“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.”
― Gerald G. Jampolsky, Love Is Letting Go of Fear
Today for my A Day in the Life Series, I thought I would focus on the present moment, since my sister is in town and we are all together.
I’ve noticed something this weekend while spending time with my sisters and their families. As we talk, share stories, and venture to the edge of that vast cavernous space that is the repository of our childhood memories , I sometimes squirm.
There are the stories that are painful to recall, and there are the stories that make us laugh. My sisters love to reminisce about all those near misses when I was a distracted teen responsible for two young siblings.
“Remember when I ran out in front of the car and got hit?” my sister laughed sarcastically.
“The car wasn’t even moving and you were supposed to be holding my hand. I told you not to tell mom and the first thing you did was run in the house and tell her” I replied with mock indignation.
“And what about the time you told me to close my eyes and hold out my hands for a nice surprise, and you put a big ball of slime from the garbage disposal in them…” she continued.
“I don’t remember that!” ( I did that?)
My other sister chimes in, “she took me to Ft. Ancient but we ended up in Eden Park”(I had no sense of direction back then)
The stories continued and of course I had to mention all those times when my sister was living with me in Maryland and her boyfriend (now her husband) didn’t show up at our house until 11:00 every night with a few dozen of his friends.
It is nice to be with the keepers of my childhood stories. Stories that nobody else could possibly understand. It is nice that we can laugh and know that we brought so much joy into each other’s lives, even in the midst of coping with my mom’s illness.
My sisters are close in age and always shared a bedroom growing up. The bond between them is hard to miss. As I dashed ahead of them on our walk last night (mother nature called) and caught up with them afterwards, I watched these two women walking side by side towards me and could almost see a faint shadow of their younger selves juxtaposed against the pink hues of the evening sky behind them.
My childhood counterpart, Scott, passed away in 2008. Sometimes when my dad, sisters, and I are sitting around the table talking I can feel his presence. He was always so quiet when we were all together. He was a sensitive soul and had trouble keeping some of his childhood memories at bay. But every now and then our eyes would lock and there was this understanding between us that required no words. We were each others strongest allies even before the illness that caused my mom to behave so erratically had a name called paranoid schizophrenia.
I’ve learned that in order to remain present, I need to gently release the stories that can intrude on my happiness in the moment. I do this not by trying to put the memories out of my mind, but by allowing myself to move through the bewilderment, hurt, and disappointment, until I can see the stories in a different, more compassionate light.
Make no mistake, there are scars left behind that are far-reaching. There is a definite ongoing recovery process from the traumatic experiences of my youth. I have found that one way to navigate through them is to focus on the deeper meaning in life; that spiritual aspect that exists beneath the surface and is waiting to be discovered, one that is based in love and not fear.
I’ve learned to trust that things are exactly the way they are supposed to be, and I need not wait for circumstances to be presented in some perfect form in order to be happy.
My dad’s favorite saying is “Life gets messy”.
This messiness is what life is all about, and it is my job to find the joy and love that are hidden beneath the stories that create barriers to my peace of mind.
To see the previous post in my A Day in the Life Series, click here.