October 23, 2019

Wiggle, Scratch, Float

My Father's Evening Ritual

My toes were being wiggled back and forth while I rested with my eyes closed in our new bedroom in the house-by-the-cemetery. I lay there wondering why my husband would wiggle my toes.

In the early 1970s, my father was one of the first persons to have an extremely invasive heart surgery, spending weeks in the hospital struggling with healing, electrolyte imbalances, hallucinations, weight loss, until finally, he was "well" enough to return home. A couple things about him that struck our family was how big his eyes were in his sunken facial bones and how odd he acted at times.

Dad's new nightly ritual was to wander around the house after bedtime, wiggling toes of his seven children, beginning the never understood tradition of The Wiggling of Our Toes. Later years my siblings recalled this irritatingly sentimental and strange act my father began after his heart surgery.

Hey sweetie, I said to my husband when he returned to the bedroom. What caused you to wiggle my toes, sharing with him about my father doing this very peculiar thing. My husband denied coming into the bedroom to wiggle my toes or even knowing my father use to do this.

There began our adventure in our new country home-by-the-cemetery. This coincidental incident was only one of the curious things occurring while we lived in that house.

A skeleton clawing at the siding

The first night in our house-by-the-cemetery my husband had to leave for the evening to a planned event. A sound emanated from our bedroom outside wall ... a scratching and rubbing noise. I KNEW it was a skeleton trying to get in the house. After a long, scary night where most of it was spent holding a flashlight toward the wall, my husband returned home. I gave him an earful of what scary things happened during the night. You have to take care of this I pleaded. So, together we wandered around to the cemetery side of the house to find a leafless tree with branches touching the siding under our bedroom window. No, not a skeleton, but rest assured I had my husband tear that tree down before the dark of night.

The Indian

An Indian keeps walking down to my bedroom at night said our three-year-old daughter shortly after we moved into our house-by-the-cemetery. We questioned her - maybe it was a dream? But she was insistent what she saw, even how he was dressed - like an Indian.

Spirits in our room

One morning my husband shared that he was laying in bed when a woman - in Victorian clothes - stood over us and came right at him, melding into him as she disappeared. He NEVER woke me up after this happened, only shared it casually the next day, saying it did not scare him. It did not scare him!

Our grown daughter was recently talking about the strange occurrences in this house-by-the-cemetery and recalled a night she couldn't sleep. She came into our bedroom for comfort and to climb into bed with us. Apparently, I was in the frontroom sleeping in a lounge chair as I'd had back surgery and felt it was more comfortable. She didn't know I wasn't in bed but saw me standing at the bedside looking down at her and my husband. She reached out to touch me but her hand went through my "body". She woke her daddy who found me sleeping in the recliner.

Skeptically open-minded

Who knows what happens "on the other side" - we are skeptical and never felt unease in this house-by-the-cemetery. It was a peaceful place which made us feel welcomed and perhaps "accepted" by these spirits. Who knows?

October 11, 2019

Driven to Distraction

A Mess

My life is occasionally an unorganized mess with scattered papers and laundry, dishes rotting in the sink, journals begging for attention on the shelves, which brings me to dust, bountiful dust. But my books - my precious books … these gems are neatly posed and eagerly waiting to be read. I consider myself a bibliophile for particular non-fiction genres: women's adventures, stories written by women during "simpler" times; authors who write about writing; and, travel stories.   

Daily, I yearn to read from my pile of books, but am distracted by life's urgent pleas. I promise myself an afternoon to read …. "but first…” Something slinks around the corner whisking me away from reading. I know I choose to be distracted, but it's so hard to stay on track to what is important to me -- journaling, reading, writing, walking, planning. 

Power to change

I recall an interview that Detroit radio personality Paul W. Smith had with Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author of The Willpower Instinct. McGonigal was discussing her book and sharing how we could (possibly) improve our own willpower. She claims that if you are trying to quit …. "something" …. by performing deep breathing techniques the draw to that "something" is reduced. I don’t know if my distraction is from a lack of willpower or not, but do wonder if deep breathing would be worth a try in helping my focus.

Our routines and habits are deeply imbedded and, at times, it is much easier to play the blame game than to accept responsibility for our own choices. My distraction is in my control and pointing my finger at someone else (or guilt over a messy house) doesn’t accomplish anything internal, and may even delay the development of the (my) will to power through avoidance of things I enjoy doing.

I would love to truly embrace will (inclination, wish, disposition) power (control, mastery, stamina, energy). Would this loosen the bonds of excuses and help me find time to recharge with what's important (to me)? Dunno ...

As for now, my books are neatly lined up … waiting … and deep down I know that no amount of work can rival the satisfaction of taking a book off the shelf, finding a place to nest, and spending an hour of blessed reading. 

What is taking your attention away from your enjoyable activities?

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