It’s the day after Election Day in the US and I’m feeling anxious. We still don’t know the results and I’m trying to be optimistic and hopeful regarding the outcome of the presidential race. I’m only a little bit optimistic though, because I remember how I felt right before and after the last presidential election. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
I didn’t sleep well last night. I had bad dreams but they weren’t about the election. I remember tossing and turning and yelling “I hate you” but when I awoke I wasn’t sure if that was part of the dream or if it was a dream within a dream, or even what exactly I dreamed. So that set the tone for the day. I’m feeling guilty and sad, but I don’t know what to attribute the guilt to. I know why I’m sad.
I picked a new bloom from my watering can this morning, hoping it would help pull me out of my moody state of mind. I like the quote; the only problem is, I’m not sure what I want. I know what I believe, so I guess that’s a start. I believe in love and family and doing what it takes to preserve both. I believe in honesty, but I know sometimes we lie to protect those we love, or once loved. I believe in friendship, although I know I haven’t always been the best friend. I believe in the power of music to soothe and heal and to lift up the spirit. I also believe that solitude and time alone can be both a blessing and a curse.
I’ve spent a lot of time alone in the last five months, particularly over the last couple of months. This little condo and I have gotten to know each other pretty well, and I have gone several days without stepping outside my door even to check mail (the beauty of the Informed Delivery service by the USPS is that you know if you need to bother going to the mailbox that day). So all this alone time gives me way too much time to think, to remember, to regret, and to hate.
I’ve spent too much time hating. Hating my life, hating situations, hating other people’s actions and my reactions. I’ve learned things about myself that I don’t like. I can be mean and spiteful. I think that’s partly me trying to put up an armored front because my back is weak. I found this article today that includes this thought from Zen Buddhist Roshi Joan Halifax:
“All too often our so-called strength comes from fear not love; instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence. If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that’s flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that’s soft and open, representing choiceless compassion. The place in your body where these two meet — strong back and soft front — is the brave, tender ground in which to root our caring deeply. How can we give and accept care with strong-back, soft front compassion, moving past fear into a place of genuine tenderness? I believe it comes about when we can be truly transparent, seeing the world clearly — and letting the world see into us.”Joan Halifax
I’m working now on having a strong back and a soft front but also a wild heart.
But what do I want? That’s what I need to figure out next and make sure that when I say it out loud to myself, I’m saying what I really want and not what I think I’m supposed to want, or should want.