Do you have that friend whom you can share anything with? Does he or she listen without judgement, give feedback if needed, or otherwise just lends an ear? I do and sometimes I throw a lot at her. In fact, I have a couple of friends that fit that profile. Great friends who are always there for me no matter what and they truly listen without bias or judgement, because honestly, they know I am already judging myself far more than anyone else ever could. Sometimes I even treat these friends like my diary. I send them my thoughts throughout the day, my musings, my introspection of the world and myself. I send them my opinions on current topics and my interpretation of popular science. I basically use them as an outlet for all the thoughts that ruminate in my head day in and day out. During the past few months I have had an extra amount of material to share and today was no exception. In fact, today I spent some time alone and therefore had even more time to cultivate theories and proclamations and what have you. In fact, about an hour ago as I was once again sending a long story like stream of text to Friend #1, I realized that I could be sharing these thoughts with everyone (I know, lucky you..). In fact some of the things that go through my head have some merit and are pretty profound and others might actually gain some insight into their own life from my over-analytic, hyper sensitive, silver-lining edged trains of thought (see you are getting wiser by the moment in reading my self-descriptive phraseology). So, here is the start of an occasional blog series that won’t gain its own heading, but will rather be occasionally titled My Daily Reflections. I know, super original and creative.
My Daily Reflections: Thursday June 25th, 2020
Today I had the opportunity to listen to three podcasts. Now, 4 months ago when I was driving back and forth to the hospital I was working at twice a week this would have been a regular Monday for me, however with all the changes and being furloughed for an extended amount of time I find myself rarely, if ever, listening to anything anymore. I am sure there is a deeper reason underneath this shift, just as it correlates and relates to so many other recent changes, but for now I am going to superficially say I am just too “busy” to listen to them. ANYWAYS….. The three podcasts I listened to all had a different theme but yet they all connected in some cosmic way.
The first one was about many things but a message I took from it was the danger of accumulation. Not just clutter in our homes although accumulation affects us on all levels and often the space around us reflects our internal state as well –(something to think about as you pile that mail up on the counter), but rather her focus was on the internal accumulation of poor habits and poor health. This leads into Ayurveda a bit in that disease is imbalance in the body and the build-up of ama (toxins from unhealthy lifestyle, pollution, and all sorts of other things). She discusses her own health journey in letting stress, success, chasing the dream, all these things accumulate into heart disease, fatigue, weight gain, and more. I found myself feeling a bit of kinship to her struggle. She discusses how success for the sake of success will only lead to disappointment. We need to seek happiness and fulfillment and let success manifest on its own into whatever form it wants to take, not the picture we see in our mind. This led me to think about attachment which has been a hot topic in my head the entire duration of COVID. I have never been forced to confront my attachments as much as I have these past four months. I finished that podcast thinking how attached we are to the picture that our ego paints of what our lives SHOULD look like rather than trusting the space and events that are happening to be part of a bigger plan. She talked about approaching things in life from a place of love of faith instead of fear. I especially like how she connected our current health and wellness efforts, although cloaked well in the guise of self-care, are often fueled by fear. Fear of old age, fear of death, fear of weight gain, fear of incapacitation. She was so right. No one ever comes to me and says, “Hi Jessica, I want to love myself more can you guide me on this journey?”. They say- “Please- my blood pressure is high, and my dad died of heart failure at age 50, HELP! What can I eat?” or “I’ve tried every diet, how can I lose the extra 20 pounds I have been carrying since my last baby?” I had honestly never looked at where their request stemmed from. Of course, I try to dig down with each patient and find what is inspiring them to make change, but I never thought about the fact that fear is the deep-down motivator for nearly everyone. See- PROFOUND! This is the actionable item I took away from this particular talk- I need to have better self-care that is truly about loving myself, not self-care focused the “outcome” of the act that was motivated by a desire to prevent something I fear. That is seriously deep there, I mean I brush my teeth because I don’t want cavities, I fear having bad teeth when I am older because I won’t be able to eat the foods I want, I will spend way too much money at the dentist, and ultimately my vanity gets the best of me every time. How can I now start brushing my teeth because I love my teeth? Can I even do that? It’s certainly something to reflect on…..
The second podcast I listened to was about acceptance. Which I thought complemented the prior message in that we can’t move forward with a life of love and faith and not of fear if we don’t have acceptance for where we actually are in our life. This podcast was a little shorter and was not an interview type like I so enjoy but rather the host giving his thoughts on what acceptance means to him and how he works every day to let that guide his behavior. He discussed how we can get through challenging times not by giving in or succumbing to a situation, but rather by accepting that things are what they are. We don’t have to agree or disagree, acceptance is about being in the moment and understanding that you may not be able to control or change the situation at that very moment but you can learn from it and not let it destroy you with worry or stress. This was a hugely important message for me, anyone who knows me knows that I worry so much you would think I was getting paid for it. I worry about the weather, I worry about the climate, I worry about current events, I worry about my kids, I worry about my extended and my immediate family, god knows I worry about my husband far more than I should, I worry about my pets, I worry about money, I worry about bears when I take a walk, I worry about bees when I work outside, I worry about cancer, I worry about heart disease, I worry about flesh eating bacteria, I worry about amoebas in a neti-pot, I worry about mold in coffee… (I think you get the point….). For me to sit in something and accept that it “is what it is” is honestly almost too difficult for me to even approach, but its good stuff and I know I need to work on it. I had a difficult time wrapping my head around how I could bring this into action, it seems easy enough- stop worrying, accept the moment- but it’s not that easy to take years of this accumulation (see how they connect….) of worry and way of thinking and just let it all go. IT should be that easy, but it doesn’t feel that way. I am practicing a little tonight, at least trying, I am the only one home right now, so this is when my worry is in full force. But I am working on trusting that everyone is ok. I even resisted the urge to drive a bottle of Benadryl to my daughter who is at a friend’s house because she called me and was stung by a bee. She’s fine but my worrying mind thought-‘what if she swells up and has a delayed reaction?’ I have no reason to think she would have an abnormal reaction to this sting, she was exhibiting no signs of severe allergic reaction, yet my fear (another connection to the prior podcast) and worry were so great that they consumed my thoughts and I got in the car with Benadryl and headed out. I did settle down in the drive and called her and realized she was just fine, and I was overreacting, I accepted that she was ok in the situation without my interference. That was HARD! So maybe I am doing the work, we’ll see. My big take away, aside from practicing acceptance as often as I can, is to do the work and follow up with some of the resources he shared. If you are interested in these resources I will share them at the end of the post.
Last but not least, the third podcast I listened to was much more current events focused. It was an interview with a reverend regarding us being in a state of two pandemics, the COVID pandemic and the racial pandemic. The discussion was very interesting and focused on how we are in the dawn of a new era on this planet and that we are all integral in the forward movement. He discussed the role that white people play and he called upon white people to dig deep into their ancestry and pull out the abolitionists and suffragists in ourselves during this time. He shared his views on how we are all important and we all need to participate in the changes that are occurring. He shared how recent events are different than past movements and what makes them more impactful. He discussed sharing love and forgiveness with our neighbors. He discussed the meaning of the word sacrifice and how we often need to remember that it is “to make sacred” and whenever we look at something as a sacrifice, we need to reflect how what we gave up made space for something great. Overall it was very uplifting and inspiring. My big take away from this was tied into the other two. I learned that I need to look at the accumulation of centuries of racism and how it has integrated its way into every system, I need to look for this, I need to be aware of it and work to educate myself, my friends, my family and most important, my children on this. I also learned that I need to find acceptance in these tumultuous times. Without acceptance I can’t open myself up to the beauty of what the future will hold. Without acceptance I will live in worry and fear and this will block me from doing the good work and moving forward. Above all though, this reverend reminded me that I need to continue to learn about racism and to stop defending myself in it (more acceptance- see it’s all so connected!!).
So much I know! If you made it to the end, I applaud you. I’m not even sure I will make it to the end for a re-read. In fact, aside from a quick spell check, I don’t think I’m going to edit this post. I wrote it all in one sitting and usually those are my favorite pieces to share. I’m sure there are errors and it’s probably not the most well written post online today, but it feels real, it feels raw and that’s kind of what we need right now. We don’t need things fancied up and made to look pretty. We need to see what is really there, what people are feeling, what they are experiencing. That’s how we move forward, with transparent honesty and acceptance of each other.
Resources- The three podcasts I listened to today were all from The Broken Brain podcast with Dhru Puroit and the resources I wanted to share from him are:
Book by Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth
www.thework.com – Byron Katie, and her book is titled “I Need Your Love- Is That True?”