Thursday, November 14, 2019

APPROVAL SEEKING

Being born to a highly critical mother left me spending much of my life seeking approval or at least acceptance.

I am long past blaming my mother. I knew my grandmother, and so I know from whence the judging consciousness came from. My mother spent her entire life seeking approval from a woman who was not capable of giving it. This continued long after my grandmother’s death. I lived and experienced this long enough to see that my mothers torment was of her own making.

I vowed that I would not make the same mistake.

While my pattern was particularly geared toward gaining the attention and affection of men the mother dynamic is to this day alive and active. The differential that keeps me from torment is that I know and can relate to the dynamic. As long as I can relate to it, it does not fully have me.

I know well the feeling that approval-seeking has in my body. I am well acquainted with the stories that spin in my head when I perceive that I am being somehow maligned. I know the compensating behaviors that I am tempted to employ. And I am intimate with the suffering that ensues when I fall into any of these traps.

There is a scrutinizing tyrant that has a seat in my consciousness. It is always ready to point out my mistakes, my imperfections, my faulty way of being. It is constantly scrutinizing and evaluating. It sees me as never enough. It usually will speak first and speak loudest.

What it cannot do is stop me from speaking back.

I erroneously thought that the healing of this “mom-torture” would be that it would go away. That I would be forever freed of it. That it would die and be replaced by a fount of all affirmative self-talk. That the mother approval I had always longed for would come gushing up from within and all around.

Wrong.

My latest report to self is that the voice is still speaking. The temptation to approval-seek is still active. The need to be accepted is at least to some degree ever-present.

Rather than being rid of these impulses there is simply more awareness around them. I am not free of, but I am free with. I have an experience of these dynamics; the dynamics do not have me.

As soon as I feel the effect of these voices in my body, I bring my attention to the energy and stay as present as I possibly can. I begin to relate to the energy and to the voices. I accept that they are there. I approve of the way I am staying awake and relating to.

Wait.

I accept the energy that is moving within me and I approve of the way I am relating to it.

Being born to a highly critical mother left me spending much of my life seeking approval or at least acceptance.

And now I have it.

Not hers. That ship has sailed.

I have my own acceptance and approval. And that is a gift no one can take away.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

WHERE I BELONG

While I grew up in the Midwest I never really felt like I belonged there.

I could write volumes as to why that might be. Ultimately it really doesn’t matter. From early in adolescents I always knew I would leave my native Ohio and only occasionally look back. I longed for what I perceived to be life in the big city. A big part of that longing was career aspiration. I wanted to go to New York City and leave my mark on the Great White Way. I was going to sing and dance on Broadway, and then make my way into the film versions of the same shows. I would have a huge mantle to hold all of my awards. In the privacy of my bedroom I practiced my acceptance speeches and bowed and smiled for the imaginary cameras. I was a legend in my own mind.

I embodied at least a part of those dreams. I did indeed move to New York City. I had a modicum of success in the entertainment industry. I never won an award and so never gave a speech. I spent a fair amount of time on camera, but always in the background to a celebrity’s foreground. And yet I felt like I belonged there. I felt like I had landed exactly where I was meant to be.

I had.

Just not for the reason I thought.

I had just enough talent to get me to where something different and ever more important was meant to happen in and for me. While I thought New York would hold and offer me the keys to this most fabulous city the key it held was a radically different way of being that was far transcendent to any role I would ever play.

While in terms of career success I never truly belonged in New York I learned in New York how to belong within myself. I began to learn that belonging is an internal choice that is integral to our spiritual awakening. While I never could have imagined leaving NYC circumstances did indeed bid me to say farewell. Twenty-four years ago I was moved to a place I never wanted to live and never thought I would belong. For what I perceived at the time was only for the love of another I moved to south Florida where I have been ever since. There is still a part of me that feels like I don’t and never will belong here.

That is true at only the surface level.

At a deeper level that sense of not belonging has been a context for a deepening and a ripening of what I am to become. I have chosen to place preference behind purpose. I have decided repeatedly that service and being the way is more important than geography and getting my way. I decide daily that I belong where I say I belong. And deciding on where I belong is intimately linked to why I am where I am.

And so just as the Broadway community never invited me into their circle of belonging, I have been cast out of other circles both in and out of Florida. Just as I have been cast out I have often made the choice that there are clubs and cliques in which I do not by virtue of values want to belong.

There are groups who demand compliance and fitting in as requisites of belonging.

No, thank you.

Fitting in is not belonging. I have never been clearer about that.

Belonging requires clear, firm, and unbreakable boundaries. Those I have developed in Florida. Belonging requires a strong and unmovable sense of self. Again; thank you Florida. It demands clear priorities. Check. It builds and solidifies discernment and the ability to respond from a place of autonomy and strength. You don’t get that on stage.

I grew up in the Midwest and I really don’t belong there.

I was reborn in New York City, and I no longer belong there either.

I am a longtime resident of south Florida and I rise daily to choose to belong here.

I belong here not because of climate or longevity or preference or familiarity.

I belong here simply because I am here. I belong here because I belong in here. And so wherever I am I belong.

Wherever I am I choose my sense of belonging. No awards, bright lights, or big cities needed.

Being where I do not prefer to be is what taught me where I truly belong.

Right in here.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

THE BIO OF A BIOPSY

Here we go again.

The glare of the fluorescent light was softened only slightly by the hint of sun glinting through the small window. The same mass-produced village scape hung slightly crooked on the wall. The same unimaginably uncomfortable chairs. The same computer. The canned music seemed louder than before.

The music seemed so much louder than before.

Here we go again. And yet not. In the mere months following open heart surgery there was now evidence that cancer may be coming to teach its revolutionary curriculum once again.

And yet not. Not again. Not a repeat. Though it is the very same room lit by the same fluorescent light with the same sterile d├ęcor that six years ago I heard the words “it’s cancer” there is only “again” at the conceptual level. It is only again as a most scary thought within my mind. It is only again in the sinking way fear says, “you survived it once but maybe not this time.”

Biopsy. Six simple alphabet letters that form together to cause an alchemizing explosion in the human energy system. Biopsy contains within it the prefix bio, which literally translates to “life.” Tissue sample is collected, often in radical and invasive ways, and then the outcome is a prophesy as to whether or not life will continue or terminate. For me the suggestion and then the reality of a biopsy sets forth a dynamic that is indeed revolutionary in its scope.

Here we go again.

And yet it is different. The date is set and with it the dynamic. The life stream of the impending procedure is far from here we go again. It is new. It is deeper. It contains and includes the commentary surrounding potential outcomes. There is a narrative around what choices will be available and made should the outcome point in a direction of unsustainable disease. Unsustainable life. The potential of fighting for life. Bio-warfare. Extreme measures. Hanging on to hanging on. How much time? How much bio? How much life?

This cannot be happening again.

Indeed, it is not. It is the same doctor but a different procedure. The same surgery center but a very different patient. The same potential, but a decidedly different relationship.

And so, the biopsy is completed. And the waiting begins.

Or the waiting continues. The waiting began the day the suggestion was made. Every stone of potential outcome has been overturned and explored. Every scenario has been played to the imaginary end. Logic and reason have been turned inside out, as has suppression and denial. Intuition seems to be the one avenue blocked and currently unavailable.

It is probably that damn fluorescent light. That ghastly canned music. The suddenly annoying ticking of my husbands watch.

Just as the temptation to straighten that hideous village scape was driving me out of the tormenting chair and onto my suddenly wobbling feet the door opened.

Here we go again?

The familiar and smiling face of the physician’s assistant put in end to the waiting before he said a thing. They don’t send PA’s in to deliver bio-threatening news.

And so, the prognosis is ongoing bio. Continuing life. Come back in a year and be well until. And the curriculum is complete.

Is it?

My life is undoubtably more because of my dance with here we go again. My bio-relating is expanded by the dynamic of biopsy. The relating and the waiting. The awareness of where my commentary can lead me. What roads my narrative is drawn to take. What outcomes my habitual attention prophesies. What measures I might take to ensure the great bio continues to express as me.

I am a decades long meditator, and a life-long prayer. My spiritual practices have grown and evolved and changed throughout the years. One of the most prolific and unpredictable of them all is biopsy. The first, and the once again. The invasiveness, and the intimacy. The waiting. That fertile and unforgiving waiting. The bio and the potential ceasing of bio.

Biopsy has taught me much about bio. Bio and has led me further and deeper into itself via biopsy. Via waiting. Through and out of here we go again. Invasion and introspection. Virtual living and potential dying. Endless inquiries and revelatory questioning.

Different outcome. Same me. Yet something has definitely changed. Something closed has opened. Something asleep has awakened. Something startled has settled.

Biopsy has led to more bio-life within and as me. So here we go again.