Recently, my cousin and aunt, while on a road trip, stopped by.
My cousin said she had a couple of things from my Mom that she wanted to send to me, they arrived today.
Now for anyone who wasn’t around hundreds of blog posts ago, I was not raised by my Mom. We met for the first time when I was 15 and I was living in a foster home. It’s very surreal to meet a parent, and while it was a healing balm on the one hand, it began the most complex relationship and series of difficult lessons I’ve ever experienced.
It was spring of 1977 when I met Mom, I was 15 years old. I was young, insecure and searching to find my place… not my place in the world as I perceived many teenagers were doing, I wanted to figure out how I fit into a family. More than anything, I wanted to be “normal”.
Now I realize, that is what every 15 year old wants, regardless of their circumstances… at the time I thought it was just me, and just my circumstances.
Anyway, in the package my cousin sent was a bracelet that (unknown to her) I’d made for my Mom many years ago. There was also a poem that I wrote in May of 1977, about a week after meeting my Mom:
Where am I going? Take my hand, show me the way
I want a home, peace, a place to rest and play.
I’m not looking at my future, just thinking about today
Listening to silence, I hear a soft voice say:
“I’ll show you how, where and why, just take my hand
We’ll go home, far across the sand.
And there’s a place of peace and rest
Follow me, I know what’s best.
I’ve been there, I know your dream
And that things aren’t always as bad as they may seem.
I’ve been around and know how you feel
I’ve felt your hurts, beleive me they’ll heal.
Don’t ever feel alone, I’ll be there
And no matter what, I’ll always care.
When you’re down and you cry
Come to me, I’ll listen and your tears, I’ll dry”
Now you’ve shown me where I’m going, shown me the way
You gave me a home, peace, a place to rest and play.
I took a lot of criticism when my kids were growing up… I taught them there was no such thing as a “bad” word. Often words are misused.
Take swear words for example… if you use them as space fillers, it appears one does not know enough word to explain their thoughts or feelings. I did allow my children to use curse words, but only if they used them appropriately. If they slammed their finger in a door, yes… say “shit”. These words are offensive to some, but if the intent is to offend, nothing beats a good curse word.
So, there are no “good” or “bad” words, just misused ones, to my way of thinking. They are simply words to describe, to communicate, to evoke… and nothing more. Use any word needed as long as it fits your thought or your intension.
I’ve tried to eliminate the concept of both “good” and “bad” from my list of labels. Those labels tend to evoke either pressure or negativity as it relates to what ever I am describing. When I eliminate the the labels, I simply have an experience. Not a bad experience, but an experience that I perhaps learned from, that I gained something from, that I may or may not want to repeat.
I am trying the same concept with the word “should”. That pressure inducing word that fills my “to-do” list with more items than can be completed in a 24 hours period. “Should” often leaves me feeling frustrated at best, incompetent at worst. “Should” very quickly becomes “have to”. By the same token is its cousin, “shouldn’t”, which leads directly to “can’t” can also take a back seat to perhaps words that better fit what I am doing or how I am feeling. I’ve realized that we place a lot of rules on ourselves with the words we use, a lot of pressure… and then we quantify that experience by using the labels “good” and “bad” on top of that.
I should breathe… and that’s about it. Anything more than that is simply a choice, an experience… a flavor of life.
Being less than 2 years from my 50th birthday (in girl years, no less), I’m already beginning to stress… and reflect.
I know however that years are simply a measure of moments and that wisdom is gained with time.
So, I’m not sure why exactly I’m a bit stressed about this, other than the difficult time I’m having reconciling how it is that I don’t feel anywhere close to 50.
I’ve been looking for a positive way to plan celebrating this as opposed to the traditional way (being curled up in the fetal position in a dark closet), then my inspiration walked through my door for a cartilage piercing.
It was her birthday, and this woman is planning to do 50 adventures during her 50th year. Getting a body piercing was one of her adventures. Some of the others are a hot air balloon ride, jumping out of a plane, running a race and more. I was hooked! Now I am beginning my own list of 50 adventures I can look forward to during my 50th year.
She is blogging her adventures here, and I plan to follow for encouragement and for ideas!
Husb planned a 3 day hiking trip… alone. To think and hopefully gather some insights perhaps.
Day 1. He hikes 7 miles, puts up the tent, gets out his sleeping bag. Exits the tent to find a folded note.
The note is to someone whose name begins with the same letter as husb’s. The rest of the name is illegible due to rain. He opens the note and it says:
“The path to happiness and peace should not be traveled alone”.
He packs up, hikes the 7 miles back out and drives home.
The words: I don’t care.
On the surface they don’t sound too good… we are taught that it’s not a good thing to ‘not care’.
I’m actually finding that it is a fantastic thing to really be able to say “I don’t care”.
The catch of course is that you have to mean it. You have to “feel” it.
It’s freeing, its without expectations, it’s difficult to disappoint and it is without hurt.
“I don’t care” is not all consuming, neither does it push away… it simply is, it simply allows.
It hangs out in that comfortable middle place that is not without feeling, but it is feeling without the exclamation point(s).
I can “not care” and yet I can have concern. I can visit without taking ownership. I can allow others to be who they are without feeling like I need to change them or change myself.
“I don’t care” gives up control and allows things to simply exist.
It allows me to be an observer and even an actor in this play that is my life without taking it too terribly personal.
I’d like to proudly bring back the phrase “I don’t care” without the apathy that has been traditionally associated with it.
It’s OK to “not care”, to ride that comfortable place in the middle.
Personally, I think the root of many of our problems (suffering) is that we have been trained to believe that we need to care way too much… too deeply. We allow ourselves to care to the point of life being filled with constant disappointment.
I can have concern, I can be positive and make a significant contribution to those around me. My actions can have a profound impact for good, and yet I am capable of doing these things without a great degree of caring (about the outcome, that might not live up to my expectations and leave me feeling let down for my effort).
I learned to equate caring with ownership and a lack of ownership with apathy.
I was taught “all in or all out”.
Today, I do not hold that belief.
For all of the words we use to describe how we feel… “I don’t care” is underutilized in it’s true meaning.