We will begin today with Meditation Monday: Breathing my way back into LIFE!
For the first time in perhaps a month or more, I feel like I have returned to planet Earth and can breathe freely, without worry, fear or anxiety. I have, admittedly, allowed those feelings to take precedence lately. I needed to find my way back to peace and calm where each breath I take isn’t for the sake of just keeping going but for living fully the life I was meant to live! I had allowed outside forces to influence my thinking, the directions my feelings were heading – I was giving away all my power and all my energy to others. Today I proclaim that I am leaving the land of Make-Believe and facing life on life’s terms once again. I no longer live in the world of “if only” and “what if”.
For the first time in more than a decade I felt and achieved more responsibility than I have undertaken in, well, more than a decade. I have shared some pieces of myself and will say again that I am medically retired due to severe Bipolar 1 and an inoperable – but benign – brain tumor located in a bit of a tricky spot in my head. There are other medical conditions that have popped up over the years but these two are my primary “disablers”. I have spent years learning about my medical issues and have focused much time listening to the message that, basically, my brain no longer functioned correctly and that my “use” to society had ended long ago. I believed I no longer had anything to contribute and that sad-sack thinking only added to the depression and isolation I put myself through for a very long time.
Almost five years ago a long-time friend offered me an opportunity to volunteer with a Veteran Service Organization, the Ladies Auxiliary VFW. I admit I was scared; what would these people think if they really knew what was going on inside my head?! What I found was acceptance of whatever I could give and gratitude for giving of myself as I could and joy that I was part of the working team. It didn’t matter if it was to show up monthly to help serve the fundraising dinner or even for a monthly meeting where I listened and observed but said very little. I showed up, that’s what mattered. I believe most of these women thought me very shy where had you asked anyone who’d known me years ago, they would mostly likely laugh and balk at the idea of Tamela being shy or quiet! And yet that’s who I’d become, someone who led with fear and forgot to believe that not everyone was out to hurt or harm – or always deliver bad news.
In earlier posts I’ve mentioned “my Sandy”, the woman I credit with helping me learn to live life outside of fear, outside of isolation – to believe in goodness and gratitude and faith and love; to heal my wounds and move from living in yesterday to living in today. To accept regret and sorrow, to forgive, to move on with the business of living life – to just be and let be. For me, once I figured out where I might fit best in the auxiliary, I began to put my big toes into a couple of programs and found that old, rusty skills could still be of use and that any talent I once had might not have completely disappeared after all! Over the last couple of years, as I feel comfortable growing, I have been given the chance to grow and learn and find my passion once again! Do you know how much that means to someone who believed, truly believed, she had no more usefulness left in her?? I was flawed and broken, never to be repaired. I have spoken of the various paths I’ve taken in this life of mine, none of which I regret – I am grateful to have arrived at today intact. My latest passion has afforded me opportunity again and yes, I am grabbing the tail of the tiger and taking the ride of my life – at least the ride of THIS phase of my life!! I did have to spend some time sorting things out this past year with Sandy but I have taken on a couple of big challenges and can only hope and pray I arrive at this time next year feeling the peace and calm I feel right now.
That’s not to say that from about the end of April to earlier this week my life, to me, seemed up-in-arms and a tad bit out of control – but it is at these times I must acknowledge the deficiencies of my brain and continue to forge ahead anyway, in spite of those issues. I accept that it will be messy but I’ll get there; I’ll get the task assigned done. It will most likely be a bumpy ride for those around me while I get done what needs doing but it will be done and at my own personal Type A, perfectionist level. I knew – had even warned my husband – that I would most likely hit mania very hard and that it would be hard to stop me for some time to come, not till I felt all was done and that I had caught up with all that needed doing. I know my “triggers” and responsibility is just one of them. I hold myself at a standard that is beyond ridiculous sometimes but please know it’s me compensating for what I feel I lack on a regular basis.
Today I can say that I feel relaxed. I feel calm. I feel at peace once again. I am breathing at a comfortable rate again. I survived another round of mania and know that instead of “misbehaving”, as I tend to call it, I handled myself well (for the most part kept the mania focused and task driven) and did what was necessary to get me through with little notice of others outside my personal circle who knew of my personal struggle. What I remember was owning the “taking care of me” part and knowing that sometimes taking care of oneself means truly being that Persecutor in the Drama Triangle. Thus you can understand my chuckle a few weeks ago when I opened my daily meditation book and the subject for the day was that life did not have to be difficult! The closing meditation was, “Today, I will stop struggling so hard. I will let go of my belief that life has to be hard. I will replace it with a belief that I can walk this journey in ease and peace. And sometimes, it can actually be fun.” Translated for Tamela that means today I can breathe my way through life and not take everything so darn seriously! I do not need to act as if everything I do in life is a competition with myself to do better than even I expect of me…and that’s a LOT! Completing a project is a good thing but it is not a life or death thing.
And there will be let downs in life that you cannot prepare for no matter how prepared you believe yourself to be! But for me, today, if I continue to slowly take that breath, a conscious breath, into me and slowly, consciously, release that breath – I have a chance of surviving till tomorrow and perhaps a few more days after that – without losing my faith in me, in my fellow man, in life in general! It is when the full realization of the words, “God is large and in charge” come to me and scream the words I need to hear, “calm down, the world is NOT falling apart, HE has me and always will!,” that I find my strength to take that breath I forget to take sometimes, to take the next step that seems so very impossible and hard, to believe in goodness and grace and love and true care and concern; true friendship and intimacy. I am discovering – hard-headed me that I am – that He does have my back (and many friends to boot!) that help remind me of the comfort of just breathing…of letting go and just breathing. With each breath I feel myself fill once again with joy and laughter and peace and the ability to say, “I’m not in control…stop trying to control that which you have no control over!”
Today, there is nothing He and I can’t face together – it’s my job to remember what role I play…and I don’t run this planet nor its people! I am only responsible for me, my actions, my behaviors. I will focus on that and breathing today.
Ease on down the road, folks, ease on down the road. This isn’t a rehearsal and there are no do-overs. My job today is to breathe – and let He Above guide the rest of the path I’m to take!!!