We had a pipe spring a leak under the sink in Ang's vanity yesterday and really SOAK the carpet upstairs yesterday. After hours of literally blow-drying the sub-flooring and carpet, I got the carpet under control. I had to shut off the water the the condo to stop the leak in the meantime which meant no showers and each toilet had 1 flush left in it... so make it count! LOL. This morning, I called my good friend Grant to ask him how to get at the perpetrating pipe, and he eventually recommended "his guy" to me. Gene, the plumber, called me a few minutes later and we agreed on a time for him to come. He came, he saw, he fixed the pipe. Love having "a guy!" Thanks, Grant!
Met with an old friend for coffee this morning, and Ang and I met another good friend for lunch. I had two interesting coaching calls today as well. The first call was my client's last call of the year. The second was my new client's first call with me! I love coaching. It is so humbling that people allow me to get in "under the hood" to help optimize their engine, so to speak. My mantra is that I see you bigger and better than you see yourself, and I have the power and passion to get you in touch with that image. I don't mess around either; I call people on their sh*t when no one else will (I know - that sounds so unlike me - HA!). We need people in our lives to call us on the things we are blind to, otherwise we'll keep repeating the same behaviors that keep us stuck with results we don't want. Since we are the starring role of our own lives, it is impossible to see ourselves outside of ourselves the way another can. No matter what, we are always looking at ourselves through our own experience, so we never see exactly what others see. We can build our ability for self reflection and awareness, but if we really want to break through areas of life that aren't working as well as we'd like, it happens A LOT QUICKER in communication with another! I am so grateful people trust me to be "the other."
In other news...
We went to dinner tonight at a restaurant that we used to go to with Bella. Ali asked mommy if we used to go there with Bella and she said yes. Ali asked where did she used to sit? Mommy explained she used to sit in a highchair at the end of the table.
I have no memory of that right now.
That was really sad. I couldn't remember. Memory is such a gift, since it is the last thread of connection. If we didn't have memory, pictures and video would be weird because we would wonder who that stranger was with us! I know, that sounds silly, but really, for me it is the last tether. Plus, when the brain recalls a vivid memory, the same part of the brain activates as when the experience first happened. That is fascinating, because to the brain, there is no difference between the experience and the memory of the experience. That's why it is easy to start feeling the same physical and emotional energy in your body when you vividly recall a past event.
So, I was bummed I couldn't recall that experience. I wanted to feel Bella through my memory, but my memory failed me, and I couldn't feel the connection in the moment. I know that I am operating on 1/2 to 1/4 the cognitive capability right now. In addition, because the grief we are experiencing is so complex, (I feel like it borders on PTSD... spend 99 days in the ICU only to lose your baby girl and tell me you don't experience a little PTSD), I think my brain is 3/4 shut down in order to simply survive. If it opened itself fully to the brutal pain of the experience, I think it would crash. Heck, at least once a day, it feels like my brain is literally going to pop. Angelique gets headaches every night, and we sleep like the dead.
Lastly, there were a couple of comments last night that I need to speak to. Of course I'd prefer to see my kids grow up. I think the pitfall is expecting to see them grow up. Expectation is just resentment waiting to happen. After all, what if it doesn't happen? I began grieving the loss of all those 'normal' life experiences with Bella within days of her birth. I remember walking through IKEA shortly after she was born, and an 18 year old girl was shopping with her parents for stuff for her dorm. WHACK. It hit me right then and there that it was likely that I wouldn't get to have that experience with Bella. I didn't go looking for it, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been grieving the loss of those experiences the whole way, because I don't think anyone plans on losing their kids. It just happens to some of us, and not to others. Like I said, maybe it's a good problem to have that no one is used to infant mortality anymore, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen every day of every week of every year. My point is to resist that very natural part of nature leads to unnecessary suffering. The myth of permanence is all-pervasive in our western culture, but not everywhere. To the degree that we can be committed - but not attached - to anything we hold important... this to me is mastery and the path to minimal suffering. Again, pain is a signal, but suffering is the story WE MAKE UP about the signal. We collapse the two every day. Heck, it's easy to do! We choose the meaning of every signal or event we face; we are meaning making machines. So if this is the case, I do my best to not choose to suffer.
If happiness is a choice (meaning free from circumstances), so is suffering. Most of us live by the rules that happiness and suffering are the result of a set of outside events. In that model we decide, based on 'reasons', to be happy or to suffer.
What if, just what if, happiness and suffering are truly independent? Ever met someone who seems happy no matter what they are going through in life? I have. Ever met someone who can complain on a dime no matter what they are going through in life? I have. This makes me question the validity of the "happiness/suffering is based on circumstances" model, and as a student of philosophy, this is how we come upon new thought, by deconstructing old thought.
Bottom line? Suffering doesn't contribute anything to me healing or operating in the moment. It just makes things worse for me. The practice of choosing happiness causes happiness. It's just that, however, a practice. Sometimes I do it well, sometimes I don't.
It's like faith. Sometimes I can turn things over to God easily, and sometimes I just wrestle for control of the wheel, as if I am in control at all. To me, faith is a choice as well. It is not based on circumstances. If God is all powerful enough to have created the universe and everything in it, my guess is that he understands things that are far beyond my capacity to understand. Faith for me is just trusting that God understands more than I can possibly, AND since he is all loving, what occurs like tragedy or injustice has a deeper meaning or opportunity inside it than we can see on the surface. Inside of this model, things don't have to go the way I want or expect or even hope they should for me to have faith. I can choose faith in the face of any event, including the death of my child, because my faith is not dependent upon events or circumstances. If God is willing to give me unconditional love, I'm willing to give him unconditional faith. Actually, I don't even know if he actually does love unconditionally, who knows? I can still choose faith no matter what, and again, the bottom line is that in choosing that faith, it helps me operate - to get out of bed every morning, and to turn off my brain at night. It inspires me to play huge games like raising a million dollars to fins a cure for EB. To me, faith is a valuable asset that brings out the best in me.
Who or what do you truly choose in your life regardless of circumsatnces?