Updated: Aug 22, 2022
A few months ago my phone stopped ringing to notify me a call was coming in. At first, for a brief time, I was frustrated, scared with the prospect of missing someone. What do I do? How do I fix it? I thought about asking my teens, using YouTube or Google, and then, I didn't. My brother told me once: "You are on your phone all the time." Am I? Could I live with not being notified when someone is trying to reach me? For awhile my stomach twisted when I found a list of missed calls and my voicemail full. Eventually, I adapted. I became less attached. Instead, I noticed how peaceful my day-to-day experience became without hearing the ringtone of a call or the ping of a text notification. The space is vast, inviting me to move for myself, making choices from heart rather than Samsung.
Immediacy is familiar. I can easily, maybe even readily, ignore myself in any moment that someone else wants from me. I am hardwired to sacrifice, to believe that your need supersedes mine. It's just something I grew over time, which helped me get a little more separated each day. Reclaiming is afoot, knowing self is my primary motivation. I am using my body as a compass, feeling and listening. I am taking my power back, becoming my own leader. Choice is powerful and now that I've tasted it, I will not give it up.
Thanks to my phone, if I do not hear you trying to reach me, you get to leave a voicemail or send me a text. Which relieves me from the practice of always being at the ready, brimming with anticipation, for anyone at anytime for whatever reason. Miraculously, my kids do not struggle to get through, it happens. This tremendous act of kindness toward self has brought me to be more aware of myself in every moment. A friend offered recently the importance of conserving energy. Before I act on extending myself for another, I can consider how it might serve the greater good. This is a real pause. I am learning that my strength is derived from my ability to rest, my willingness to care, deeply, for me. I have done the opposite, for most of my life, fully committed to prove myself by pushing through, getting it done, going beyond expectation . As I am no longer riddled with endless SPAM calls and unnecessary communications, I have the space to decide how I want to be spending my time. Feeling into what is right for me from moment to moment is a real invitation inward. I can now reevaluate, in general, how I respond to everything around me. In a conversation with friends I heard: "Meighan won't even take my calls." And I was happy to clarify that I will only answer when I am able to give you my full attention, because that is the type of quality I want to experience. Wholehearted presence. That old ritual of expressing dismay for not being able to talk, saying I will call you back, quickly followed by feelings of guilt and shame, always left me thinking I should be more. So I would leave the exchange feeling depleted and bad. I found a simpler way, prompted by a tech glitch. Less explaining feels great!
All my should statements are related to beliefs I carry. They are heavy and they do not make me feel whole, leaving me fractured and broken. If I am not careful they can prompt me to do things that I don't want to do. Like going to a yoga class when my body would rather rest. Or cleaning the house when I would prefer to meet a friend for lunch. Or going grocery shopping when ordering a pizza would make me so much happier. I have a long history of not paying attention to my own desire for fear that someone else might disapprove. Or believing that I am supposed to do stuff I don't want to do because it will make me happy. (??!!!??) Being addicted to the drama, the chase and the struggle is an old habit, rooted in my believing that bliss has to be deserved. Martha Beck writes: "Suffering comes from believing things that aren't true." I now carry around in my pocket, and ask myself often Is it true for me? I am discovering that ease and peace and joy are already here. It is a choice, a true matter of perspective and perception.
I woke up from a deep sleep the other night and picked up my phone to see a "RESTRICTED" call coming through. (Looking back, I have decided a greater force was at play, helping me attend to what was needed in the moment). The police officer said: "Do you know where your son is?" I told him that I knew he was at a concert and finding his ride home. Turns out Zander was at CPMC Emergency in San Francisco, we live in San Rafael, a thirty minute drive without traffic. He was mugged, they took his Outside Lands 3-day-pass wristband. The blow to his head required two staples. Apparently he passed out and regained consciousness in the ambulance. The officer continues: "Will you be able to come get him?"
Since that night I have been consumed with a desire to talk with my son. His pain, both physical and emotional, has taken center stage. So we wait. Lovingly. Watching him move through our home is real medicine. I am learning to trust what is here. To feel my body and to use it's knowing to guide me forward. My thinking brain gets in the way, it carries me into the past and into the future faster than I can blink. It is quick to should me around. I am finding the space to recover, along with my son, and to lessen my desire to attach meaning to everything that is happening. Instead, I can choose to relax into what is here, whatever it may be. I suspect this is where love resides, in the unplanned. It can show up with my son cuddling himself under the covers of my bed, with ice cream in hands happily directing: "Give me that remote, time for a movie and some mother-son chilaxing." Yes, let's. Because in this very moment, what he wants feels true for me too. This alignment delivers ease and peace.
Turns out Zander called 911 after he was hit. (He didn't call me). The cops found him and put him in the ambulance. Three days later, he phoned the Reportee Follow-Up line to get the details since his memory is unreliable. His ability to inquire, to seek information, to learn for himself is wonderful to witness. I am watching him make his own choices.
I was told recently that ascension is letting go of what is pulling you down. A friend suggested a balloon, untethered and floating free. As I visualize this, I can also imagine my being anchored in self-love to ground me as I meander. I have another friend who is selling her home because she wants to leave the mountains to live near the sea, she is adopting the term "digital nomad" as she plans to work from her computer and travel, until she finds her new home. I admire her confidence, her daring and her ability to just go for it.
Taking the time to discover what I really want for myself is life-giving. I can honestly say fulfillment comes from within. Recognizing myself and choosing how I want to be puts reaction at bay. My nervous system is in full appreciation. Noticing when and where, with those people or events, I feel compelled to dismiss myself will help me know more. Tuning into my felt sense is key. In those situations I can move myself out of mindless habit (flipping out) and choose another way (stay with myself). When the police officer asked me if I could drive to the hospital to pick up my son, I knew in my body that that is exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to be with him, to see him, to lay my hands on him. That was clear. On the drive over I could also feel my fear trying to break through, giving me a boat load of shoulds to tempt me into thinking I was to blame. This is the type of thinking that can pull me down, make me feel like I am not enough.
I was introduced recently to the term Divine Neutrality, a practice of acknowledging what is here and loving on it. Trusting the opportunity for growth, without assigning a label: good-bad-right-wrong. Instead of seeing something as an obstacle, consider it a point of redirection. Life is hard at times, we all know that. Why run from it? I am well versed in freaking out, spiraling down and being overwhelmed with anxiety. So I am ready to do it different. I am choosing to trust what is here, for me alone. Today I am convinced this brave act will carry me toward liberation.