Issues & Challenges Are Like Onions
LIFE. WHEN IT HITS HARD, BECOME A SPIRITUAL EXCAVATOR
In evaluating my Life’s Journey to this point, one of the things I am ever reminded of is that one’s spiritual evolution is ongoing for as long as you live, there is no finish line. You can think ‘oh by the time I reach this age or that age, I should have XYZ cause I’ll have all my ducks in a row’ or I’ve dealt with a particular issue before, I’ve got the lesson down and I’m done, I don’t ever have to go through that again,’ etc. But when that same issue arrives at your door step express mail with your name on it, ya just wanna scream ‘WHY WHY WHY AM I GOING THROUGH THIS AGAIN???? I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE!’ Wey-all, that’s not exactly how things go. Issues and challenges are like onions, just because you peel off a layer or two or three or four doesn’t necessarily mean you’re done. So if something repeats and rolls back up atcha, the best thing to do is to remember it is a Teachable Moment (aTM) and that you have another opportunity to learn the lesson well this time. When Life hits hard we must become Spiritual Excavators as each issue each challenge calls upon us to dig deeper. Fighting against it prolongs and intensifies the pain, blocks the recognition of solutions and takes you further away from Peace.
I was born a happy kid by nature, luckily for me because I’ve had some serious knocks, falls, concussions and contusions along the way, enough that I could be a ripe bitter fig right about now. Yet I had realized along the journey that every battle scar, every shank in the heart, every punch in the stomach, every disaster and tragedy helped me to decide what kinda Me I wanted to be. Did I want to be a cranky pop tart or did I want to Be the Light that Breathes me? Did I want to see the world I inhabit through a beat-up plastic bottle in the ocean or did I want X-ray vision? Did I want to hold on to every grievance I’d been wrought or was it better to begin to empty the luggage cart? I chose and will always choose to let go of being angry. Why? Because if makes me feel better, and that better feeling morphs into feeling good.
YOUR FAMILIAL HISTORY DOES NOT HAVE TO BE YOUR STORY
Having said that, mannnnn, do I come from a group of angry people. They would fight at the drop of a cellphone. Didn’t matter the subject, these I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG people ruined every single family gathering from the time I was nine until seventeen when I finally stopped going. It was a seeeeeeeerious boycott to miss my grandma’s homemade ice cream and apple pie(!) not to mention all the other made from scratch delicacies she would whip up for Thanksgiving. I. just. Couldn’t. take it anymore! So when my dad, step-mom and brother shipped out, I spent Thanksgiving home alone. The experience of having been an only child until age 8-1/2 made me a pro at entertaining myself. I preferred being alone on Thanksgiving missin’ all that good eatin’ than to be a witness to yet another family nuclear fallout, um, gathering.
Coming from that legacy I had fooled myself into thinking I wasn’t an angry camper. Nooooo I was nice and sweet, laughed a lot and didn’t hold grudges but deep down, I was a roiling pot of angry that I chose not to acknowledge, I was sooooo in denial (insert the sound of mad laughter here). I remember getting a palm reading and the guy told me in that New Agey voice, “you are very angry.” Whuhwhuh say WHAT? What could I, The Queen of Effervescence be angry about? I knew I did NOT want to further that part of the family legacy and thought I had taken steps to make sure I wasn’t. Furthermore, at the time I was pursuing the career I loved and had already shed tons of life baggage so what could I possibly be angry about??? Despite my protests, he insisted and my anger was all he talked about for the session. To myself I said, ‘I was NOT an angry person’ and felt I had wasted my money…oh yeah, I didn’t pay, it was free. But but but ok Mr. Smarty-Pants-Palm-Reader-Guy… angry about what pray tell? That, he couldn’t answer.
In essence, how can anybody tell you what’s inside of YOU?
BUT WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE?
Fast-forward a few years; I’m artfully navigating the Seas of Life. Things were cool-I was healthy, the bills were gettin’ paid, and the love life was stellar. No major complaints though I recognized I could no longer deny a quiet undertow of feelin’ off kilter, a sense of something being wrong without tangible evidence. So I did what a lot of us do, put it aside and focused on the day-to-day operations of my life. But one July 4th I was forced to take a swim in the undertow and come clean.
The city was in the throes of a heat wave and my honey had just left town so I had the place to myself. He was barely gone a day before I was visited by my then ULTIMATE PHOBIA: a waterbug. Now, waterbugs were to me what mice, snakes, and spiders are to other people. They caused me to-freak-out, like freak da week out! Since my protector was gone I had to slay the monster myself and I wound up screaming and crying like a willful toddler in the terrible two stage. Pitiful. Just pitiful!
Numb, the next day I faced myself. Why had I lost it like that? Yes, I did abhor waterbugs but gees I had carried on. Even for me. Something was consuming my soul and needed tending to. But what?
As I sat quietly a voice whispered, “you are full of rage. we’ve tried to tell you in many ways but you would not listen.” And in that moment, I knew Truth. I was full of pure unfiltered, uranium, toxic rage. I was more than angry; I was the fire-breathing behemoth behind my innocent looking face.
Then Ms. Wise-in-Hymer speaks up, loudly. “Okay, so we admit we’re enraged, but at what Professor?” For a minute I’m stumped. I have absolutely no clue. Now really, I was in no mood to be a Spiritual Excavator. By that point, I had accepted my servings of rough and tough times, even the very dark period when it looked like I, the patient wasn’t gonna make it. A vast amount of inner work had gotten me through that excruciating phase of deep depression. And now here I was after all that doggone work with yet more to do! I knew it was beyond the obvious, which was the lack of a relationship with my father, but I couldn’t imagine what else it could be…no, it’s NOT POSSIBLE! I gotta be kiddin’ me! How could I be mad at my mother, a woman who had been dead for over thirty years??? My rational mind screamed, “this is preposterous of course you’re mad at your dad! Look at all the stuff he did to you and then had the nerve, the gall to shun you!” But I knew it was integral to the evolution of My Being to deny it any longer. I was ticked off because mommy died on me.
All that I endured in my childhood was the direct result of her passing. The step-mom from hell, a tyrannical, alcoholic dad who I think just snapped due to guilt and the sudden loss. My entire world was turned upside down and because things moved so fast and furiously, I didn’t have the time to mourn my loss. I cried on cue when I was told to, and I followed the example of the adults in my life and moved on.
Daddy remarried 5 months later.
I had never asked myself ‘the How Did I/ the How Do I Feel’ question about that life-altering event.
UGHHHHH another layer. This one hurts even more. BREATHE Bird. Ohhhhkayyyy.
So I did the work. I asked. I probed. I admitted and I accepted I was hurting. I grieved. I let go. I made peace with the loss and forgave all the cast of characters involved starting with mommy all to the way to myself. When I finally came to grips with this I felt like I had shed a hundred pounds. I am the person I am because of the sum total of my experiences, including the death of my mother at age nine. I am thankful for the time I had with my mommy. The things she taught me in her short time on earth stay in my heart and mind. I also recognized had I not peeled away allllll those other layers in The Onion first, I would not have had the insight nor the wisdom, let alone the fortitude to come to terms with my anger in this instance. In doing so, it created the freedom to rejoice in being a living product of her. And every day I look in the mirror I see her, and a happier me.
AND JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT’S SAFE TO GO BACK INTO THE WATER…
…years later I find myself scuh-REAMING at the top of my lungs at a family member, I mean a half century of other stuff I had never even discussed with myself came boiling out in a verbal vomit storm—the only person I have ever screamed at like that was my ex-husband! And as I was screaming I am faintly aware of the wise part of my Being whispering “you are disregarding everything you have learned,” but I knew in that moment I didn’t care—I made the choice that I wanted to keep hurtling vocal javelins than to stop and be more like my Higher Self—knowing that everything I was yelling about happened DECADES prior and gees Bird, what difference did it make whether she acknowledged it or not? I knew what occurred, that should’ve been good enough. What exactly was my purpose in my part of the argument? It didn’t change her opinion, matter of fact, she only dug in deeper and I felt like crap afterwards because I DID know better. Even though she hurtled verbal vomit right back and anyone would’ve said I was justified in screaming her, I felt bad that I lost control like that. It had nothing do with her actions or words, ultimately I knew it had all to do with how I processed that blowout, how I responded. Would not have had that insight if not for all the past onion peelin’ I had done. There were choices, I chose to scream and yell, yet I could’ve changed the subject or gotten off the phone but I allowed her to tick me off. Royally.
Sigh, another layer on that doggone Onion of Issues and Challenges, the chapter, Family Feud. But it’s okay. It’s a process. That family member and I are good friends now. Each time around The Onion brings a deeper sense of ohhhhh I see, I get it, and a newer level of understanding as you Journey toward Yourself.
Spiritual Evolution. It is a Lifetime Contract.