Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mindfulness Monday: Witches and Water Slides


I think I was a witch in a past life. Or, maybe, my ancestors were Italian witches, practitioners of Stregheria, and it's been passed on through the generations to me. Or maybe the witchcraft comes from the English/Scotch-Irish side of me. I've always known I feel a connection to the earth and nature, but today I realized the depth of that connection.

While I was mowing the lawn, I got very emotional about moving. I don't feel particularly connected to my house, but every tree, rose bush, buckthorn, tiger lily and iris all have meaning to me. The flowers, bushes and trees (the ones that actually continue to grow) are my family's history. When we moved out here, there was nothing but prairie and cactus. Now, there's the rosebush (among others -- I love roses) that was my first ever Mother's Day present; the tree that we had the sandbox under when the boys were toddlers; the tiger lily I planted as a seed, and then kept trying to pull out because I thought it was a weed. It stubbornly refused to go away and now is a beautiful plant; the irises that came from my mom's house just up the hill. You get the idea.

Plus, the parts of Wyoming I'm going to miss are going to be the outdoor parts--the call of meadowlarks, the swaying grasses of the prairie, the smell of pine trees blowing in from the west, hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Eastern Nebraska is very different. I'm going to try to focus on making new mindful memories of the world around me, once I'm moved, and find the beauty in a new place. I need to remind myself to not be judgmental, but to allow myself to experience the differences with openness and curiosity.

And move as many plants with me as I can!

Water Slides

Saturday we had a going a way party for the boys at the newly renovated municipal pool. (I am happy to report that people actually attended, and fun was had by all.)

A little backstory is necessary before I continue the story. I am constantly telling my kids that they need to not let their fears get to them. They need to try new things, and try to overcome the things that scare them.

Typical parent stuff, right?

Keeping that in mind, I must admit that I am claustrophobic, and it seems to be getting worse as I get older. When I wrote those claustrophobia scenes in Finding Meara, they were from personal experience. It doesn't help that I have dreams I'm buried alive or stuck in little boxes (ie. coffins.) Earlier this year I needed an MRI and had a minor freak out in the tube when I sensed the closest part of the tube pass over my face on the way through so they could MRI my lower back.

Well, part of the renovations were two new water slides. Our side of the pool was supposed to utilize the blue slide. It sounded like fun, and I talked my youngest into going down the slide with me (for some reason I didn't feel I could just go by myself.) We got to the top, and I looked into the mouth of the slide, and saw a very dark, very small, very long tube and went, "Nope."

I tried to talk myself into it, but the fear overcame me and, since all the kids went before me and I had no one to try to impress, I told the lifeguard I had claustrophobia to save face and went back down the stairs.

Once I was back in the pool, I started to feel more and more awful. What kind of a parent was I, if I let the slide (aka my fear) win? I'd totally lost all credibility I'd had about teaching my kids how to deal with their fears. I told my husband what I'd done, and that I felt like I really needed to go try again. He agreed with me, and said he'd go with me. (Awww, isn't he a sweetie. He also teased me all the way there...)

At the top, I nervously talked non-stop to my husband, detailing to him my plan for how to actually go down the slide this time and not chicken out. As I approached the tube the second time, I utilized mindful awareness to turn off my amygdala (the emotional center of our brains) and noticed how blue the slide was and listened to the rushing sound the water made at the mouth of the slide. Then, before I could get afraid again, I jumped in the tube, closed my eyes and pushed off.

I can only imagine how silly I looked at the bottom of the slide. Because my eyes were closed, I wasn't sure I'd reached the end, and so sat there for a moment to see if I'd move any more. When I opened my eyes, I saw that the same lifeguard who had been at the top the time I'd ditched out was now at the bottom of the slide. I gave him a big smile, raised my hands triumphantly in the air and said, "I did it!"

He was nice enough to cheer for me.

What makes you emotional, lately?
Have you ever conquered a fear? Do you have any advice?


  1. That's awesome! Good for you. My daughter is nervous around slides. She seems to be okay if she's on a tube, but doesn't like going down big slides on her butt. (Well, if she's with me, she'd be okay, but some places don't allow that.)

    That's interesting about your attachment to the plants and nature. I would be more attached to the house (and the memories with it). Maybe that's cause I'm not a good plant person--I accidentally kill things off--like even cacti. :)

  2. Oh my goodness! Good for you with the slide and MRI. I never was very claustrophobic, apart from the slightly uncomfortable twinge, but going thru the radiation and having my head locked down to the table in a mask, made the MRIs feel like a walk in the park! It helped for me to meditate thru the procedures, but I can't see myself meditating thru a water park slide! So congratulations to you and, even if he teases, I bet hubby's a total keeper. :D Witches, yes, I can relate. This last weekend I drove to the interior to visit my daughter and, on the way back, stopped mid rain and thunder storm to pick some wild sage to make a bundle for smudging. Lovely and harmless self care and home care. I hope you do get to take all the plants you can with you. I have done several times and, among other things, saved then from the wrecking ball in a couple houses. Construction is just so rampant in this darn expensive city, that my million dollar house, should I sell it, will be bought by a developer, knocked down and two million dollar homes, (a duplex), would be built on this lot, destroying the garden, so, should I sell, the garden comes with me! Come to think of it, the house as well I think. Moving a historic house like this craftsman costs about 200K, so pretty good odds I'll keep it and plonk it down on a lovely organic farm somewhere in my dreams. :D


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