Archive for the ‘emotion’ Category

Hormones, Drama, Raw Edges, & Rambling

I’m really curious as to whether hormone fluctuations attract emotional drama or just magnify what’s been there all along so that it becomes glaringly, blatantly, unignorable.

Really.

I don’t need this.

I need my brain chatter to shut up so my body can sleep at night.

I need the sun to shine today and the temps to warm up. So far today that hasn’t happened.

I need my thoughts to shift from what I perceive to be the current state of affairs to something more along the lines of beautiful non-radioactive oceans and crisp clear mountain air… Some place where my girls and I are goddesses surrounded by people with common sense and emotional stability oozing out of their pores.

I need people in my world to stop fighting and start loving like the Christians they claim to be, because right now, I don’t want whatever it is they have.

I need to understand why I feel responsible and powerless at the same time.

Or maybe I don’t, because then I have to “feel”.

I don’t really want to feel right now. I don’t want to feel responsible. I don’t want to feel powerless. I don’t want to cry.

I don’t want to be silent. I’ve been silent. Yet if I speak, I will hurt feelings and further damage relationships. I don’t want to hurt people.

So I remain silent.

I want this almighty powerful God that everyone says is in control of all things to fix it. I want the people who say God never gives/allows us more than we can handle to be smacked upside the head. There are plenty of good people who get more than their sanity can handle. No amount of prayer or giving it to God can change that.

Crap happens (not my preferred word, but my mom reads this stuff). Good people get hurt. It’s called life. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it sucks. People take on tasks for which they aren’t prepared. Parents get a bad wrap for wanting and expecting (even demanding) the best for their kids. Kids get caught in the middle and labeled spoiled brats by people who don’t know what the hell they are talking about. (Sorry, Mom. I blame the hormones.)

And sadly, in the big game of life, none of it really matters. Not. one. bit.

This is small potatoes.

Yet before you know it, the world of a teenager becomes a huge heavy burden. People she respected and admired six months ago are now bullies to be avoided in her mind. Adults who should know better act like self-centered three year olds mid-tantrum. Instead of asking where it all went wrong and how can we make it right, revenge becomes the reaction of choice.

And another of my goddesses learns that silence is far less painful than finding your voice. And she begins to think, “If only I can make it one more year, I’m outta here.”

Pain and stress change people for the worse.

I don’t like stress. Everyday I see how it ravages our bodies, especially negative stress. It ravages our minds, too. Rational thought flies out the window and our heads crawl painfully far up our arses when stress takes over.

Right now, my body is feeling it. I want to release it, but my hormones are holding on to it like it’s the last piece of chocolate on earth.

I can’t fix this. Speaking up puts me on a “side”. I don’t want to be on a side. I just want it to go away and for everything to be right again. I don’t want to see anyone else get hurt.

I want my kid to be happy, relaxed, and joyful. I want her to get to be a kid.

I want her world to rock again. All of it.

 

Thoughts on the Elderly

Younger generations don’t often recognize the stress and trauma our elders endure when their spouse crosses over. It’s compounded in unbelievable ways when the one who remains behind falls one too many times and the children decide it is time to move them to an assisted care facility. Even when it makes sense, when it’s in the best interest of the elderly for their own safety, the emotional toll is worse than death.

Yesterday, I helped one such sweet lady escape her nice, safe, comfortable prison for a few hours to seek help from an alternative practitioner for the toll this stress had taken on her body. It was an emotional release that was a bit unexpected. She is such a strong woman, who has held it together and put on a happy face for everyone who walks through her door.

I had no idea her wounds were so fresh. I knew her husband had crossed over, but I didn’t realize how recently it had happened. And I didn’t realize how quickly she had been moved out of her home.  I also didn’t realize that I was taking her on her first out-of-town trip since all of this had happened. It was overwhelming.

My heart breaks for her.

To my knowledge, these people are never given appropriate mental health support, only meds to help them sleep through the nightmares and forget how sucky life just got.

And grief counseling for a 90 year old?

Probably not gonna happen.

Oh, and I officially SUCK as a daughter-in-law.

Why is it easier for me to show compassion to someone else’s family than it is my own?

And why do we insist on keeping people alive when they really want to be allowed to go? Nature tends to create multiple opportunities for their escape, yet we believe we are doing them a favor by treating the illness instead of letting it take them.

I just don’t know how I feel about it.

2010: Looking Back So I Can Look Forward

Looking back is not something I typically do. There’s nothing a person can do to change what’s been done, and spending time dwelling on it is pretty much a waste of time.

This year, however, I think it is important for me to look back at the past twelve months so that I can recognize how much has changed and how far I have come, not to mention the many adventures that I experienced this year.

Twenty ten saw me take my first REAL yoga classes.

It was during one of those yogic moments of peaceful reflection that I made the decision to resign my job of 18 years.

That decision and its subsequent public announcement led to an energy shift in my workplace that was nothing short of miraculous. I don’t know who was more relieved, me or my co-workers.

It was the year we decided that maybe building a house at the farm wasn’t the best idea. We realized my in-laws wouldn’t be with us very many more years and that no one else in the family had a desire to live in their house. We couldn’t bear the thought of it sitting empty or being sold. We began to create a vision that involved once again restoring what we had rather than buying brand new.

Twenty ten was the year my sweet man helped move his aging parents to a nursing home. We didn’t realize how quickly our prediction would come to pass.

It was also the year we said “see ya later” to his handsome daddy.  We miss you, Charlie.

I realized this year that keeping forty years worth of mail and magazines is not a good idea.

I learned that while some things aren’t mine to discard, the rest of the family appreciates not having to do as much of it.

This year I figured out that it is possible to simultaneously be mad at my man for something he can’t fix and feel guilty for being mad at him.

I discovered that when meltdowns happen, I don’t really want anyone to fix or analyze the problem. I pretty much just want to be held by my man and allowed to blubber like a moron into total exhaustion.

I also discovered that sorting through 40 years worth of mail can trigger the aforementioned meltdown.

I messaged my dad and told him I’d haunt him in the afterlife if he left all his crap for me to sort through.

Sometimes having an entire week with no massage clients is a blessing to allow one to work on a more important project.

I really need to clean out my crap so my children won’t have to.

This year also saw the ongoing work on my wellness center progress from slightly nicer than trashy (requiring closed doors and plastic sheeting) to something that has become downright adorable.

My massage clientele has grown from about five on January 1, 2010 to about 75 today and from a few sessions a month to multiple sessions a week.

I have a gift. I don’t know what I do differently, and many times I feel very inadequate to help someone, yet people keep telling me I really do make a difference.

2010 was the year I realized how much I need to feel as though I am making a difference.

This year was the first year since 1992 that I have not attended August Staff Development.

I miss my friends.

I don’t miss the beaurocracy and protocol.

Twenty ten was the year I said goodbye to windowless cinderblock and electromagnetic fields.

It’s the year I discovered how amazing it is to give a massage in a thunderstorm.

It’s also the year I learned that the sound of geese flying over head is another sweet background symphony for giving a massage.

This year gave me time to can 100 pounds of apples, oodles of tomatoes, more jalapeños than I will ever need, and even make some apricot jam. I haven’t done that in probably 18 years because I was always back at work by the time the garden was ready.

This year we took our cowgirl to the state horse show, sent her off to horse camp, sent our oldest to Germany for a month, and then moved her to the far corner of New Mexico to go to school.

This year found daughter number two with a drivers license and an appreciation for the freedom even a 12 year old mini-van can bring.

It was the year my baby played on her first club basketball basketball team and decided she could live with an occasional bloody nose.

This was the year I told a man in leadership that I wanted strong female role models in my daughters’ lives.

It has also been the year I’ve had to remind myself that I got what I wished for and that everything else is secondary, even though there is some frustration.

This was the year I gave up on my hybrid car and helped my oldest get her first car.

This was the year I learned to be really really patient with licensing agencies. It took three months, but we finally got my oldest licensed to practice massage therapy in New Mexico without making any state agency enemies. The holdup was one of semantics. Terminology.

It was also the year I was glad my oldest didn’t have a job, because after completely missing Christmas last year due to work and snow, she has been home with us for a whole month. I kinda like having her around.

I hope she never gets a job, but rather finds a way to make a living on her own terms.

This was the year that 85% of my 18 years worth of retirement savings disappeared. In all fairness, it did a lot. It did things that couldn’t have been done if I had continued to work at my former job. It blessed my girls.

This was the year that I finally told my story.

And the year that I released some resentment in exchange for recognizing the gifts.

This year saw me let go of the guilt of “should” and simply enjoy “being”.

I learned that sometimes procrastination simply means the time isn’t yet right.

Twenty ten is the year I learned that there is a big difference between being a Christian and being a disciple of a man named Jesus.

I don’t want to be a Christian.

I want to be  like Jesus.

This year saw my eyes open to the historical origins of the Bible and let go of my blind belief in its divine authorship.

It also saw another major shift in my belief system.

I think I might have been wrong about a few things.

Twenty ten was the year I found some amazing people who are also on a quest for enlightenment and truth: Ronna Detrick, Renae Cobb, Don Rogers, and Chris Ledgerwood to name a few. I am grateful to have made their acquaintance and experienced their encouragement.

It was the year of a broken leg for cowgirl and a broken nose for my mom. Note to both: Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes you get your wish, but with a bit of an inconvenient side effect. Good lesson for me. I wonder if I caught on or if I’ll have to learn that one for myself sometime?

Twenty ten will go down as the year that I took a leap off of a cliff and had to build my wings during the free-fall.

My wings are in place, and now the ascension begins. There’s a pretty good climb ahead, but I have a hunch the view from the top of 2011 is going to be exhilerating.

That’s a big word that means really scary but very much worth it once the mountain is climbed.

Bring it on.

Observations on Love and Romance

The past few weeks have given me ample opportunity to observe the world around me.  It’s provided quite an education, or in some cases a bit of re-education.

It’s been fun to watch my kids, Christmas shoppers, extended family, my sweet man, good friends, movies, and more. However, I think the most intriguing observations have come from watching the many forms of love being played out in different settings.

It’s touching.

It’s frustrating.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s beautiful.

There are a few things I have noticed that I think are important to mention.

Love is a choice. An everyday, wake-up-in-the-morning, get-through-the-day, because-I-want-to-love-you choice. It’s not a feeling that comes and goes. It exists through migraines, black eyes, busted lips, cash-flow-shortfalls, home renovation projects, crappy jobs, and more because we choose each and every moment to love another human being.

There is very little that is more difficult and heartbreaking than watching someone you love more than life itself suffering in pain. It’s true even when the injuries are relatively minor and heal quickly. Watching a child, a parent, or a lover hurt creates an overwhelming urge to throw up. Where’s a magic wand when you need one?

It is entirely possible to be madly, passionately, uncontrollably in love with someone and still want to smack ’em upside the head occasionally. Doesn’t matter if you are 20, 45,  or 70. I’m not advocating the smacking, just acknowledging that the urge occasionally surfaces.

The urge to smack a lover upside the head is usually followed shortly thereafter by an equally overwhelming urge to disappear behind closed doors and “…have a little fun when we turn out the lights…” (my regards to the musical group Alabama).

First romance is adorable. Freakin’ crazy precious adorable….when done right.

Being overly rational where love is concerned can lead to missed opportunity.

Sometimes the first time people meet and fall in love, it’s just too early. Life has a way of bringing things back around full circle. The trick is to trust the process, without waiting on the process. Roll with life. Don’t burn the bridge that will carry you over the canyon.

When the standard of perfection has been set, it’s really a waste of time and emotion to toy with those who don’t meet the standard. Just keep your eyes on the standard and know that when the time is right, it will appear beautifully, romantically, and perfectly. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to sample the menu in small doses to establish a basis for comparison.

It’s important to know the difference between having a standard created by logic and having a standard created by your heart. The heart is way smarter than the brain. The brain tends to mess things up by over thinking. I am grateful to know this lesson first hand and to be the one who listened to my heart when my brain was telling me how stupid I was.

It’s paid off beautifully.

The stronger the reaction (even negative), the more likely it is that there is unfinished business. Recognize it for what it is, and shower it with gratitude rather than attempt to drowned it in an ocean of anger.

There is a window of time in which it is good to be a bit subtle, however, ongoing efforts to be subtle and coy simply mask true feelings. When your heart and soul are already in shreds, the best thing is to be honest. Sometimes that’s all the other person needs is to see you for who you really are. If they run, then so be it.

Never ask a guy what he is thinking. Odds are he’s not. It’s a gift they have.

It’s never a good thing to expect a man to be overly romantic. Often times the ideal image we create is completely incompatible with 24/7 romantic male. Prince Charming arriving to sweep us off our feet is usually in direct opposition to the strong, hard-working, silent type. If he is willing to change a baby diaper, push a vacuum, mow the lawn, fix the toilet, clean the kitchen, cook supper, build a wall,  or feed your animals when it is snowing, that’s the equivalent of being handed a dozen red roses and being swept off your feet. Face it, accept it, be grateful, and recognize the disguise.

And finally, I am so full of gratitude for having survived my journey into love, for having a lover, friend, and companion who is willing to tolerate all my weirdness and quirky behaviors, and for time we have had and the time that remains to spend together. Each moment is priceless. Funny thing…..when I see us in photos, I see how time has changed us. When I look at him face to face, I still see that gorgeously hot 29 year old with the amazing dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes.

As I watch my girls tiptoe into the adventure that is finding love, I am swept back 25 years to that roller coaster that they are now experiencing.

It’s a stomach-turning, hands-in-the-air, scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs thrill ride, but what a rush it is.

What a rush!

Peace on Earth

That’s what Christmas is about, right? Wishing for “Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men”?

But what would it take?

Really.

What would it take to bring peace to this planet?

Praying for peace obviously hasn’t worked. You’d think an Almighty God would be totally and completely into making that one happen.

Oh yeah. “He” gave us  free will. Darn the luck. Guess that means those prayers for peace on earth are pretty much wasted effort.

So what’s another option?

I mean, after all, if the Big Cahuna can’t make it happen (or won’t), that pretty much leaves it all up to us, doesn’t it? So much for an all-powerful God.

At this point we will pause for a minute to allow you to process that logic. Go ahead. Throw out all the “yeah, buts” you can muster. Explain how all is right with the world because God is in control and answers prayers, but that whole Peace on Earth thing is just not in his cards. Be sure to go down the road “God is a God of Love” right to the intersection of “God is a God of War”. Pause on the side of that road at the part where innocent babies suffer from starvation and women can be stoned or hanged in the name of God for opening their mouths (or showing skin for that matter) in public.  It’s okay. I’ll let you work through it.

Try not to lose your religion over it.

Or…..

Maybe that’s what it will take.

Maybe the path John Lennon “Imagined” is exactly what is necessary to finally achieve peace on earth.  Take a moment to listen and watch this. Focus on every single word and phrase. Ask yourself honestly what the world would be like if there was no religion. Set aside the knee-jerk reaction about “no heaven” and “no hell” if only for a moment.

Just ponder the possibilities.

Gives me chills every time I hear it. That’s the energy of the Universe coursing through my veins.

I get it.

Do you?

Special thanks to Christopher Ledgerwood for giving me reason to pause and consider this at a deeper level.

Truth and Terror

I am terrified to tell the truth.

Not average ordinary everyday sorta truth.

My truth. The truth about what I believe at this point in my life. The truth about my faith, my thoughts, and my passions.

It’s just not a popular stance in these parts.

And so, I tip-toe around my truth, throwing nuggets out into the blogosphere, waiting and wondering what type of response I will get with each post. Most comments are supportive, their authors apparently traveling a road similar to mine. A few are challenging, compelled by years of religious training to defend God’s honor and defeat the forces of Satan, which it seems I may have become to them.

There are people about whom I care deeply who seem quite agitated by the road my faith has taken. I think they fear my spiritual destiny will land me in hell for all eternity.

If not me, then my poor un-churched children, for sure.

Yet one of my truths is this: I no longer believe a place called hell actually exists. Neither do a believe in a fallen-angel-evil-spirit named Satan. I truly believe he/it is a creation of those who would lie to the uneducated to enslave their mind, their loyalty, and their money.

That much has been put out there for the world to see.

And it stresses those whose Sundays revolve around fear of spending eternity with the evil one.

But there is so much more. My truth is unfolding on a daily, even hourly basis. There is more to be told. More to be confessed. More to be revealed. More reactions to fear.

More reasons to hold back my truth.

And then an encouraging word from a spiritual mentor arrives in my email…questions prodding me to speak my truth and acknowledge my faith where it is today, boldly, fearlessly.

As I sat at my desk reading the words composed in Ronna Detrick’s newsletter, these words grabbed me and yanked my complacent brain cells back into reality. These words left me once again feeling the passion and fire that begs me to share my truth….my reality.

“Lies were perpetuated; lies that have existed for thousands of years; ones that (we are) asked to bear the weight of. Though not spoken nearly so blatantly, this is what was ultimately being said: A woman only has value when connected to a man, when submissive. A woman is dangerous. A woman should recognize and acknowledge that her gender, through the sin of her forebear Eve, is single-handedly responsible for The Fall and all of humanity’s subsequent separation from Eden, God, and all that is good. No pressure. All lies.

And that is when I realized that I am not wrong. I am not evil. I am not dangerous. I am simply seeking the truth…..telling the truth……accepting reality rather than myth.

There is nothing wrong with myth until it is accepted as absolute truth….as law….and is used to abuse, confine, restrict, and terrorize people in their ignorance.

The truth is, I cannot understand why otherwise rational, skeptical, and even occasionally suspicious people have allowed themselves to accept as legally binding ancient traditions that require suspension of the known laws of nature and common sense. I cannot understand why even I did this for years.

We have adopted traditions and beliefs about a period of time that cannot be corroborated by historical evidence, and in fact in many cases has been shown to be an embellishment by writers with an agenda and an authoritative mandate.

That mandate certainly didn’t come from divine inspiration delivered by an omnipotent God.

The truth is, I would love to see a restoration to the original purposes and intentions  of a human being who lived 2000 years ago whose name is translated into English as Jesus.

The truth is, this thing we have created called Christianity isn’t/wasn’t his doing.

The truth is, we are not inherently sinful, but inherently good. Those ideas of sinfulness were created by men to financially support their temples, their churches, and their religious dynasties by creating fear in the masses and demanding payment for forgiveness of sins. Yes, Jesus hoped to end the insanity, but alas, the old enslaving ideas were re-created using his goodness as justification.

The truth is, we would probably come closer to understanding the teachings of Jesus by studying the teachings of Buddha, not Paul or Moses.

The truth is, the Jesus portrayed in most of the New Testament probably isn’t the Jesus who walked the earth. The Christ of the New Testament was created by men some 100-300 years after the legendary man made his escape from a physical body. I doubt Jesus would even recognize that creation as himself, nor would he approve.

The truth is, resurrection has become a distraction from the true purpose of Jesus’ life and message. We have made it about resurrection and salvation when in fact, it is about imitation and service to others.

…..because believing, accepting, and proselytizing is much easier than giving, doing, and becoming.

The truth is, we are all connected. That “one body” stuff isn’t church talk. We are interconnected like the cells, tissues, organs, and systems that make up the human body. We are parts of a body that is God. God is not something we seek. God is within us. We are God and God is us. When we take care of hungry, homeless families in Honduras, we are sending life-giving blood with it’s oxygen and nutrients to a part of our own body that is suffering.

When we attack each other through wars and abuse, we are nothing more than a cancer or autoimmune disease within the human race.

I am tired of the lies that divide the cells of the body that is the Universe. I am tired of believing the man-made myths that were never intended to be taken as divine truth. I am tired of feeling as though I must either love “The Church” or love people from all walks of life, but not both.

I am tired of persecution and destruction in the name of God. I am tired of being afraid of those who disagree with me.

I want to heal the body (the world) as Jesus did.

This is my truth, terror and all.

My Crazy Funeral Hangups

Our family is working its way through our first funeral process in nine years. It’s the first one ever for me and my husband to be directly involved in as far as decision making.

And I say ME and my husband loosely.

I’m not making any decisions, just an occasional comment or observation for his consideration.

It’s not something at which we are professionals (thank goodness), and it’s not something that comes naturally, especially when MEN are in charge of creating a ceremony designed to both honor the departed according to their wishes for simplicity and allow those remaining to simultaneously release, celebrate, and grieve. THESE men are very practical guys. Not much for ceremony. Their motto has been, “Keep it simple and short.” I actually love that about them, yet the sensor/feeler in me keeps flipping the paranoia switch over to the “what’s everyone else gonna think?” setting.

It’s a fine line….trying to be supportive, mind my own business, and keep my paranoid intuition in check. Not exactly a role I was born to play. If I survive without pissing someone off, I will certainly be deserving of an Oscar nomination.

Red Carpet, here I come.

I am finding, however, that there are certain things that drive me a wee bit crazy. It’s not like that’s a very long trip for me, so please understand, I am not griping or complaining about the kind and well-intentioned actions and messages of others, just noticing my reaction to them and wondering out loud why they annoy me.

First, there are the messages of condolences. It’s sort of like saying happy birthday. There are only so many ways to let someone know how badly it must suck to go through the process of releasing a loved one from this life.

Hmm…I may have to use that next time someone I care about is grieving. “I am so sorry. It really sucks for you to have to go through this.”

I really think most people prefer to give condolences without getting too involved or too emotional. You know….express the concern, yet keep it professional…..CSI style.

“I am sorry for your loss.”

I have watched way too much of that show, because as much as I love the people who have used some version of that line, it sorta makes me crazy. Again, my problem, not theirs, so nobody needs to be offended or apologize. It’s not your job to adjust the thermostat to keep me happy.

I am grateful for your love regardless of how you choose to express it.

Really. I am.

I guess the whole “Sorry for your loss” just sounds too murder-investigation-y for me. Sorta like, “Sucks for you. Glad it’s not me. Keeping a professional distance is the name of the game. Oh, and I need to ask you a few questions. Where were you on the night of the murder?”

Yes, I need psychological help. Is there a doctor in the house?

On the other hand, there have been some beautifully composed messages of condolences. Some of my favorites so far have been these:

“My intention is for comfort and joy.”

“I am so sorry and will pray for peace that surpasses all understanding for your family! Ya’ll are in my prayers.”

“My love and prayers go out to Charles’s family. He was a wonderful man who will truly be missed by all who ever had the pleasure of meeting him. Love you all.

“You are all in my prayers. He was such a sweet man and had a wonderful family too.”

“Wonderful man, wonderful family. God bless you all!”

And even the simple messages that said things like, “Love you,” “Hugs and Prayers,” “Thinking of you all,” and “Thinking of you guys” are so appreciated, whether accompanied with dose of CSI or not. ;-)

I think it’s the personalization that warms my heart. I am grateful for all who take the time to send a message of comfort. I am abundantly grateful for those who add a personal touch or something just a bit different.

It’s beyond cool.

The other thing on my list of minor annoyances is flip-flopping and mind-changing, especially when I sometimes get to be the messenger of what’s NOT going to happen only to be told later that plans have changed and now people are down to 24 hours for planning and prep to be nice to us.

Especially when those people crunched for planning and prep time are the same people who asked five days ago if we wanted them to do something.

And especially when they are people I really care about.

It’s a bit awkward and frustrating to say the least.

I am grateful they are not nearly as shallow and petty as I am.

I am also grateful to be part of a family who loves each other enough to overlook the minor annoyances as just a part of the insanity and stress of the process.

No hurt feelings. No grudges.

Just an abundance of love.

Flexibility is definitely the name of the funeral game.

Annoyed or not, I am truly blessed.

The Call

No matter how prepared you are, words can’t begin to describe the feeling that accompanies a middle of the night phone call with the news.

It’s like a sucker punch to the gut, delivered with a gentle dose of love and relief.

We’ve been waiting on that phone call for quite awhile. I guess if the truth be known, it’s been about five years we’ve been waiting and wondering when the call would come. However, recent days have heightened the intensity and expectation as decisions were made to stop life extending medical interventions and let nature work her spirit-freeing genius.

The call came at about 1:30 am Friday morning. It was the hospital delivering the news we knew would be coming, and had even predicted the likelihood of it being this night. No surprise at all.

No tears. At least not yet. It’s the circle of life, Cox style.

Just a big dose of raw practical gratitude and relief.

Plus that feeling of being lovingly slugged in the stomach.

And the opportunity to pass on the sucker punch to other somewhat prepared, but not bullet-proofed guts.

The Call is actually a game of tag. We were tagged first this time. We then tagged the others. We became their gut-punch of love, relief, and sadness.

Thirty minutes after our phone first rang, we were back in bed planning on a peaceful night’s rest knowing THAT call would never come again.

WRONG.

There are just some things life skills class doesn’t teach you.

Like the fact that there is never just one phone call after a loved one passes.

And the phone calls will come at intervals designed to make sure you will not get that peaceful night’s rest tonight.

2:30 AM: “Would you like to donate his skin for skin grafts?”

Huh? It’s 87 years old and paper thin. Why would you even want it? Not exactly a decision to be made at 2:30 AM by only one of four brothers. Someone should have asked that about 3 days ago during daytime, wide-awake hours.

Another hour passed, our brains began to settle down just a bit, and the fit-full, mind-racing sleep almost overtook us again.

And the phone rang…..again.

It was Steve, the sweet guy who will graciously prepare our loved one for ceremony and burial asking my husband’s permission to begin his work. It never occurred to me that his night would be interrupted, too. However, I did give his precious wife the heads up Thursday evening that I thought Eric’s dad would pass before morning.

And so we are up. Coffee is made. It’s now 3:40 AM. Sleep will have to wait until later this afternoon when our bodies decide to slam us into the relaxing embrace of an easy chair.

Mama said there’d be days like this, but she forgot to mention there’d be a few nights, too.

Adios, Charlie. Give Alex a hug for us. You boys try to stay out of trouble up there, ya hear? Say hi to my Pappy, if you see him. He’ll be the one out hunting rabbits, dove, and pheasant.

Triple Warmer Volleyball Meltdown

Have you seen it?

I know you’ve seen it. Everyone’s seen it. You see it in peewee leagues. You see it on junior high and high school teams. It even occasionally shows up on college and professional teams.

So what is it?

The infamous and toxic triple warmer meltdown.

Say WHAT?

Yep. An honest to goodness, full-blown, crash-and-burn meltdown on the stage of athletic competition.

If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times.

Good kids. Highly talented athletes. Possibly even in the midst of  annihilating another team.

And then they just fall apart.

Totally.

Completely.

Meltdown.

Arses crammed so far up their tushes, extrication would require a Peterbilt tow truck.

No one seems to be able to explain it. The coach appears helpless to stop it. The crowd only seems to make it worse.

What the heck just happened?

It’s all about Energy Systems, Baby, and ours just took a vacation to Abu Dhabi.

There are these very cool rivers of energy in the body. Actually, there are multiple systems of energy, but for our purposes, I’m going to focus on the rivers. If you don’t believe they exist, stop by sometime and I’ll show you in your own body where some of them are and how they affect you.

Most of these rivers of energy, or meridians, have a name that corresponds to an organ system. You may have heard of some of these when listening to an Oriental Medicine guru. They have names like stomach, large intestine, liver, spleen, kidney, heart, and more. Each has a partner and is capable of sharing energy with their partner in a give and take relationship. Occasionally one is a little on the short side or maybe it’s cup runneth over and it has a bit too much energy. When that happens, it affects the body in a variety of ways, none of which are as good as when everything is balanced and running smoothly.

There is one river of energy with a very funny name. It’s the Triple Warmer meridian. My image of triple warmer is of a big brother. It can become quite protective and often times it is the only thing holding the rest of the meridians together when the stress in our lives becomes all-consuming. It’s first source of extra energy happens to be its partner, spleen, which also happens to be associated with the body’s immune system.

Now you are getting the picture.

Too much stress = illness, in part because too much stress = over-charged triple warmer and weakened spleen.

But what does that have to do with athletic performance?

Each of us is wired to respond to stress in a certain way. It has to do with things like left brain/right brain dominance, as well as which hand, eye, ear, and foot we prefer to use in a given situation. When stress kicks in, things start to shut down.

The fight or flight response can kick into high gear.

The muscles down the back of the body tighten up to prepare to run or start swinging punches.

Brain function then moves from the neo-cortex (logic, thinking, organizing, big picture, details) part into the mid-brain whose primary job is to keep us safe.

Not a great place to be hanging out when we need to think clearly, process information, move with grace and athletic prowess, and still be a decent human being.

This is exactly what I see happen in athletic arenas all the time.

I watched it last night as my 12 year old went from smashing volleyballs to shanking things left and right. I saw the moment the shift occurred. The smile left her face. Her shoulders slumped. The energy completely left her body.

Even though she continued to try and make something work, she had given up on her team and she had given up on herself. She felt as though no one had her back. She was simply trying to survive until the torture was over.

Triple warmer was in sixth gear.

Unfortunately while nearly everyone can see what is happening, very few people in the world know how to reverse it and restore balance to an athlete’s system. In some cases, the crowd and the coaches can actually make things worse by putting out energy that is even more stressful and toxic than that produced by the athlete.

Amazing coaches–the legendary ones about whom movies are made–have an incredible talent for calming the triple-warmer stress response. They recognize the meltdown as it begins and have an uncanny ability to halt it and turn things around.

Interestingly enough, anyone can learn how to make the shift happen. Unfortunately most coaches don’t believe they have the time to do what it takes to make stress management a part of their athletic program. As a result, they continue to experience the roller coaster of stress-response performance while some of their most talented athletes struggle to hold things together.

And don’t think for even a second this is limited to athletics.

How often are marriages hanging by a thread because the two parties involved are constantly ready to fight?

How many times are parents defensive when they arrive at school to talk about their child’s issues?

And what child can learn when they arrive in a classroom without their homework only to be thrown into triple warmer hyper-drive by a teacher who unknowingly creates a ton of additional stress?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create champions by simply calming the stress response?

We can.  Stay tuned.

10 Things

1. Coffee without whipped cream out of the spray can just isn’t the same at 5:30 AM on a Saturday.

2. Cats aren’t the only mammals with 9 lives. Apparently some humans have that many, too, and save them for years 80-90.

3. Roller coasters are made of many different substances. In my case the emotional kind seem to be my coaster of choice lately.

4. The unknown really messes with my control freakish planning.

5. It’s fascinating watching practical, laid-back males calmly deal with the circle of life.

6. I now want to bust into songs from The Lion King with a full chorus backing me up.

7. Children were created so that reasonably neat individuals could experience the feeling of being a total complete house-cleaning failure.

8. Maintaining three houses, three kitchens, five bathrooms, and three sets of utility bills isn’t much fun unless at least one of them is either creating significant income or is located somewhere vacation-y. Both would be nice.

9. Vanilla exterior stucco paint needs a trim/accent color other than white. I’m open to suggestions.

10. It’s hard to watch America’s Funniest Videos when I have a kitten/puppy rodeo going on in the living room. I can’t decide which funny show to watch, the videos or the live production.

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