Thursday, May 22, 2014

"You Don't Need to Feel Like Doing Something To Do It... Bring On theJoy."

This morning I absolutely did not want to take my kids to this parade.  I was in one a total mental funk where I found myself hyper focusing on my own setbacks (yes, I get those--daily).  The thought of trekking both of my kids to the Cinco de Mayo celebration and the People's Joy Parade felt like my idea of a joke. I know I am in the midst of a funk when something that I had been looking forward to all of a sudden feels obligatory and like work.  That is the surest sign of a depressive moment for me. But then I remembered a poem my friend and poet, Mark Chmiel shared on his facebook wall that one of his former students wrote:

"You don't need to feel like doing something to do it."
Courtney Barrett

I'm pretty sure that's true. 
In fact, I have heard this phrase before 
I remember it vividly which is surprising considering...
the voice was a whisper, hushed, shaky yet with conviction
the voice of my sister
"I feel like I can't breathe"...I say...retching, sobbing, willing my heart to stop beating
realizing the hopelessness in that, feeling helplessness, feeling nothing
"You don't need to feel like breathing. You just need to do it. Breathe. Good. Now, just keep doing that."
Breath came along with my broken heart's tenacious beat...even though I didn't feel like doing it
"Eat this."
The nausea was overwhelming. I did not feel like eating
Again the voice...louder this time but cracking and strained like she had to muster up the courage for each word
"You don't need to feel like eating, just chew what's in your mouth and swallow it." 
What did she mean? I wasn't hungry
I notice an orange slice in my mouth
I guess she put it there so I chew the slice of orange 
I guess that's what she meant
It went like this for days...weeks...months...
I didn't feel like
sleeping or being awake
planning a funeral
deciding whether or not he should wear his new glasses
over his closed, lifeless, embalmed, make-up laden eyelids
he needed his glasses mostly to read subtitled movies...which he loved
but did he need them in the casket? 
I digressed because I didn't feel like 
being a widow
recognizing the faces of countless people offering their version of sympathy
I didn't feel like 
leaving my home
my community
my work
I didn't feel like 
recognizing, understanding, discussing my grief
my process
I didn't feel like wading through it
one awful day at a time
But you don't need to feel like doing something to do it
I remember hearing that somewhere

Needless to say, rereading this poem inspired me to push through my mental funkiness, get in my car, go to yoga and took my kids to the People's Joy Parade.  Sure enough, our cups were filled!  Watching people dance, sing, be creative, playing instruments and feeling *no* shame made me so grateful for my own mindfulness meditation that God and I have worked out when I in my funks.  Sometimes I just need to be reminded that even though my thoughts and emotions are lying to me in the present moment, I need my actions to reflect the desires that God has planted in my heart. These moments give birth to memories that i need to keep me pushing through future funky moments (because our low moments, most definitely are not our last).

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