fulfillment, sadness

  1. What was happening?  Paul and I are sitting in a noisy restaurant, meeting for supper to honor our time together, he the Director and me a vital faculty contributor to the Masters Program in Pastoral Counseling. I’m “retiring” from the program. We spend a couple hours wandering through our shared history, meanings, choices, and life purposes. He periodically acknowledges the value of my contributions. 
  1. How did it / does it feel in my body (then, and/or now).  As we are ready to leave, I am aware of a swelling fullness in my heart, flowing into my arms and hands, wanting to hug, to hold. There is a soft heaviness in my eyes, that feels like it is flowing out, to be seen. My jaw loosens with each exhale. There is a kind of warm, loving energy filling my whole body, radiating in a gentle glow. 
  1. What meaning did I / do I give to it?  I feel a wistful mixture of fulfillment and sadness. We accomplished so much together, and we get so much of each other’s worth and meaning on our separate paths. So much fullness, now ending. The fulfillment is in living out my life purpose: so many lives enriched with more understanding of feelings and relationships. The sadness is simple: one stream through which my life has flowed, is no more. 
  1. What did I choose to do with the energy? … and what happened…  I expressed my feelings to Paul in words. I felt a little awkward so doing. It was at the end of our time together. He was tired. Nonetheless, he got it. How significant this was for me. We hugged. I walked out breathing and honoring my feelings. When I got home, I just sat in my easy chair, breathed and wondered at all that has gone before to create such depth in the fulfillment, and the sadness. As a result of sitting with these feelings, I felt deeply enriched, and full of love.   
  1. Gathering Wisdom: What do I learn about myself? Continuing to honor my fulfillment and sadness as they flow together can add such a richness to this time of my life, easing the endings with an appreciation of all that has been. Talking to others about these feelings deepens them.  
  1. What do I choose to do now in response to my learning?  I will watch for this mix of fulfillment and sadness, honor it, breathe and feel it, and share it.

 

Love, Joy, Gratitude

  1. What was happening?  I’m at Weight Watchers picking up a month’s supply of breakfast packages for my wife. The woman on the cash register asks me if I do anything special with all these. I tell her they’re for my wife. She has Rheumatoid Arthritis, a tough corporate job, and I do what I can to support her. The woman looks me right in the eye with a warm look and says, “You are a wonderful person.”
  2. How did it / does it feel in my body (then, and/or now).  I have the impulse to cry.  A warm surge of energy expands from my heart upward, swelling behind my eyes. In hindsight I feel the impulse to hug the woman. My heart is so full.
  3. What meaning did I / do I give to it?  As I sit, breathe and feel the moment, I am filled with love for myself, for my life, with gratitude for all the love I have received that has opened and filled my heart. And I am joyful that I was seen by this woman as a vessel of love.
  4. What did I choose to do with the energy?  … and what happened…  At the time, I warmly meet her eyes, smile, and say thank you so much. I’m also a little embarrassed by the sudden intimacy with a stranger, and gently take my leave.
  5. Gathering Wisdom: What do I learn about myself? How does the learning fit within major themes in my history? How does it relate to my life purpose? What does it tell me about a specific present relationship? What is unfinished?                                     I am devoted to embodying love, and when someone sees this in me, and honors it, I am filled with joy. So much of my life has been dedicated to becoming this person. This woman’s words are a deeply appreciated affirmation.
  6. What do I choose to do now in response to my learning?  In a similar situation in the future, I’d like to acknowledge and let go of the embarrassment, stay with the intimacy of the moment, and see what would happen.

 

Joy

1.  What was happening? Describe the circumstances.

My grandson (1 year old) and I are at opposite ends of a coffee table. We’re shuffling plastic donuts back and forth. Each time a donut comes to him he raises his hands with the donut and says “Ahhh!” I mirror his movements and sound. We do it again and again, and again and again. Laughing and beaming.

 

2.  How did it / does it feel in my body (then, and/or now). Describe specifically or poetically. Include impulse (what I felt like doing).

Joy bubbling up from inside and bursting forth in laughter. I feel like dancing, like taking him and twirling till we’re both dizzy. (I don’t do that!) I feel such a warm, loving connection with him. There is energy flowing between our eyes.

 

 3.  What meaning did I / do I give to it? Includes how it fits in a current relationship, as well as recurring past patterns.

I treasure the growing bond between us. These moments are so precious. The love feels so uncomplicated, free, trustworthy. I miss him as soon as we part. I think about him and look forward to the next time we get to play.

 

4.  What did I choose to do with the energy? … and what happened… Consequences can include how I felt as a result of my choice, as well as implications for others.

I chose to completely give myself to the energy flowing between us. I became completely unconcerned with the others present, what they might be thinking, how they might be judging, how silly I might look. I allowed myself to be completely entranced with what was happening between us. I love myself this way, and I love my grandson for the gift of opening such free flowing energy inside me. We are becoming special to each other. I can only marvel at it.

 

 5.  Gathering Wisdom: What do I learn about myself? How does the learning fit within major themes in my history? How does it relate to my life purpose? What does it tell me about a specific present relationship? What is unfinished?

I love to play! I want to do it more. I am playful with students, and colleagues, family, and friends. I worked hard years ago to regenerate this freedom. And, I would love to do it more!

 

6.  What do I choose to do now in response to my learning?

I will look for opportunities to be playful with others. And I will make time regularly to play with my grandson.

Fear

1.  What was happening? Describe the circumstances.

I’m in my car, parking near home, end of the evening commute, tired, not feeling well (stomach flu), and reverse gear does not function. I can’t back up to parallel park.

2.  How did it / does it feel in my body (then, and/or now). Describe specifically or poetically. Include impulse (what I felt like doing). Name the feeling.

I am aware of a heavy, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, heaviness in my eyes and jaw, and the impulse to curl into a ball. I want to hide myself away. Not deal with this. I am so afraid.

3.  What meaning did I / do I give to it? Includes how it fits in a current relationship, as well as recurring past patterns.

I’m afraid of a huge expense, unexpected, slamming into us as we’re aging, approaching retirement, as my dreams for passive income in retirement are in slow motion. Is it safe to drive the car? Can I find a place to park? Will I make it to the dealership tomorrow? How bad is this going to get? What else is about to go wrong?

4.  What did I choose to do with the energy?       … and what happened… Consequences can include how I felt as a result of my choice, as well as implications for others.I chose to problem solve.

I found a parking spot I could just drive into. I sat and breathed deeply, reassuring myself that all would be well. Later, I talked with my wife about what the options may be tomorrow, and how to make the decision. Once we had settled what we could I felt a low energy combination of sadness and humility, acceptance of my limits. Somewhere inside that was a quiet confidence that we would handle whatever came to be. We always have.

5.  Gathering Wisdom: What do I learn about myself? How does the learning fit within major themes in my history? How does it relate to my life purpose? What does it tell me about a specific present relationship? What is unfinished?

Fear is always such a challenge. And I have learned to stay in the present, not to feed thoughts about the future and all that could go wrong, to problem solve and make plans. And then to surrender, to just let go of any pretense of or need for control of outcomes, to trust and be ready and hopeful for whatever comes.

6.  What do I choose to do now in response to my learning?

I’ve taken myself back to the mantra that came to me many months ago: Let it come. Let it all come to you. Let it be given. The more I settle into that, the more welcoming the future seems.