Releasing the Bus…

Keith's BusMy sister sent me a picture of my nephew’s old Bus. Keith had texted me a few months ago as he was clearing out his old room and preparing to move sometime in the near future. He wanted to know if he should save the bus for me. I said yes. But now, months later, as both my sister and I have had to deal with much clearing after our Mom’s passing, she asked me if I REALLY wanted it. I told her I didn’t know what to do with it (though my heart strings were wrapped around it like a ball of yarn.) So she donated it to a child somewhere that needed it and the energy and spirit that had gone into it so many years ago. It was this bus that Keith and I played with for at least 5 years. He would hand me his bus and then he would grab his Tonka Truck and we would race around the house shouting “BUS!”. It started when he was still 2. I had to bend over to hold the top of the bus and scoot it around. He, being small then, did not have to stoop down too far to push and run with the Tonka Truck. The bus was also made by Tonka and, hence, it took much abuse. So as holiday meals were cooking, Keith and I would run thru the kitchen, down the hallway, to the bedroom, back up the hallway, through the dining room, into the family room and then we would create a make-believe crash next to the fireplace all while shouting “BUS!” as we ran and scooted the wheels of these toys through the house. As an adult, in my 30’s, I was quite out of breath after doing this 5 or more times. Running while stooped over pushing a Bus was hard work… but oh did we love it and it bonded us for a lifetime. I was his hero. When the family gathered, I would be the one who played “Bus” with Keith and we also went outside and did other things, too. There where some moments when I wanted to chat and be with the adults and share, and when he asked if I would play with him, I would say not right now, but soon or later. He seemed so disappointed when I said that.

As Keith got older, play was more about sports. We threw the football, baseball, used the pitching net, roller skated, shot basketballs, scooted on Razor Scooters, and then later on as he got into his teens, we would take walks with Stormy, my Black Lab who traveled with me where ever I went. Just recently, this past May, Keith came to visit me when I was staying at my old childhood home. Mom passed away in February and I was there going through her things and packing them up. My sister, Keith’s mom, and I thought there were a few things that he would like. After he arrived, I took him out for lunch and later we played a card game called “Magic.” It was quite different but each card had a purpose or special power and as one played the cards they had an affect on the cards of the opponent. He was quite good at it and it allows the use of the imagination. It allowed us time to chat and just be in each other’s presence… sharing time. It was very good and afterwards, I helped Keith pack up his car with items of his grandmother’s that were now his to use in his new home that he would be moving into soon after that trip.

The bus has always been the cenotaph of my relationship with my nephew. It was our beginning of play and of time well spent. It was the boy’s joy to have his aunt spend time with him. There is no other gift we can give someone that is better than time. To play, to listen to a boy’s imagination, to laugh and watch them grow.

Much later, I saw Keith graduate from high school and then 4 years after that, we all took time off and gathered to watch him graduate from college. Such a good boy he was and now such a wonderful man he has become. I like to think that I had something to do with how he came to be… and yet, he is his own person with a little bit of all of us in him and each of us holds on to something of the past, with clenched fingers, to remind us of the special moments that make up the life that evolves and moves on…

BUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Defending Observed

GavelI was sharing with my sister this past week that I recently had to turn down two requests from two different friends which were about a week apart. The first request was asked at a time which I did not have my calendar with me nor could I remember what was going on during the date that my presence would been needed. The actual event was going to be fun, but I just didn’t know if I could be present for it. I was asked to think about it and after a couple of days and a review of my schedule, I returned my answer via the written word. I was not able to assist as I was back to back all that week and the next with scheduled activities, trips out of town and guests coming into town. Squeezing something more into my schedule would not be beneficial. I have been aware lately of not practicing self-care which includes saying no when I need to. I made sure I got back to my friend in a timely manner so they could make other arrangements and I wished them well.

The second request came in via text asking if I could assist in allowing someone to stay the night as they were going to be in town late and needed to remain in town through the next day. This was not an emergency and therefore, I needed to say no. There were other situations occurring for which I needed and wanted to take care of and to say yes would have derailed taking care of what I had already promised myself.

Declining the first request was hard because I felt like I needed to defend myself. I felt I needed to list why I was not able to assist. I actually found myself getting angry. I paused and asked my Higher Self… why am I defending me? I am not on trial. What is this defending about? It wasn’t about the person who asked for my assistance, it was about the belief that my reason wasn’t good enough and I had to convince myself that it was, that I was important enough. I didn’t want my friend to be disappointed, but that was not my responsibility either.

The second request was a bit easier as what needed my attention was right in my face when the ask came to me. I was in the midst of person concerns and I needed the freedom and space to continue on with the work. So, I said no without feeling the need to defend my reasons and I also was not in a space to share with my friend what was going on.  My reasons for self-care do not need to be validated by others in order for them to be important to me nor for me to feel accepted. When the time is appropriate, I share what is going on with my close friends. That is what we do. But if my motive to share is to feel their approval and acceptance, then something else is going on, some hidden belief needs to be revealed.

A couple days past by and I was considering this whole topic. I write every morning on www.750words.com to do a brain dump of what needs to be cleared. Sometimes I get an idea for my blog, sometimes just crap comes out and other times… I clear a road block. This was the latter. I learned to defend myself long ago when I was accused in the fourth grade of doing something which I didn’t do. It wasn’t just not being believed as I tried to defend myself, it was the events that followed that day because I was not believed. I was not believed for years and was told that I could not be trusted. I was always being asked why I chose to do this or that and my reasons I gave were not met with approval. I could have always done better or chose differently. From that, I learned to give an account for why I do what I do. I learned to think ahead and think twice before making a decision. I learned to build a defense before I even did anything wrong. I needed to be accepted and trusted. I wanted to be counted on because I learned that was important. I wanted to be important. Ahhhh Haaaa!! As I pressed forward and continued to ask my Higher Self to show me why I was on the defense when I say “no” to someone, the answer was revealed. I didn’t want to be disapproved of any more. I wanted to be counted on even if that meant putting my self-care aside and the big observation was… that 8 year old little girl needed to know that she was believed and loved and trusted.

So after sharing this all with my sister, she gave me a quote with a twist; “If you’re not pissing someone off, you probably aren’t doing self-care.” Meaning, I am not always going to please everyone. I am not always going to say yes and I may not always give a reason as to why I am unable to assist. I am learning more about saying yes to me and finding where I need to put myself first for the sake of my healing journey.

By the way, some of the things I did learn as I was growing up have become valuable tools for living. I learned to think ahead and think twice before making a decision. I learned how to be someone that can be counted on even when it is difficult.

As a side note, as I was looking up the original quote that my sister gave me, I found this interesting read: http://oliveremberton.com/2014/if-youre-not-pissing-someone-off-you-probably-arent-doing-anything-important/

The Defense Rests,

Sue

Authenticity Observed

I have been watching a few people close to me, in multiple areas of my life, go through changes of their own. There is shock and adjustment. There is grief and the reaching out to their own families in times of diagnosis. There is great care being given about work and future concerns of retirement as well as the day to day doings and the attempts to be with the moment, in how it is, and wondering what is next… what is the yet to be?

I listen, observe and know that each of us is doing the best we can. We are not covering it up and being pretty about it. Life can be messy. Then my beloved shares this picture and quote by Teal Swan on her Facebook page, and it summed up how I was feeling and what I was observing in the people around me.

Authentic

I sat with this image and read Teal Swan’s words over again and its message for me was revealed: In the journey of being aware and thus, becoming authentic, the stuff that one travels through churns and dislodges what has masked our true selves like plaque. It takes work. It takes surrender. It takes opening the heart and soul and body to feel again and that feeling or those feelings are not all about puppies, blue skies and rose gardens. It is about growing and becoming. It is about opening to something that we are being lead to… that voice of our higher Self that says “you ARE” and we respond to it with “I AM.”

Observing the Churn,

Sue