Friday, December 28, 2007

My Blog Day, Part II

by Cathy Whitman

So! As soon as I have the big picture epiphany, and really start to take a hard look at my life and stop controlling everyone else's, the stress of all that I had created in my little kingdom made me really ill. Like, so sick I can't get out of bed, and probably need surgery, ill. It is amazing what stress can do to one's body. It is amazing what one's body can do to itself. More amazing is what we can do to ourselves without even a fleeting thought.

Once I fine-tuned in the big picture I was horrified at where I really was in my life, especially since I had so totally convinced myself that my life couldn't get much better--couldn't be much more perfect. Ahhhhh, the power of denial, almost as strong a force as that warm, soft, gooey, fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. You can focus on the flavor and textures on your tongue and not even think about the 2 pounds of lard it will add to your ass. (We'll deal with it later because nothing is as sweet as this.)

It's funny what happens when you are forced to stay in bed for days at a time. First off, I was absolutely amazed to find that the world, and everyone around me, could carry on without me. This seemed completely strange, because when I wasn't sick, everyone sure needed a whole lot of stuff.

Also, you have a real lot of time to think. Of course you start with obsessing because you can't control everything, and there is so much to control out there, and the whole world is just falling apart. Then you find out it's not.

In my case, I read. I have a grossly oversized collection of books that I have hauled around for years, because you know, I’m going to read them some day (mostly self help, because I need that so badly). Not like I would have ever listened to a zillion years of expensive therapy I had, that pretty much could have fixed everything.

Nope, that would have been too easy.

Except, I decided that I wasn't going to read any of those, and picked a book that is the rage right now: a novel; and yes, my idol, Oprah, has it on her list; and for 3 days of incredible pain I was lost in it. I love how you can get lost in someone's words--I am so grateful for it. Literally this book was my life, right down to the writer's sister having my name and her love of her life is the same as my love and every feeling and thought seemed to be coming out of my head.

What I discovered has changed me, and will eventually change my life. As the saying goes, you can only be sure of 2 things, death and taxes--very true. But, there is one more: You can only control you. You can only control your very own thoughts and they will control your whole life. They have the power to ruin you and actually make you so sick you could die. But the most beautiful part is that your thoughts can also allow you the power to have the freedom you have always searched for.

I think everyone knows this. It is just the "actually doing it" part that is almost impossible for so many, because it really is so easy that it seems too easy. The first thing I had to do was realize that all that stuff I was holding on to was killing me. Literally. Why was I holding on to it anyways? What good was it doing me? Oh, wow! Check out these negative thoughts and bad memories that are making me sick and controlling my life! Yes, let's keep doing this because I sure LOVE being sick and miserable all the time! And then I thought about how the people around me saw me, and had to live with these thoughts, and how I lived my life because of it--actually, how I didn’t live my life because of it--and it was pretty easy to let it all go.

And then I did the most freeing thing I have ever done for myself, and that is to forgive myself.

I have spent years wanting some type of recognition for being the good daughter, or the talented artist, or the softest heart, whatever, anything, just throw me a bone--and never got it. I shaped my whole life around that. I let everyone else's crap define the person that I was, and the thoughts I was going to have, and you know what--they were completely wrong! I have forgiven them, and I have forgiven myself and I have let it all go, because I am the only one who knows me, and I am a good me, who wants good happy thoughts and I deserve this!

Now, I'm not that simple to think that bad thoughts or feelings aren’t going to creep in again--they will. But just now I chose the word "simple" instead of "stupid" in that last sentence, because I am not stupid and who is going to be gentle with me if I can't be with myself. So when the bad thoughts seep in, I feel them, know them, because they are so familiar, but then I remind myself that that was the old me and let them go. Not push them away, not try to bury them, but let them go, till they visit again. I am "new me," with strong, positive thoughts; happy thoughts, like how very much I love my Seester and am grateful she is in my life. I would be less of a person without her.

Thoughts like how blessed I am by all the gifts God has given me. How wonderful all my friends and family are, and how beautiful a rainbow is! And let's not forget that wonderful warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie. I love chocolate chip cookies! I have a list a thousand pages long of great thoughts and things I am grateful for and I refuse to let old bad feelings or memories cloud them any longer.

How your day goes and how your life develops is all up to you. Let go of anything, any thought, and any person who is destructive in your pursuit of happiness. It really is as simple as saying that I refuse to let that thought ruin my day, and replace it with something good.


Blogger Molly said...

This was lovely. Thank you.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous donald said...

glad that you have found some inner peace, and especially glad that you and sara have such a wonderful relationship! not always seeing eye to eye, but always respecting the others right to be and think differently. if more people thought that way, wouldn't the world be a nicer place!

10:52 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

what the hell book was it??

see, for me, my most wonderful seester, it's about having the power yourself. God is a nice idea, but I really wish you'd own your own power for once.

Not about God. it's about you.

9:46 PM  
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