In 1996 I discovered for myself a long, well known concept to alleviate, or at least greatly reduce, the kind of human suffering that centers in the mind. With the help of a loving mentor I saw, I cleaned up, I healed, I learned, I served and I LIVED.
Somewhere in 2010, as a result of my renaissance-A.D.D.-creative mind, I sought out and worked with a life coach. With her help, I refined what I felt were my four main purposes in this life: spiritual growth, being the best mom to my children, a solid, loving wife and to write.
Jump two and a half years later, following a 2,000 mile cross continental move, I am awash in mood swings, anxiety, fighting self pity, and motherhood. While no further along in my writing aspirations, my marriage was spiraling down and away from me, despite my best efforts. Then as it was approaching certain death, it abruptly pivoted 180 degrees and I’m still struggling to adjust to all the goodness in the wake of long term chaos. The final straw (catalyst!)…I shattered my right foot in August 2012 and the doc didn’t lie. It’s been a game changer.
I became dependent for daily minutiae not to mention rides (couldn’t drive for four months). My role as mother was painfully reduced for months and the post surgery clean out of all the narcotic pain meds from my system produced unexpected psychological pain. My first born, first grader began to show the signs of our family stress in his behavior at school, producing unspecified quantities of guilt and panic.
Our journey to help him (in which we succeeded) produced some of the greatest soul pain I’ve ever known. But that’s a post for later.
Suffice it to say, the anxiety was like an avalanche of bleeding maraschino cherries on top of a whole lotta scoops of crazy.
From some hazy, distant place in my past came a memory wherein I use to practice thought and action for others with diligence. Lying in bed late one night, out of a fresh moment of desperation I remembered something that use to work for free floating fear and impending, paralyzing feelings of doom.
I frantically began praying for every human being that I knew or knew of that was having a difficult time in life. It was not piety or a superior, spiritual soul at work. I ensued to escape the racing fears strangling my mind and body. And…it worked. Indeed it always has.
Immediately afterward, and NOT for the first time, I became aware of all I was grateful for. I had so much. The really big stuff. Health, love, prosperity, all around me. I felt so humbled.
I needed a boot camp for my soul. This blog unfolded as a way for me to reassert my four purposes. It is a vehicle to hone my writing WHILE simultaneously securing my sanity. An experiment in public meditation to aid me in my efforts to be my best self in all my relations, most especially with my children and partner.
This blog is my big, fat, juicy self-dare. This blog holds me accountable. I’ve always needed accountability even when my heart is on fire with ambition. Of course accountability doesn’t mean shit unless I’ve hit some kind of inner personal bottom. If I feel crazy and trapped, I’ll do the things I avoided to feel sane, peaceful and free. Like getting outside myself for example.
Admittedly it is drudgery sometimes and provokes rebellion.
Who, when in full fright and/or self pity wants to hear that maybe the answer, right here, right now is just to go do something for someone else??? In my too distant past, I rarely skippedy-do-dah’d to do this. Out of desperation I followed the suggestions of service from greater, more peaceful beings than myself. As the result of arduous practice, “How can I be of service to someone else?” became an entrenched response to whatever was ailing me at the time. And the miracle? My motivation began to migrate from solely “this is how I stay sane and feel good on this planet” to “I actually CARE about the well being of these other human beings”.
I have never been beyond reproach. I have had some pretty major emotional and psychological hurdles. Some I’ve accepted are my companions for life. I rightly only harbor hopes of progress rather than perfection. Unfortunately, the stressors in my life, gross spiritual misinformation and for sure a natural inclination toward self absorption overcame what “Other Centered” actions I had in place for a while.
Still I know it to be where real happiness on this earth lies. Because, WEIRDLY, practicing “Other-Centeredness” brings my whole life into concert. I am lined from the inside out with a flexible armor that protects me from dark imaginings. I am free of the purgatory that exists on this earth: the constant state of “more”. Where once there reigned the persistent perception of “lack”, I have existed dynamically and contributed.
Like falling off the workout wagon, I haven’t been a consistent attendee at this gym in too long. Occasional efforts have been paltry. Serenity has atrophied.
I’m forty-something. I’ve got less tolerance for bullshit. Even my own. I’ll have to proceed carefully. I vacillate thoroughly from self-flagellation to sloth-with-fabulous-justifications.
I have a fair amount of past experience with the peace and fulfillment that comes with thinking and doing for others. My own aspirations flourish in the strange paradoxical shadow of love and service for my fellows, like one of those plants that don’t do well in direct sunlight. I have felt like a viking of a woman, fearless and calm, manifesting my true self, present for my loved ones and others I meet.
That woman feels like a younger self. Kind of me, but mostly a glorified memory. And she is both, in some ways. I’m just not the same person I was. I have grown and it’s been messy. Sigourney-Weaver-Alien-afterbirth-messy. I’m toweling off. I’ve been here long enough. The only way out is through. And through. And through.
I invite you to ride along. Comment. Question. Suggest. Try something out or on. Report.
If I inspire goodwill – awesome. If something I try or suggest brings someone else joy or peace or aid – YES!!! Even if, however, all I serve as is a cautionary tale my time is not wasted.
Rest your freaked out, weary soul on this three legged stool: read, comment, question, suggest, try, report, laugh as you follow my self imposed OTHER CENTERED challenges. Learn about other humans doing for OTHERS. and since you’re gonna keep shopping, read my posts about special philanthropic promos and check out ways to buy that give back on my Pinterest site.
Wishing us all the feeling of peace, love, usefulness and really cute shoes.