The Two-by-Fours, Part One: Frustration

Alchemy 2[This will make more sense if you read the Prelude, here.]

Like everyone, now and then on my soul’s journey through this lifetime, I get “stuck” along the way. The Guides will nudge me when they notice I’m having a hard time moving. I try to stay aware of these gentle hints, because if I don’t, they get stronger.

It’s those “opportunities for learning” that keep showing up again and again in our lives, until we finally “get” it, whatever the lesson may be. If we don’t get the message, each time the “opportunity” arises, it’s more uncomfortable than the last.

My Guides object strongly to the idea of life consisting of any kind of “lesson,” and to the idea that there’s any “punishment” involved. It’s all a matter of choice and consequence.

I agree, and I understand that. However, to us mortals enduring some of those “moments of choice” and the repercussions of our choices, it can sure feel like punishment!

My latest experience with this phenomenon has been painful. In this case, I knew what the choices were, and thought I understood the consequences. But the Guides—in particular my mother, I think—wanted to ramp up my awareness of the importance of my choice. Here’s what happened:

Over the last couple of years, I have gotten myself over-committed to my volunteer efforts at the Ranch (and other places). I’ve known this for months, and have often commented in my journals about how little time was left for journaling, meditation, and getting my message out into the world. I complained to myself, but didn’t really do much about it other than whine.

In addition, I’m one of those folks who makes it very easy for other people to take advantage of me. I’m so bad about it that it often seems like I give them no other choice, because of my insistence on being helpful. And so, naturally enough, I end up doing things that other people by rights should be doing, and taking responsibility for things that I have no business being responsible for. If I have a genuine enthusiasm for the project, it’s even worse.

I know this, and I knew (or thought I did) the consequences of my choice to “make myself indispensable” to others. I kept telling myself about it, and promising myself to quit doing it; but I never really changed anything.

Two weeks ago I had an extraordinarily busy and frustrating day here in my office, working steadily from early morning until evening trying to catch up on Ranch business. There are millions of tiny details to keep track of, 30+ students to manage; and it’s all made more difficult because I’m trying to work remotely, with much of the information residing at another location.

So the frustration was understandable, and the deadline of the first day of classes at the Ranch was real. By the time I finished for the day, it felt like I’d been drug through a knothole backwards.

I got to bed really late, and lay there for a while, unable to sleep. Finally I picked up my cell phone (yes, sad to say, I sleep with it) and started the recorder.

“If I’m feeling put-upon again, it’s my own fault. I do have too much to do, but that’s mostly because I insist on taking on more and more stuff.

“And of course, Grandmother [my Guide] asks, as she always does, ‘How do you feel?’ I know the things that make me feel like crap. As to why those things happen, it occurs to me that I’m an enabler. I make it easy for people to take advantage of me—in fact, I almost force them to do it….

“I need to start taking time off. There are some things that I can’t abandon responsibility for, but I need to come to some agreement with myself, and then stick to it. I need to really think about my part in engineering these situations where I end up feeling so crappy. I need to realize that it’s my responsibility to make time, and to take time, for myself.”

Well and good. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring out an action plan.

Then, just as I got snuggled up again, my cat Little Bear came over to lick my neck. It’s a ritual we have, and he’s polite about it—he only does it when he knows I’m awake. I love that he wants to do it, but it’s not very pleasant for me because of his claws. He tries to keep them sheathed, but doesn’t usually succeed. As I always do, I let him do it anyway.

The Bear finally left and I rolled over.

At that instant, the pain jabbed me in the tongue. I froze in horror, and it stabbed me again. Awful—I was terrified and anguished.

For the next hour I struggled to gather up my emotions and move above them, if that’s the right term—acknowledging the pain and terror and disappointment, and comforting that part of myself while at the same time relaxing my body.

But somehow I managed it, thank goodness, and eventually went to sleep. But then when I got up in the morning, I was terribly, terribly dizzy—could just barely stand without crashing down again, listing to the right.

That scared me as much as the pain: both of these are my mother’s ailments—two of her “designer diseases.” After the doctors got her trigeminal neuralgia fixed, Mom developed an intractable vertigo so bad that for several years she couldn’t do much of anything. Mastering my terror somehow, I went back to sleep, and by the time I got up an hour later, the dizziness was pretty much gone.

The night’s events sure got my attention! And over the next few days, I lived in dread of the next stab of pain. Thank goodness, it didn’t happen often, and has gradually subsided again. But because of the attention I paid to those spikes, I was able to notice that they happened when I started to tense up and get frustrated.

Aha! Some useful information there.

I couldn’t help but wonder, though: Why now? Why the pain again? And especially, why the dizziness? My mother’s ailments, showing up together in such a dramatic way! I was left with the sense of my mother’s presence, and of her strong desire to get a message through to her hard-headed kid.

Mom’s life wasn’t a happy one, by and large. She spent most of it watching others and molding her own behavior to their expectations or demands. Is this the message?

It’s really made me think. I am running out of time, in a sense, to get a grip on myself—I’m nearly 62 now. And I’ve been promising myself I’d make changes; but not with any dedication…. I’m aware of what needs to happen, and now, apparently, it’s time to implement those changes. “Or else.”

Not “or else,” no matter how it feels to me. Again, it’s a choice, not a test or a lesson or a judgment or a punishment of any kind. Just a choice, and choices have consequences.

So I got that part of the message, I think…but the Guides were not finished with me….

8 thoughts on “The Two-by-Fours, Part One: Frustration

  1. […] All this will make more sense in the next post, here. […]

  2. kdivasilver says:

    and then? and then? Oh yes, so many messages we get, from ourselves, from others, from the Guides, about imbalances in our lives. They often involve pain of one sort or another, it seems–because it’s the best way to get our attention.

    The Little Bear allegory is curious. What do YOU make of it?!

    • Honestly, I’m not sure yet! I got the “letting him do it anyway, just because HE wanted to,” but as I posted it I started to wonder about the claws, too. Stay tuned for the next part and maybe you can help me figure it out!

  3. kdivasilver says:

    I think the line, “As I always do, I let him do it anyway” is telling and part of the story. Sort of like he has his claws into you, even when he’s trying not to. Or are those your claws, trying to latch onto others to prove your value? What’s really behind always offering to help everyone, hmm?

  4. […] [The first entry in this series is here, the second one is here.] […]

  5. […] This post is the fourth in a series. "Prelude: Pain" is here, "Frustration" is here, and "Invitation to Rethink" is […]

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