This is happy….

Our neighborhood is one of the favored locations to watch fireworks. So when we started walking 15 minutes before the fireworks were scheduled to begin, I wasn’t convinced we would find a decent viewing spot.

We reached the main drag and joined hundreds of others looking for the perfect overlook. The street looked like something from one of the many zombie movies popular today, only this group wasn’t the undead, they were very much alive, excited for the upcoming show and inebriated from an afternoon of celebrating Independence Day, weaving their way with their red solo cups, stopping to take group pictures, arms thrown around each-others necks, screaming endearments to one another.

I began to hunt for a break along the fence.

There is was. A spot. It was huge compared to the numbers deep on each side of it. I wondered if it was reserved, or forbidden, or the large leafy vegetation that bordered it was poison sumac. Regardless, my little entourage planted our flag.

As we stood, patiently waiting for the pyrotechnics to begin, I began to worry that everyone knew something we didn’t know — that this vantage point sucked. Not being Pittsburgh natives and not making the yearly patriotic trek to see the fireworks, I assumed we were missing something. I asked my compatriots, “Do you think we will be able to see them from here?”

They didn’t know either. But my question now lived in their minds too. Doubt, like fear, is often contagious.

Tom and Greg decided they would do some recognizance work and check out the bar-with-a-view just up the street. Several minutes later they returned. No luck. The bar was closed to a private party.

So this was it. We could leave and keep looking, but we may lose this spot. I have a rule in the grocery store check-out line or in the bank drive thru…never leave your line. Experience has proven that when I change lines/lanes, the original choice always moves faster.

Let it go Patricia,” I said to myself, “if you can’t see you can’t see. It’s not that bad.” I called on my spiritual training to let be was is.

And now, as if we were early pioneers, others had taken up camp with us. We were surrounded. This once empty stretch was currently 3 people deep.

The first flare went up. The crowd went silent.

It exploded.

RIGHT. SMACK. DAB. IN FRONT OF US! BOaiu1SCAAA3p-9.jpg-medium

It was like a private show. Just for us. I smiled to myself, “Will I ever learn?” All my worry and distrust for naught. We had the best view on the street. I relaxed and allowed myself to be enchanted by color, the drama, and the force of these rockets exploding before me.

As the finale crescendoed with thundering bursts of white cascades, I felt a childlike awe…like I was seeing something for the first time. My opened mouth smile was full bodied. Every cell was alive and captivated. I was enthralled. Totally.

Fireworks are a generous gift. A free treat. I don’t know how much they cost to display but I assume they are not cheap. I so appreciate the lavish offering that is still able to transfix me.

I loved feeling that happy.

I want to allow myself to be taken by the view more often.
waxseal2

 

 

 

What is Good Enough?

I am sitting with Clea this morning, waiting for the vet to come make a final house call.

 

Yesterday I sat with Clea, eye to eye, nose to nose, asking her if it was time for her to go. Her empty gaze, dilated pupils said it all. It is time.

 

I think. Is it? I hope I am reading this right. How do I know for sure?

 

I worry I should be doing something special, a ritual of good bye, a meaningful something for Clea. Truthfully, not for Clea but for me. To ease my pending guilt when I accuse myself tomorrow morning of not doing everything I could to save her, of helping her go peacefully, for euthanizing her to early, when I tell myself now it is too late and it is my fault. (Whatever the IT may be.)

 

I foresee this self destructive berating on my horizon. I have beat myself silly though out my life with other perceived infractions. So, I am attempting preemptive action.  I am writing to you as Clea lies next to me. It is the only thing I want to do. It is the only thing I can think of to do. It is my way of comforting myself.

 

Clea is the last of the family pets. With her passing she takes with her the last connection to the family home, the family we once were, the way things were supposed to be. Again I feel guilt. I sold the family home, I divorced my kids father and changed the family unit forever. Granted Clea would still be dying even if we lived in Chalk Hill, but at least the safety net of original family and home would be there.

 

You may be realizing by now, as am I, I have a very close relationship with guilt. Somehow it all becomes my fault…my not doing it right…my missing something…my something. Tom says he wishes I weren’t so hard on myself.

 

The logical question is how come I am?

 

My therapist says it is because I never believe I’m good enough. He is right. The truth is I can never be good enough because I keep moving the bar. Upping the ante.

 

This keeps me in a perpetual state of pushing. Like Sisyphus. Except, unlike this bad boy, I don’t do it as a punishment for tricking the gods, I do it because excepting what is, without guilt, let’s me off a hook I value. The hook is a false sense of power, control, ability to change life so the day turns out better.

 

What if I let myself trust I am doing my best with Clea? And what if my best is all I have? What if it is all any of us really have? At the end of the day.

 

So I will do my best even when it isn’t good enough. And I will live with that. Some days more comfortably than others.

 

Today I feel very sad about my best.

SHUT UP…REALLY

I started a 21 day meditation challenge offered free by the Chopra Center.

Today’s meditation was on stress. It is day 4.

The meditation teacher, a soft spoken woman, asks, “Are you feeling a sense of worry, agitation, or frustration? (Now that you mention it, I am.) Release those feelings, thoughts, and sensations. (Okay, how?) Let them float away, easily and effortlessly.(Come again?).” She then invited me to sit in my silence created by my ability to let my stress go easily and effortlessly.

“Really?”

“If I could do that, easily and effortlessly, I wouldn’t be listening to this meditation.” I sat in silent judgment, irritation and frustration with this woman and the meditation. I tightened my butt and thighs, squared my jaw, and trapped my breath in my chest.

“Was she serious? This is not helpful at all. At least give me some ideas how to let my stress fucking float away!”

“Really?”

As I noticed my outrage, I felt it in every part of me and I immediately felt tired. I felt tired of me. Tired of my rant, of my indignation, I ran out of steam and just shut up.

When I shut up, I found my silence. I began to relax my butt, my jaw, and take a deeper breath.

A lesson well learned.