What a Great Ride it Has Been
“In youth we learn; in age we understand.” – Marie Ebner-Eschenbach
This morning I opened my eyes and thought of the amazing ride I have been on. I sat up in bed and fell into my morning ritual; I meditated, prayed and contemplated on being sixty-five years old. I’m amazed by this lifetime I have journeyed. My personal ride began with what I labeled as a child of this inner feeling I called, “the blues!” Today I imagine it was just fear as a child that confused me. Being scared, afraid or terrified at a young age was the norm such a long time ago. Still the feelings sit deep within my heart even today. Tears can overflow at the inner conflict for my inner child of yesterday. There was a time I buried her deeply only to discover I could not breathe without her. I realize today that fifteen years ago I embraced her holding on to my eyelids and offered her love. It was time for her to resurface and know her truth. We began a new ride. The memories of my youth are filled with drinking fighting and abusive behavior between my dad and mom. Fear filled our home only because Friday nights dad came home drunk. Mom became embarrassed and totally afraid of him!
I know that I am not the only woman to have grown up in a house with an alcoholic/manic-depressant or fearful/critical parent. In fact, I realize as a child I had no understanding of these types of labels. I did not know the ride would take me through abandonment, abuse, fear, pain, tears, death and lies over and over again. Death is a part of life but sudden unexpected deaths are terrifying at any age. My only brother to die by a drunk driver, my oldest nephew to be murdered then my beloved dad to die of lung cancer. I know that at times there was great laughter and love going up but coming down that roller coaster could almost make me topple over and crash when the fears arose.
“Why be anything other than good? Why do anything other than love!” –Johnathan Dahl
However, here I sit as a whole woman, loved, fulfilled, happy and amazed with gratitude for the experiences of my lifetime. I live a good life! I admit I struggle still today when those I love are unkind, critical or judgmental of one another. It is those times that my inner child comforts me with a memory of me climbing a tree at McCarren Park, swimming at Coney Island or just drinking Mountain Dew and eating pretzels on the stoop. It was the simplicity of yesterday that encourages me to love unconditional. I’m thrilled with the joyous memories of my childhood today because those were the moments that pushed me forward. The fearful dark memories are drifting further and further away from my inner sight.
“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.” – Jim Rohn
I blame no one for the ride I chose to take because at this time in my life I believe I am an amazing wife, mother and grandmother. How did I get to this time in my life believing that my life is wonderful? It always comes back to the simple parts of the ride I believe. When my dad was dying he looked at me and said, “I had a wonderful life so don’t cry for me because you are gong to die one day too!” That was in 1998 and finally I get it!
At forty years old he attempted suicide and lived the next thirty years in and out of mental institutions supported and loved by me and my husband for anything he needed. Weekly visits were the norm when he was not hospitalized but living in an adult home facility and happy no matter what. A true loved of Mother Nature he taught me to respect her as well. With forgiveness, acceptance, kindness, unconditional love, and not taking anything personal I made these beliefs my tools. Meditation, prayer and writing in my journal are my supplements to the ride. Knowing I am connected and blessed are my gifts today.
There will always be ups and downs because there is so much to learn in the greatest of classes in life called relationships. To love, hate, fear, and anger are the cornerstones of all relationships until we end any form of confrontation, control, and criticism. There came a time on my journey when the abandonment issues of my mom settled deep within to thug at my heart. After repeated abandonment episodes like her moving to Puerto Rico because her son had died and there was no reason for her to stay in New York I would cringe at her words for a very long time. It was my dad who told me she was not a smart woman and to forgive her. Today I know I am the person I am because of her and that I would not have been able to know my gifts and talents if she remained by my side. Could this have been a contract we agreed on prior to birth?
When I discovered what an amazing ride I have experienced because of the choices and changes I made, I filled with a deep sense of gratitude. At this age I know when I sit and color with gel pens for an hour or so my inner child is happy. If I choose to take a walk, read a good book or practice some yoga poses I have reconnected with the simplicity of life that fills me with joy. When I share my wisdom with others through counseling, workshops, blogging and talking I am being of service. The wisdom we all possess rests deep within and needs to be connected to so that peace can be part of the ride. The time will come when everyone gets the chance to get off their amazing roller coaster ride and live a loving, peaceful existence. Know it is possible as I do! When you exit you will breathe a feeling of contentment and smile as you remark, “what a great ride it has been!”
Meditate! Pray! Journal!