection from ourselves and others and judge far too easily, i
t is something we can learn to recognize and release. Objectively observing how we relate with family members and reasoning out what we might have better done is not quite as simple. Truly knowing the cause and effect in the family organism is a complicated thing. So, personally, although I definitely have moments where I absorb shame and guilt that gets heaped on me by judgmental persons, I am working on being more forgiving of myself and not accepting the judgments. Like a saying I remember from Buddha perhaps that if someone offers you a gift, you have the right not to accept it. The same goes for judgments.
Many years ago, when I was first married, it was always uppermost in my mind how fleeting life was and that it was important to cherish the moments of relationship. While the idea of it never left me, somehow the emotional impact of that thought wasn’t as strong as the continuing years of challenges sapped my emotional and physical strength. I also used to have a very strong sense of discipline. I think that also collapsed as I felt a sense of hopelessness insidiously infiltrate my consciousness. However, participating in this course has awakened a sense of fresh possibility in my life, and our recent scroll has reminded me even more strongly of the importance of each day and galvanized a strong impetus to really make strides in seizing each day. In the last couple weeks, I not only successfully completed some projects that lingered undone for decades, I also started a new diet that I’ve successfully adhered to for the last week and a half with a sense of discipline I haven’t felt for a very long time. This moment, this day is the most important day in my life because, while nothing else is guaranteed, I have this moment and this day right now to live life to its fullest.
After having started a new job, I was concerned about fitting in and creating a good network of relationships. It can be difficult to break into the network of preexisting relationships, because you start as an outsider. I focused on being friendly and showing interest in others. However, I have never been a very gregarious person. The reaching out I was doing was on the edge of my comfort zone, and I was feeling disappointed and alone because I didn’t feel like most of the other people were interested in connecting with me. While I few would interact nicely with me upon my overtures, I didn’t see that they were making overtures towards me. I suppose it was like planting a new seed and applying water and expecting to immediately see the sprout. Then, it seems as if all of a sudden, I had people coming by: a couple people unexpectedly dropped by little gifts, I was invited to a group lunch, someone was asking me for help, someone was swinging by and asking how I was, etc. After I was starting to feel loss of heart and hope, I started seeing the fruition of my prior efforts. So, the moral of the story is: stay the course and don’t lose hope.
From personal experience, in the past when I got stressed about something, my mind would go into an endless loop over the worry, and I could barely focus on anything else. My grownup children are frequently a source of major stress. Money issues, my job, and my health are a few other major sources of stress. Frequently, when something happens, I react without pausing to take a moment of silence to center myself and think over the appropriateness of my reaction. However, what I have found, even if I still remain highly reactive, is that I’m much calmer and trusting that things will work out OK. I also find myself having a moment of reflection and consideration about my response happening earlier in time than before. I am making progress. Regardless of my circumstances, I am choosing to be OK. I am choosing happiness. I am choosing wellness. I give myself permission.
Reading obituaries brings up lots of different emotions and questions. One emotion is obviously sadness – for the person whose life ended and for the people in their life who were left behind. Was the passing person’s life purpose served? Did it appear that they touched many lives? Did they appear to have been loving and loved? Even with today’s society and a pervasive sense of isolation, most people do touch other people’s lives in some way. Likely they don’t even realize how much of an impact they have on those around them. Our energy, our love, our actions, our ideas, the environment we create all have influence. Obituaries are only a trace of a person’s life and legacy.
It’s somewhat disheartening how someone’s entire life history can be distilled into just a few lines, usually indicating marital/blood succession and some words about work history. But, really, just like I have old books and photographs I never really look at, it’s heart memories that are most important. I could prospectively compose an idealized epitaph and obituary for myself, but I think that would be less moving than imagining how I can improve my actual legacy. If anything, thinking about obituaries reminds me of how short life is and that it’s important to put thought into the impact we want to make and seize the day to start making it.