I asked him to take it back but he didn’t.

Ki in daily life is the writing prompt Ron gave me a few days ago. I asked him to take it back but he didn’t.

I am feeling blah around it but I am practicing new behaviors so here we go.

I have noticed lately that I am feeling low. I am not excited to get out of bed. I am having a lot of negative thoughts like:

“I have worked my whole life and this is where I have ended up.”  I need to make more money or have more recognition.” Now the more money would be nice but I don’t need someone telling every second that I am doing a good job.

As I have said before I am turning sixty in a few days. I think the pall that I feel is because something in the back of my mind says 60 is the big one: the one where we really are all done. No more fun…just grown up hard stuff.

That being said…and I am going to keep telling about it until it passes because I know that it is a lie and if I keep telling it will diminish like all untruths…only the truth lasts and I want to live in the truth.

That being said…I feel great. Last night Ron and I went for a bike ride after work. We had a nice healthy dinner and then cleaned up the kitchen.

We played mitts and sticks and then an exciting game of “Ticket to Ride” where we had some healthy fun feuding.  He gets to wear the imaginary engineer hat and scarf because he won yet again.

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Work felt long yesterday and I felt lonely for a bit and sad because I think I don’t get to see my family enough.

I noticed all this because I pay attention to my feelings and notice when they arise and how long they last and if they are true or a deliberate manufacturing of self-pity.

Ron and I have a lovely life together. Yet I can wander away from it to torture myself with “what ifs”…”what if we lose the house?, what if I die first?…what if I die last? What if I get dementia?  What if I am a street lady?”

I can let myself get filled with self-centered fear like a helium balloon that breaks the string and flies off to balloon heaven (or hell).

 

I practice ki in daily life by coming back to what is real. And what is real in each moment is that I am ok. I am so ok.

Then I can see if I am ok in this moment maybe I will be ok in all the moments. One moment at a time.

I come back to now by doing something physical…it may be going for a walk, hopping on my bike for a spin, doing some ki exercises, juggling for a few moments,  vacuuming the floor, sweeping the cobwebs off the lights and my mind. Sometimes I go out to the dojo and do rolls just to remind myself that I can.

AnneTest

I might write down what is bothering me, or I might write a gratitude list and share it with my gratitude group. I might write an email to my sponsor or tell Ron what is going on. I might write my blog. Sometimes I just get on my knees and pray for help. I have many tools to bring me back to the moment where all is well.

I think the challenge of getting older is to stay in the now as much as possible and to appreciate all the gifts that abound around me.

I do not have to give up and sit in my chair like my mother did. I want to grab the rest of this life and live it. I love to be alive and I am happy for the chance to see what my sixties look like on me.

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mind body co-ordination

I asked Ron for a writing prompt and he gave me co-ordination of mind of body.
Mind body co-ordination is always a good subject. What can I write today about it? That it is more important than ever as I approach 60? God, sometimes it terrifies me to write that. I know, I know. It is better than the alternative.

But what can I say except that I feel 30 inside and so full of life and energy. I get hit with this melancholy that makes me ache for the younger me. But why? I feel young …I just don’t look young. Why do I want that angst-filled woman back now I am filled with serenity, acceptance, peace and contentment a lot of the time? I am what I feel like not what I look like.
dora and mary 12.15.15

The mirror has been surprising me. A new hair cut… a new hair color, several pounds lost…it is still me. I look and then let go again. The mind body co-ordination comes in when I accept….yes, I am going on 60 and this is what it feels like today. I have no physical complaints. I am fit and limber and moving well. I am as strong if not stronger than ever.

I see what O’Sensei meant about how we must defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within. It really is about false fears. There is nothing to be afraid of today. I look how I look and I feel how I feel. There is freedom in the acceptance of the truth. Thank you for the reminder, Ron, Sensei…you are always the sensible one when it comes to me.

Saviors or abusers.

 

kim and mir

I used to think that all men were saviors. Then I thought all men were abusers.

When I was a little girl I thought men kept us safe and protected us from the world. After I started training I thought all men hurt women and there was no hope.

Now I know the truth is complicated. Good men exist. Good men do bad things sometimes. Bad men do bad things and maybe good things sometimes.

No man is coming to save me. That is my job. I can learn from all situations. Every single moment can teach me more about survival and thriving.

I spent many years looking for my knight is shining armor. Trust me…he is not sitting on a bar stool.

Mir+and+Ron

I starting training in Aikido and found a good man: but better than that I found a good woman who no longer was willing to be saved or be abused.

In aikido I found my own power. It started subtly as I trained with men who were rough around the edges but had good hearts. Men who encouraged me to roll and to wear my white gi pants to fit in; that didn’t care if I looked pretty or got sweaty.

There were men in that dojo that were self-absorbed and sexist …just like there is all over the world.  There were men who did not want to be taught by a woman and who told me that women can’t get strong enough to protect themselves.

I just kept training and teaching. People that did not like our way at our dojo went away. We find that good people stay. We found that men are good and strong and respectful just as women are good and strong and respectful.

As we change, the people that we surround ourselves with change too.  I am responsible for the choices I make. As men and women train together they can receive and give the best from each other.

 

 

triggered again

 

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Last night I felt hopeless…just not wanting to do anything which is not like me. I sat curled in my comfy chair sniffling…without the energy to even give it a good cry. At work I had some conflict and it triggered me again. I felt unsafe and locked the door.

 

I am learning what triggered feels like from trying the solution that Ron and I have agreed on. I tell him that I think I am triggered and we work together to get me back to the zone of tolerance by doing the exercise that includes noting 5 things that I can see, 4 things that I can feel, 3 things that I can hear, 2 things that I can smell and 1 thing that I can taste.

Being triggered manifests in me with hopeless thoughts, like no ones loves me, life is meaningless and I suck. It does not make sense to me as I write this but the solution worked so brilliantly that it must be true.

 

After  I did the sensory exercise to get me back into the tolerance zone I was right back to my chipper self.

The simplicity of this astounds me because I have suffered a lot from this over the years. I am so grateful for this new process and I  accept it gratefully.

go to class when you want to be a couch tater

 

aikido ad (4)

Uke is a positive role. It is not just waiting to be nage. Aikido is not about overpowering each other but learning, together, how to resolve unrest, conflict and disorder.

Uke provides nage with the opportunity to feel another person’s energy, physicality and essence.  Nage provides uke with the opportunity to let go in a controlled environment, to not have to be in total control and to give a gift of energy.

Aikido happens when uke and nage work together to resolve the conflict or attack of the moment. Being as in the now as one can be makes the experience so fun and educational.

By being the best uke or nage we can be in each moment we provide earnestness.

Earnestness is defined as: sincere and intense conviction.  It is such a sacred gift to give to each other.  In this world where really being seen and heard by others is rare and fleeting we come together in the dojo to see and feel each other deeply as we strive to become safer and more comfortable in the world.

Everyone can’t be a wildly athletic uke or a smooth polished nage. Yet we can start right where we are and do our best. That is all earnestness requires of us. We just be who we on any given day.

Some days I feel totally healthy and happy. Other days I feel grumpy and sore. I have practiced when I was limping because of an injured knee from  carrying too much weight for my frame. I got to practice from a revolving armless office chair that was actually fun when I got over my ego.  I had a chronic back injury for years that is finally fixed by a super intuitive physical therapist and now I can sport freely in all realms. I lost weight and my knees have healed completely.

What I learned through that 10 year process was that I had value on the mat anyway; whether I was perfectly healthy or not. I do have way more fun when I am healthy. But all practice is valuable. So challenge yourself to go to class when you want to be a couch tater.

We love to see you. Yes, even if you can’t fall. Even if you are just watching. You matter. As do we all.

 

Call her back

 

Our power circle is what it is for each of us.

 

Mine includes god, people in 12 step fellowships, Ron, members of my dojo and my daughters, my ancestors and angels, and people everywhere that are recovering from hurts.

 

On the show Longmire, the picture of the young woman on the couch describing her feelings after she was raped was me. I saw myself in her. She was in the exact position on her couch as I was on mine, with our blankets at the same place under our chins. She shook me to my center as she spoke for me. Ron suggested that we had had enough of that show for the night.

 

The next night we watched the woman call herself back.  The old wise woman said that “her self” was taken from her. The old wise woman insisted that she call out “Morning Star, Come back.”

Morning Star dared to call herself back. “Morning Star,” she called out, softly and bravely. “Come back.”

 

Then she cried and her circle of women embraced her.

 

I thought to myself, “I could do that.”

 

That night I prayed, hopped into bed and slept soundly. I awoke in the early morning hours. I noticed how comfy and safe I felt in my warm bed with my husband Ron sleeping peacefully next to me. It occurred to me that it was time to call myself back. I called out softly and bravely, “Come back, Mary Catherine, come back.” I fell back asleep. When I woke up in the morning I could feel her. Mary Catherine is back. I am so grateful.

 

I am sharing this with my circle. I know that my circle includes all who been hurt and have had themselves taken from them. I want to tell you again that I called Mary Catherine back as Morning Star called herself back. Mary Catherine did come back. Healing can happen. It takes time and patience and work. It is happening for me. Mary Catherine is back and I am so happy to have her.

It may not seem like a big decision to you but calling myself back was the most important decision I have ever made.

Letting myself slip away, first as a child unknowingly and then as an adult unconsciously, I had diminished myself to a shadow. I am sure I looked like a person to others on the outside. On the inside I felt frozen and missing. Missing from feelings and emotions but not actions. I could act and I did.  I had been acting for years; acting like I was normal and having a fine time with daily life.

When I saw the scene in Longmire I related profoundly. I felt Morning Star’s pain and I felt hope that I could be called back too. I didn’t even know I was missing until that moment. I felt like an observer to my own life. I would think to myself, “I wonder what someone else would feel like in this circumstance,” and then I would act like I thought a real person would act.

Separation from me must have started very early because I have been an observer of myself for years. Grade school was painful and I learned that to be part of children’s life you must adapt on the fly. Being invisible served me well. I would try out a behavior and then notice how humiliated I felt when again I did not get the social norms. I would go back into my barely seen self. I seldom spoke and often pretended to be sleeping. Some might call it shy but I felt more like the unseen. If I could not see myself then I was not there.

I could blend in at home too….if my father slammed the door in a particular way I remember slinking off and disappearing in the house. I suppose they could see me but I kept my energy level low and was less likely to get tossed about the house or screamed at.

My teenage years were especially painful. I wanted to be seen but could not bring myself to speak. I did learn some facial expressions that conveyed sarcasm and wryness while still covering up my rotten gaping teeth.  Once in a great while I would forget myself and smile only to be reminded of my folly with the look of disgust or pitying questions about the dentist.

The only place I felt comfortable being seen was in motion. Whether shooting a basketball, running after a grounder, swimming, diving or riding my bike; I knew freedom. I lost the bondage of myself in the ecstasy of the exercise.

I got my teeth fixed at 17 and started peeking at myself: tiny, fleeting looks cut short by sever self-judgment. I started drinking alcohol at 18 and understood freedom of self. I could act extemporaneously for the first time since early childhood. I loved it. Unfortunately I drank too much, too often, and caused real problems for myself.

I stopped drinking for good at 29 and unconsciously went back into observing, judging myself and disappearing.

I have lived a long sober life and finally the pieces are falling into place. It was safe to call myself back and when the time was right I was given the tools and the wherewithal.

So come back, Mary Catherine, come back to stay. It is necessary. Everyone won’t like and admire you but some will and most important you can continue to learn to accept and love yourself.

Come back, young Mary, Come out from behind that couch. Daddy is dead and will never throw you across the room again for breaking a plastic clock. He can’t beat you with his belt for running and laughing and playing. Your father’s blue eyes and early kindness in captured in your grandson. You can see the pure love in those blue eyes and trust that your father loved you too though caught in his own web of fear and volatile anger.

Come on back, teenage Mary. Yes, your grandpa is dead and will never hug you again or sit on the side hill counting rail road cars with you. But he walks with you whenever you see the wind in the poplar trees or hear a train’s whistle. And whenever you feel that presence that you can’t explain… Grampy is there…he is your guardian angel and will never go away again.

 

Come back, young mother, Mary Catherine… yes, you were overwhelmed and made many poor choices based in self-centered fear and ignorance.  A few have suffered greatly because of your behaviors and you still must come back. They are still with you in your life and will benefit greatly from knowing you now.

Come back, older mother, Mary Catherine…with children running from you and memories of rape and abuse coming back and the same thing happening to your children. Come back, come back. All can heal. We can heal together but we need you here. There is nothing that is too bad to be faced and healed together.

Come back, perimenopausal Mary Catherine, yes, your anxiety caused you to make more choices to save yourself. It is okay…jobs left and teaching opportunities lost were for your greater good. It is okay. You are here today. We can move forward.

 

Yes, come back, Mary Catherine, dear. I need you here in the now. It is okay to feel and to see and be seen.  A lifetime of being unseen and disappearing is over. I see you now. I love and need you. You can continue on your path of healing.  The love I give to Ron and receive back from him is tangible.  That feeling of completeness is real.  It my connection to my mother and her mother, to my daughters and to my grandchildren, and to the beautiful large mother that is. It is real….I have faith, unshakable faith. I am here. I am seen and I can feel. Welcome back, Mary Catherine, You are loved here.