Moments of Zen

This is one of the most interesting times in my life, at least as far as my mental state goes. Why so interesting? Oddly enough, it’s because I’m not in a tizzy about anything. It’s not because my life has suddenly turned out to be like I imagined adulthood would be as a child, where you go to work, come home and do hobbies, enjoy a meal with your loving spouse, and sleep soundly, knowing you have the money to pay all your bills. Nope, that’s not it.

Little things just make me happy these days, like my peace and trees corner (shh, they are not Christmas decorations).

Rather, as I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, it seems as if all the things I have been working on to become my best self have taken effect, at least for the most part. Like what, you ask?

First, I had to accept myself the way I am. I’m human, with some issues that led me to develop some habits and tendencies that might bug people (let’s see, over-reacting to perceived criticism, crying when confronted angrily, problems with being “yelled at” or picked on, sarcasm, coming across as “looking down” at people…whatever). It’s weird, once I convinced myself that it was okay to be who I am, so many of those behaviors lessened. I haven’t cried in AGES other than when totally appropriate (death of people and dogs I love, mainly).

I think I’ve mentioned before that practicing positive self talk finally worked, and even my background thoughts have turned more positive. I hear, “I feel good today,” “I’m doing a good job,” and such, rather than thoughts about sadness and depression and inadequacy. I’m adequate. How about that?

Living in the moment lets me enjoy the deer family in my own neighborhood, the lovely view over the neighbor’s sunken house, and the knowledge that a cold front is coming.

Second, I’ve had to internalize what I’ve been old over and over again by friends and therapists, which is that other people’s opinions of me don’t define me. I spent WAY too much of my life trying to please every authority figure who wandered into my life (see, my dad wasn’t perfect…I somehow came to believe that since I couldn’t be pretty, I had to earn his love by being smart and well behaved). I tried to be what my teachers wanted me to be, my friends expected me to be, same deal for professors, bosses, spouses, children, etc. If I found out I’d disappointed someone, I’d be devastated and very, very hard on myself.

While consciously, I’m going well, my tarot cards and my dreams remind me it’s hard to let go. The kid yells at me in my dreams most nights.

I’m glad the internal locus of control (or whatever is going on) kicked in during the last couple of years, since it’s been tested pretty hard this year. I seem to have done something to upset my older son so much that he won’t talk to me, and has informed me he will talk when he’s ready (the only words he’s spoken to me since January). As you can imagine, it was pretty darned tempting to beat myself up on a daily basis, call myself a failure as a parent, and so on. But, that actually didn’t last too long at all. I’m sad about it, but realize that it’s his choice to do the silent treatment rather than work things out, and perhaps I’m not the only one making mistakes. I’ve come to a rather neutral point of view about this, which has kept me able to function.

The third skill I’ve finally gotten a better grip on is the ability to live in the moment, which much of my life I associated with being able to really enjoy washing the dishes rather than just hurrying through it to get to something more interesting. I’ve studied meditation, Zen, other forms of Buddhism, and other ways of becoming more centered on where I am NOW, and it’s kicked in, only recently.

On the other hand, you can enjoy the good memories.

I find that I’m finally ridding myself of two of my most annoying traits (to me): dwelling on mistakes I’ve made in the past, and worrying about what might happen in the future. It had to really, really sink in that while I can learn from the past, I don’t need to analyze it every minute of the day and miss what’s actually happening. And I had to get it through my psyche that “pre-worrying” doesn’t change a darned thing and also makes me miss what’s happening now. Of course I can make plans (and should), but going over and over possible consequences of my many options is not helpful.

So, here I am in my moment of Zen, as they say on the Daily Show. My new skills wax and wane, but at least I have them! The best result is that I can look at the changes and possibilities in my work and personal life and be interested, but not overwhelmed with worry. Whatever happens, I’ll deal with it and see what new opportunities arise.

I still enjoy a bargain. We got this table at Pier 1 for 75% off the original price. Score.

Who IS this woman and where did Suna go?

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

5 thoughts on “Moments of Zen”

  1. So happy for you, that you’ve come to this state of self awareness. Change what you can and let go of what you can’t. Don’t try to be perfect – nobody is. We all have good points and bad. Seek to keep these in balance. Stop and smell the roses, life is too short to obsess on petty details. As for your son’s decision – that’s his loss. He’ll realize it eventually. I know it hurts, but you must be strong, and DON’T think it’s something you did. He may have taken a good intension, as an intrusion. He’ll have to figure that out. Eventually you’ll both come together again and things will balance out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all YOUR help with this! I’ve got my mind functioning well, but my body keeps doing stuff like eye twitches to remind me of what I’ve internalized.


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