Holiday greetings! I hope you and your loved ones are well and enjoying life as this year comes to a close.
And what a year it’s been. I keep thinking things will get easier, but not so in my life—and it seems not so in the world either. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the people killed in the Club Q shooting last weekend. My heart is raw from this latest massacre motivated by hate and ignorance.
There are so many things happening that are way out of our control. When I feel helpless, I remember that sometimes the only thing I can do is grieve, and then try to find a peaceful place within, connect to the light within and without, and send my love and prayers out into the world with a long, slow exhale.
This fall was an extra tough one for me, which is why I’ve been out of touch. A lot of life stuff happened that was out of my control, and it messed with my brain and knocked me off balance, so much so that I lost my mind for a day—literally!
It’s a long story for another time, but in a nutshell, I ended up in the ER overnight at the end of September with transient global amnesia (TGA). My mind literally checked out for seven hours.
Too much stress and anxiety! And a mind that wouldn’t stop chattering at me. Since I’ve been back (I’m so grateful for the word “transient” in the diagnosis!), pushing myself beyond my limits is no longer an option.
I have always had a whole lot of energy and I’m pretty darned efficient, which for someone who runs a nonprofit and is also starting new programs (and caring for my 95-year-old mom among other personal stuff), it means that my mind never stops thinking about all I need to do, should do immediately, haven’t done, wish I could get to … you get the idea! Too much chatter. And this fall not even my meditation practice helped. I was over the edge—and this time I fell.
After the incident, I was blessed to find a scribble in one of my notebooks with a recommendation to read The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer. The book has been incredibly helpful as I do the work of letting go—and we’re talking big time letting go being demanded of me. When I get tense or start worrying about work, I can immediately feel pain in my temples, which scares me and makes me think I’m going to lose my mind again. (The good news is it’s rare for TGA to reoccur, but it’s keeping me on my spiritual toes!)
What helped me from the first part of the book was the reminder to stay conscious of how much my mind chatters—which this fall was all day and nearly every night! It’s wild how simply remaining conscious can stop the chatter in the moment. And in that moment I can remember that I'm just a little creature spinning through space on this beautiful planet, and that none of the "doing" stuff really matters—it's the love I experience and soaking in the beauty all around me that gives my life meaning.
“You will come to see that the mind talks all the time because you gave it a job to do. You use it as a protection mechanism, a form of defense. Ultimately, it makes you feel more secure. As long as that’s what you want, you will be forced to constantly use your mind to buffer yourself from life, instead of living it. This world is unfolding and really has very little to do with you or your thoughts. It was here long before you came, and it will be here long after you leave. In the name of attempting to hold the world together, you’re really just trying to hold yourself together.”
I highly recommend reading The Untethered Soul. As with all recommendations, take what works for you and leave the rest. Some of the tools I learned from the book have been key in helping my stay grounded and open, way less fearful, and filled with a whole lot more peace and joy.
On that note, I wish you great joy, peace, and many delicious flavors this holiday weekend. And I hope you’ll join me in sending your love and prayers out to those in the world who are experiencing pain and loss.
All my love,