“…love is not just a reaction and a falling into, but a choice made every moment to be open to the possibility of glory, of connection, of the change I want to be and see. So again I choose, and the next moment of pain comes, and I choose, and again….again and again and again…. “
~ Michael Johnston
Yesterday I made special trips to two stores. One for cranberry walnut bread I’d slather with butter, the other for my fav 70% dark chocolate w/ginger bars. The dark chocolate covered almonds were a bonus. By bedtime I’d consumed half the loaf and way too many handfuls of choc almonds. Soul food while trying to settle into productive activity. Get past a heart feeling squeezed and a head buzzing from something that morning. Written words with someone I respect, a person with good heart and good works who I trust, turned very wrong. By the time it was too late in our exchange, I simply wanted an end with kindness. But it couldn’t be fixed. All afternoon and evening I read and re-read the thread to see my part in it. See how I might’ve conveyed the message and energy she saw that I did not feel. See if I’d indeed written what I thought I had, words and tone saying I believe both/and.
This morning I rose before dawn, stepped out into the dark. The moon was a sliver. Lightening flashed above and around me, caused me to pause, look up, make sure I’d be safe. Over those eight blocks I walked to the bay, I was able to fly above what happened yesterday. Feel compassion for what I suspect could be happening with her. Dive beneath the steel edge of discomfort I carried, sit with the muck. A brief while ago I would’ve took what happened all on myself. Berated myself for not doing better, being better. Decided to withdraw, not speak up. I might’ve tried really hard to fix it, again. Not let things rest, settle. I definitely would’ve compared myself to this person, found myself less-than, because there are so many ways her ‘plus column’ objectively stacks higher than mine. But when I stood at the water, said my Gratitudes aloud (a luxury I don’t typically get with others nearby), I surprised myself by ending with I’m grateful I’m me.
I told my husband about all this. How the conversation could’ve been different. What I learned through it all. What he understood most were my insights at the water. I let go of comparing myself to another, saw my strengths, my positive contributions. Let go of my regrets, am present, here now. Let go what’s not mine, still owning what is, good and bad. And beyond this, the realization what happened yesterday is a snapshot of something bigger. A parallel of broader conversations across the country – race, guns, abuses, inequities. The topics that can shrink us, leave us feeling angry, sad, hopeless, helpless. That it’s about what’s said, what’s heard, intent and action. Our responsibility to hear the other, find where we meet, a common language, and change, be better. Things for a person of strong heart. And sometimes it hurts, a lot. Takes chocolate covered almonds to get there. But we rarely ever travel alone, do we?
Another small journey to mindfulness. Getting to Wise.
A Writers Life.
A secret: Potato chips are my standard stress food.
A favorite: Rich chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache frosting.
*Crow & Eagle photo from National Geographic