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Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Tail"

Sometimes I see a word for the week and think “I know just what to do for that one!” – and then my mind won’t cooperate.  I saw “tail” and I thought about white tailed deer nearly going extinct around 1900.  Canadian geese were almost extinct then too, but both species made it back from the brink with flying colors.  It’s hard to find a place in Ohio where you can’t step in green goose poop now and deer are in everybody’s back yard eating gardens and trees.  I made a peacock tail feather in marker, photo, and ImageReady even though it has nothing to do with anything I’ve been thinking about and isn’t really a program that I like working in.  It's like I'm punishing myself through art.
  
I try to write about happy things, but sometimes life interferes.  Ranting about it doesn't do anybody any good, including me – but it also doesn’t do me any good when someone says “just get over it!”.  Maybe stewing is the best possible thing to do when faced with insoluble problems?  Perhaps stewing helps me discover new solutions?

In a nutshell… I had a job quite a while ago where I was abused in a multitude of ways by multiple people.  After years of trying to put that behind me, I saw one of those people a couple months ago, and then another this weekend.  These sightings brought up old feelings.  My jaw is clenched, and I can’t just will myself to unclench it because as soon as I put it out of my mind my jaw is tight again.  Just wishing away feelings doesn’t make them go away.  I can’t trick myself out of thinking about it.  I’ll dream about it.  I’ll draw peacocks instead of deer.
  
I understand I can’t get justice in an old, abusive situation.  I understand my internal combustion only injures me.  I recognize that I can’t “just let it go”, and I’m not alone with this kind of thing.  How many of us hang onto old hurts without being able to change what’s already happened?

My friend runs a hypnosis school.  In one of his lessons he said, “Go back to the first time you felt something.  See that first situation in a new way, and all the following instances that made you feel like that will fall down like a line of dominoes.”  I was a test subject for his class, and they took me back to a moment I never would’ve thought still existed in my memories.  It was liberating.  I’m searching for another liberating moment because I don’t want to waste any more of my life thinking about crappy people from the past.

In a way, all we are is our memories.  Past events made us who we are now.  I’ve had wonderful bosses and horrible bosses.  They all taught me, even if some of those lessons only seem to cause hurt when I think of them.  All we can do is take the best out of every situation we live, but I really do wish I could figure out how to “just let it go” when I think of the crappy moments.

Sometimes I think I have everything I need to live my life.  Whatever talent and assets I’ve been given helps me deal with the situations I need to face.  I think that’s true for all of us.  We get different positives to deal with our different negatives.  We just need to trust that it all balances in the final count.

I took a walk with my brother this summer.  The deer are so plentiful and tame they barely care about me taking pictures.  Since the light was fading, they aren’t the best photos, but it was a pleasant time in the park.  Score one positive when I’m thinking of negatives.

What do you do when you are faced with a ghost from the past and bad memories?

16 comments:

  1. Ran across this quote the other day. It seems to be about our choice of how we let things control us. I would think that would apply to memories... "What is essential is to see that one is confused and not try to escape from it, not try to find explanations for it; be passively, choicelessly, aware. And then you will see that quite a different action springs from that passive awareness, because if you make an effort to clarify the state of confusion, what you create will still be confused. But, if you are aware of yourself, choicelessly, passively aware, then that confusion unfolds and fades away." Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. V,359

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  2. Awesome quote Rand. I'll try to work on that!

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  3. A very thoughtful post today Linda. I think everyone has their own coping strategies for these feelings. I have learnt never let bad experiences from the past cloud today. Working in the nhs I see so many lives cut short by illness that as long as I am breathing I count my blessings. Also to me feelings are just feelings but I appreciate that is just me. Enjoy the deer ;-) x

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  4. I agree with Rand and Krishnamurti. I try to look at it mindfully, trying not to judge and see what new perspective is possible. Obviously one can change the past by looking at it differently. It is the repetitiveness of bad thoughts that makes it all worse.

    Good post, Linda, and your peacock feather is beautiful and so are the deer.

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  5. We saw deer lying down on a walk recently. And that is a rare sight. Oh God. I have so many ghosts from the past I wouldn't know where to begin. On a lighter note "tail" was as easy as pie for a theme. Almost everything I paint has a tail!

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  6. Repetitve thinking is a good thing if you can spend your time repeating good things. I'm trying to practice that a lot this year. Wishing everyone happy thoughts. Thanks for the comments!

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  7. When bad memories come to mind, I've learned a few techniques. I take a deep breath and come back to the present. I say 'so what?' to myself. 'Just memories now. No power to hurt me unless I dwell on them'. I imagine a visual of a

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  8. Tough subject, my dear…and in my experience, the work of a lifetime. The best help I've found is "You Can't Afford The Luxury Of A Negative Thought: A Book for People with Any Life-Threatening Illness--Including Life" by Peter McWilliams and John-Roger. It's an easy, no-nonsense read that I revisit over and over, and always helps me let stuff go…

    You've heard that quote, "What don't kill me makes me strong"? Anger is at the top of the list. It can be a difficult practice to work with it, because most of us tend to think that anger is our #1 defense, when in fact it only hurts us...

    I'm confidant you will find your way through it though this thorny issue, Linda. :-)

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  9. There aren't really any good and simple solutions to "get rid of" old ghosts and bad memory. As you say, it's just not enough to say; get over it. On the contrary I think we might be better off accepting the feelings they awake. It's a way to not get rid of them, but not to burdening us in the present. Any way I totally agree with you: All we can do is take the best out of every situation we live. I wish you all the best.

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  10. Thanks for the book recommendation. Lately it seems like I try to be positive for all the people around me instead of for myself, but in a way it helps me stay positive for myself too. Also, I'm too busy lately for real pity parties about anything. Thanks for the comments!

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  11. I have trouble letting things like that go, too, so while I can't offer any advice, know that you are not alone. Love the peacock tail feather, by the way! They popped up in my post this week, too!

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  12. Thanks Mit! Maybe some day we'll all figure out how to rise above it all? Until then, maybe we should start making voodoo dolls? :)

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  13. I sometimes wonder, "Can we really change?" In other words, are we stuck with whatever temperament and emotional dispositions we're born with? I believe we can "act" differently when we are taught to do so or if we choose to, but are we still the same internally?

    I say this because we seem to struggle with the same pattern of issues; at least, I do. But, thank God for maturity, wisdom, and even hormones that can play tricks on us, but can also help us with lessening the overreacting that was once strong.

    Does that make sense? :)

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