Letting Go of Needing to Know

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(art journal page by Shari Daniels)

I’ve been gone for a spell.  Six months, actually.  Goodness sakes.

Last fall, I went into retreat mode.  I had just come to the end of teaching my first online writing e-course (for 28 days straight) and was exhausted. The experience was more than I ever expected.  It felt like the bravest step I had ever taken and I was so grateful for the brave and beautiful souls that joined me in this first class.  They truly held my hand all the way through, cheering me on.  Honestly though, these women changed me, not only as a writer, but as a human being.  I felt my path shifting to new places as I wrote words for them every day.   So much was waiting to be born and I was beginning to bloom as I wrote for each person waiting for my message.

By September, I was exhausted.

Because I am an introvert by nature, a summer of online presence meant I needed a season to hibernate.  Well, it’s turned into almost two seasons.  My loud inner critic, Bernice, harped on me to get my butt moving, but I ignored her.  I told her things would be okay, because it’s really cold outside and it’s nice and cozy in here.

I had come across a blog entry from one of my favorite writers, Heather Kopp about quitting deeper and I could not shake it out of my brain.  She wrote about how we humans are always demanding to know what’s next in our lives.  We are in a constant state of planning in our date books, scheduling our days with action plans and dreams, needing to be in full control of our destiny.  Anxiety sets in when we don’t know how we are going to fit it all in or when we start thinking ahead into the fear of what might happen.

Well, it spoke to me big time.

I was in that place.

My mind was swimming with writing plans.  School was starting and I was working with new teachers helping to ease their anxieties.  All of my own children had finally emptied the nest and I worrying about them.  I wasn’t sleeping well – or eating well – or moving my body.

You are all sharp enough to know what happens when we go down that road.

I decided to quit all my plans for the time being and just be for awhile.  Julia Cameron calls it “restocking the well”.  I call it “being a hermit”.  But, whatever you call it, it’s been quiet, and I’m loving it.  I did some redecorating in my writing room (reorganized all of my books, bought a new chair, light and rug).  I read books.  I took naps.  I even started watching Downton Abby.  (If you have not started to watch this series, you do not know what you are missing.)

And, I filled five notebooks, one a month, of writing.

It was heavenly, writing for my eyes only. Gabby, my writing angel, showed up daily. She and I did lots of chatting, just about every day things, no real purpose in mind. Eventually, she pushed me to write of my fears, getting to the root of them and I ended up revising this old stuff into new stuff that served as a new truth.

Just the other day, I did some rereading of these notebooks.   I realized that they are full of guidance.  Words of healing.  Of joy.  Of pain.  Of surrender. . . of letting go. All of this writing  had become my spiritual practice.  Like prayer.

I’m taking baby steps back out into the world as I try to let go of needing to know where I am headed.

I just felt called to write this post today, so someone must need it.

Besides just me.

Shari 🙂

 

 

 

 

Being Reminded of Bad Decisions Hurts Our Brains


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“You need to clear.  Now.  Today.”

 I keep hearing it.  Seeing it.  And, feeling it.

I take this knowingness to my notebook and try to write out EXACTLY what needs to be cleared.

“What?  What needs to be cleared?”  I question, “Is it energy clearing?  I feel okay.  I don’t need that today.  Is it subconscious blocks that I need to let go of?  Fear?  Obsessions?  Old stuff?  What?  Tell me, so I can take care of it!”

A smell lingers up into my writing room.  My candle can’t even mask the smell.  Being one of those highly sensitive nose type people, smells really trip me up.

“What IS that?”  I croak.

Ugh.  I can’t even focus on my thoughts to write with this intrusion.  I shut my computer and investigate.  I know this smell.  It’s a moldy, old garbage, combined with wet dog, chicken coop and baby kitties born on the couch kinda smell (that happened when I was a young girl and I still remember the smell).  I really don’t even want to know what it is.  There have been whiffs of this odor over the last week and I’ve tried to ignore it.  But, I can’t any longer.  It’s become overbearing.  The thought of what it could be is giving me the willies.  Moving might become necessary.

I scan the garage.  My skin shivers at how visually toxic to my well-being this room is.  The school year is done and summer is here and I know I NEED to clean this.

Forget the garage. . . it’s not even my junk.

But, then, I know the answer to my knowingness.

“Oh, you mean REAL clearing!  ACTUAL PHYSICAL REAL CLUTTER!”  I shake my head because I really do not want to tackle this. I’ve been avoiding it altogether.  I have other things to do!  Stuff I actually WANT to do!  It’s summer!!  The sun outside wants me to sit in it and just read!

The message is affirmed in everywhere I go.  The yard, the shed, the playhouse.  There is not a space in my house that does not need some TLC:

A Total-Lot-of-Cleaning.

 Yes, I’ve neglected it.  It’s time.

“Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That’s exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people’s task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.”     ~nourishment3.com

Well, I knew I was having a focusing issue, but I didn’t know it was because of my clutter.  And my stuff.

I announce to my husband that I’m on a de-cluttering mission.  His eyes begin to squint like the sun’s hurting him and his entire face scrunches up.  He knows he is going to either have to get involved or risk losing some stuff.  He also knows he has more stuff to de-clutter than I do.  The two boys find other stuff to do.

The bathroom is first, as it’s the room that bothers me the most.  Items from the shelves are purged, used once or twice and never to be noticed again, covered in dust and gunk.  Old vitamins, prescriptions, bath salts and lotions.  Yuck.  Then. . . way in the back, I discover some old boxes of Frownies I purchased a few years ago.

Oh dang.  The memory comes flooding back.

These stick on patches were going to be the ticket for those wrinkles on my forehead.  The internet said.  So, I bought 2 packages, not just one.  On my first day’s trial of stretching my forehead before applying the sticky patches to my skin, and then sleeping with it on, I awoke  to an even more dented forehead than my original one.  Apparently, I had not flattened my skin smooth enough before I stuck that baby on.  Instead of smoothing my forehead, I made NEW wrinkles.  They lasted all day.  I should have sent the Frownies back for a refund, but I attributed the problem to operator error and vowed to give it another shot.  I never did.  A reminder of another bad decision and money wasted for vanity.

Why is it so painful to get rid of this stuff?

Apparently, there is research that gives us the answer to this question.  (I found it on the internet.)

We tell ourselves we are hanging onto this stuff for a number of reasons:

1.  We are saving it for just the right occasion.

2.  We spent a lot of money on it and we might use it one day.

3.  We have sentimental value.

But,  the biggest reason we hang on to stuff is because we probably made a mistake buying it and it literally hurts our brain to come to terms with that fact.

Yup, there is.  The truth.  It’s painful to admit that we screwed up.   Bad decisions.  Money wasted.

As in the case of my Frownies.

Tossing them in the trash really DOES hurt.  But really, I know I won’t try them again.  Even sticking all those patches to my face now and going to bed that way seems absurd.  And, I run the risk of that scene be the topic of conversation and my husband’s office the next day.

I could see if my sister wants to try them.  That would feel better than junking them.  But, then, I’d have to hold on to them longer until I see them. Should I walk them over to my neighbor?  I could tell her that if she doesn’t want to try them, she could just toss them and I wouldn’t have to know about it.  Maybe that’s the ticket.  Yeah.  That’s what I’ll do.

Then, I won’t have to feel the pain quite so much.

Unless, the next time I see her, she has more wrinkles.

Now, moving on to the kitchen. . .

What is painful for your brain to let go of?