Struggle and Confusion

I have been having a very hard time for the last couple of weeks.  I got Stephen Jenkinson’s book Die Wise, and have been reading it slowly.  A lot of thought-provoking ideas.  I think I started to go down when I got to the chapter about when the death phobia started, and left us without elders or examples or even stories to help us negotiate the rocky terrain of dying.  He says it started with agriculture, and the empires that grew out of the surpluses that agriculture produces.  That’s a long time ago.  I was left with a feeling of despair: how can we repair a gap that big?

I stopped reading Die Wise, and turned to the book about life between lives, and how we sometimes plan to suffer intensely in order to learn an important lesson that we are determined to get.

My 3rd cup of tea writing on September 4 gives a sense of the struggle and confusion of this time period.  I don’t understand my feelings, I don’t know where they are coming from, I’m having real difficulty getting things into words, which this passage shows very well:

3rd cup.  Woke up feeling sad and feeling worse now.  There was an Upworthy on how recycling isn’t working.  China is not buying our plastic any more, so even though we wash it out carefully, and put it in the right container, it ends up in the ocean.  “… this old bay has ended with the giving… we all live downstream.”

Upworthy often sends me an email with stories of interest to people who are progressive, positive stories and concerns.

“This old bay…” is from a Magpie song about Chesapeake Bay.

The Soul’s Gift speaks of a grassroots raising of consciousness.  I suppose that will be a good thing, even if we destroy our planet.  I just read about a case where a man was the caretaker for his disabled wife, — Mrs. Cardinal — who was no longer the woman he had married.  He needed to learn how to be with her with compassion.  I see that one of the things I’m learning with Eleanor is how to help her without hurting myself, how to accept that I can’t make it all OK for her.

Your Soul’s Gift is a book about how we plan this life before we come into a body.

“Mrs. Cardinal” — a female cardinal landed on my bird feeder pole, which to me indicates that there is something important about what I was saying.

In my efforts to care for my friend Eleanor, whose life is very difficult, I often do more than I really have the resources for.  She actually works very hard to make sure I take care of myself.

My heart is hurting. What does my tender heart have to say? I can’t make it OK for everyone! I can’t save the planet! Cries of real anguish that I can’t live up to this expectation. Who is expecting me to do this impossible task? My ego, who wants to look good, to be successful, to accomplish? The idealistic activist who is scared, angry, passionate — there’s also a belief that I have to do it myself.

On the other hand, there’s the one I discovered this morning, who acts entitled, who dumped out the soy milk that “doesn’t taste right,” who refuses to wear clothes she’s not comfortable in. I feel guilty about behaving this way. But I can’t make myself do it differently. I can see that the “right” soy milk is important because it’s one of the things that makes me feel safe. But I can’t find a good reason for the other entitled behaviors. It’s getting easier to wear “inappropriate” clothing to dinner. Buying new clothes is hard — it’s not just the money, tho that is part of it, it’s that it’s so hard to find things that fit my odd body, and things that fit and are comfortable. Also, I hate shopping. having to look at my ugly self in the mirror.

These two paragraphs are a good example of my confusion, my unsuccessful attempts to figure it out.  I simply don’t know what to do.

“… the waste, the rubble of the dream…”

Also from Magpie’s song about Chesapeake Bay.

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