Weekend haiku post retreat

I was off the grid for the weekend, a planned retreat to my primitive place in the woods before we began experiencing as a collective the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the chaos that descended upon the Twin Cities.

Friday the following haiku tumbled forth:

Our hearts grieve deeply

Sorrow of generations

Collective trauma 

***

On Saturday, after reading old journals and during a re-read of Dani Shapiro’s memoir devotion, the following emerged:

Our paradoxes

Ideas contradicting

And nested within

***

Ferns at 1224 Cramer
A lovely stand of ferns captured while on a hike 5/30/2020.

A part of me felt anxiety while I was off the grid, missing the news, away from the internet. I was not even able to receive texts unless the wind was right and my cell intermittently had reception. Another part of me felt grateful for the retreat and the space away from knowing all of the heartbreaking external events of the world.

I used the weekend for reading past journals (I’m up to 2016 after about a year of reviewing my collection which goes back to 1992), reflection, writing and grieving. I went on walks and listened to what my inner voice seemed to request. I fasted for 20 hours on Saturday, allowing my body to be awake to any and all sensations.

Retreating requires enormous privilege, I realize. And it is something that feeds me psychologically and spiritually. Since I was very young I have always valued and treasured solitude and personal space. I wish it is something everyone could have when it is necessary.

After a retreat, there is the return. We live together in an interdependent web. We love each other. We hurt each other. We forgive each other. We acknowledge and apologize for past misdeeds. We resolve to treat each other with more respect. We understand that how we treat others is a reflection of our beliefs. We examine and unpack those beliefs, conditioned patterns we did not necessarily create consciously.

In the end, many of us realize that we are not separate from others. All living beings contain a divine spark, an unlikely miracle of energy and matter, defying the physical law of entropy.

How can we learn to value and love all humans, and all creatures of this earth? How can we remember our divine connection, our shared fate on this small planet? 

These are questions for which I have no answers. Yet I keep asking them and my soul keeps beckoning me to live these questions as I strive to serve.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

Good shoes – a mental health investment

This Sunday I got an itch to go for a run. It was at a time when I noticed myself going to the cupboard, believing I wanted to eat something.

In reality, I was not hungry. I was avoiding the task of writing up my ice breaker speech for my Toastmasters meeting scheduled for this Tuesday. Since I have developed a mindfulness practice when it comes to eating (and practicing for 3+ years) I realize this usually means one of a few things:

  1. I am trying to avoid doing something I find unpleasant.
  2. I am avoiding feelings that I believe are unpleasant, rather than just sitting with them.
  3. I am avoiding boredom or loneliness.
  4. I am feeling vulnerable or ashamed about something.

On that day, I felt a bit unfocused – I was trying to figure out how to begin the speech, and I wanted to start with a story about my Grandmother. Then I started wondering how much I want to reveal about myself.

In reality, I want to communicate a bit about myself that helps the group connect with me. And because I’m human, I want them to like me. Sheesh, that’s a bit hard to admit. I like to say that I’m losing my ability to care about what other people think. On an ideal day, that’s probably true.

But because human beings are wired for belonging (similar to the way we are wired for story), I had to take some deep breaths and admit to myself that it is where those uncomfortable feelings originated. The beautiful and true fact is that we are not control over whether others like us. Even if we want to control that, the emotions they have are largely based on the thoughts and beliefs in their own heads.

clems-shoes-i-ran-with.jpg
my hubby’s old running shoes that I borrowed on Sunday

So, remembering that, and realizing I’d been stationary all morning, and that fresh air and sunshine always seem to clarify my thinking, I started looking for my running shoes. Despite my efforts, and a fairly clean and de-cluttered home, they were nowhere to be found. I texted my husband to ask if he had seen them. Nope. He recommended I borrow his shoes, and maybe we could shop for new shoes next week.

I had put a lot of miles on those shoes, and my knees had been feeling that I might need a new pair. But I’ve been trying to be frugal these days, until my income is a bit more predictable (freelancers of the world, rejoice!). Then I realized that the clarity, focus and stress-relief I get from running (or yoga or dancing) are not optional. They are part of the mental health regimen that has kept me sane for decades.

Of course, they are not the only thing that has helped. Therapy, good dietary choices (more healthy fat – lovely!) and good sleep hygiene also receive high marks for getting me through challenging times. But getting out for some fresh air, a walk or run and sunshine? Priceless.

I used to say that a good pair of running shoes kept me from taking negative feelings out on others. They still help, for sure. As long as I am not running a “punishing” number of miles as I did that time I trained for a marathon (one and done), it is a lovely stress reliever.

Now, let’s see if I can get that speech written or at least outlined. To hold myself accountable, I will need to report back in my next blog on Thursday…

cristy@meximinnesotana.com