Sunday was a breakdown and breakthrough day for many of us here in Chatham, MA. Like it or not, doing “the work” of self-transformation requires periods of grief, pulling away from others plus the tears, shouts and relationship missteps that often accompany transitions.
Of course, my “work” is to reflect on my own evolution and, perhaps, Bradley’s (he doesn’t type). When it comes to Beth, our hosts or friends we meet – their stories are their own to tell.
Suffice to say, though, I noticed something about myself, yesterday. When I start caring for others too much, I slip into caretaker mode. This is when I don a figurative nurse’s cap and make my purpose helping another person instead of myself. While this may be kind and generous, it can also be a distraction from “the work” of self-transformation. It’s altogether too easy for me to hide in helping mode.
So, my breakthrough yesterday was to stay with me, to allow someone else to heal thyself, doctor. This is a radical shift away from codependency where my sense of self-worth can get wrapped up in another person’s work. It’s a hard one because I am wired to teach/help and it’s part of my profession. But I’m learning!
On a less psychological level, yesterday featured a visit to Bob’s old homestead where his brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Mary, live in a beautiful home. Their place sits next to a pond where Beth could swim with Linda and another new friend, Kayla.
Bob, Mark and I floated on very comfortable rafts talking about everything from their mom’s frugality during their childhood (Carnation Instant Milk and re-using paper towels) to chatting about their resident red-tailed hawks and singing some Bob Marley and Bobby McFerrin.
Here’s a little song I wrote, You might want ti sing it note for note: don’t worry; be happy!
The evening was delicious on many levels. Refreshed from our outdoor showers, we enjoyed good, simple healthy food and an evening of music. Mary turned us on to some great tunes I had never heard delivered with a soulful voice. While she played, I enjoyed the role of second guitarist (a backup position I enjoy and rarely play). Later, Beth and I sang selections from Create Without Caution (Leave a Little Room for Jesus, Shopping Spree, Wide Open Road and Leave Your Heart Open). It was fun to dig into those with great relish and be with Bob, a great supporter of my art, in front of me.
Bradley had a great evening, too. Mark and Mary’s lawn, the one that sweeps down towards the pond, was the perfect place for he and Miles, the family dog, to run and play.
Even though I’m trying to not be codependent, part of my joy was seeing Beth swim, Bob enjoy the music, Linda laugh, Mary bask in our musical collaboration and Mark thrill to show us their awesome RV. I was and am very happy.
Sometimes great nights begin with difficult days.