This morning I decided to walk a different route. I usually take the more serene route to the reservoir via the Jones Falls Trail. Today I took a city route, over to my old neighborhood . This week has been a significant week for me. One spent in self reflection and awareness.
I’m certain the Universe has had something to do with it. The new moon with partial eclipse and the month of October suggested a time of deep and profound thinking. By Wednesday my left shoulder was causing more pain than usual, I was having difficulty sleeping, and I felt a sort of ominous dark cloud around me. I was having an extremely difficult time hearing people talk about the government shutdown. I felt like I needed to escape the insanity, focus on me, and surrender to healing.
It’s getting chilly enough that I needed some walking shoes and got myself a great pair by Patagonia. They are super comfortable and make my walks a breeze. I woke up Thursday morning and started my day with 30 minutes of meditation and an hour walk. When I returned home I did some exercises for my arm and got cozy with my journal, couple of books and a heating pad. Later in the day I got a much needed pedicure and remembered that my plan for the first day of the shutdown was to get a pedicure but timing and the unknown (how my finances would be impacted) precluded that outing. So it was apropos that I get the pedicure on the first day the government was reopened. My day ended with a massage and a commitment to get a massage every week for the next three weeks while I continue to work the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a frozen shoulder.
When we went into the shutdown I felt my self shutting down. I decided to go to HR to find out what opportunities might be available to me now that I’ve reached the minimum retirement age with only 2.5 years from a full retirement. I discovered that if the Agency decides to offer early outs, it would be a perfect opportunity for me. And in a pure stream of consciousness I determined that Asheville, NC is the place where I will finally settle down. The excitement I experienced while day-dreaming was a welcomed distraction from the day-to-day noise of politics. That said, I found myself day-dreaming on how wonderful my new life would be, to the detriment of my current life, and that was not only bringing me down emotionally but was feeding the stiffness in my shoulder.
I decided to use my favorite oracle card deck, The Enchanted Map by Colette Baron-Reid, and asked the question, “What is my body trying to tell me?” I pulled card number 27, Home, in the reversed position. I wasn’t really surprised by the insightful questions the card offered for consideration: “If you don’t feel at home, it’s time to do a thorough and fearless inventory. What are you hiding from? Are you afraid of being yourself? Do you feel that you don’t belong where you are? What if you chose another path? Does your understanding of home perhaps dictate that such a place must be unsafe, unstable, or unfulfilling?”
I was struggling to identify exactly what was bothering me during the shutdown. I felt secure in my plans, whether I retire next year or wait until my full retirement date in 2016. I wasn’t worried about my current finances, having worked through those fears this past summer. It took a while to determine that what I was feeling had to do with my country, my place of work, my friends and family, my home.
I was feeling a profound sadness for what was happening in our world of government, politics, and society in general. I am dumbfounded when I hear people who are fearful of the United States becoming a Socialist government. I am heartbroken when I hear people complain that “someone might get more than their fair share.” I honestly don’t understand that mentality – that separateness from society and from one another. It reminds me of watching my sisters spoon out the ice cream and the fear I had that they might get one scoop more than me. This week I realized that the fear of lack and belief that there isn’t enough is at the heart of most debates between liberals and conservatives, and I wondered how a nation heals such deep second chakra wounds. How can a country that has so much, live in fear of having so little? Why does it live in that fear?
I understand my parent’s generation and the mindset of the great depression. Is that fear now part of our DNA? Are we so fearful that financial ruin might happen to us, that we scorn and look down upon those who live with financial ruin – and refuse to help?
I’ve discovered that while I was considering these thoughts, I was judging those who live in fear, specifically conservatives who fear that someone will get more than they, and more than their fair share. I was angry and could only think about getting away from the politically saturated DC/MD/VA area and as far away as possible from those who repeat what they hear on the entertainment network known as FOX News. I mean I was judging and I was red hot angry! I was trying to stuff those feelings; afraid I would say the wrong thing, feeling like I didn’t belong, and longing to be somewhere far, far away.
My sweet friend Yumiko is visiting after spending two years with USAID in Afghanistan. We met while serving together in the Peace Corps. Having her here, and showing her my new neighborhood helped me return to the present. Once again I feel love and appreciation for exactly where I am right now. I feel grounded in gratitude and acknowledge that the lifestyle I dreamed of years ago is the lifestyle I currently live. I acknowledge it is not my dharma to ignore politics. It is also not my responsibility to absorb negative energy associated with politics or anything else. As an empathic person, it’s critically important for me to remember that, and distinguish between my energy and external energies.
I look to Gandhi, Dr King, the Dalai Lama and others who have so masterfully served our humanity and our divinity – to be in this world but not of this world – to have compassion for myself and all beings – to advocate for the just rights of all while forgiving those want to take those rights away. These are the insights I take into contemplation, and the insights I choose to replace any beliefs I have around fear of lack, and patterns I have of judging others.
Before I end, I want to acknowledge Judith_Orloff and her work with intuitives and empaths. It’s been a great help to me as I distinguish between internal and external forces on physIical and emotional health.
As I come to the end of the first 30 days of the Candida Cleanse I’ve learned much and experienced some relief. More about that soon!