Seriously, I am. A great big train wreck...you don't want to be my friend as my chaos might somehow be contagious.
For over a year now it's been one thing after another and I struggle to learn the lesson and find what I need to learn from these challenges but I still can't. Luckily the saying "this too shall pass" has risen victorious so far throughout and I do feel blessed but still eager to find the truth in why this is my path. I want to find my role and make peace with it somehow.
What I wouldn't do to run away and hide in a yurt by the ocean somewhere...just flee. What I wouldn't pay to have someone to tell me what I am suppossed to do and be and how to live. I am weak and I know I am not alone...everyone is fighting their own battle and seeking their own answers. God gave me three boys to love like nothing else and to take care of as best as I can and they alone keep me grounded at times...(not to say they don't drive me completely bonkers when they are fighting)...but mostly I live to be their Mother and cling to my dreams and sanity and everything else in between to show them life is good. Our world is beautiful and love reigns even in the darkest hour.
Wow, I should have preached at church today with all this heavy stuff gushing out of me. I guess you are my wee congregation via the internet. There won't be a collection unless you want to share creme brulee and nice white wine with me one night...or even good swiss milk chocolate...or birthday cake...HECK, I will take any yummy stuff that comes my way.
Everyday I have a couple routines...they have changed. It used to be reading a newspaper with tea and toast but now I need coffee when I don't sleep well, avoid wheat, and seek advice not bad news so I read stuff on Elephant Journal and escape with the imagry on Pinterest.
I also make it a daily habit to say happy birthday to everyone who has a birthday on my facebook page who is a woman or a friend...for some reason that daily habit brings me joy. I have also taken to writing random thank you notes, love letters and sending little gifts when I can to load up my karma bank...but that's another story.
When you are looking for advice it often presents itself, I like reading Kate's writing and really like this piece I stumbled across today on Elephant Journal:
“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ~ E.B. White
Most mornings as I wake up, a large part of my heart longs to save the world, to heal hurts, to fix people where they are broken.
Maybe I’m too sensitive. I think I was absent the day they taught how to do that whole “close your heart off” thing because I don’t seem to be able to do it.
When I was a child, I hated being in crowded places; being near so many people dealing with difficult emotions overwhelmed me. I was much happier curled up with a book or at my ballet classes.
As I got older, I found ways to deal with it, to deal with all of the emotions bouncing around from people, to deal with all of the anger, the sadness, the pain in the world. I drank. Experimented with drugs. And even used simpler things to push it away, to distance myself, to not feel all of the world’s pain. I needed to stop seeing it because the fact that I couldn’t fix it hurt so much.
As I grew up, I sought out careers instinctively that afforded me the opportunity to help others. I taught. Volunteered in an AIDS hospice. Worked with Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam, Foodshare. Used my spare time from my jobs that paid the bills to do work that made a difference. Yet, it never seemed like enough; that drive to fix things was still there like a permanent ache in my chest.
When my vocation shifted toward health and healing and I entered massage school, I realized something striking and nearly quit. As I would touch people, I’d feel where they were hurting and it took my breath away. I could feel their brokenness stuck in their elbows that wanted to hug tightly to their sides. I could feel the shame in the small of their backs. I could feel the profound sadness stuck in their shoulders, tears that needed to melt away and be shed. I didn’t think I could take it. How could I work on people day in and day out and feel their pain, yet live with the fact that I could never completely fix it?
It’s taken me years to realize this one true thing:
We are not here to fix each other.
Recently, I was giving a friend an impromptu acupressure session. I would get to a spot on each of his arms, and the deep sadness I felt there made me get choked up and want to pull away. At the same time, it made me want to solve it, fix it, tell him why life was beautiful. Tell him not to be so sad. We talked about it, and he acknowledged what I noticed. I fumbled for something to say or do that would make it go away. Seeing someone I care about experience pain ripped me up inside, and I wanted to make it better.
But I couldn’t. I can’t. And more importantly, I shouldn’t. It isn’t for me to do.
We look at the drive to save the world as something noble or heroic, and maybe it is to a certain extent. We look at the idea of Tikkun Olam, or healing the world, and set out on a quest to save the world, but I think we often get it wrong.
I’ve been getting it wrong for years.
If I look at you and see your sadness, I can’t cover it or make it go away. I cannot fix you. There is no magical Utopia where everyone is happy and whole. But that isn’t the end of the story. This is the place where cynics give up hope and decide that all is futile.
But I’m not a cynic. I believe we are hard-wired to care for each other. It’s why we are here:
If there was a place to get to where everyone was happy and whole, we’d stop making art. There would be no music. There would be nothing left to write about. It would be a flat, expressionless existence instead of the one precious lifewe have.
The struggle is where we find the beauty.
People aren’t problems to solve. It’s not my job to fix anyone, but to love them. The heart can stretch to hold all things—even the difficult things. When it breaks, the point is not to reach out to each other and patch it closed again, but instead to fill each other. We don’t need to pretend each other’s darkness doesn’t exist or push it away.
And so I’m done. I surrender. I’ll say to the world:
I am not a hero; I cannot fix you. I am not strong; I cannot save you. I am weak; I cannot melt the frozen, broken places in you. I am insufficient; I cannot heal your pain. But I have hope, because I can do much more than that.
I can love you.
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Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. She doesn't know how to behave with all the apples and ibexes. She doesn't suffer from her eight million freckles, she loves them! Like a rolling stone, Kate gathers no moss. Kate loves kale, being barefoot, Dr. Seuss, singing too loudly, gallivanting, palindromes, blackberries and has far too many books for her own good. When she's not writing, you can find her practicing yoga, running in the woods, playing with her kids, devouring a book, planting dandelions, changing the world and doing her dishes. Kate does not play the accordion. She is a massage therapist, writer and a compassionate friend to all. This year Kate aspires to finally give up on learning to knit and will instead spend that time putting a little bit more of her heart on the page. Connect with Kate on Facebook and Twitter
So that's my humble two cent share today. Because I am a such a successful train wreck these days I had the good fortune of being turned at a really weird angle yesterday looking for a parking spot when we got rear ended at a stop light and it's left me with a constant ringing in my ears and a crooked neck! Luckily I had extra stregnth Advil, pure peppermint essential oil in my purse and old enough boys who didn't need me to go on the rides yesterday at the Armstrong Fair and I had a mellow day or people watching and taking it easy. Last night was tough, today I am feeling sorry for myself coated in muscle rub and loaded up on Advil and again and wishing I was paddling in the Kalamalka classic as it's sunny and SUP is my ticket to moments of pure peace...but until I get to the chiropractor that is something I can't pull off.
I kid you not...
me + life = train wreck.
Now I just need to figure out...
train wreck - ______= normal Kerry
Too bad I suck at math...this is liable to take a while. Bear with me friends, there is so much to laugh at, and love and learn from in this equation. I know I am not alone and send you loving light in your own personal versions of this story.