Good morning, everyone ~
It must be the Summer sounds of cicadas outside my window that has triggered a cascade of nostalgic childhood memories. In my Carolina foothills childhood home, we had no central heat or air conditioning. My upstairs bedroom could be stiflingly hot, having gathered all the heat of the day. Because our house was so isolated, we felt safe leaving windows open day/night to catch any cooling breeze that might stir. I remember the sounds of cicadas, crickets, katy-dids and the boom of thunder reverberating off the mountainsides, and the smell of ozone as heat-lightning cracked the night skies.
Those brain-files have triggered other brain-file memories:
– walking the mile between home and bus stop, no matter the weather;
– the look of the garden from my upper window with blue-n-purple Morning Glories blooming in late Summer; dew sparkling like bits of a shattered rainbow; the look of first frost coating the dying plants in Autumn; sparkling snow crystals that coated the uneven ground in Winter …
– and that Summer when I was 15 ~
I had attended my first-n-only pajama party, at my friend Vera’s house. She lived two miles away. We rode the same school bus and usually sat together along the way. Vera was a chunky girl; not very attractive. Her one talent? She could fit her fist in her mouth. That too was not very attractive, yet it garnered Vera a certain amount of attention. Boys often egged her to “do it, Vera!” She would laugh, make a fist, and wiggle it into her mouth. Mercy!
I remember her younger sister, Anne. As opposite of Vera as any child could be. Tiny framed. Dark haired. Quiet.
And her baby-brother Ernie, who didn’t like hanging with the girls. He was seldom seen and never heard in the cackle of girl-chatter that his sisters and mother created. And the mother? The image of Vera, only in taller/wider proportions. She made all the clothes for the girls and their dolls. I’d never seen such fine details or such tiny clothing as those.
And that first-n-only pajama party? I was not impressed. We stayed up all night, talking/giggling/eating. Napped on blankets on the hard floor. At dawn, while all the others slept, I dressed, gathered my things, and quietly slipped out of the house. I walked home, marveling at the sights/sounds of Summer night turning into Summer day. I quietly entered my parents’ house, made my way to my room, and just before lying down on my comfortable bed, I glanced out that window overlooking the garden.
The sun walked across the garden, highlighting blue-n-purple Morning Glories. A light haze of oxygen/mist rose from the wooded surroundings. The degree of peace/quiet and sense of belonging that I felt in those brief moments before deep sleep is indescribable.
This morning … in this pre-dawn hour, as the cicadas/crickets mark the passage of Time outside my north-central Florida home … I feel a sweet sense of peace/quiet while gazing over this “field” of childhood brain-files and all those feelings that are inside them. I am learning the art of creating a sense of belonging between myself at this age-n-stage of Life and the many brain-files that I have acquired in my 67 years of Life.
These memories belong to me. Some of the feelings locked inside some brain-files are not worthy of recreating. They are the result of someone else’s unresolved brain-files/experiences. I am in the process of learning to let go of the feelings that do not belong to me. Someone else’s issue is not my responsibility to resolve. I can only resolve my own confusions, hurts, disappointments, etc.
The a.c. unit outside my office window has just kicked off. The window is closed, for there is no need to leave it open in hope of a cooling breeze. Dawn will soon walk the sun across the jungle growth that is our Florida yardscape. Cicadas/crickets out there have quieted down. In here, the cats are sleeping in their favored spots, the coffee is ready, the air is cool despite Summer’s heat. And I’m smiling at the memory of Vera and her one claim to fame all those many years ago. I had not thought about Vera in many years. This morning, a few insects reminded me. Funny, how something so little can trigger such a vast cascade of brain-files popping open … chained together like a paper-chain train of homemade decoration, and chock-full of feelings!
LAST WEEK’S CHALLENGES:
(A) Who said: “… Students who hold a fixed view of their intelligence care so much about looking smart that they act dumb … for what could be dumber than giving up a chance to learn something that is essential to your success?”
ANSWER: Carol Dweck, psychologist at Columbia University
(B) What have you learned, Dorothy?
ANSWERS: Most of you expressed gratitude for who you are/how far you’ve come/what you’ve learned along Life’s way. One added that “returning to normal in a different way” is a process that she is learning to embrace. One suggested that Watching David Attenborough’s film series, especially episode 2, might help others feel better connected to the natural world, reminding us all how truly connected we really are despite all the divisive things taking place.
Indeed! May we all remember to be good “students” in this classroom of Life that we share.
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGES:
(A) Who said: “As a surgeon I have often heard my patients describe how they experience pain more acutely at night — it’s not that their pain is worse at night, it’s just that there’s no distraction. The mind gets quiet and the pain that was there all day seems louder. … [It’s] pointless … wishing for a different past … the futility of worrying about all of the frightening futures over which I had no control.”
(B) As you practise your personalized Pain Management Program, what do you do when your mind can no longer be distracted, when the pain seems louder?
If you have yet to find that, I suggest you try this:
1. Breathe — long, slow deep breath in, to a count of 4; release it with a long, slow sigh.
2. Remind yourself that it is possible and highly beneficial to everyone to: Love, without expectation of return; and care, without expectation of gratitude. We ought not hold one another hostage, indebted to us just because we love/care for them.
3. Have a focal point. Choose something that you can focus your attention on that has no feeling attached to it. A candle flame (real or imagined) works well for this. Focus; breathe; settle inside yourself with a sense of safety. You are the longest relationship you will ever have. Be your own BEST self with/to/for yourself.
4. Have a mantra. Something short, easily recalled in moments of brain-file cascade event, when feelings overwhelm the mind.
I use: “Not mine.” It reminds me to separate my brain-file memories from what’s taking place inside another person. And to recognize that most of the chatter pouring out of those popped-open brain-files belongs to someone else’s voice. That another person’s behavior is their own reaction to their own unresolved brain-files. “Not mine” is a quick way to calm myself, and thereby give back to the other person their responsibility to self-regulate.
In training our own mind to better manage brain-files of pain and to react less to others’ unresolved issues, we train the body to hurt less from Past experiences and current shocks.
Stay safe. Stay kind. Stay self-regulating!
Gentle hugs/much love,