Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Doctor's Orders

First off, go and read this.

I am not kidding you. Just go do it.

Now. Perhaps what follows will make sense.

I slept so late this morning and I am glad.
I am making a wise choice in staying home today and taking care of things right around me. It is not lazy to do that, it is smart. When my house is a mess and I walk across the floor and dirt sticks to my feet, my mind cannot even begin to have a chance at tranquility. I deserve whatever tranquility and peace of mind I can achieve and honestly, if I am a mess in the mind, I am no good to anyone else at all.

Wow. That was hard.

Could I do it? Could I go for two weeks without beating myself up? Without telling myself over and over that I am a fucking waste case who doesn't deserve air and water?

Can I even go for the space of one blog post without doing so?

Do I even realize how deeply ingrained in me it is to think of myself in negative terms? Is that self-hating, to say that?

I don't know. The very fabric of my life is not made up of cotton, as it were, but instead, of fibers and fibers of guilt and shame. Can that be unwoven? I can't even imagine and what would I reweave it all with? What? Where would anything else come from?

Our dear Sister Manning in her post spoke playfully of how we don't need to beat ourselves up because others out there, far more professional, will do it for us. Now that part of the message doesn't resound with me because I AM A PROFESSIONAL AT BEATING MYSELF UP and have been practicing my entire life. Also, I don't really care what others may say or think about me. That, as my darling daughter May says, is not my business.
Besides, no one knows me as well as I know myself, thus allowing me access to places no one else would ever think to go to criticize me.

Here's another thought- the people I let into my life, into my heart, are the people who truly know me and my foibles and who love me despite/for them. Could I not do the same?

Oh Lord. This is all a bit much. In my Mercury-retrograde-state-of-mind, I find that my brain is not working quite right. No, this is not beating myself up. This is just true. See, if I wanted to beat myself up, I'd say, "I'm just an old woman whose brain doesn't work any more. Also, I'm not very smart and a terrible writer to boot."
There's a difference.

And here's another thing to think about- if I did not spend my every waking and dreaming hour beating myself up, would I then have to do something positive? If I think positively, must action follow?

Well, baby steps. I am going to think about this a lot today as I go for my walk, as I sweep and mop some floors, as I GO INTO MY OFFICE TO WRITE. Also, when I begin to have a thought which is less than kind about myself, I am going to stop, examine it, and then try to let it go. Sort of a living, thinking meditation.

Look, if you can do Power Yoga, you can do a living, thinking meditation.

I was listening to a book on tape last week and it described how, during the Jewish New Year, observant Jews go to a body of water and throw bread into it as a symbolic way of getting rid of the sins of the previous year. I thought about this a lot and how one thing the Catholic religion sort of gets right is the way you can go and confess and have your sins forgiven right there on the spot. If you say your rosaries or whatever the priest tells you to do.

Is it possible to do that without ritual? To self-forgive? To believe that the universe forgives? To not concentrate solely on what is wrong within oneself but to put more emphasis on what is right? To maybe not even see ourselves in the context of sin?

Hoo boy. I just don't know. This is making my head explode.

Tell me what you think! Let's figure this shit out, oh my sisters and brothers! Let us, dare I say it? Open our hearts and minds to...ourselves?


Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I like it -- what you say and what the dear doctors says both resonate in me. I had to chuckle, though, that your comment on my blog was a bit negative in that you claimed you hadn't said it as well as I did! I'm calling you on that, because I disagree. :)

  2. F*ck yeah, Ms. Moon!! I'm pumping my fist in the air (right before I stick my head in the freezer).

  3. When I went to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Emory last October, he, of course, talked a lot about compassion. But what smacked me upside my pointy head - me, the longtime Buddhist! - is what he said about having compassion for self. Epiphany! I am very generous in dispensing compassion for others, not so good about giving it to myself. But as HHDL said, you cannot truly have compassion for others if you do not first have it - reallyl have it - for yourself. In effect, you must know - and love - yourself in order to love others. It's a lesson that's as gentle as a caress and as hard and startling as a slap. I am still trying to master this lesson - it may actually be my lifework to do so.

  4. Well Sister Moon, know this--for every negative thought you have about you, one of us has five more positive ones. And Mr. Moon has five hundred. And sweet Owen has five thousand.

    I heart you, Sister Moon. :)

  5. I love both the posts, doctor's orders are being taken to heart. We are our own worst critics, aren't we? Another wonderful blogger, Robin Thomas calls her inner negative voice the Great Critic. Great post here:
    Anyway, I know these old habits die hard. I keep hearing Todd Rundgren in my head, How can I change the world if I can't change myself? It is so very hard to find the simplest compassion and kindness we'd show a stranger when it's ourselves that need them. I never did learn to self soothe, let alone love. I'm trying to learn.
    I'm going to keep playing Jill Scott's song until it sinks in.

  6. When you don't use thoughts they go away. Years ago some one dear to me was killed very young and I was a mess. A kind person gave me this explanation of healing from the terrible thoughts of what had happened--Something on your mind when you go to sleep will be on your mind when you wake up. But one day you'll realize at noon you didn't wake up thinking about it. On reflection, because you didn't go to sleep thinking about it. Keep the good thoughts--it's a good start. When you don't use bad thoughts they truly leave. I know it works; I hope I've explained it well enough. What a great post to find from your good doctor.

  7. Oh. Yeah. I can hate myself so easily. I love most everyone with wild abandon. I even have grace for some of the most awful people in society but don't extend that to myself. I can do this today. (Thanks for the reminder.) Maybe I need to post signs around the house to remind for all the tomorrows to come.

  8. It's unbelievable how hard it is to shut up one's inner critic. It's like a groove. Once it is cut out, the needle keeps going back into it...
    I think that Owen might have a life without an inner critic thanks to the love you give him. I don't know what to say to you, but I know for sure that Owen is lucky to have you as his grandmaw.

  9. Elizabeth- NO! I said, I would judge myself but instead, would let the professionals do it! We are sisters, aren't we? Somehow we are.

    silverfinofhope- Better the freezer than the damn oven.

    Kati- Okay. First you are my resident astrological guru and now my resident Buddhist. HOW MUCH MORE CAN I LOVE YOU?
    But seriously, yes, this could take a lifetime. And then (sigh) probably a few more.

    gradydoctor- And seeing the way Owen operates with absolutely no self doubt, much less, self-hatred, is such a lesson. Thank-you for writing what you wrote today. You may have changed many lives.

    Mel- I will go read that. Lord. How do we change the channel?

    Joanne- I know that to be true and yet find it so hard to accomplish. Thanks, as always, for reading, for commenting.

    Birdie- Same-same here, baby. Same-same.

    Photocat- That groove is deep! The needle seeks it again and again. And I'll tell you this- if I could prevent that happening for one human being, my life would be worth it.

  10. The first person that I made amends to was me. I have beaten myself up for decades, since a young kid. I am kinder with myself now. I realize that the whip is still in my head ready to strike a blow, but I can disarm and lay it down. Yes, self-forgiveness is entirely possible and is being done by a lot of people I know. Allowing myself to not feel guilt or worrying whether I am doing enough--all are part of forgiving myself.

  11. There is a line of clothing that has positive, life affirming statements on the tags so you see them when you put them on.

    What if we created our own self affirming rituals on par with bread on the water, confessionals, alter calls? What if you made your own ritual--say a rosary to yourself. And if you have to fake it until you believe it then that is what you do until it comes true? Then you can set it all aside and do your day.

    Emerson said that we should live each day and be through with it when we crash at night. Or something like that.

    Please remind me of that and ask me why I am up this late writing to you and pondering the unfinished business of the day. Bus-i-ness. busy-ness.

    peace and a quite mind.....

  12. This is the way I see it.George Harrison and The Beatles were right: Everything is just the way it is supposed to be. Therefore, I can't help but be who I am and do the things I do. So why hate on myself for being what I can't help but be? Where's the sense? Why be mad at anybody else for doing what they do either (except for George W. Bush--we can still be mad at him--he is exempt from the laws of the Beatles/Universe. I will die pissed off at him).

    I'm okay, you're okay, toots. OKAY? No really, OKAY?

    I think you're great. Stop beating up on my dear friend. I love her, goddammit.



Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.