Finding Me In the Snow

The night before last we got 10 inches of snow. That much snow in a NC town means no one goes much of anywhere for a few days. To be fair, you should know (according to weather.com) our average snowfall is 3″. And we don’t always get that each year. So major investment in snowplows doesn’t make much fiscal sense. We have enough for the main roads to be at least partially cleared in the first 24 hours, but residential streets take days. Not to mention, most people don’t have real snow shovels or snow blowers. Can leaf blowers do double duty? See, I don’t even know!

My daughter went to the grocery store on Friday morning (snow was predicted for Friday night). She called me on the way home. “Mom!” she said in this tone of voice that always foreshadows something big is coming. “I just went to the grocery store and THEY WERE OUT OF MILK!” She’s 36, married 11 years, has 2 kids, 4 and almost 7. My response: “Well, honey, did you think they made up that story every year?” It’s a news story with pictures of empty shelves even when they only predict a couple of inches. I guess she never had to go to the grocery store on the day of a snow prediction.

I wrote before about being a 9 on the Enneagram and being a turtle and an introvert.(See here: I’m a 9 and a turtle)

Here are some tidbits:

Nines want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict.

Turtle naturally withdraws and goes within when in turmoil.

Introverts enjoy and sometimes require time to themselves. An introvert’s best and most creative thinking occurs when he/she is alone.

I didn’t like snow days when my daughters lived with us. I would forget every time that it has to be COLD to make snow. Proper gloves. hats, and boots were rarely required in our lives and, thus, hard to find or non-existent when needed. Yes, my kids sometimes had plastic bags over their shoes. And socks for gloves. You do what you have to do. Also, they never had snow pants. We did have warm coats.

Snow is wet, especially in the south where it’s not usually much below freezing when it’s cold enough to snow. So, kids without proper gear + the novelty of snow here  + a dad who grew up near Pittsburgh and loved all the excitement and wanted to teach his kids how to play in the snow + not much practice with being cold and wet = a LOT of in and out and the dryer running constantly.

Remember those personality types that describe me? Yeah, I’m not at my best in chaos and loud excitement and major disruption of the routine. I tried to be fun. It got harder after I stopped drinking in 1987. (Notice sometime–stores never run out of beer and wine. Those shelves are stocked.) Cookies and Doritos could only do so much for my mood. Plus, I either had to hide in the bathroom or share them. I swear they could smell Doritos when the bag opened.

Teenagers were no better. I had mine in the days of no personal electronics and no Netflix or You Tube. So they either slept (fine with me), were bored and bickering, or begging to watch something I considered inappropriate on cable tv.

I made hot chocolate and probably, at least once in a while, baked cookies. I’m not sure. We did make snow cream. I am sure we didn’t have much sugary-type treats because I was convinced sugar made my kids crazy. They still call me the Sugar Nazi. Though I’m much more lenient with my grandchildren.  Surprises them and, I think, annoys them a little, every time.

I don’t have small children  or teenagers anymore. They have their own little ones to deal with. They do better than I did. I hope so. They sure have more resources for entertainment.

Snow days now mean I’m home with the retired man I live with. He’s fine alone. We are still in our big house so we have room to separate and do our own things. We are on our 2nd day of snowed-in and still doing ok.

Usually, I like this kind of quiet time.  This time, though, it’s giving me a lot more time than I want to think about and plan for a situation that is just plain uncomfortable.

Remember these?

Nines want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict.

Turtle naturally withdraws and goes within when in turmoil.

Soon, I need to step forward, speak forcefully, ask hard questions, and lead some people to an end to a challenging situation. It would be so much easier to sit here in my warm house, next to my gas log fireplace, read a book and drink a cup of tea.

I keep forgetting to pray for strength and guidance. I don’t doubt that I can do what needs to be done. But inside me, there’s a 2-year-old screaming “NO! Don’t want to!”

Please pray that I will be led to the next right thing to do.

Thank you.

 

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Published in: on January 8, 2017 at 1:41 pm  Comments (2)  
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How Are You?

“How are you, Robin?”

“I’m fine,” I say.

Translation: Feelings Inside Not Expressed

Each time my family moved (4 elementary schools, 1 junior high, 2 high schools), I knew my mom needed me (oldest of 3) to be fine.  And I was the good kid, the responsible kid, the one who was fine.  I perfected being fine.  And I’m still good at it.

I’m good at figuring out how to fit in.  I notice things like what kind of clothes a group wears (Saturday morning women’s group–jeans, yoga pants, ponytails, not much makeup) and how they act and talk to each other. My last high school was in Raleigh, NC.  Kids there grew up saying “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir.”  I did not.  The first time I answered a teacher with “yeah” I swear I heard gasps. I learned, once again.  Much, much later, I learned this noticing thing has a name–hypervigilance (here’s an explanation).  It’s not a symptom of mental health.

“How are you, Robin?”

“I’m ok,” I say.

Translation: I’m kind of surprised to be all right because some hard stuff has been happening in my life and I’ve been focused on doing what I can to be centered and in balance. I don’t realize I’m ok until you ask how I am. So thank you for asking!

“How are you, Robin?”

“I’m not ok,” I say.

Translation:  I really trust you.

My animal symbol is Turtle.  I don’t come out of my protective shell easily.  I learned early to hide myself emotionally. I needed to be fine.  I read this recently: “feeling was a luxury I didn’t think I could afford.” (Nancy Slonim Aronie) Yeah, me, too.  When I was 40 years old, a therapist gave me a list of “feeling words”  (here’s a long list) because I only knew a couple. I’ve been learning about my emotions and how to live in them ever since.

“How are you, Robin?”

“I’m good!” I say.

Translation: The exclamation point says it all.  In this moment, all is well and I am grateful.

(a quote from Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way)

In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now.  The precise moment I was always in was the only safe place for me.

So,

I’m fine” means I am not in the present moment and I do not want to be.

I’m ok” means I am on the edges of the present moment and, for the moment, choosing not to run away.

I’m not ok” means I am smack dab in the middle of the present moment and it’s painful and I’m choosing not to run away, but I wish the pain would go away. And I need a hug.

I’m good!” means I’m smack dab in the middle of the present moment and I’m feeling joy and gratitude and I want it to last forever, but I know it won’t and that’s ok.

And how are you, my friend?

 

Published in: on September 15, 2014 at 2:27 pm  Comments (6)  
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Turtle or Gazelle?

Kim and Donna, as part of a Soul Collage workshop, led a guided meditation to help us envision our totem animals.  I was hoping for something graceful and elegant, able to leap in the air and run fast—a gazelle, perhaps.  My Spirit gave me a big, old, ponderous, turtle.

Turtle is not glamorous, but really not as uninspiring as I first thought.  Here is what I learned about turtle symbolism:

1.  Turtle’s whole life is one of steadfastness, effort, and patience. It lives a slow and steady life of “non-doing”.

2.  Turtle takes its wisdom one day at a time – not reacting, simply accepting and moving on in its natural rhythm.

3.  The medicine of Turtle is its deliberate and thorough approach to life.  

4. Turtle naturally withdraws and goes within when in turmoil. It does not need to learn the importance of this focusing inward, it naturally knows.

5.  Turtle is courageous because it makes progress only when it sticks its neck out and moves forward with patient, steady flow.

6.  Turtle is always at home within itself.

I have spent years learning about living one day at a time, being in the moment, and accepting life as it comes to me.  All those words in all those books and discussions are summed up in “Turtle”.  Once again I am humbled.  And delighted by how cleverly Spirit teaches me.