Friday, March 29, 2013

A Tale of Two Freakouts


My brother called to tell me my mom's white cell blood counts had been abnormally low for two years and her doctor was finally sending her to the tumor institute for testing.

Leukemia or Lupus, I thought, to myself.  Probably a vitamin deficiency, I said to her.

Leukemia or Lupus, for sure, I thought to myself.

And I had a big old crying jag and freakout and E. calmed me down.

Familiar sequence of events.

But here's the weird thing:  as it was happening, there was also just the tiniest bit of awareness that I was grieving over the worst path, but that the worst path wasn't the path, and also, if it was, this wasn't the way I had to react.  I could feel other things about it.

I didn't listen to that awareness.  Not at all.  But then when it turned out, a few weeks later, that in fact my mom doesn't have leukemia or lupus, I wasn't surprised, either.  Don't get me wrong--she has a mountain of other health challenges she's facing.  She feels locked in to her situation in all sort of ways. All that is real.  But I feel a peace about all of that, as if that is all going to work itself out somehow.  The leukemia-and-lupus-loop didn't feel real.  It just felt like an opportunity to be afraid.  And, historically, I never pass up that sort of opportunity.

That is an interesting thing to know about one's self.


I should be hearing any day now about whether or not I get tenure at my university.  I turned my application in in August.  So it's been 8 months.  Generally, I've been able to just let the outcome go.  What else are you going to do?  Stew for 8 months?  Nope.  Instead, I've felt quite free, and maybe a little confident.  And a little, meh, what are you going to do now?  What's done is done.

But then the Board made their decision last Friday, and I know this, and I've been waiting for the notification.  With MUCH impatience.

It's like knowing a bomb is going to go off in the next week or so, but you're not sure when or where.  It could be a bomb full of candy and light and freedom (and a raise) or the other kind of bomb.

But then I ran into my boss and she said the paperwork for tenure applications wasn't ready in time to be considered at the board meeting and now we wouldn't hear until May.

I think one of the worser feelings out there is welling up and crying at work out of frustration or unfairness or a sense of injustice being perpetrated on you when all you do is go about your work and get things done and do your paperwork on time and don't they know there are people on the other side of these decisions and the metrics and the evaluations.

I was very, very upset, and ate 1.5 large brownies and a Artisan Whoopie-Pie and then walked to the health food store and got a big carrot-beet-apple juice to make up for all the fake-o sugar and it wasn't until I walked all the way back up the hill that I could breathe again.

But, same thing.  There was this voice telling me that my boss was wrong and that I could choose not to get all fired up.  The voice was actually pretty strong this time.  I actually had a dialogue with it.  But your boss said, my whiny, fired-up voice mewled.  She can't be wrong about something so important.

I don't know...  the other voice said.  I don't have any proof or anything.  But I'm pretty sure she's wrong.  You could choose not to freak out right now and just wait and see.

Shut up!  I'm freaking out! responded the mewler.

But my boss was wrong.  Or, at least, had received incorrect news herself.  The paperwork went through to the board.  Still waiting to hear, but the paperwork went through.

Here's what Eckhart Tolle has to say:

Happiness is actually quite superficial, whereas peace is deeper. Peace is immune to the polarities of life: the highs and lows, the hots and colds, the so-called goods and so-called bads. This is why peace is so crucial. Nobody goes through life without encountering all these experiences, inspiring or upsetting. When someone close to you dies or you have a health problem or you lose your possessions, you probably can't feel happy. Nobody could. But do you need to feel in absolute despair? Do you need to feel devastated? If you are at peace and connected with that deeper level in you, those kind of emotional extremes don't occur. You'll have a calm that is not affected by whatever happens in the world, because you have an acceptance and understanding of whatever happens in the world.
I think this is it.  I think my "peace" voice was speaking to me in those quieter moments, and I'm very used to ignoring it or arguing with it or whatever, but that somehow it's getting louder and starting to make more sense.  I don't need to feel in absolute despair.  I don't need to feel devastated.  So when I do, it's because I'm ignoring my intuition about what is real.

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