Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and my son’s birthday have passed. The light lingers a bit longer and the globe is repeating the pattern that slowly guides us into Spring. The year that was 2015 brought about good changes for some family members and friends. It also brought with it some sorrow.
I decided not to write about each incremental step of the holidays and the markers that are mileposts for my own journey. It was conscious and deliberate to see what it felt like by fasting from talking about everything.
I made some other decisions that might have appeared to some in my family to be abrupt. I made them because I was determined to see something change. I thought primarily, selfishly, that it was change that needed to happen to those I live with.
I decided to go to counseling again. The pastor at the church we now attend spoke so highly of her counselor and recommended her to me that I decided why not? Here was someone who, at least, would be bound to have to listen to me. After all I would be paying for my time with her. I felt there was so much to be said about my frustrations and fears and anxiety and dissatisfaction with life and most of the people in it.
I was being driven along through my days by a strong hot wind.
When I began talking to the counselor I felt every frustration bubble to the top. Where to start? Unhappy, frustrated and dissatisfied was the place I was used to being and without realizing it- what I wanted to hold on to.
I was talking and sniffling when she stopped me. I was on a roll and she stopped me and said “I hear so much anger.” Which I have so say, made me angry. Of course I am angry. I am justified at being angry!
Life itself is not what I expected. In fact very little if anything has lived up to my expectations. The world, country, town, my son’s friends, my friends, my former church, my husband, my daughter, my son have all fallen short of my expectations.
The counselor without missing a beat immediately led me through a short meditation practice. When she began it she asked me where I felt the stress in my body. I felt like my legs were made of lead – much like it felt right after my son died. The heavy wet blanket was draped over me. With legs of lead you can’t move forward.
I breathed through the exercise and I took note. I resolved to practice. After the instructions she asked me how I felt and I was honest. “I feel resistence” I said.
I hated to admit to myself that she was correct. Anger has ruled and it is toxic. Having let go of so many things I was loath to let go of this one thing I was so familiar with.
So I went home and I practiced. I practiced when the dogs were barking and the news from the world news was terrifying. I practiced when I saw photos of my son. I practiced before my husband came home and when I saw the sad expressions on his and my daughter’s face.
I am not in charge of their feelings and I need to be able to choose what to do with my own feelings with as clear a mind as possible.
The world – my world will never live up to my expectations. It is the way it is and it is not my fault nor is it the fault of the people in my world. I don’t meet their expectations either.
I am beginning to see how linked my anger and fear are.
I was afraid that I might not be honoring my son if I do not continue to express how much I love him and miss him. Yet there other ways to honor him and my family. I can continue to practice putting out the angry fires that fuel my fear and unrealistic expectations. I’ve practiced being angry long enough.