My heart is so heavy these past 8 days. I’ve had a hell of go at it the past week or two and on top of it my little Grandma S. was admitted to the ER last week with some breathing problems and gave us quite a scare with her ailing health. She is a trooper. She is pushing through both lung and uterine cancer but she’s still as spritely as ever. The little pixie.
I love my grandmother. My grandma Catherine is qüite the mysterious and unpredictable lady. She’s a forest fairy always making mischief wherever she goes. She’s a total delight. A complete ham. She’s a pisser, that’s for sure. And thinking of her when I am having a bad week gives me so much strength. Why? Well, for starters, she hasn’t exactly had an easy life. Yet she’s still standing. For everything she is and she isn’t – I can honestly say she’s aüthentic. You know I just think she’s awesome.
But not everyone else always thought she was “awesome”. In fact, some people thought she was awful… different, strange, eccentric, and just not a very “good” person at times. She was a wildheart. She was a rebel. Heck, she was human. She had a mind of her own and the will of an ox. And… she was a redhead after all – which is only to say that it wasn’t too easy to fit in for most of her life right from the get go.
And what a character… this is not to say that my grandmother was a some kind of saint or one of those super loving and doting grandmothers or mothers; honestly- I didn’t have much of a relationship with her for most of my young life because she kept her distance from nearly everyone she was related to in order to pursue a life path in another direction. It wasn’t exactly Leave it to Beaver from what I gather. The world was a shaky place in the 1960s and there was a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world and a lot of crazy stuff going on in my grandmother’s life.
It wasn’t until later in life, when my own mother began caring for my grandmother that I really had a chance to get to know her. Turns out after all these years that my grandmother’s perceptions were just that- hers. The way she viewed the world was not necessarily the way the world was- but it was the way her world was. She felt isolated and alone. She felt hurt and misunderstood; all the while, everyone else felt the same things and nobody could understand why she alienated herself from their lives, why she moved so far away (both figuratively and literally)… Ahhh humans. Beautiful, complicated creatüres are we. Misunderstandings, mis-communications, different perceptions… what a frazzling time for my grandmother and her family.
It’s all water under the bridge now, a witchy brew of time, forgiveness, forgetfulness, and a pinch of old age is enough to cure most family relationships that have found a wayward path. Everything comes full circle eventually, the parents care for their children, the children grow up, get married, and they have children, the parents age, the children care for the parents and the cycle continues…
Time has a way of course correcting that which needs it most… if you let it. If you open your heart. For the short time that I do have my grandmother left on this planet, I am so grateful that we’ve become better friends. I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. There’s nothing that means more to me than building authentic relationships. Not the ones that simple chit-chat and “hello, how are yous” are built on. The real deal. The kind of relationships that bring you peace when you feel ….. frazzled.
This Week Was Not For The Weak…
Can I even begin to tell you how frazzled I am this week? Do you ever feel like you’re just having a bad week? I mean really. I need to address some of the wackiness that’s been keeping me from posting lately…
My purse, wallet, keys, and cellphone (which is on its last legs) were lost in translation for 3 days (unknowingly locked in my husband’s trünk!), my credit card was stolen online and someone charged $16,000 worth of pharmaceutical drugs to my credit account, 20 of 25 of my husband’s coworkers were laid off from their job (my husband is hanging on by a thread until the end of August), my computer had a kernel panic and is no longer working… gone… no computer ::poof:: it’s gone – everything- honeymoon pictures, wedding pictures, family pictures all gone – just like that, the ATM machine ate my ATM card because I took too long doing something else before I realized I needed to get the card out of the machine, the contest entry code I drove 2 hours to Philadelphia to get for this Mad Men Casting Call isn’t working and now the site is closed down, my little betta fish (whom I cared for dearly) died, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital, we accidentally ran over (and either killed or greatly maimed) a raccoon after swerving and slamming on the brakes trying not to hit the poor thing, and I got wacked with a huge car repair bill after the car inspection said I need 4 new tires… blah, blah, blah… get some real problems, right? Really. It’s just hilarious.
Is It Really That Bad? Count your blessings!
Life is unpredictable. Life is fleeting. Sometimes you need to put things in perspective. The best way to do that? Count your blessings!
Blessing # 1 – My amazingly loving and doting husband. How very long I waited to meet ‘the one’ and just when I wasn’t looking- there he was. Truly I count him as the ultimate blessing. I am so fortunate to have married my best friend and soul mate. (what a cutie! you should see this hunk!)
Blessing #2 – We both still have our jobs (fingers crossed) so let’s just go with that (yes impending unemployment does create so much pressure) but you know what? Great things have come from sudden unexpected life changes… so we’re just going to roll with it…for now…
Blessing # 3 – Grandma has lived a long and very full life and is thankfully not suffering,
Blessing # 4 – Attitude- you can choose to have a better attitude about this stuff… for example- I’m sure the raccoon and the fish are in heaven with St. Francis, the purse, credit cards, and cell phone are all replaceable and can be fixed, and hey-at least I have 4 new tires for the winter!
You know what else helps me to get perspective? It helps to take a look at world events to really get a glimpse of the big picture…
Believe me I know my past week is nothing compared to the life of the women being raped on a daily basis by the military in Congo or the millions of men, women, and children who suffer with HIV related illnesses around the world. Sometimes you just need to put things in perspective… Webster‘s defines perspective as: to look through, to see clearly, the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one.
But It’s Not Fair!
Going along this line of thinking my friend Maureen (who works in HR) shared a story with me awhile ago about some employees who were complaining about a focus group at work and how unfair it was that they had certain privileges etc, that the other employees did not. What the employees didn’t realize is that while the focus group did have certain privileges that the other employees did not, they also had more responsibilities than the other employees had. Which required the focus group to work longer hours, weekends, and to be accountable for other duties that the other employees had no idea about.
The moral of the story is that it was the perception of the other employees that made it seem “not fair”. “Perception is reality” is what Maureen said, and it’s so true.
A person’s perception truly is their reality. It may not be actual reality, or your reality, but it is in fact their own reality. So what is your perception? What are you currently perceiving when you look at the world, at others, at yourself? Is what you are perceiving peaceful, loving, warm, intelligent, creative?
Is what you are perceiving another opportunity for growth, another opportunity to evolve, another opportunity to begin a new friendship, another opportunity to stretch yourself in ways you never knew you could?
Or is what you are perceiving another wasted occasion to give rise to resentment, jealousy, mistrust, self-pity? Do you perceive problems and challenges as disappointments, as discouraging, and as if the world is against you?
We must be mindfül of what our perceptions are… because not one of us can truly know what another is experiencing. All we know is what we perceive… For what we see… depends mainly on what we look for.
on what we
What are you looking for in others? In yourself? In life? In your challenges? In your bad week? Are you looking for the things that irk you? Are you looking for irritation, unrest, discomfort? Are you looking for another hurtful item to add to the laundry list of things going wrong? If you are, you’ve got a long, painful journey ahead of you.
When we seek out and keep track of the hurtful, stupid, ugly things that we perceive life to be throwing our way – we are reminded that these very things are shown to us through the mirror of the Üniverse. What we perceive of others is what is reflected back unto us. It is us.
Kindness and Wisdom
Growing up I had a lot of perceptions about my grandmother, I didn’t always think she was so wonderful you know. Ironically, it was my own mother, who helped me to change my perception of who my grandmother was. It was my mother who found forgiveness in her own heart for my grandmother and helped me to find it in mine. My mother is so many things to so many people… and she continues to be an inspiration of true kindness to me.
Are you looking for love, acceptance,
kindness, friendship… truth?
If you look for these things…
you will find them…
even in the most unlikely of places…
in the most