And delight themselves in the abundance of peace. For years now I remembered that I had been struck by a random MESSAGE that stemmed from this passage.
Long before I began practicing with Quakers. Long before I had children. Something about this hit me. And while I enjoy reading the bible (or parts of it) as literature, it is not where I go most often for spiritual hits. I guess sometimes it just hits me. And it apparently hit me so hard that I forgot all about it.
So here is the really clumsy message that has taken years to remember and is for some reason still not crafted:
We have no control over what other people say or do to us. None. We do have control over our reactions and our thought about the speech and actions of others.
When we make the assumption that everything is about us-- that every glance in our direction is a subtle dig at what we are wearing, or our weight, or our hair, or who we are associating with-- we are taking a position of egocentrism and pride. (Remember, it's not all about you. It is all about me.)
If instead, we don't place ourselves at the center. Don't assume that all negative (or possibly negative) actions are meant for us, the world is a much better place. The inheriting of the earth is not some distant future after-death myth. It is a condition that takes place in the present moment.
The ability to exhibit qualities of meekness-- enduring injury with patience, unwillingness to fight or argue, having a quiet or gentle nature-- makes it more comfortable to be on this earth. With other people. And I am not talking about the milksop side of meekness. Not weak. Not expressing false modesty.
Clumsy. And not quite it. But something like that.
Daily Convexions: slept more; still not 100%. Took meds.
Grateful Crap: see above clip.
In a class I took two years ago, the instructor asked us to consider what it took for us to feel like we belonged in a group. I had a very difficult time with this question. I didn't want to have a hard time with this question. I really enjoyed the class. I loved the teacher. The other people in the class were very kind and supportive. But I didn't feel that I belonged. Why? I didn't know.
It got me thinking about how comfortable I am in the role of not belonging. I was a raving liberal raised in a conservative suburb. An atheist in a sea of believers. As a brand new mom in a place where the other stay-at-home moms were living in four-bedroom split-level homes I was saving up for a starter home and living in my mom's basement. But none of these things really precludes belonging.
Belonging is something that doesn't come from the differences or the similarities. It comes from me. I felt it when I was at Wind Ensemble rehearsal. In a group of fifty-some people who have practiced music for a lifetime coming together by choice to learn challenging material voluntarily. Counting as a meditative practice. Breathing in coordination with one another. A great exhale.
I will work on the whole sense of belonging. It seems kind of important to stave off the "crazy woman of the neighborhood" scenario described in the previous post.
Grateful Crap: I really like the places and times where I feel I belong. Which is different than feeling welcome, or needed, or loved. Which I feel many other places as well.
Rather than catching up on a whole week by doing small and lame posts I am going to catch up in a few posts. It is my compromise somewhere between one for each day and just one for the whole big missing week. (See how I am cutting myself some slack here?)
So it seems that I was not done being ill. I don't remember the weekend. I suspect that I slept all day. Both days. But maybe not. On Monday, Feb 10 I went home early from work because I started feeling sweaty and dizzy and awful. Tuesday still out for the count. Wednesday I worked for a few hours and then begged for spouse to come home early so I could sleep.
No posts happening because either I was sleeping, taking care of basic needs for me or my kids, or trying to venture out into the world.
In the Depression sector, I cannot recommend extended periods of feeling mildly crappy. Lethargy did lead to more sleep, I suppose. And typically I am one to get too little sleep when Depression is bad rather than sleep too much. But I started to feel like maybe all that sleep was making me a bit under the weather mentally.
I started to feel like a shut-in who never wanted to interact with the world again. Maybe just to get fresh yarn for my projects or catfood for my pet. Other than that I could keep the blinds down, wear the same dress day after day and cocoon in the cotton velvet comforter. I could put up unfriendly signs. I could become a neighborhood legend. Children could dare one another to ring my doorbell (which I would have disconnected anyway).
Of course, the presence of other people in my house prevent this from being a viable option for more than a few hours at a time. Not hardly enough time to build legendary status.
On the plus side: being on antibiotics for a sinus infection (AGAIN) I was very good about taking meds all these sick days.
Grateful crap: The people who prevent my transformation into crazy hermit woman (now with bonus yarn stash)
i left to pick up eldest son for a doctor's appointment. left in plenty of time. then things kinda went to heck and i became somewhat late...
daughter complained of a stomach-ache, then started screaming in her car seat. needed to go potty. i pulled over at a gas station. discovered quite graphically that the giant diaper i stole from my friend's house (too lazy to bring in the diaper bag with me when I stopped by for tea) had not been equal to the task. poo everywhere. pants, shirt, jacket, all up her back, in her hair.
naturally, no spare clothes. no wipes, even. just the pull-up i had shoved in the pocket of my coat. and i was now fifteen minutes later than i wanted to be. and it is winter in minnesota.
i rinsed things out as best i could, but couldn't very well take her outside in wet clothing.
ready for the punchline?
i put her in my sweater, wrapped the sleeves around her waist, and went out in my unmentionables and a winter coat. (they weren't even nice unmentionables. they were the ones that make you hope to god you won't be hit by a car when you are wearing them because even dead you would be embarrassed) and my coat is missing a crucial, centrally-located button.
i did manage to borrow a size 10 girl's shirt from elementary school nurse so i could change into-- um actual clothing-- shortly after checking eldest son in for his appointment.
grateful? day is done. going to bed.
So here is what happens...
Grateful Crap: pharmaceuticals when put to proper use.
took meds (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion)
talked with a friend
Not all day. But for large chunks of the evening. "What's wrong?" I can cast around for things that are wrong, but that's just a fishing expedition. What's wrong is that I feel clay-faced at the moment. (Great time to write, eh?)
Yeah. I am betting that my late night and lack of sleep is likely a factor. That is probably the most reasonable answer to "What's wrong." I am sleep deprived and so everything seems worse than it is. Which I know it isn't.
Time went faster than it was supposed to so I didn't get things done. I needed to reinstall linux on the old Dell so I felt like my metaphorical brain was on the fritz. Old hardware. Unreliable software. Complex systems without a really good way to tell what exactly is going wrong. Or if it will be easy to fix or not.
Grateful Crap: Things will optimistically and undoubtedly look different in the morning.
meds in the morning (appropriate dosages)
...helped out a friend. That was good.
um... yeah. I need to get back to the Y. Illness, Cold Days and now Meetings are eating my me time.
Between "cold days," changing school district policies for adult classes, changing locations for the class, and illness... it has been a bumpy start to the new semester.
I hope that things are evening out.
Big Anxiety this morning. Over finding appropriate gifted services for my child. Although that seemed like just the excuse for anxiety and not the cause.
I wonder if I am going to just bounce from one education-related obsession to the next.
Last Spring: save the orchestra program from becoming a pay-to-play situation
Summer/Fall: keeping Lego League fees from doubling
Winter: getting appropriate gifted services from the school (academic and emotional) for both of my children
I am having trouble calming down from this. I am tense. I find myself thinking that I am relaxed, but then discovering that I am actually clenching my jaw or holding my hand in some dreadful claw shape. Or I am holding one shoulder higher than the other. And I can't let go.
Very close to tears over nothing this morning. Crap. Ugh.
Grateful Crap: My awesome students. One already in college after 1 semester in college prep (and less than one year in the country). One (who just got her GED) starting next fall.
talked with a friend
Check out the mug shot. I can tell that I can't see. I wonder why I wasn't wearing my glasses.
I forgot to mention a fairly significant hiccup in yesterday's backdated post.
on Saturday night I stayed up until 2:30 am ferociously folding laundry, doing dishes, tidying up and knitting until I couldn't see straight. And not because I was enjoying being a night-owl. Nope. I was buzzing with angry angry energy.
Because I made up an entire backstory for an offhand comment. Doesn't even matter what it was or who said it. Could be anything. You know, like when somebody says,
"I really like you in red" and you think, they must be trying to tell me that I looked terrible in whatever color they saw me in last. What color was that. It must have been hideous. I bet it was yellow. I have that one yellow shirt and I am pretty sure that I do look terrible in it. They are totally right. I feel terrible that I subjected them to that fashion fuax pas. How embarrassing. I will go home and put it in the donation bag. Or I could burn it. Are there burning restrictions in our area if it's just a shirt? And you forget to say thank you becuase you are so preoccupied with the internal hysteria... You don't do this? Lucky.
Here was the interesting (and frustrating) thing. I was aware in the moment that I was the one making up all the crap that I was getting mad about. I knew that I was the one putting these thoughts in someone else's head. AND IT DIDN'T HELP. Even though I knew full well that I was making up really stupid lies that didn't even make sense, I was still mad. REALLY zizzing mad. At least I was semi-productive with the energy. And I guess it was nice to realize that my brain was lying to me.
This was a different feeling than the time I didn't know where spouse was and my go-to thought was that he had left me. As in skipped town and I was now a single mom. I spent quite a bit of time panicking in my room and pulling the covers over my head and quietly freaking out. I think he was in the basement at the time. (And any of you who have met us are probably laughing your asses off right now-- because it isn't even a remote possibility.)
This was different because I actually believed the ridiculous thoughts then. Until spouse came up the stairs. And even then I was a little bit shaky. As you may surmise, I was not properly medicated at that time. Don't get me wrong, I am still extremely wacky and absentminded even when my brain is functioning properly. Because that's just what kind of brain it is. But it is a wacky that is more fun for me to deal with.
Horrible horrible lying brain.
But progress, you know, in identifying those thoughts that are not reality-based as they are happening. I just need to have more tools in my toolkit for dismissing them sooner without the need to aerobically exorcise the dust rhinos from under the couch at 1:00 am.
Grateful Crap: eldest son woke up early today (not a school day), ate breakfast, picked up and vacuumed the living room, practiced piano and violin, and ran on the treadmill... all before 8:00 am.
took meds in the morning. I must say they work much better when I take them.
something. I don't know.
I need to get better at not thinking to myself "Don't think of any stressful things now, or it will be hard to get to bed." Because that very rarely works.
Things began to look better today. Three reasons, likely:
Also I took the pro-active step of inviting myself to a friend's house for tea. I can be pushy when I need to be.
I will confess that I engaged in some recreational Goodwill shopping. It was therapeutic.
Grateful Crap: tea. Wicking layers are a core value for one of my friends, but I must say that tea is at my center.
tea with a friend
took meds (which I no longer remember the mg. I will check tomorrow. I do know that it is 1.5 pills of one and 3 pills of the other).
got out of the house
made plans to meet with another friend
Go team me. Yeah. Rah Rah.
Quaker, teacher, parent,