A GIFT FROM TRAUMA

Joy

I was five years old standing in a room full of weeping adults. My mother, grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, great grandparents were all sobbing. It scared me to see my beloved relatives in such terrible grief.

I tugged on my aunt’s sleeve. “Why is everyone crying?” I asked.

“Oh, honey,“ She said softly reaching out for my hand. “We just found out that your Daddy died in the hospital.”

Two soldiers had come to the house with the terrible news. It was 1942, the beginning of World War II. Daddy was an Army doctor. He had been on the way to care for Japanese Americans who were being rounded up and sent to a camp in Texas in the fear-driven reaction to Pearl Harbor.  When Daddy discovered that he had gotten on the wrong train, he tried to jump off it as it left the station.  He fell under the wheels and died.

Five days before his death he had taken me to his army hospital to consult with his colleagues about my tummy ache. It turned into a totally unanticipated appendectomy. Mother was still at home doing the laundry. This sudden operation, our move to Indianapolis while he volunteered for wartime duty, his death, my mother’s disappearance into her grief and shock led to a lifetime of self-examination on my part.

I had healed so much that I thought there was no more information—no more to be learned. However, this memory of being in that room of devastated adults was new to me. It came in a Getting Present Process (p.155 of The Four Principles book. https://www.TheFourPrinciples.com ) during my latest Creative Explosion. One of the participants, who has repeated this two-day workshop many times over the years, was my “Compassionate Witness.” Initially, when she asked the question: What sensation are you experiencing in your body right now, I felt incredible joy in my heart.

Then this vivid memory of that room of devastated adults emerged suddenly from my subconscious.  I felt as if I were 5 years old desperately wanting to say or do something that would be comforting to them. But, at that young age, I had no skills or understanding to draw on.  But, oh, how I wanted to help them somehow. I couldn’t and didn’t.

As I experienced this during the Getting Present Process, I realized, as an adult, that this deep yearning to help my relatives became the seed that years later has flowered into my teaching and these workshops. In a way, I am now fulfilling that heartfelt desire of my five-year-old self. From that trauma came the gift and my joy.

How often something like that happens to people: a woman becomes a grief therapist after the death of her own child. Rape victims offer comfort and help to other rape victims. Cancer survivors support other people facing cancer.  These are not easy gifts, but when we do realize them and offer what we have learned to others, they become a source of our own happiness.

Join me for The Creative Explosion Workshop Sat and Sun 1 to 6 pm August 13 & 14

To purchase The Four Principles and The Four Keys to Authentic Acting books and for more information about the workshops: https://www.EKatherineKerr.com

 

 

CREATIVE EXPLOSION SAT/SUN JULY 9 & 10

This workshop is about going higher and deeper into your life and getting clarity about your heart’s desires and what steps to take next. Whether this is your first or your umpteenth time, join me in a safe, fun, and powerful space. It will be better than you can imagine.

5. CE widgetEverything worthwhile in life takes just a little more courage than we currently have.—John Patrick Shanley

Learn to:

  • Master Fear
  • Access Your Own Wisdom
  • Eliminate Negative Self-Judgment
  • Express Yourself Fully

The workshop is not just for performers.

 Katherine Kerr is a brilliant actress. It is not surprising that her method of teaching is as alive and plugged into human behaviors as are her portrayals of characters that you would swear have just been brought into the room from their real lives. –Mike Nichols

I was in a production of Urban Blight at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York Citywith E. Katherine Kerr. I watched her, riveted, in the wings every night in one of the most powerful moments I had ever seen onstage yet it was never the quite the same. I enrolled in her powerful Creative Explosion Workshop.  My career and my life have never been the same.  The Four Principles are life altering. —Faith Prince, Tony Award Winning Actress

While the workshop is powerful, it is also easy and gentle. There is no pressure. We write, share, learn, and laugh a lot. Participants leave the workshop feeling clearer, energized, and often utterly transformed.

Saturday and Sunday July 9 & 10

1 to 6 pm in Wilton , CT

 FEE: First time participant: $250

Repeating participant: $150

To enroll or more information email EKatherineKerr@aol.com

BRAIN SHOCK

Brain shockOnce again I have been reminded that my real purpose in life may be to make God laugh. I think I hear chuckles after I bang around the walls of my own darkness.

The fact that my house has not sold has sent my mind into shock. I had been so absolutely convinced this place would be snapped up immediately that I packed light when returning from Florida last year.  “I’ll only be here month or so,” I thought. That month passed, and another and another, and there were no buyers. I was, frankly, stunned. I went into brain shock. It didn’t make any sense to me.  It’s the least expensive house in a great neighborhood with top-rated schools. It has privacy, high ceilings, two fireplaces, wood floors, and great ambiance. Why didn’t it sell in a minute?  I didn’t even realize how invested I was in my own expectations. But fall arrived, no one made an offer, so the house went off the market, and I went back to Florida.

Fortunately, a friend was in the middle of a breakup, needed a place to live, came here, stayed for the winter and paid the utilities. In Nokomis, since I had not sold the house, I furnished my charming, little villa miraculously on a dime, and had a magical, wonderful time. My mantra “This is going to work out Better Even Than I Can Imagine” became an acronym to name my new home, The Villa BETICI. I was in the Flow. Things were great.

Then it was time to come back and put the house up for sale again.

In Connecticut I lost the BETICI context that had worked so well for me. I reverted to old mind sets that were not helpful. I began to worry about things again. Why? Why? Why isn’t the house selling? I speculated: It is too unconventional, too…something. It’s my fault, because deep down I still love the place and don’t want to sell it. I have put a curse on it. It’s my fauIt. I worried about my ex-husband’s state of mind since he owns half the house. I worried about how I would continue to pay back my dear friends who made my new house and newish car in Florida possible. I fell into fretting about everything.

Then, a jazz musician came, loved the house and said he wanted to buy it for sure. “Take it off the market! It’s mine! Great vibe!” Well, finally! Someone who appreciated this place as much as I do. My sanctuary. My sacred spot. We made a deal. Then, after several weeks of non-action, he disappeared into the cosmos.

That really sent my mind reeling. I got stuck in an anxiety swamp and could not pull myself out of it.  I was not Present. I was not in the Now.  At that point, the angels knew I needed a lot of help, so they sent me a whopping virus to get me out of my head.  It was so bad, I ended up in the ER nearly delirious and with a high temperature. I wasn’t worried about anything other than my own survival at this point.  The doctor’s literal diagnosis was, “You’re sick.” After a day of observation, they sent me home.  I was sick for days. I could barely think, let alone worry about the future.  I healed. Slowly. And I stopped worrying.

For the last two days, I have lain on my comfy lounge chair on my deck in perfect weather, breathing in the healing energy from the surrounding trees. I was still in a kind of drugged daze, but my ghastly, violent cough went away. Next to me lay my god dog, Josie, a little terrier/Chihuahua mix. Ostensibly I was taking care of her for a few days, but let’s face it. She has really been here to take care of me. I napped, read about Thomas Jefferson, and absorbed the beauty surrounding me.

Last night, I began feeling well again, and in a moment of enlightenment seemed to wake up.  “Katherine,” I heard. “You don’t know the future. Let it go. Leave it up to The Big Whatever. You have no idea what is going to happen. Enjoy being here in your house now, enjoy the gorgeous weather. Let go of all your expectations—how YOU want it to be or think it will be.  At the moment everything is fine. Continue showing the house, but accept the uncertainty, and remember to keep holding the context that this is all going to work out better even than you can imagine, and You. Do. Not. Know. How.”

Trusting is not easy in a world that seems rife with tragedy and danger. On the other hand, I could see that my worry served no purpose whatsoever, given I had done all that I could do. So something inside me shifted. I felt as if I stepped into a delicious, warm flow of energy again. I laughed with relief and seemed to hear a responding laughter in the air.

BETICI.

CREATIVE EXPLOSION WORKSHOP JUNE 11 & 12, 2016

5. CE widgetEverything worthwhile in life takes just a little more courage than we currently have.—John Patrick Shanley

Learn to:

  • Master Fear
  • Access Your Own Wisdom
  • Eliminate Negative Self-Judgment
  • Express Yourself Fully

The workshop is not just for performers.

 Katherine Kerr is a brilliant actress. It is not surprising that her method of teaching is as alive and plugged into human behaviors as are her portrayals of characters that you would swear have just been brought into the room from their real lives. –Mike Nichols

I was in a production of Urban Blight at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York Citywith E. Katherine Kerr. I watched her, riveted, in the wings every night in one of the most powerful moments I had ever seen onstage yet it was never the quite the same. I enrolled in her powerful Creative Explosion Workshop.  My career and my life have never been the same.  The Four Principles are life altering. —Faith Prince, Tony Award Winning Actress

While the workshop is powerful, it is also easy and gentle. There is no pressure. We write, share, learn, and laugh a lot. Participants leave the workshop feeling clearer, energized, and often utterly transformed.

Saturday and Sunday June 11 & 12

1 to 6 pm in Wilton , CT

 FEE: First time participant: $250

Repeating participant: $150

To enroll or more information email EKatherineKerr@aol.com

A MOMENT OF LOVE IS A VICTORY

Bull.ospMy new neighborhood in Nokomis is a mix of gated, landscaped developments, tattered old Florida houses, and fields with cows and horses. The roads are wide, flat, and people drive either too fast or too slow—the young cowboys in trucks are irritated by the old codgers in Camrys.AOL

Yesterday, I went for a stroll and saw a small group of enormous brown bulls in a field right next to the sidewalk. One huge one near the fence seemed to be having a lot of fun with an empty cardboard box.  He managed to put his head through it, lift it up, and, with his nose sticking out, toss it around wildly.  Very funny. I thought only cats made cardboard boxes into toys.

A second bull, attracted by the activity, ambled over and started licking and chewing on another box. I could see by the label that it once held vegetables. Ah, so it was the flavored cardboard they were after. It seemed to be quite a treat as they both ripped off pieces and chewed away contentedly.

I laughed as I watched and complimented them on eating their veggies. I reassured them that I too am a vegetarian and continued my walk.

This morning in my meditation I was given the message “Katherine. Every day look for love. Express it and receive it. Remember, every moment of love is a victory in life.”

I contemplated that lovely little reminder as I went for my morning walk. Nearing the field of bulls, I called out, “Hi there!” The big guy looked up and as if recognizing me, and started walking toward the fence. I stopped at the metal gate and leaned on it. He came right up to me. The smaller one ambled up as well but stayed to the side.  I talked to them again, telling them how beautiful their big, brown eyes were. The biggest one nudged the gate.  I was frankly a little afraid that he would push what seemed like a flimsy structure open, but it held, and I stayed put.

Then he startled me by reaching out with his tongue and licking my hand. It was massive and felt rough. I jumped back. He jumped back too. I laughed. “I’m sorry,” I said and moved slowly and carefully back to the fence. He rubbed his forehead on the metal bar, and I bravely reached out and scratched the top of his head.

It was a victorious moment of love for both of us, I think.

GOD LOVES TO SHOP

Apparently God loves to shop. I don’t. I loathe shopping. However, I need to buy everything to make my villa livable. God-shopping-online (2)Since, to my utter surprise, my Connecticut house has not sold, I will have to do some extremely frugal shopping. I groan at the prospect.

God says, “Katherine, we’ll do this really fast and inexpensively. Trust me. Don’t resist me.”  I roll my eyes. God knows me well. “Katherine, what is the mantra you have used in the last year or so?”

This is going to work out better than I can imagine.”

“Right. And hasn’t it?”

I have to admit that it has, even if not according to my timing or my plans.

So, after unpacking and recovering from the exhausting drive from Connecticut, I decide that the first things I need are a sofa and another bed. I’ll start there. Thankfully, my Internet is working. so I begin perusing Craig’s List. Many people have advised me to go to consignment shops, but lying in bed looking at pictures is all I can muster right now.

I see an ad for mattresses on sale by appointment with a picture of a huge truck with BeautyRest written on the side. That’s good sign in more ways than one. Maybe I will find a bed like the oh-so-comfortable pillow top I slept on at the Days Inn on the road. It was so comfortable I had leaned over and pulled up the sheet to find out what brand it was: BeautyRest. I looked it up on line. Pretty expensive. But, now I make an appointment, maybe I can get something like it on sale.

Then, I look at sofas. Here’s a nice one. A Norwalk.  I don’t know anything about brands, but the fact that I have lived near Norwalk, Connecticut, seems somehow serendipitous. This is a goldish color from what I can see, but I want a white or cream colored couch. I almost scan past it.

The Voice stops me. “Go look at it.”

I frown. “But I want a cream or white couch!”

“Don’t whine. It might blend in nicely with those fancy, gold chairs that go with the dining set the former owner left.”

That’s true enough. I study the couch more. Those chairs have classic, curved backs.  The couch’s arms are curved in the same way. But, I resist.

It’s not the color I planned for my new home.

“Katherine. Just call. See if it’s still available. And go look at it.”

So, I do. It is. And I do.

I drive 35 minutes up to Bradenton with a dining room chair in the back to see if the colors will blend. Nice neighborhood. Nice man. The couch is already in the garage. It’s big. I sit on it. Oooooooo Very comfy. The pillows are wide and deep. Great for a lounger like me. I like it. But I hesitate. It’s just not the color I had in mind.

“If you don’t like it, you can get something else next year when you sell the house. Lean back.”

I do. Oh yes. Very cozy. Oh, okay. It’s a good temporary couch.

“Good. Blends in with the chair nicely. Buy it. Offer the man $150.”

“Isn’t that insulting?”

“His wife wants to get rid of it. She’s already redecorated. It’s taking up space in their garage. Offer $150.”

So, trying not to grimace, I do.

The man smiles, “My wife said that if you offered $150 to tell you it’s $175, but, go ahead, take if for $150. What the hell.”

“What the hell or what the heaven?” God whispers.

“When can you pick it up?” The man says not having heard God’s rather lame joke.

“As soon as possible,” I say, but I have no idea how or who is going to get this very large thing down to Nokomis for me. I know no one with a truck.

Next, I stop in the mattress place I saw advertised on Craig’s List and quickly buy a BeautyRest pillow top mattress half price. A great deal, and the sample one feels just like the yummy one at the Days Inn.

A very big man delivers it in the morning. “Umm, by the way,” I say as he lugs it in. “If I give you $50, could you go get a sofa for me?’

“Awesome,” he says.

Off we go and the owner helps put the sofa in a small trailer where it just fits as if it were made for it.

Back in Nokomis, my new friend JoAnn brings her husband over who kindly helps carry the sofa into the house.

They leave.  I rub my hand over the soft fabric of the sofa, lie down, and stretch out. It is not what I had planned. Better, I think. Better than I imagined. This is the comfiest, nicest couch I have ever owned. Actually, if the truth be told, this is the ONLY one I have ever owned. I have a kind of day bed in my living room in Connecticut.  I’m won over. I laugh out loud. “Okay, God. Good choice. I’m never getting rid of itI”IMG_0959

Now all I need is a coffee table, end tables, sofa table, chairs, rugs, everything for the kitchen, a desk, stuff for the den, furniture for both bedrooms, etc., etc., etc.  I throw my arm dramatically over my eyes at the daunting prospect. Oh, god.

“Right here, Katherine. Take a nap.”  I do.  And it’s a good thing given what is coming.

….to be continued

MY PLAN vs GOD’S PLAN

Villa BeticiIf telling God one’s plans is a way to make Him laugh, I must have Him rolling on the floor.

My plan last year: To look around Sarasota just to get an idea of what might be available, go home, sell my house, come back, and buy something the next year. So, I do not get a real estate agent because I don’t intend to buy anything. I merely peruse the newspapers for open houses and drive around to look at them on my own. It’s very discouraging. There is nothing at all I like in my price range.

After church one Sunday I get into my car depressed about the housing possibilities. “Wait a minute,” I think.  “There has to be something here that would work.” So, I start cruising the open houses again. No. No. No. No.

Then I stop at one just below the border of Sarasota in the small town of Nokomis. Surprisingly, I really like it. A lot. It’s everything and more than I want: Spanish tiles, freshly painted stucco, a cozy little courtyard, lovely entrance. Inside: two bedrooms and a den, arched doorways, all upgraded-kitchen, two-car garage. All very clean and nice. “Wow,” I think as I look around. “Yes. I could live here. It’s quiet and only a short drive to the beach (for sunsets, not sunbathing), and not too far to the theaters.”

I feel nudged to make an offer, but I’m scared. I think it’s way too soon. I leave, but it’s nice to know that there is something I like so much that I could afford.

I try to dismiss it, but in the next few days I can’t stop thinking about the lovely place. Still it is not in my plan, so I take no action.

However, it seems God decides to take action. Two friends from Winter Park come to visit me.  One just happens to be a Florida realtor. I mention the villa. “Let’s go see it!” Linda says. “I love looking at real estate!” Her sister Karen jumps in. “Yes. I want to see it too!”

So, I arrange for another viewing. Before we even see it all, Linda hisses at me, “This is great. Make an offer!”

Her sister is just as enthusiastic.  “This is perfect for you! I love it!  You should make an offer!”

That night their certainty supports what I’d really like to do, so even though I’m scared, I call the agent and make an offer. It’s low. I doubt if it will be accepted. After a few exciting phone calls and upping the price a little more, the deal is made.  I’m pretty sure I would not have done it without these angels.

I am now on an unexpected trajectory. I get through the tedious mortgage application process, and the closing date is set. When it is only a few days away, the owner moves out. I buy a bunch of kitchen stuff at Walmart that she lets me store in her garage.

Then. Surprise. The bank refuses the mortgage because the appraisal comes in too low.

We’re all in shock.

When the dust settles a bit, I think, “Well, okay. Maybe it’s just not meant to be. I’ll go get all that stuff and take it back.”

I drive to the villa and wait for the agent to come and unlock the garage. It’s a gorgeous day. I sit in a chair that the owner left in the courtyard. “So. I’ll go home, sell my house, and come back next year. I’ll find something else I like.” I’m fine with the way things are. I’m a little relieved, actually. I turn my face to the sky, close my eyes and listen to the swishing sounds of the palm tree in the breeze.

“We’re not done yet.” Some voice or thought intrudes on my meditative state as if the house is speaking over my shoulder. I laugh. “I don’t know about you, whoever you are, but I’m done.”

“Nope. It’s not over.” I roll my eyes and shake my head hoping I’m not going crazy.

The agent drives up. I don’t tell him that the house is talking to me.

He walks up and says to me, “I don’t think you should take those things back.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I don’t know.”  He smiles and shrugs, “I just have a feeling.”

Has the house been talking to him? I shake my head. My plan is clear. “No. I’m going home. I don’t have a place to stay here in Sarasota any more.  Open the garage. I’m taking all that stuff back.”

So, he does, and I do.

That afternoon, I’m on the phone letting my friends know that the deal has fallen through and I’m okay about it.  I’m going to pack and go home.

One of the friends, Louise, calls me back. “Katherine,” she says. “I was in my bathroom, and I swear it’s as if the angels were talking to me. What if I took your mortgage and you bought it outright?”

“What?!!!” I scream. “That’s crazy.”

“I’ve got the money. You can pay me the interest you were going to pay the bank. Make a lower offer. Remember, cash is king.”

“Louise, this is too much.  Let me get off the phone and go breathe or something.”

When I recover a bit, we talk on the phone several times. I decide that if I take most of my savings, I could offer cash and borrow a much smaller amount from Louise, a much more reasonable amount in my mind.

“Okay, that’s fine,” she says. “It will take me a week to get the funds to you.”

Amazed at her generosity, I tell John, the realtor. He starts renegotiating with the owner. “But the closing is supposed to be in two days,” he says.  “That may be a problem.”

I am now in a giddy whirl. I tell another friend, Barbara, about what’s happening, laughing at the wildness of it all saying that the only problem is about the closing.

“Well, that’s not a problem,” She says. “I’ve got the money in my bank account. I’ll go tomorrow morning and wire it to you.”

“What?!!!” I scream. “Barbara!”

“Sure,” she says in a bright voice. “It’s just sitting there earning no interest given today’s rates. Let me do it.”

“Oh, my god, oh my god, oh, my god, oh my god. Really?!” I am stunned at the outpouring of love and support from my friends.

Before the day is out, another friend, Liz, hearing about all this also offers to loan me money if I need it. For someone who is as alone in the world as I am (or think I am) I feel and am blessed beyond words.

So, my plans change once again. Later that day, the owner accepts a lower price cash deal, saving me beaucoup bucks. Barbara wires money. I move in on March 9.

God is silent. I do not hear, “I told you so,” But I imagine I hear a lot of self-satisfied chuckling.

 

To Be Continued:

WOMEN DON’T GO TO HEAVEN

no girls allowedDoing research for a writing project, I am reading a book called Salem Witch Judge by Eva LaPlante about her ancestor, Samuel Sewall. Years after the trials and executions of innocent people he became the one repentant judge.

In this scene, Samuel is trying to entertain his dying daughter by reading from a book called The British Apollo, a supposedly entertaining tome in which learned men and scientists of London’s Royal Society expound upon pithy questions like: “Is there now, or will there be at the resurrection, any females in Heaven?”

The answer Samuel gleans is No—since there is no need of them there.

I drop my Kindle in my lap, stunned. Golly. I knew it was bad for women in early America—that they banished them from the ministry, clubs, voting, government, and any position of power, but not to allow women in Heaven? That’s a little extreme.

How could men believe such craziness and yet love their wives and daughters?

Hmmm. Well, many religious people today love their pets but do not believe they will go to Heaven either. Maybe those men loved women as kind of talking pets who had no soul, but were handy to wash their clothes, cook, have their children, and take care of them when they were ill.

Right. Men wouldn’t need those services in heaven.

Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. The same kind of sense that allowed men to love their families yet massacre  and enslave other people—because, of course, those other people had no souls. The ability to rationalize and justify crazy beliefs and behavior is not one of mankind’s best features.

I shake my head. Pity those poor old guys hanging out in their womanless Heaven wondering why they’re not having any fun. I read on.

Wisely, Samuel does not read this particular passage to his dying daughter. In fact, he’s a bit perturbed by the thought that his womenfolk would not be joining him in Heaven. So much so that he scours the Bible and finds some references to prove that females might indeed go to heaven. Excitedly, he writes and self-publishes his missive with this proof, but nobody buys it—literally or otherwise.

Well, bless him. I’ll thank him when I see him in Heaven at that special place Goddess has reserved for men who champion women—where there are feasts, games, sex, pets, and lots of laughter.

Ah, how far we have come on earth. Women can own property. Vote. Who knows? Now that we can get into heaven, maybe one of us will even get into the White House.

This blog applies to the Principle of Relaxation which is based in thought.

 

THE BLACK DOG

BLACK DOGYesterday, I slipped into an old kind of exhaustion and crawled into bed. It felt so physical that I didn’t know it was depression. What’s wrong with me?! Am I sick? No! I’m just a mess. I hate myself! In a self-punishing mood I made no attempt to consciously go into my feelings. It didn’t even occur to me to Get Present or phone a friend for help. I even read a book about world history that was so disturbing it plunged me deeper into darkness. Pulling the covers over my head, I tried to hide from what Winston Churchill called The Black Dog.

I had fallen into an old childhood pattern of dealing harshly with my feelings. In the years after my father died when I was 5 1/2 years old (and had mistakenly decided that I had somehow caused his death) I often suffered from depression. My mother didn’t know what to do with me or it, so she would get mad, shake me by the shoulders and yell, “Oh, snap out of it! What’s wrong with you?” So I learned that sadness and depression meant I was severely flawed. Even more upsetting she once said, “Despair is the one unforgivable sin!” Well, that clearly meant that I was doomed to hell.

Years later, Mother confessed that she always hated it when her own mother got the “blues.” Perhaps it scared her as a child. At any rate, she had little tolerance for depression.

This morning, however, I managed to call my “Action Partner” at our appointed time. We connect daily to help one another stay focused on our goals. Ashamed, I said that I had done nothing productive yesterday and had spent the day in bed. “Oh, that’s okay,” she responded. “So you spent a day in bed reading. Big deal.” Her lack of judgment opened me up. I began to cry. I had not shed a tear yesterday. I had shut down without knowing why.

Now I knew why. Yesterday morning I had met with my realtor, lowered the price of my house, and set the date for another open house. After pursuing every possible way to keep my home, I had to accept that it wasn’t financially possible. I must sell it. I thought I was peacefully resigned, but not long after the realtor left, I found myself in bed. I hadn’t even seen the connection.

“Oh, no wonder you’re sad,” my friend said. “You’ve been there for almost 35 years. Your home has been a genuine sanctuary: a place for the Creative Explosion workshops and acting classes.”

She was right. This house has been a shelter for beloved stray animals and people. I have healed so much of myself and written books and plays here. I designed and helped renovate the house itself, carrying wallboard, learning to spackle holes, and paint. I have sewn curtains and furniture covers and loved and cared for my home all these years. Of course I’m sad. Who wouldn’t be?

Then, I remembered years ago going back to Indianapolis to help my 90 year-old mother pack up to move to her lovely retirement home. She sat in her room and didn’t participate. When I asked her about this thing or that, she would wave her hand dismissively, “Pack whatever you want.”

When we left her home of 25 years for the final time, she walked out to the car rigid, erect, silent, and did not look back. She never expressed a word or a feeling about leaving her home. Two weeks later she died suddenly.

It has taken me years to be able to allow myself to be sad. Sometimes, like yesterday, I slip into that old shut-down mode and need someone else to give me the permission to feel. Thanks to my friend’s non-judgment, it took only a moment for me to come back to life and have, as they say, a good cry. The depression caused by judgment and suppression was relieved, and I felt so much better. It is true that to feel is to heal. I was alive again. “Thanks,” I said to my friend. “I’m feelin’ a lot better about feelin’ bad.”

She said, “Hey, that’s a good title for a country western song.” I laughed through my tears. Then, I was able to get up, get dressed, and start stripping the house of even more of my personality and history. The crystals got packed away. Pictures of my animals, the Dalai Lama, and Hathor got take off the walls. Power shields, magic wands, and dream catchers landed in a closet.

Later I Got Present on the phone with a friend. I was okay. I felt many subtle and different kinds of sensations all over. “It’s like a symphony in my body,” I commented. And then I saw myself sitting in an auditorium watching and listening to an orchestra playing a kind of adagio movement. It was beautiful and sad—very nostalgic. Tears came to my eyes. My Higher Power appeared in the seat on my right. He took my hand and held it in his. There was such love and compassion radiating from it. “You see,” he whispered. “Sadness is nothing to condemn or try to get rid of. It is connected to the heart and to love, and can be very beautiful. It is part of the Symphony of Life.”

Ah yes, a much better way to look at grief. That poor Black Dog needs a lot of love and compassion.

WORRY WART

have a problem? Dont worry

have a problem? Dont worry

I wake at 3 am in the pitch dark to the sound of a torrential downpour. The vision of two lovely couches sitting in a driveway 10 miles away makes me pull the covers over my head. Oh, shit. Those poor couches are going to be soaked. They were covered with tarps, but were sitting on gravel.

My dear friend, Gabi, had brought them down from her sold New Hampshire house along with other furniture. Because her garage became filled, the two small couches had to be left outside. I had arranged for a couple of guys with a truck to bring them here, but they couldn’t do it until Sunday—four days from now.

The sound of the rain through my open window becomes Monsoonish. I fumble for my phone and look at the weather forecast. Days more rain expected.

Oh, god, they’re going to be totally ruined!! I toss in bed, fretting as the clouds piss on the couches unfeelingly.

I complain to The Big Whatever, Why this Niagara of water tonight after days and days of sunshine! I’m becoming more upset and worried. Will I just end up having to take them to a dump? What dump? Will Gabi be mad at me?

Some wiser part of my brain speaks up. Katherine. Take a breath. There will ALWAYS be something to worry about. ALWAYS. Get that?!

 It seems obvious, but I do get it. I could stay awake nights worrying about something: the house, friends with cancer, money, refugees, crazy people with guns, what to do with the fucking couches—there are an infinite number of things to worry about in this world. Always. No matter what degree of seriousness of the problem, one can come up with something to lose sleep over—from cancer to couches.

So, was there anything I could do about the problem at the moment? No. Nothing. I turn over and go back to sleep.

I drive to her house the next day. The couches are wet. I can’t get them to my house before the next three days of rain, so they get left at the end of the driveway sporting a FREE sign. I take Gabi out for Quesadillas and Margueritas. The couches are gone by the time she gets back. Hopefully, they found loving homes and dried out nicely.

I didn’t really need them anyway.

This blog definitely applies to the Principle of RELAXATION!