As of late, say since the last grocery, school, church, hospital, parade… massacres and murders I have not been able to focus or follow through with plans very well. My mind and heart were riddled with pain and despair.
I wanted to do things! But I really did not have the energy. I if nothing else, I know myself well and know that if I overextend, I can keep up for a while and even seem energized but then will crash and become depressed for an extended time period. So I have been calm and stalwart of intent and dedication and scrutinizing my options to bridge my belief in and encouragement of women working in legacy projects and justice projects. For me these are interconnected, but I tend to see everything as interdependent and I have learned, via many hard earned scrapes and bumps, that not everyone does so.
As best as I can tell, the things I’m concerned about in rotating primacy are:
These were all in the forefront of my mind with the slightest nudge until mid-July. What I needed to be focused on were my workbooks, memoir, and courses. But I was easily distracted.
I broke out of this cycle of negative focus by going on vacation and seeing friends of many decades and visiting my daughter and her husband in California. These acts alone were not enough by themselves to to free me from the negatives spiraling around in my brain. State of the world was not enough, solely, to explain my unfocused nature. Vacation with wine and beautiful beaches, allowed me enough down-time to get in touch with my real thoughts and feelings.
Resolution in two other areas helped me get a handle conscious living.
An Aged Pet’s Death
I had to help my sweet 19-yr-old apple-headed Siamese kitty move on from this life. Until she passed, at home, attended by a hospice vet, I had not allowed myself to note the energy I gave to caring for her. Working from home I had the freedom to give her water every half hour, administer subcutaneous fluids twice a week, hand feed her treats, and cuddle her whenever she wanted to snuggle.
Even positive awareness draws from one’s energy. I do not like the phrase “saps energy.” Every living moment organizes energy. We determine through routine, or decision, what we do. Rarely is anything imposed on us. All actions are negotiated to some extent. Focus is choice. I focused on a little creature who loved to cuddle and purr when other cuddling options were closed to me. But when she left this life, I did not feel a vacuum, I miss her, but I did not need to fill a void. I simply recognized that I could more productively redirect my awareness to things other than missing her. Remembering almost two decades of her soft snuggles nudged me toward energetic awareness that was closer to appreciation than profound grief. Others feel this way too though it took me a while to an article that was not entirely focused on grief but also on appreciation, happy memories, and shared experiences.
I noticed I was walking more slowly, but with consciousness of each step. I was not rushing to check on her, fill her bowls, give her a few minutes of loving attention. The energy I had used to rush around was redirected to replenishing me in a healthy way. Each step I took channeled positive energy through my body and actions.
Death of a Rapist
There were other adjustments happening this summer as well. I had a burden that I did not know I still carried, but it floated away a couple months ago. Some of you have read my account of the forcible loss of my virginity through rape when I was 15. I no longer believe in the concept of virginity; this understanding helped me understand that I am and was always whole. While I had made as much peace as I could with the past trauma by understanding, through therapy, that a child is not in control of situations involving adults, particularly deranged, manipulative, narcissists. I reframed the hell out of events, including being exploited by another man, a so-called helper who supposedly “counseled” me as I attempted to heal from the trauma of rape, and put these vile beings out of my conscious mind as much as I could. I however did occasionally search out mentions of these men on the internet. I wanted to find out they were dead, but I did not really understand why I wanted this as there was not much emotion attached to this desire. I eventually found out where these men lived, so as to decrease the already minuscule chance I would ever run into these creeps. Late this spring I found the obituary of the rapist. I was not surprised that I did not have an immediate emotional response. It took several more weeks for me to realize that I had simply severed or rearranged several neural connections, no more and no less. The emotions had been worked through long ago. But I did realize a couple of things.
- I did not have to watch for him in crowds nor avoid driving through areas connected to where he lived. When I think of this, a deep relaxing breath comes to me, as though I am exhaling after holding my breath for a very long time.
- I know that he cannot hurt anyone else. That is comforting. I believe I may have felt guilty about my not attempting to prosecute him. In my mind, this lack of talking to law officials enabled him to assault other girls. Even though the statute of limitations would not have allowed me to bring charges by the time I realized it wasn’t my fault, I did I feel guilty. I had not thought about potentially enabling him in assaults that happened after me, at least not on a conscious level. But soon after processing that he was dead, I found I could smile, not about his being dead, I didn’t care about him in life or death, but about knowing he would hurt no one ever again. I was even able to drive by the exits to the area where he lived and know I could stop for gas or pick up a soda on a recent road trip and not run into him.
Concern, that I had not acknowledged, was no longer of concern. It is impossible to know how much “subconscious” energy it took to maintain my wariness associated with my concerns; but I feel lighter, less troubled now.
I am exploring how unconscious sadness or fear might be taking up brain space. I am sure there are release mechanisms other than death of evil-doers I could learn. I need to research this. So far the FBI actually has the most useful coping with victimization article I have found, but for now, I am just happy that I am able to focus on my Women’s Legacy Project.
I will unify my actions and channel my energies into passion projects. Maybe I will even find out how to address a small part of the huge problems like gun violence, climate change, voting rights, personal agency, and religious zealotry.