WOW! what a ride!

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All about me: What it means for me to be an enneagram type 4

Enneagram is a typology that points to character types in the human personality. For me, it is way of engaging with my habits of mind..the on-going filtration system that limits how I perceive life, and often, how I predictably respond or react to it. To have this knowledge as a tool allows me, many times, to by-pass triggers instead of being trip-wired into reaction, i.e., screaming and throwing my dress over my head.

These are some of the keys to my type 4 self:

  • Melancholy- this mood gets a bad rap by some of the other points on the enneagram- (especially those that don’t deal with emotionality.) Melancholy is not depression, although it can become pervasive if there isn’t a witness around. One can get into investigating one’s navel, caught in nostalgia! The up side of melancholy is tolerance for a certain kind of soulfulness that can become the food for creativity.
  • Envy-what a bitch. Envy is such a trap! When captured by the envy monster everything is about comparison and not-good-enough. It is that somebody else has “it”, somebody else is “it.” What can occur is a narrowing of choices and living in a box instead of from my heart. The opposite of envy: being happy for another’s successes. Some days I am very good at this… and other days I say the right words and send others good wishes and inside I am eaten up by what (I think) I am not, and what I perceive they are. It is the most extreme version of self-abandonment.
  • Authenticity versus specialness-As a 4, I live to be authentic. Within the desire for authenticity, the focus can turn on a thin dime into wanting to be special, wanting to be seen, to be recognized. The good news is at age 63, I feel more seen by myself than I ever have before. That does not stop me from asking my dear friends, “Am I okay like this?” How funny.
  • Deep connection with the emotional and compassion- Good news: I can listen to difficult things-i.e conversations about partners breaking up, parents and/or children dying, suicide, confusion, intensity, as well as what’s going on in your life that might need insight. I can focus, and more than that, I
      want

    to hear what you are going through… I want to connect to you through that information, to serve.

  • Self-castigation- This is a hard one for my friends to bear. This feeling is harder for me to tolerate or to figure out how to turn it off, or even acknowledge it. It is so old, so much a part of my landscape, that it slips in the door unnoticed and uninvited until well into the second chapter and verse of how I screwed up the class, workshop, conversation with a friend,or the phone company. It is hard for my husband to hear, because he knows how long the whip gets. It often follows a huge success, and tempers how well I can receive criticism. It is the 4 o’clock in the morning demon. Goddamn it!
  • What is missing- 200 people ( literally) show up for my party and I am aware of who is not there. Don’t they love me? Am I not worthy? Did I do something wrong?
  • Abandonment- Hard to talk about. In the worst, darkest part of my unworthiness, is the fear of abandonment. I can feel that fear. It defined my relationship with my mother. She held the threat of disowning me over my head like the sword of Damocles. She turned emotionally cold to me when I married. My writing about this incident is pure 4-ness. Someone else might say: “Screw her. You are a grown woman…You don’t need your mother to tell you who you are and who you can marry…” And there I am, 4 years old, with my nose pressed against the glass looking in at what I am missing. Painful in a way that only 4’s can appreciate.
And so, with all these filters, within these defining characteristics of the 4 are also my greatest opportunities for freedom. I am not my enneagram type. Despite tendencies toward self-centeredness, I am bigger than that. I am essence. I am love, art, dance, music, friendship, generosity, curiosity, and cooking a good meal now and then.
May all beings be well.
May all beings be happy and free from pain and fear.
May all being know their true nature.

Getting older sucks for real

A year ago, September 2010, I started an exercise program called CrossFit. One attends the gym for about 20-30 minutes, 3 times a week minimum, and run through a gauntlet of exercises which resemble early tortures by Savonarola, designed to made you fit…

for instance:

Box jumps: Jumping up on a box from the floor. A bunch of times.

Burpees: squat thrust,  jump back to plank, push up, jump back to squat, jump up! The exclamation point is to let you know it is really, really, exciting!

Push press: pushing a bar bell over your head. No explanation.

Kettleballs: its bad. Swing that weighted puppy from between your legs to over your head. Whistle Dixie.

Wall balls: start in a squat. Throw a medicine ball up unto the wall and catch in a squat! More exclamations.

And the regular stuff: pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, walking on fire.

Sometimes the torture has instructions:

*do as many as you can for 20 minutes

*do ascending rep groups of three things until the medics come or

*run 5k, etc.

All of this was pretty exciting for me. I have resisted hardcore exercise most of my life. What I do like to do is swim, walking is great, hiking is okay, biking is great (not uphill) and dancing is the best. So, clearly, I am not a jock.

But I entertained the thought that I could do this program and so on into the fray… after a couple of weeks I noticed that I was firming up.

Wow, okay, good!  After age 40 my body seemed destined by gravity to begin to gently fall. For example: facial skin (whatever it is that your neck does to make you look like a turkey,)  breasts,  and finally, last but not least, the ass. And what is it that happens with skin around our knees??? Whatever it is, it is not part of what makes the vanity monster happy.

Yes, I was on my way into toning, firming, and becoming part of the “fit-over-fifty” club.

The endorphins kicked in and I get excited about seeing my eyeballs bug out of my head while a sucking in as much air as I can manage for my 20 minute blast off. Whoopee! That feels so good..especially, when I stop.

The love affair with extreme exercise lasted 2 months.

On the destined day the menu was:

21, 15 and 9 reps of push-presses and pull-ups (I did use an elasto-band to bounce off the floor.)

BANG! SCREECH! RIP! something in my body said: NO FRICKING WAY!

And my left arm froze.

Okay, don’t panic. I know how to take care of myself. Ice, ibuprofen, massage, more ice, OW OW OW. After  weeks of chronic pain I begin to worry. I can’t lift my left arm over my head without real tears coming to my eyes. I can’t snap my bra in the back. I can’t use my left arm! I have 2 TaKeTiNa workshops and a half-dozen drum classes left in my fall series. Can I drum? Is this the end of my career as a drum teacher? Of course, given the situation, my dress is starting to rise inexorably over my head. Got through the series alive and hurting.

In Mid-January, Terrance and I left for 6 weeks in Bali. Arm is still hurting, mood is grey, imagining the worst. Any movement can produce big pain. Pain over time is depressing. And in the big picture only have a small amount of acute and chronic pain… . Nevertheless, it is my pain and am having a personal relationship with it.

Bali is lovely… warm and humid. One of my first forays is to a Balinese healer. He really got into my shoulder and Bali-rolfed it. He said it would be okay and for me not to worry (!)  Gave me a lotion to rub on it and exercises to do. I started to swim in the pool at our guest house and by week 3 in Bali could do a crawl type stroke. The water mitigated the pain and the warmth of the air helped.

We returned to Seattle and the longest onset to spring in the history of the NorthWet (according to the old timers.) The damp cold settled into those muscles and any kind of progress halted. And so depression came back to bite, chew, and swallow.

Good news: I found help.

When you have been in the alternative healing modality scene long enough, you know when you have found the right match…the person who reads your situation correctly AND also devises the right treatment protocol, AND has the right skills to execute the plan.

I found the right combo in a pair of people! A man and woman acupuncturist(s).. and the only problem?

Had to travel over 3 hours round-trip for treatment (including a ferry crossing.)

What is time when it comes to healing? Nothing… As I began to get relief from pain, and the anxiety around the pain, I would have traveled further. Once pain begins to leave, you don’t remember it. You don’t remember the worry, depression, anxiety, and limitations you felt. I feel myself, I feel normal, and even better, with on-going acupuncture, I began to feel stronger! Invincible! Resilient! Sexy! Exclamatory! Thank gods and goddesses for the needles, for my acupuncturists.  Thank you body, for the slow and steady building of strength and chi!  Thanks to all and everything for having guided me where I needed to go to continue….aging with grace.

Beats the alternative.

Why is my dress over my head.

It’s like this.

I am a creative being and I am sometimes a little neurotic.

One does not mean the other.

No, its just that in my case the brilliance which can flow through, and the insecurity which comes in the night, live in the same person.

Interesting.

Those that know and love me (including when being in a limbic state) call this moment: “the-dress-over-my-head-screaming” syndrome.

Rx:  Coat with love and reassurance and remind  that all is okay over and over again.

So, this is the name of this blog. Meaning this: this blog is to share how I see,  feel, sense, and sometimes think in response to the world.

In other words, it’s all about me.

Welcome to my world.