We may be coming out of hiding at this time but we may be finding out that we want to turn right around and crawl back in. It seems that as soon as we feel that there are enough safety checks around us, we're triple vaccinated with masks in place, we find ourselves now socially awkward. I have always had this lingering fear when placed in social situations. Of course this fear was conveniently eased when I imbibed in a drink or two, but I've long ago met with a moment of truth and have since tried not to adhere to too many other addictions.
While I no longer have those inept thirteen year old social skills causing me to be an absolute wallflower at a party, or that awkwardness of being a teenager walking into my first dance and not knowing what to do with a changing body and raging hormones, Still now, I fear being judged too severely. There were those predictions about how you would look and how you were going to grow up and also what you would become and your relevance in the world. As if that wasn't enough, you had the very real problem of trying to bond with your friends, not to mention trying to figure out how to impress, or even just who you were. It does make me have more compassion for being that age.
That lingering feeling can still be there, like when I recently went back out to my first big gathering with people I hadn't seen in ages. An old friend had passed away due to complications with COVID-19 and now months later we were finally able get together to honor his life. The celebration of life was filled with wonderful, colorful, and sometimes fairly off color stories and laughter mixed with a certain amount of profound sadness.
I saw people I hadn't seen in decades yet somehow everybody was still surprisingly the same only a little more mellow...with all the nuances of a fine vintage wine. The cleverness was there but with a sense of who they were in this world but how they related to it hadn't changed much, even with many trials and errors.
So the second time out and I am going to see quite a few relatives and am not quite sure about the rules...whether to hug or kiss, how much distance to keep, how much room to give, or will people think I'm being stand-offish, while all the while, trying to lasso my extremely analytical mind. I should also mention that I should be mindful to not get caught up in their extremely analytical minds, as it seems to be a family trait. First the hellos with the mask on and then our masks off because we understand that we had all been vaccinated and we had all tested ourselves just a few weeks before. None of us had really been out that much in public but we had all been to my nephew's beautiful wedding where everyone was double vaccinated and had been tested right before. So this venture for Thanksgiving Day, of being in a house, my brother and sister-in-law's house at that, was more of an emotional wild card than a healthcare related mine-field. We got through it all, and all of us played together nicely. Does any of this sound familiar? As I think about it... it should. The the very word familiar comes from the Latin word for family. Leaving my siblings house, I realized that we are truly social animals yet some of us still like to hide more than others. I very much enjoyed the laughter. I even enjoyed the kidding around and found that actually, as time goes by that my relatives are really quite a witty group and that we're all pretty amazing.
I found myself very grateful to be able to spend time with them. I guess they did too, because we decided to do it again only this time in a public setting in a restaurant that requires vaccination cards. It's important to support local businesses while also being in a safe environment. The luxury of being in a restaurant means that we are probably meeting for only about two hours which joyfully I've found (by trial and error), is just about what my perfect comfort level. So far-so good I think...and onward we go!
That is only one part of the family. Yeah! We get to go to my husband's daughter's family in California. I most like to see the grandkids and I also miss seeing my friends on the other side of the country. Since we decided to get married a decade ago, I've had to cut down on my time with my friends. My friends had been like my family when it came to really hard stuff, with all the changes, and always a shoulder to cry on. It was my friends who pulled me through when my first husband got sick and then died, not my first husband's family. Since his death, his family began acting so differently. I found keeping up a relationship with them was too taxing so I am ok with letting that go except for the one I have with my niece. My second husband...well that ended in divorce. I always liked his daughter better than him anyway. So, don't ask me... I know there's always two sides to every story! I think we both got married for all the wrong reasons and him getting caught in 911, let's face it... that didn't really help matters either. So for years I swore I'd never get married again and I felt for good reason. One, you have to give up your side of the bed, actually not just your side, but your bed! You also have new relatives who don't really think you are a relative and treat you as if you are from a country that has the plague and they might catch it. So there's been ongoing incidences of being treated like I was the person that should be quarantined and my not taking it well. "l can deal with this," I thought at first, and then asked "why should I?" OK what do I need to let go of so I can be in this situation, so my husband doesn't feel like the ringmaster in a familial circus. Being with a man who has great hair, distinguished rocker looks, is smart, witty, and had a history of being a womanizer... is also someone addicted to his job can certainly be challenging. I can be addicted to my work but I think I'm more addicted to my head and just thinking about what I should be doing in my work.
I have an addiction, which is very subtle. It tells me I'm not good enough, that I'm not quick enough and who do I think I'm kidding. Does this sound familiar? So here I am this morning trying to figure out if what I'm up against is really just my fear.
The fear that I'm too vulnerable or maybe I'm a bit self-centered. This is the time of giving and receiving, true, but lately I find myself not really sure what I want to do. It's almost like I am feeling paralyzed, unable to move which is funny because I teach meditation and I do yoga. I'm still finding it hard to have tea with my mind's critics, those jabbering monkeys with their incessant nonsense! This is a time that we celebrate the survival of the human spirit while in intense darkness. The light within ourselves is so valuable and healing that we even put up lights as if to light up that darkness. Get me out of the shadow side! Someone turn up the lights! Allow ourselves some joy of giving and receiving! How do I allow spirit to truly infuse my life rather than just going through the motions. I must be reaching yet another level in the cemetery of my emotions because I'm digging up all these feelings. I can't sugarcoat things as well as I used to. Sometimes I just sit with huge feelings of uncomfortability, and I find myself in silent observation, looking at boxes of things ...things I should put away... things I should give away... and the enormous amount to plants I have just brought in from the garden. Yes, I am in the hallway of change with this time and with an incredible amount of stuff. Stuff that seems I can never get through... it's like groundhog day.
There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to take up the boxes and to put up the things somewhere touched with so many memories. So many memories of disappointments and of excitement too... and of the people that it is almost too much to bear. I think the isolation that we have been experiencing the last many months has left us socially fractured. We can still have interaction with people, but there's always been a sense of isolation and a co-dependence .For those right near us it has become overwhelming.
First it was... get rest! But I never got to rest and as a matter fact, my diet went to shit. Knowing I had to do something, I started doing meditations online and I kept playing and thinking... what do I need... what do I need to feed myself? Chancing that maybe other people need to be fed, I picked up my flute and led meditations to put my hand out even when it feels uncomfortable. To say something to someone that might be helpful even if it feels awkward. Just think of one good thing that you can say to that person without overdoing it. I don't mean by flattering as in a co-dependent game of secretly getting approval and/or attention. Just one little positive thing that you see about that person and say it. Then go to the mirror and say it to yourself. That one little thing to get you through this day to get through this time because I truly believe we've been experiencing something on a global level that demands an attitude of patience and kindness. No quick fixes here. So if I'm sitting here telling you I'm feeling a little funny about social interaction where everyone has been affected on such a huge global level so maybe it's true...I should be just a little bit more patient. Maybe I should see that fear is the bogeyman dressed up again and is really trying to take over. That ONE trying to take you hostage, trying to keep you from reaching out, from saying... yes! That ONE has great training in keeping you from possibility. Maybe that's why we celebrate the new year in a burst of light after the darkest time of the year. When we bring up so much up of a shadow side we can feel ourselves in such a position of such heaviness. So many fearful emotions and defects of character show up that we are finally ready to let them go! On with the New Year!
Make noise to scare away the demons from our collective minds as we rejoice in the possibility to start anew.
I have watched many versions of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" and I feel like I"m seeing the ghost of Christmas past and many of the things that happened to him. What is around me is -the possibility that my future will be based on my sitting here right now in this moment. Where my future lies will be based upon what in what are my choices today. Do I say" Humbug" and say 'Just let me just get through this' or do I allow myself I to be present to how I am feeling in mind, body and soul and allow myself to truly be friends with myself. To feel how my body is and what it needs to continue when there are so many choices, so many possibilities, Does my heart says "Yes".
During the wave of traditional holiday some refer it it as the triple threat. Mine naturally begins with Halloween, a very old Celtic holiday which has become a major time of "trick-or-treat". Then comes the time of harvest and plenty and sharing as we get to Thanksgiving. The long awaited w/e where we bake, cook and eat way too much food and drive to loved ones while enduring endless traffic.. Then comes the final crush. The holidays with other relatives. We all say,"hey how did I ever maneuver that mine field?".Suddenly we are contemplating our choice looking at the countdown and pondering. Is this the way I want to spend your New Year's???
Then I am reminded that it is a time of opportunity. I can take care of myself! I can go inward and reflect on that very spark of hope. I can suddenly ignite the inside of my mind into a luminous ever-flowing fountain of divine energy and blessings filled with endless possibilities. I don't even have to do a thing but maybe feel an enormous sense of gratitude for being in this moment. I don't have to make- "the holidazes" such a huge deal. I can relax my grip and allow for the flow because the day will go on whether or not I choose to live in it. Life is a day at a time. That is what brings me back to where I am standing. This is today. Enjoy it! And then perhaps I may want to share it with others. So for now.
Blessings to you all and to all a good night.
"God bless us every one" Tiny Tim by Charles Dickens