Emotional Food for Thought

Here is a short, sweet, insightful video about emotions and healthy expression of them. ¬†Emotions themselves aren’t “bad” – it’s how you react to them that matters. Who is in control? You or the emotion?

Watching This 2 Minute Insightful Animation Will Teach You To Free Yourself From Stress, Anxiety and Depression – Educate Inspire Change.

Healing shift in understanding …

Today I got sudden flash of insight that moved me to a flood of tears; the good kind of crying. Thankfully I was alone; sudden sobbing isn’t well accepted in “normal” society.

I’m shaking my head in disbelief at the source of this inspired moment; it’s almost funny … actually I’m about to giggle (tee hee *grin*) … the universe works in mysterious ways! Bear with me, I shall explain.

I wasn’t actually alone when IT happened, I was on the phone with my sister. This might not sound very inspiring, but considering how things have evolved between us during our Dad’s journey of recovery from cancer (he moved home he’s doing so well) it’s freaking amazing!

You can read my previous post for gory details. I cut contact with my sister – in self-defence. Basically I ended up angry about my interpretation of my sister’s behaviour and the impact it had on my life. Paying bills with very little income put me in a bad mood; and it was all her fault. I tried convincing my family that I was right – she was deliberately manipulating the situation to her benefit – it was ALL about the money. I didn’t feel heard at all; so I shut down and stuffed it down – just like I was taught to do as a child. Anyone ever hear the phrase “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about?” … ummm yea, emotional self-regulation wasn’t really talked about in Scotland in the early 60’s!

But I digress. I deliberately chose to avoid my sister; I wouldn’t pick up the phone and the thought of the being in the same room with her gave me such angst I could imagine shoving her so I could get away. She avoided me too, for the first while, and it was the best thing ever! I know I’m “not supposed to say things like that” – another childhood mantra – but it’s the absolute truth. The relief was physical, palpable and highly pleasurable – like a phewwwwww with an ahhhhhh at the end ūüėČ …

Darn my sister anyways (laughing now) – she stopped avoiding me. Even had “the nerve” to pick up the phone when I called my Dad’s house, she could see it was my number “how dare she????” My thoughts ran along childhood lines again (see a theme here?) … she “always was poking me” … she “always knew exactly how to set me off” … I was “always getting in trouble because of her” … and worse “dammit anyways she’s making me act like a child!”

Then she had even MORE nerve by calling me and asking me to help her. “Arghghghghgh,” said I (on the inside) … as I listened to the message; there was no way I was going to pick up and actually TALK to her.

The helper in me couldn’t resist though; she wanted to know how to reset Dad’s answering machine which still said to call my number. It would help my Dad … and I wouldn’t have to field calls and be reminded that he didn’t live with me anymore. So, I called back to leave a message, planning to hang up if she answered; but I couldn’t do it – I tried to, but tense silence drew out the terse answer, then I hung up.

And that was pretty much the last time we talked until this morning. She was sharing information and I was saying as little as possible. Then she began telling me about my Dad and what they do together – she ended with “and just hanging out” … that’s when it hit me and I stopped listening; she kept talking quite happily in the background. Eventually I had to stop her and get off the phone, but in a thankful, open way – so I could process what had smacked me between the eyeballs.

What was it? A sudden recollection of a moment; a full colour video replay of my father talking to Galileo, one our¬†cats, outside in the sunshine. They were so connected and attuned to each other, Dad was so tender, his voice was so loving, his touch so well received and returned … and I was so moved to see him like that; my heart got so full that tears overflowed out through my eyes … it was beautiful.

Not a tot!
Not a tot!

And with that moment, I realized how precious the time I had with my Dad was; six months of him living with my family allowed me to know him in a new way. I’ve been so mixed up with the noise in my head and wrestling with what is going on; struggling, seeing “poor me” and “evil sister” … I spiralled down into deep depression. Again; argh!! I’ve been there, done that, I’m a work in progress … thankfully my “recovery muscles” are getting stronger with practice (*grin*)

Today, I realized how much I miss those magical moments and what a gift they were. I saw my Dad in a new way, under a new light; a tender loving light that came from him … I’m welling up again in gratitude, just remembering. Now, instead of lamenting my loss, I can cherish those precious¬†moments; like this one:

Dad napping with Duke and Daisy - first camping trip with our new trailer!
Dad snuggling with Duke and Daisy – first camping trip with our new trailer!

And much more recently; this moment – growing together and glowing together – or put another way 136 years of life experience between the two of us! I am grateful for aging; perhaps now I’ll be more graceful about it? Ha ha!

Enjoying the experience of streaming Awesomeness Fest with my Dad!
Enjoying the experience of streaming Awesomeness Fest with my Dad!

Here’s the thing; I didn’t know I was stuck until I let go – so now I can say thanks to my sister for smacking me between the eyeballs by describing her good times with Dad – as bizarre as that sounds – it’s my truth – so there (sticking my tongue out!) Who knew I was the jealous type?

So now, by choice, I hereby declare: I continue to look to the good, while acknowledging the lessons brought on by “bad” stuff. I can’t stop fear, I can’t stop flashes of anger or anxiety; I can acknowledge them and allow them to pass on by, all part of the joy of BEing human.

In summary; the big laugh about all of this? In the beginning “sister + talk of money” equalled disaster for me. Today; “sister + talk of money” equalled breakthrough.

Isn’t the universe hilarious that way?

A change in perspective can cause confusion!
A change in perspective can cause confusion!

O View: Perspectives on Life and Living

Dad's poem, my photo; collaborative creation!
Dad’s poem, my photo; collaborative creation!

O View? Oh boy have things changed around here!

In February of this year (2014) my father Douglas nearly died in front of the family. It was his 84th birthday celebration, with steak and lobster. He choked. Badly. We spent the rest of the evening in a trauma room at the hospital. It was tough enough to watch and wait as a daughter; but as a registered nurse? It was AWFUL knowing that at any moment that obstruction could move and fully block his airway.

My Dad was amazing! He used all his skills of meditation and chose to be Buddha-like calm. We even laughed a couple of times;¬†quite¬†the feat as someone over the trauma room divider was fighting for his life. He¬†made it, thankfully; and so did my Dad – the obstruction “passed” aka they make you throw it up, which is effective but not very pleasant! Especially on your birthday.

My Dad, bless his heart, chose to go home so he could have a belated birthday cup of coffee and a cigarette; rather than stay at the hospital to have a scope done to find out why he choked so badly. He felt he deserved it after everything he had been through; fair enough. He has been fiercely independent since he was a wee boy, why stop now?

Eventually things were investigated and we discovered that my father has cancer of the esophagus; five biopsies were taken, all five were positive. The prognosis was not good; “get your affairs in order and do what you enjoy doing.” He was given months to live.

Getting Dad’s affairs in order wasn’t easy.¬†He has lived alone for 30 years since he retired from teaching Art; his home is a reflection of his creative¬†endeavors, full of¬†paintings, writings, ceramics, books and books and more¬†books with everything covered in a fine layer of nicotine, dust and cigarette¬†ashes. Who has time for housekeeping or maintenance when creative ideas are bubbling up to be expressed? He¬†needed some support before this; but was too proud (or stubborn) to let us pitch in – at least now he had a good excuse to accept help. OMG doesn’t suffice to capture the apparent disarray – it turns out he knew what pile to search and had a¬† system to organize, but that was NOT obvious at first!

So my dad came to live with me and Reg so we could care for him. He needed to have a feeding tube inserted so he could gain weight before having radiation therapy. Thank goodness I’m a registered nurse, and one who works with elderly people at end of life; my training and experience were perfect for this! Or so I thought originally; now I’m beginning to understand that I had the training, but not the experience.

No one close to me has ever died before; we emigrated from Scotland in 1966 – I never knew my uncles or grandparents. The closest I had come was Casey Mae, my first family dog. I didn’t know the emotional tangle that the “spectre of death” can create in a family. As a nurse I’d seen “family dynamics” in action, I knew intellectually and had intervened to assist professionally; but WOW, let me tell you that the emotional experience of knowing is vastly different than the intellectual one.

How can I describe the last six months? It started off great, was beyond horrible in the middle, and is now slowly getting better. My Dad has outlived his prognosis and is so much better, he moved back to his now clean house two weeks ago and is doing all his care himself. Somehow though, it left me shattered.

Who could have foreseen that such a conflict would erupt … between me and my sister. Tension turned into loud LA LA LA’s and furious F-bombs ending with me crying and yelling back trying to defend “my position.” I am comfortable talking about death, she is not. My Dad isn’t sure – he says he’s never been “terminal” before and feels he is getting better. He doesn’t want to buy into the “cancer scene” – so what if he’s 84 and a dedicated smoker of 63 years – he has things he still wants to do, and things to create. He is NOT ready to go!

I wasn’t ready for him to go home though; it all happened very quickly and without much input from me. I crumbled. It was all too much; depression sucked me down into a negative spiral and all I could do was cry and beat myself up over how things turned out … with such a deep, deep sense of loss, loss of connection, of vitality …

Thankfully, I’ve been through this before. Yes, I am grateful for being a depressive; I have learned so much about the connection between mind, body and brain. I know what to do to help myself. And even better Reg is an amazing grounding presence in my life; his hugs heal! I am taking positive action and it feels good; things like fresh air, exercise, mediation, and dancing. With Reg’s support, I am focusing on what IS working and being deliberate about giving myself positive experiences – oxytocin producing ones like snuggling hugs – a practice called Blissipline. Isn’t that lovely?

I am deliberately sharing this experience as part of my recovery. I am proud to be me and not afraid to show it. I don’t know what is going to happen with my Dad and there is still a wedge between me and my sister; but things will work out as they should.

“This is perfect, I just don’t know why yet.” ~ Louise Hay

I am also sharing a poem that my Dad wrote; it describes where I am right now – in between the All and Nothing – knowing intellectually that they are one thing, but unable (yet) to connect emotionally to that knowing.

Join me as I share my progress. I’ll also share some of my favourite links and videos that have helped me master myself. I believe that knowledge is power; combined with experience and focus, who knows what can happen. How good could we stand to have it? First, self-mastery, and then share it with the world!

Imagine if everyone could look themselves in the eyes in the mirror and know that they truly loved themselves … what a world it can be …

Ahhhhh …. this feels good, I’m all glowy from sharing. Thank you for sharing it with me ūüôā