Care and Self-Discovery

The morning starts with anxiety. Probably dad’s but most assuredly mine. Dealing with this whole estate thing makes me want to get mine in order. Right. Now.

The days are fluid right now, more fluid than I am used to dealing with. Captain Anne Rackham loves order out of chaos. I like chaos, but only when I make it. I’ve tried to work some today but it’s been difficult, running between the hospital, the bank, and home for delivery of beds and what not. Between the printouts of medications, letters to the bank, and calling the attorney, I know I’ll sleep well tonight.

Each morning starts with a check-in from two of my favorite men, Doyle and Michael. Doyle is my ground, my anchor, and my true “other.” He gets the mail and remembers to water the plants, checks in to make sure I took my own vitamins and have slept enough. When lightning strikes, Doyle is my lightning rod. Michael checks in with the emotional and spiritual me. He reminds me to be me, to be my authentic self, which is a little woo-woo, tapping into that unseen part of life that keeps us all evolving.

Out of the fires, a Phoenix

Random people from all my various lives have dropped in. I know that everyone is there, consciously swirling around me like fireflies, giving me shining bits of light in the darkness. It’s not really dark, though, not yet. It’s twilight. The leaves are rustling in the hot summer breeze and the fireflies hover just out of reach. I know they are there, and it is a comfort. Every once in a while, one will land and impart some bit of wisdom to me. Yesterday morning, one of them, someone I have not seen in years, dropped me a line. I find her to be her own voice, a woman of wisdom. She said, “For many reasons, you choose to make this journey with your dad. Be sure to let him know it’s your choice, and remind him of the times he was there for you. He’s going to a place of no sin, no sickness, no death. There is no fear, only peace.”

I thought, at the time, he knows this. I don’t need to say it. Huh. My father’s daughter, for sure. When I went back to the hospice care facility, I sat down and just stayed with him in silence. He hovers between sleep and talking, eating, drinking, and more sleep. Just before I left, I held his hand. I spoke the words she had said, not exactly, but in my own way. He didn’t speak to me. He just held my hand and squeezed it a little. It’s the best that he can do and I honor that.

Michael and I talked about that, briefly today, and gave me the advice that I was doing all I was supposed to be doing, and that’s why all the fireflies are there. I think that most of this lesson, right now, is my own willingness to accept help. I am my father’s daughter. Many people are worried that I will go it alone and for many years of my life, I might have. Support was rare. I think I’ve learned enough now not to go it alone. Dad’s situation has taught me that, if nothing else. Going it alone is how his cancer got so advanced without us knowing it. Going it alone is now why he won’t live to 100, which was his goal. Life is a team sport, I said to Michael, and we all make it to the finish line. Me, personally, I just want us all to do it together – my entire team. As a team.

handsAs I was meeting with the doctor today, and looking at his wounds, I was standing at the end of the bed, looking at him. He was surrounded by women fussing over his wounds, making him comfortable. He loved it. He even told them that. Then he looked at me, standing next to the doctor and said, “Kris, we’re going to make a nurse out of you yet…” I chuckled and said “Oh, you think so?” Then I chastised him for getting out of bed and making wounds in the first place. “No more getting out of bed alone, mister.” I wagged my finger at him. The doctor chucked behind me and said “Amen, sister. Listen to her, Len.”

I left today with a smile, because at least he’s coming home where he’s happy. Now, I know, the hard work begins.

More on That

I do my best to stay away from judgments and unsubstantiated rumors. I shun gossip as it has only gotten me into trouble in my life. It’s cost me friends and given me some sleepless nights. I look for a balance in things, in all things, trying to make sure that what I do is even-keeled. When the pendulum swings too far one direction, I know the only way to stop it from swinging the other way in like manner is to just stop the landslide and get off at the next station.

I also love to mix metaphors.

The current state of the world is challenging my judgements and my balance. It seems like it’s doing that for all of us. I am of two minds, literally. I love the chaos, and embrace it. I think this turmoil is necessary for us to be able to shake it all up, put it back together. It’s not one side or the other that has to do the putting back together – it’s all of us. Mind you – I said chaos. I did not say hate, fear, or anarchy of the government-overthrowing kind, I did not say racism, terrorism, or fear mongering. I said chaos. Is it possible to have chaos without these things? Yes, I believe it is, if you keep your mouth shut and just do the shaking up. Many CEOs have done it. Many industries have done it. Have a plan, have some guts, and cause chaos. Change up the way decisions are made, who is in charge of what, or even try the way out idea no one has tried before. Mix pink stripes and green plaid. Chaos can happen in many different ways.

But don’t, ever, mix it with violence, hatred, fear, fanaticism, and lies. That is not chaos. That is just simply wrong – morally, ethically, mentally, spiritually, and physically. These are diseases which need to be healed or eliminated, like the cancer they are. When the balance is out of whack, too much of one or the other, it becomes debilitating – too much love, too much hate. Both are ends of a spectrum, not either or.

Do I believe in all sweetness and light? Hell no. The world is a messy place and work is hard and people suffer. That is humanity. We get out of it by working, fortitude, striving, hoping, building, creating, crying, ordering, breaking apart, and looking up. Chaos is as important as Order. You simply cannot have one without the other. Like love and hate, ends of a spectrum that need respect and balance.

I said “two minds.” The other “mind” you ask? In that combat against hatred, lies, and fanaticism, it’s hard not to associate the chaos with the evil influences. Many people, including some people who share my ideological views, don’t see that. I analyze and look for holes, and I look for connections, for reasons. I’ve been told that evil needs no reason. Bullshit. Evil doesn’t have a consciousness – we give it consciousness and use it for our own ends. And people – people need reasons. They need a reason to get up in the morning and whether you believe it or not, there is a reason deep down about why they do ugly things. Ignorance? Perhaps. Fear? Generally. It’s the insecurities and ignorance that guide our unthinking minds. But it is hard, so very hard to disassociate chaos from evil. We’ve been led to believe that chaos is wrong, as is evil. Ergo, if something is chaotic, it is evil. Far from it.

I know there are those that would disagree with this statement – but I believe chaos is potentiality. The outcomes we ascribe to it may be evil or good, but it is not the act of chaos which is evil. Intent is everything. I once had a teacher who said that “energy follows intention. If you place your intention into something, your energy, and that of others, will follow.” True then, true now. I think of that when people tell me they can do very little to change the tide of current chaos. I again say, bullshit. I do not think that the current mindset took a year to develop. I think it took decades. And I think it will take decades to move back to a center again.

I’m currently reading Civil Disobedience by Thoreau. Thoreau is no wimp, no mindless, haphazard citizen wandering through his days with nary a care in the world. I love Thoreau for his feisty, fiery, straight-to-the-point statements. There’s no introduction in Civil Disobedience, no prologue, no explanation. Thoreau just jumps in, head first, arms flailing, ready to resist. It seems oddly current.

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.

That is the state we find ourselves in, isn’t? I don’t know that Thoreau is actually advocating for chaos. He is, however, advocating for each person to speak their own mind after making their own judgements about what is right and wrong. One thing we do seem to have is a recognition that we should speak truth. The scary thing is that the people in power have a truth that is vastly different than our own. Forget the newspapers and media- listen to their actual speeches and written circulars. Do these legislators actually represent what we feel is right? Or, are we enamored of the fact that they are telling the “truth” as they see it and, much like a terrible fire in a high-rise building, we can’t help by watch the chaos unfold.

What does it take to shape the American, United States American, will? Does it take a cataclysmic event? If things like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Hurricane Maria, a massive earthquake in Mexico, Hurricane Irma, or Stoneman Douglas High School are any indication, they are hardly a blip on our conscience. Does it take leadership and politicians being corrupt and racist, leadership that is directing the course of our lives? Does it take our entertainment industry being thrown on its head by allegations of abuse of women for decades? WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE US MOVE THE NEEDLE? Is this chaos? Of course it is. Is the intention behind it evil? That’s for the individual to decide. It is the events which are chaotic and need to drive change. Forget a single man’s reasoning and look at the larger, systemic problem – whichever problem it might be. What is it going to take for us to get on board and change the lives we’re living – the stone dead day to day lives or the nothing-can-happen-to me lives? None of us is really like everybody else. We need to stop acting like the mob mentality and extreme hatred are okay. We need order and chaos. We need light and dark. We need to stop seeing ourselves as separate from each other, and see ourselves as a shared humanity with individual voices. An individual collective. Not mindless. Not soulless. We are both – individual and collective. What will it take to bring our individuals together to make changes? I wish I had the answer. Until then, I will keep searching. And asking. And posting.

-TDD