2 Brothers and 1 sister

In late October, my two brothers and I met for a family reunion. The last time we three spent time exclusively together was 17 years ago when my father died. Late January 2011 our mom, the dynastic matrilineal benevolent dictatress, kicked the bucket, crossed over, or died (whichever you prefer to call it). We decided it was time to see what the family configuration looked like without the queen of f!?#ing everything running the show.
We are notnot close, but at the same time we are different species of humans.
Whether it is the male/female thing, or the fact that both of my brothers are more analytic and I am emotive, or it is that they are introverts and I am an extrovert, whatever the reason, we speak different languages.
My eldest brother is a voracious reader and writer, and although officially retired continues working as a consultant in the computer industry. My middle brother is a doctor, also “retired” yet continues to assist in surgery and subs for docs who need vacations.
And then there is me, the youngest, the former flower child, and current drum, percussion and rhythm teacher, who is certainly is not done teaching or working!

We picked a spot to meet in AZ that entailed a fair amount of driving to get from one spot to another. And that turned out to be a brilliant choice.

As we sat in the car together driving from Pinetop to the Petrified forest, from Winslow, AZ, to the Grand Canyon, we remembered our childhood, telling stories about our parents, our relatives, and recounting bits of history in the family Wolf.
We shared.
Lots of driving and lots of stories. One brother drove and the other chronicled the stories in his laptop (which will eventually become a movie- starring Silent Bob and Ethel Merman, as our parents with John Malkovich and Allen Arkin and Julie Kavner as us kids.)

Some stories were hysterically funny, and some gave me a stomach ache.
But all in all, it was an amazing time, to spend some days with each other, and the new tribe that we are.

We figure that in another few years we will be up for another close encounter of the third kind.
Until then, I can say this: I love my brothers. It was great to be together as adults, each a tribal leader of our own clan, connected to a single root: Judith and Milton Wolf.

How to get through the night.

Getting through the night. I use this term to mean dealing with flooding anxiety. When I am in this state, my thinking mind cannot be counted on for a clear, objective inner weather report. The critic is in the house, and I need help.

Exercise is probably the best way to shift the mood. But guess what? When the night encroaches it never enters my awareness to exercise. I just get caught in loops of thought which tell the same story over and over, with slight variations. Sometimes endless, internal arguing. Looping puts more weight in the “story” and its myriad possibilities. I feel stuck! I need help. And of course, I feel bad because I ‘m in the drama, I am the drama.Blah blah blah blah blah.

At a certain point, I do pick up the phone.

These are some of the people I call:

My former therapist. She holds a picture of my history. It’s all there– the good, the bad, the ugly. My little Zorina is held in loving compassion. She reminds me of the facts of being an extroverted, intuitive-feeling type living within a thinking world. Don’t take it personally, don’t TAKE it personally, DON’T take it personally, don’t take IT personally, don’t take it PERSONALLY. In every way possible, she guides me to true north and then hangs up the phone. Her voice sustains me for a good, long while.

Second is my husband. As an active, sitting meditator and Bhuddyest, he reminds me of the wisdom of the body, returning to the neutrality of simply breathing and detaching from the stimulus. He is also a therapist, and can listen and point out the cognitive distortions that underlie my suffering while he cooks me an omelette and a tortilla to eat.

The third are my girlfriends.

I will call them by name but not their real ones. (Please know how much you help.)

First is Nan from Texas. She is a bright, positive spirit who knows many of the cast of characters in my life. She  brings  the big astrological, planetary shift perspective to the table. Sometimes it seems a little woo-woo, but she never fails to cheer me and comfort me.

Secondly, is my dear friend from Lala land, Lulu.

She is a therapist, a healer, and artist, a brilliant star with loads of insight. She is a skilled listener,  putting pieces together that I might not see. I call her in extreme states of confusion about what is real, and what is just a distraction. She inspires me to work on the parts that are less known to me. I treasure her also because she  isn’t always available. If I let her know I need her, she is always there!

Introducing Renee. Without a doubt the most pronoic person I have ever met in my life. You know that expression, “It’s all good?”  That’s her.  Not to say that she doesn’t have her own tsuris when her parents come to visit for months on end, but she has basic inner balance. Doesn’t hurt that  she has an ongoing spiritual practice.Renee is very, very savvy about reading people and situations. She is a great friend for the questions, “Am I crazy, or did this ( fill in the blank)  just happen?”.

Kathy is my newest friend/counselor in Sequim. Highly intuitive. Finds the true gold within the story – the parts to pay attention to and helps me to disregard the rest.

There are other counselors, friends, barometers, and weather vanes, and for all I am indebted for your time, energy, and willingness in the nighttime.

And then– there is Kiki.

This girlfriend, dear readers, is my real middle of the night girlfriend. This is the friend you can ask to pick you up at the airport at inconvenient times, or to listen to you at 4 o’clock in the morning when the demons howl and vampires come out to suck your blood. She is the one I called from Bali when my mother died.

The title of this blog is funny, right?  “With my dress over my head”?

But even though I’m spinning my wheels, it is not fun or funny to live through. I feel intensely embarrassed,  ashamed, messy,  triggered, and awkward. Not pretty at all.

Kiki knows how to listen to me. She is patient with me when I explain yet again why  X, Y, and Z trigger me. She doesn’t hold it against me or judge me that I still stub my proverbial toe  the same way and it still hurts even after it is over. And when it  is over we flow to the next pool together.

We also have a kind of twisted humor that allows the dark night of the soul to become the bonfire of the vanities. When she says, “get over it ,”  I will.

So the best way to get through the night: a flashlight, a warm blanket, and the love of those who accept you unconditionally. Remember what  John Lennon said:

Whatever gets you through the night ‘salright, ‘salright
It’s your money or life ‘salright, ‘salright
Don’t need a sword to cut through flowers oh no, oh no

Whatever gets you through your life ‘salright, ‘salright
Do it wrong or do it right ‘salright, ‘salright
Don’t need a watch to waste your time oh no, oh no

Hold me darlin come on listen to me
I won’t do you no harm
Trust me darlin come on listen to me, come on listen to me
Come on listen, listen

Whatever gets you to the light ‘salright, ‘salright
Out the blue or out of sight ‘salright, ‘salright
Don’t need a gun to blow your mind oh no, oh no

Hold me darlin’ come on listen to me
I won’t do you no harm
Trust me darlin’ come on listen to me, come on listen to me
Come on listen, listen