Yesterday, when the wonderful hands of Mia from MiAlisa Salon were giving me a hands-down fabulous haircut, Mia told me about a beautiful way she has been self-soothing during these hard times. She holds her own hand.
Mia said that she held and held her mother’s hand in her hand while her mother was dying, and she misses her mother. Now, when she clasps her own two hands together, she feels powerfully comforted, settled, and anchored. Mia said holding hands with herself also helps her fall asleep.
I told Mia that I have been encouraging people in my Coping and Healing groups to give themselves hugs and that I will add clasping their own hands to the self-soothing repertoire.
And I am happy to report, this morning, that holding hands with myself helped me sleep through the night for the first time in months!
My sleep is also being helped by the growing certainty that my country will soon be in better hands. For the past four years, the USA has been in the hands of a toxic narcissist.
Speaking of hands, if anyone wants to see me play the ukulele with my own hands tomorrow evening, please sign up to be in the audience before the end of the day today using this link:
Before I reveal something about myself in a therapy group, I ask myself “Who is it for?”
If the answer is that it’s mostly for me, I will not share the information. If I believe that it’s mostly for the group, I will use self-disclosure.
Yesterday morning, while I was feeling very sad about the death of jazz pianist Lyle Mays, I was listening to a jazz program on WHRB, the Harvard radio station. I decided to call them and tell them about the death of Lyle. Who was it for? It was for me and for any fans of Lyle who might be listening.
As I suspected, the two Harvard students who were DJ-ing the morning jazz program on WHRB were not familiar with Lyle, but they did this for me: they announced his death on air and played one of his tunes. Then it was for me and for the other listeners who called in that they abandoned their scheduled playlist and shared lots of Lyle.
One of the tunes they played yesterday morning was “It’s For You.”
When I first heard about Lyle’s death Monday night, a melancholy melodic phrase from “It’s For You” filled my head, but I couldn’t remember the name of the tune. It’s for you and for me that I share a live version of “It’s For You” now.
It’s for you that I take and share my recent photos.
Who was that delicious and nutritious meal for? It was for me and my husband Michael as we watched the returns from the New Hampshire primary last night.
Who is it for when I blog every day? In case you didn’t know, it’s for you AND for me.
Wait! Guess how many blog posts I’ve written with the title “Wait” over the last two years!
I’ll wait while you think of a number, between zero and seven hundred and sixty-eight.
Hmmmmm. I’m not sure how you feel about guessing games. Are you OK? And what number did you come up with?
Do you want me to tell you the answer now, or would you like to wait?*
I don’t know about you, but waiting is not one of my favorite activities.
For example, about ten days ago, after waiting for months to find out whether and when I’m going to need major heart surgery, I got this email from somebody on my vast team of heart specialists, spread out over several Boston-area hospitals ….
Wait! When I just checked my work emails, I found this new one, instead:
Current weather forecasts call for 12 – 18 inches of snow to fall throughout the Boston area beginning Saturday night and continuing through Monday evening, Feb. 9. The worst of the snow is expected during the day Monday.
Please give yourself extra time so you can travel and commute safely.
Although we have not yet been informed of a travel ban associated with this storm, please remember you must have your ID badge with you to show to authorities if there are any restrictions going forward.
Please also know that the most important factor for you to consider is the safety of you and your family during the storm. Please review and share with staff the information below about arrangements under way at the medical center.
Now you know what New England is waiting for, today and tomorrow. Please wait while I look for that heart-related email, again.
Wait! That email didn’t go to my work address.
Please wait while I check my home email.
Thanks for waiting. Here’s that email, dated 1/30/15:
We will get back to you next week after we have been able to review everything.
I waited. Nobody got back to me.
Other things got back to me last week. Those included:
Since I’ve been a child, dealing with my congenital heart condition, lots of people have been asking me, in verbal and non-verbal ways, “Ann(ie), are you OK?” After waiting my whole life, I finally found a song that somehow captures the essence of that life-long experience.
Wait! Did that make sense to you?
Wait! It makes sense to me.
Wait! A few more things, before I publish this post. After waiting for years (I assume), other people with congenital heart conditions convinced the powers-that-be to declare this coming week …
(If you don’t want to wait, you can find that image here, at another blog.)
Wait! That image, above, tells me that Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week has been waiting for me to find out about it, for a while. My first awareness of it was yesterday, but now I know it’s been around at least since 2011.
I’m still waiting for a word I like better, though, instead of “Defect.”
Wait! I think I’ve seen some CHD images, where “D” stands for something else (like “Disease”) (which is also not one of my favorite words). Wait while I check Google Images for “CHD Awareness Week”:
Wait! The D-word there is slightly different (“Defects”), but I don’t like that word any better.
“Defect” is still the word, in that image found here.
Wait! When I read that last one (found here), I THOUGHT IT SAID “CONGENITAL HEART PERFECT AWARENESS WEEK!” I was going to write, just now:
That last image was worth waiting for.
I guess we see what we’ve been waiting to see, sometimes.
Anyway, I’m not going to wait for somebody else to replace the word “defect” in CHD with something else. Here are my suggestions:
Perfect (see above, but that’s not perfect because it should be a “D” word, for “CHD”).
Condition (see above, blah blah blah blah blah).
Wait. I can NOT, here and now, think of another D-word, that fits. Can you?
WAIT! How about this?!?!?
I don’t have a Congenital Heart Defect. I have a Congenital Heart Distraction.
Wait! Have you been waiting for songs about waiting?
I’ve been freaked out lately, even while I’ve been trying to keep my pledge of “no worries” for 10 days.
Lots of reasons.
There was a “perfect storm” of circumstances where I live, which resulted in some significant water damage.
I thought I had picked up an ailment on my trip. (I had not.)
I am going even more public — including where I work — about my being the longest surviving person in the world with a cardiac pacemaker*, as I am participating in an American Heart Association charitable walk. (Of course, I’m going more public about my pacemaker world record by doing this blog, too.)
This morning, I spent many hours trying to create and send e-mails asking for contributions for this charitable walk, and at different times it looked like (1) none of the e-mails had gone through AGAIN!!! and (2) the e-mails had all gone through and were going to bombard people with the same request many times.
Some of the reasons I listed above may seem more minor than others.
But when I get freaked out, many things can feel like Life or Death situations.
There are very few situations that are Life or Death, but sometimes my perspective gets out of whack.
At times in my life, I’ve dealt with life-threatening situations very calmly.
At other times, I’ve dealt with non-life-threatening situations with all my alarm systems blaring, full blast — Danger, Danger, Danger!
During times of Full Blown Freak Out, I’ve encouraged myself — and others — to ask these questions:
What is hurting me right now?
What danger exists to me, here and now?
Hold on. I’m going to breathe, sit quietly for a few seconds, and ask myself those two questions.
The answers are:
Thanks for reading today.
* In 2014, I found out that I am NOT the longest surviving person in the world with a pacemaker. See here for more about that.