Thursday, July 24, 2008

Life and...

If you found out you had a terminal illness and had only a short time left to live, how would your life change? What things would you eliminate from your life, and what things would you focus on?

No, I'm fine. No worries there. But the concept was floating around in my mind this morning, so I played with it a bit. Here's what I discovered—my life as I'm currently living it is out of alignment with how I'd live it if I found out I only had one or two years to live.

If my time were short, this is what I would do:
  • finish my music (finish writing, recording and producing my songs, make a CD or two)
  • get right with God and seriously focus on my spirituality so I'd feel confident about where I'm going in the next stage
  • spend a lot of time enjoying my friends and family, human and otherwise
  • ride my horse frequently on the trails, play with him, progress in our horsemanship as far as we can take it but without worrying about passing Levels (if we do, we do; if we don't, no biggie)
  • make sure all the preparations are in order so I'll be ushered into the next life the way I want to be (sweat pants, Steve Perry t-shirt, socks and slippers, and no underwear because I refuse to have wedgies or wear underwire for all eternity) and to make sure that people get what I want them to have
And that's really about it.

My dreams of world travel seem unimportant, because what is the point of making memories to last a lifetime if my lifetime isn't going to last? Unless they were trips taken with the ones I'm leaving behind, so they can remember for both of us. But suddenly, other than visiting the Holy Land (for obvious reasons) and traveling to be with friends and family, seeing the Taj Mahal, Australia, and Morocco have lost their importance. So have things like weight loss, becoming a rock star (fame/fortune), making lots of money, being perfectly organized, sorting all the chaos, etc.

It's a rather interesting perspective.

Good thing I'm not suffering from a terminal illness, isn't it? Whew!


But wait.

LIFE is terminal.

Forgot that, didn't you?

Doesn't matter if you have a better idea of the possible expiration date stamped on your body or not—we are ALL terminal. Some are, unfortunately, more aware of it than others (and I'm sensitive to that, having lost my Mother to a very aggressive cancer).

So why are we living as if THIS is eternity? I have news for you—it's not. This is merely a blip on the eternal radar. Any one of us reading—or writing—this could be called away at any time, with or without warning.

Doesn't it make more sense to do as Tim McGraw says in his song, and "Live Like You Were Dying?"

Well, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Judgement Calls

A wise man once instructed that when one is teaching horses a new concept, they will often have a sort of break down right before they have a break through. They can become frustrated, panicky and otherwise unmanageable for a brief period—then suddenly, they change, and they "get it".

Refer to my previous post for the break down portion of my own understanding.

The situation has evened out. I nearly wrote that it had gotten "better"—but in light of what I just read and am currently marinating in from Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, the word "better" is not necessarily applicable.

Tolle relates on page 196 the story of a man who experienced events that we would term as fortunate and unfortunate, but the man's response was always "maybe". Such as "Wow, you won a car in the lottery, isn't that great?"


Then he got hit by a drunk driver and wound up in the hospital—terrible, isn't it?


Or maybe not, given what happened next in the story (while in hospital, his house was destroyed in a landslide that would have killed him had he been home).

Then Tolle relates the story about Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti who said his secret is "I don't mind what happens."

We would read that as "I don't care", indicating a lack of interest in a callous way. But now, I read it as not minding—not mentally judging what happens, rather, accepting what IS as it is without judgement. It is being in alignment internally with whatever happens. As Tolle points out, this does not mean we can't take action toward manifesting change; rather,

When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.

A New Earth, p. 199)

Too often, we judge situations as good or bad. We speak often of "blessings in disguise"—is that what they are? Or is it that we misjudged the situation as bad, but after witnessing how it connected to later events that had a more beneficial (again, judging) outcome, we see the benefit of the supposedly "bad" situation?

Is a blessing in disguise merely a misjudged situation?

So the estate has been open a year and a half longer than it "should" have. Bad?


And the house caught fire. Terrible! Right?


Maybe not.

Look at gas prices. The world protests, people are upset at how high they have gotten. It's just awful how expensive it has become to drive a car, hasn't it?

Or has it?

One report says that the percentage of traffic accidents has dropped.

People are becoming, out of necessity, more environmentally aware. They are trading in the SUVs for smaller cars; manufacturers are putting more effort into developing automobiles that can run on alternative energy sources that won't deplete our natural resources or harm the environment.

We are staying home with our families, playing in the back yard, as opposed to flying the kids to a theme park for detached entertainment.

We carpool more or even better, we take public transportation or bike/walk to work.

We are rethinking our priorities.

Not to misjudge the situation, but... doesn't this seem like a positive thing? Perhaps this is the Universe's way of balancing out the imbalances.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Excuses to Run

Tom Volkar had an interesting post today on excuses.

I'm with him on this.

But for me, I was overtaken earlier with the most uncomfortable feeling—I call it the Crawlies. It's a restlessness that can only be described as wanting to rip my skin off and run like hell, far, far away. I've traced it back to feeling extreme pressure from the obligations imposed upon me.

So I went and sat outside in the sunshine for a good hour. (OK, five minutes in the sun, the rest in the shade because I was starting to smoke. Kidding. Kind of.)

I feel calmer now. But still somewhat restless. There are so many obligations. Too many. I have become consumed by them. The past 2.8 years of my life have been about these obligations—the decline and deaths of my parents, the estate settlement, the real estate (three houses: Grandma's which is being sold from the estate, my personal home which is being sold because I no longer live in it, and the parental home that is mortgage-free that I now live in though the deed has yet to be transferred), the "stuff"(parental leavings and my own material chaos), the finances, now the fire at Grandma's and the insurance issues and investigation, the legal issues with regard to the estate...

The endless worry, the hours spent in offices waiting, waiting, waiting... it began with hours in doctor's offices then hours in emergency rooms, then hours in the nursing home, then hours in the lawyer's and the insurance company and the bank... hours of contracts, of negotiations, of arguments with no resolution in sight, and on it has gone from December 2005 to today. At the end of the day I find myself exhausted from the stress that has become my self-definition.

My life, my truth, what defines ME, has become swallowed up by these things, and they are NOT my obligations. They were inherited by me. They were thrust upon me without my permission, and they are obligations that must be seen through to the end, which was supposed to have happened by all accounts months ago and seems to drag into eternity, winding down in increments.

I cannot walk away.


...can I?

I wonder... what would be the worst thing to happen if I did?

If I said to my sister, I have been the active go-to gal for all of the estate-related stuff for 2.8 years—you've been the passive one whose duties include nothing but speaking vetos and stalling and resisting and co-signing checks and demanding equal distribution without coming up with a logical way to make that happen and reminding me constantly of what other estate issue I need to figure out how to solve next, then after handing me the enormous checklist of stuff you've "delegated" to me due to proximity, as an afterthought making the laughable suggestion that it's time for me to look for a job (as if there's time for both—honey, don't you realize, this IS my job?)—

Well, dear sister, how about YOU take over the active role from here on out?

What would you say? I would say, You wanted equality, HERE, you do it for the next 2.8 years and we'll be equal... but what would YOU say?

Would you say, Oh, no, you're doing such a great job, you keep doing it? Would you say, Oh, I can't possibly, because I have a job and therefore am exempt but you, you're still unemployed, you have all the free time necessary to do it? (as if my dreams and desires have no importance at all) Or would you say, Sure, glad to, please go live your own life for a change, you have gone above and beyond and it's my turn now?

Would you be surprised, if you did take over these duties, to discover that there is now no time in your day to devote to your vitally-important day job, that every waking hour manages to be devoured by little errands that shouldn't, in theory, take more than a few minutes but always wind up occupying considerably longer chunks of your day than you ever thought possible?

I mean, how long does it take to close three accounts and transfer the funds into an estate account? Ten minutes, right?

Try an HOUR. One whole hour of my precious life yesterday spent sitting alone in a banker's office while they hunt down signature cards, make calls to corporate to remove the dormancy status, to fill out paperwork... and that's just ONE of the many "little errands" that I'm saddled with as the active executress of this estate. There are dozens of them, and once complete, another dozen crop up to take their place.

But I'm unemployed, so I have nothing better to do with my time, right?

And would you be surprised, dear sister, and just how long it actually takes to sort through, all by yourself, 60 years' worth of accumulated STUFF that has to be distributed and set aside because SOME people might want some of it but they can't come look at it right now because of their all-important jobs and families so just set it somewhere until it's convenient? Would you be surprised at the sheer volume of boxes it can occupy? Would you be surprised by the discontent you feel at being surrounded for months by box upon box of stuff? Never mind sorting your OWN accumulations.

This is what happens when a person with a fairly saturated three-bedroom, one basement, one garage home has to move it all overnight (because of the terminal diagnosis and caretaking needs of another following the death of the spouse) into another three-bedroom, no basement, no garage home that is already saturated with the detritus of TWO people who have lived for more than 80 years each and have kept everything they've acquired along the way in no particular state of logical organization so that whomever winds up with it has to sort through and separate each piece of junk mingled in with the "important" stuff.

Yes, I realize I've succumbed to trading good grammatical sentence structure in favor of a string of horrible run-on sentences, but this is what happens during a stream-of-consciousness rant. Get over it.

What would happen if I just said NO MORE to all of this?

What would happen if I just started chucking stuff, packed up the stuff in the house that's important to ME and only me, and moved to my target city, just all of a sudden? No warning, no explanation? Took a job, dropped this nonsense like a hot potato? Left the detritus behind for someone else to deal with? Pursued my dreams and forgot all about real estate? Allowed my personal house to fall victim to foreclosure if it didn't sell quickly enough to allow me to recoup my costs? Prioritized the activities that lead to MY dreams, MY life, MY happiness? Just let someone else take over?

What's the worst that could happen if I let go of all of this and ran?

Would the world come to an end?


Would nobody else be able to figure this out?

No. Others are just as capable of asking questions and ferreting out information as I am. It helps that I'm in the same city as the estate lawyer, but the estate house that's being sold is 200 miles south of here. The other house I'm selling is 30 miles north of here. I've been handling most of my business long distance, anyway. Certainly someone who is 300 miles from both places (the sister) could handle it just as readily. Certainly if I were 500 miles away in my new home, I could still manage to sell my old house.

What is the worst that could happen? Is my proximity to all of this really THAT necessary? Is it necessary for me to sacrifice my well-being and happiness to fulfill these unwanted obligations?

Maybe it fell to me because my abilities are more geared towards such stuff. Maybe it would fall to ruin if my sister tried to do it. (I have evidence that her abilities are better suited to other things.) But certainly situations such as this have been handled by less-qualified individuals before...

Or perhaps I could still perform my duties at the lowest level possible, despite having relocated?

The downside would be, I'd have a third empty property to worry about, AND I'd have the addition of my new residence elsewhere. I'd be adding a property even if it is a rental unit. I'm already overwhelmed trying to keep up with paying the insurance on three houses, the property taxes on two (though some of it comes from the estate), the utilities on three (basic necessities must be intact like electric/water when selling, plus my personal utilties), and so on. And that's without a job. Living on dwindling savings, waiting for the properties to sell so the estate can wrap up so I can be blessed with the financial windfall that's been earmarked for me for years now and so I can finally be free to get a career going again and be self-sufficient, rebuild my reserves.

My rainy day fund? It rained so hard these past two years that now I'm down to the last drops and there's a drought ahead. It absolutely must improve soon. Every time I try to focus on activities and actions toward my career goals or even a basic job hunt, that damned estate pops up and distracts me and yet another crisis demands my attention until the day is gone.

I need a nap all of a sudden. Maybe running isn't the solution. But... no matter how much I've visualized, set intentions, or prayed, it seems to be taking forever. What I really need to have happen is the elimination of two of the three properties. I don't need to add a fourth, I need to be relieved of two of the three! BE GONE! BE SOLD! Free me!!! LET ME GO!

Then I'll be free to run.