Monday, May 1, 2017

Detaching from Outcomes




During the past twenty-five years, I’ve experienced a range of ailments from minor to major. Probably all of you have too. For myself, my life went merrily on during the first fourteen years of that span. Then Meniere’s Disease demanded entry in May 2006.
Meniere’s, one moment I would be standing upright. The next nanosecond, with no warning, I’d be sprawled on the kitchen floor, with the walls and ceiling spinning round me. I never knew when I’d fall or when the room would start to spin. For nearly a year, I seldom left the house. Mostly I crawled from room to room.
        After an operation on the sac behind the mastoid bone of my left ear, the episodes subsided. I recuperated, but neglected to consider what my body was trying so desperately to teach me. I didn’t explore what I could learn from Meniere’s.
       After recuperating from the operation, I once again began producing hour-by-hour schedules, demanding that I write so much each day, exercise so much, complete a certain number of odd jobs around the house each day.
     The result? Ten more years of ill-health that culminated in a seriously major operation on my back in March of this year.
The time has come for me to examine what my body and the Universe are trying to teach me. To do that I must wander back to what’s been said to me and what’s happened in these last twenty-five years.
     I remember telling a friend that I just couldn’t figure out how to get an agent to represent my writing. Judy said, “Go with the flow. You try to control too much.”
     Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure what going “with the flow” meant. Surely I had to plan. No agent in New York would be muttering, “I need a new client. I’ll stick a straight pin in this map of the United States and that’s where I’ll start searching!” And there I’d be, pinned smack dab in Stillwater, Minnesota!
      I didn’t listen to Judy, but continued to plan and to envision the outcomes of all my planning. In fact, I became totally attached to those outcomes: an agent would be delighted with my writing; I’d be published to rave reviews; the first book would sell 50,000 copies, make $100,000, and enable me to build a four-season porch on the house; an editor would ask for another and then another manuscript to publish; I’d become both rich and famous. (Yes, I admit to that dream, wanting to be famous enough that readers would eagerly await my next book.)
      Several years after Judy’s remark—the one I ignored—I read an article in which the author encouraged readers to dream big, but to resist becoming attached to outcomes. She said that the Universe had much more to give us than our paltry desires.
      She, too, spoke of going with the flow; of entering my dream river and floating downstream to wherever it took me. I liked this image; it spoke to me.
      Here’s the summing up: I’m hoping that while I rest and nap and sleep during these months of recuperation, I will also let go of outcomes and simply embrace what my life is right now. I’m blogging, and that, as a number of you reminded me in your comments last week, is a way of being published.
      I’m also hoping that from all this musing, I’ll learn something truly new. I have no idea what. I only know that I can feel the cracks opening within me—the cracks through which the light will shine through as Leonard Cohen wrote.
      Peace.



26 comments:

  1. Dear Dee!
    I am so glad to see you back!!! You were missed! And Judy was right all along - as much as we want to control things, the Universe has it all planned out already and what has to happen will happen anyways. So it's better to just enjoy life and see what it has to offer!
    I'm sending lots of love and happy thoughts your way! :)

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    1. Dear Baiba, so good to hear from you. I hope all is well. I'm thinking that perhaps you've graduated from college/university or maybe some job came that you just couldn't refuse. I'm eager to go to your blog. Peace.

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  2. I am, too, sending you plenty of love and appreciation for who you are right now, not the sought-after author of your imagination. I have enjoyed your ability to reflect and grow from your setbacks. Health is the most important task for any of us to concentrate on at any point. We know that the death of the body is inevitable, but the spirit grows every day we are alive. Virtual hugs from rainy Bellingham sent your way, Dee. :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, as I recuperate, I'm hoping to begin to delight in the person I am. I seem to have lost some belief in her. The doctor told me that major back surgeries cause patients to become both physically and emotionally imbalanced. And that's how I'm feeling right now. So I'm trying to embrace the present as you, too, are suggesting. And I welcome those virtual hugs! We, too, here in Independence are have rainy days. Peace.

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  3. Going with the flow is a gentler way to live. For ourselves and others. Which has to be a good thing. Hugs.

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    1. Dear Sue, I know you are right. I so like how you said that going with the flow is "a gentler way to live." It's a way to stop being my own taskmaster and to be gracious to myself. Thank you for that. Peace.

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  4. I wish you a speedy, but relaxing, recovery.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Dear Janie, thank you. The doctor is saying six months but I'm feeling better ever day. Tomorrow will be seven weeks! Peace.

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  5. Sometimes having our health ripped from us encourages us to change directions. As you stated, your forced recuperation now can be useful. Nothing wrong with R & R. We followers will never make you rich and famous but know we are here, care and wish you only the best.

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    1. Dear Arkansas Patti, thank you so much for the assurance that all of you who read my blog do care and wish me the best. I want to hold on to that. Peace.

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  6. Be kind to yourself; you're the only "Dee" we have!!

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    1. Dear Fishducky, thank you. Peace.

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  7. Listen to your body and rid yourself of "have to", and enjoy the "want to" for a less stressful life, dear Dee. It is good to be goal oriented, but it is also good to enjoy the moments of joy everyday without being encumbered by tasks we force upon ourselves.

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    1. Dear Arleen, I really am into doing only what I want to do. My body is letting me know what I need and that's lots of rest. I think I've missed a lot of those "moments of joy" in the last couple of years. So I truly am trying to simply be in the present. Thank you for understanding all of this. Peace.

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  8. What debilitating illness is teaching me. Money and fame do not equal happiness or worth. You are a precious soul just being here. Gratitude and love are everything. It is not what you do or even what you create...it is who you are that matters. How you live right now--this day...this moment. Just be. Love and hugs from Fargo. :) :)

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    1. Dear Rita, I do so believe that gratitude is everything. And I'm beginning to not only realize but truly know, deep down, that I have so much for which to be grateful. I am slowly learning to live in the present and in Presence. Peace.

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  9. I hope you'll get feeling better really soon! Love you.

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  10. Yes Cohen also went through very tough times. And frankly fame and wealth bring their own problems that are not going to add to happiness, it is absolute inner peace that can be most profound and life changing. I'm surprised the cats have not managed to show you about going with the flow.
    So happy to hear that you'll allow bloggers to be your audience.

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    1. Dear Heidrun, I'm mostly resting and going with the flow and letting my body tell me what's next. But I am so enjoying blogging again. Peace.

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  11. It amazes me what we learn when we are slammed with illness and damage.

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    1. Dear Susan, yes, it is amazing. I had a life/death experience while in the hospital and it's really stirred up my heart. Peace.

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  12. It's wonderful to realize and then work on what we need to work on in our lives. I was never a dreamer and happy I wasn't because it made me appreciate each little thing in reality more. I work on my patience and my need to worry. Those are my issues and we all have them, but not all of us see that. So, my friend, let the light shine through. I know it will help you so much.

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  13. Dear Inger, like you, I want to work on those aspects of my personality that lead me down the path of discontent with myself. I think the surgery really set me on an introspective course of examining my life. Let's do this together! Peace.

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  14. Going with the flow; something I often resist, Dee. I keep reminding myself that I am not in control of everything.
    I'm so happy that you are slowly recovering and here's to those lights shin in through.

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  15. Dear Penny, the cracking open of my tendency to engage in tunnel vision about my writing is hard, but oh, so necessary. I truly need to let go and let the light enlighten me. Peace.

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