Sitting With Wu Wei

Last week was one for the books.

By the end of the week, my co-workers and I kept saying, “And it is only….. ”

Yep. It was one of those weeks.

However, it was not a bad week by something we actually did. It happened to be the things that were happening around us and were out of our control.

For certain, on Monday, I was stressed out. Recently displaced from my office of almost six years (and honestly, it was probably the best space in all of City Hall,) I had to move to a much smaller, darker space. Less natural light as opposed to my corner office overlooking Lamar Street and the historic Windsor Hotel that sported two huge windows on either side. My new space had a ton of dead roaches tucked in corners and a wall that was only half painted. *Sigh*

I’m not a favorite or a part of the “girls club” or even the “old boys club” where I work. Not that I don’t get along with anyone, on the contrary, I’m always super peppy and upbeat… even when I feel otherwise. I just don’t fit in. I’m not a small town girl. Period.

When a decision had to be made as to where the new mayor would reside- my office was chosen. No discussion. Not even a polite conversation. Just a short email telling me I needed to move because it was in the best interest of the citizens.

Okay. I moved on Monday. I got settled in by Wednesday. Other random things began happening to other coworkers (that have nothing to do with me) and we all just sort of spun through this alternate universe of a major case of mercury in retrograde or something. Yeah, it was that nutty.

I was over it.

And Alabama lost.

That never happens. lol

Monday night I skipped a National Championship football game party to rest. I was completely out of it. Every muscle in my body hurt. Clearly, it was stress. I love change and I am very flexible, but respect and dignity and taking anything I have to say into consideration is a big deal with me. I’m 48. Not 24.

I took a valium, (I had a few left from a previous procedure,) and slept on the couch. My husband was super sweet and rubbed my neck, shoulders and legs. He knows how stress presents in a physical way for me.

The next day, I sort of felt a little better, but still anxious. Anxious in a “why am I here” kind of way. Silly, but the first thing I do when I feel slighted is figure out how to cut it out. Like an infection.

Wednesday, pretty much the same thing. I came home – felt TERRIBLE, but things with me were better at work. But not for others. In a big, BIG way. Morale and all. It got to me. I ended up eating food that made me super sick and I came home and took another valium. Sleep.

Then Friday rolled around, and I kicked the morning off with a trip to the gynecologist an hour away. Got my mammogram and my pelvic exam (I don’t need pap smears anymore,) and had a long conversation with my doctor. Stress, irritability, inflammation, extreme sensitivity to heat, and other things. Well boys and girls – I was prescribed the patch. Yep – HRT, otherwise known as Hormone Replacement Therapy. Luckily, I don’t have to take progesterone (since I don’t have a uterus.) That means the scary stuff, like cancer, should not be an issue.

And that is how my week ended.

And what have I done over the past long weekend? Nothing.

I haven’t thought about anything. I haven’t worried about anything.

I feel absolutely fantastic.

Was it the patch? Probably played at least a 50% role in this new mood.

Was it the past 17 days of meditation? I definitely think that helped.

Was it the good nutrition I implemented outside of a day or two?

Was it the daily stretches and short walks?

Was it time with friends and lots of laughs?

Was it the fact that Tim said if we wanted to sell the house and move and I get another job, which in turn would give me a sense of freedom that I haven’t felt in so long? (Which, btw, is not what I am doing. But the freedom to do so is very liberating.)

Was it the masterclass I was taking with Lebron James on the calm app? Or the one about Stoicism? Or the other one about Depression? Or the four keys to happiness?

Yes. Maybe it was all of that. And let’s never forget prayer. Just good old-fashioned prayer.

But there is something else…

There is Wu Wei.

What is Wu Wei? It is the Taoist principle of Action through Non-Action. The freedom to choose to just…

Let. It. Go.

That’s right. Just let it go. See it, feel it, taste it…. and move the eff on.

That is the path I have chosen this week.

Have you ever read the Tao of Pooh? Oh my goodness, it is good stuff. (Reminder – I need to buy that!)

Pooh says, “Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least when you let them, when you work with circumstances instead of saying, ‘This isn’t supposed to be happening this way,’ and trying harder to make it happen some other way.”

Or rather, the author, Benjamin Hoff says it.

Or “Everything has its own place and function. That applies to people, although many don’t seem to realize it, stuck as they are in the wrong job, the wrong marriage, or the wrong house.”

Wu Wei puts things into perspective.

As I move forward in the new week, I will try to be more like Pooh:

“While Eeyore frets… and Piglet hesitates… and Rabbit calculates… and Owl pontificates… Pooh just is.” ~ Hoff

Season of Winter

I’ve been holding onto a very interesting journal for over a year now. It is called, “A Year of Zen” by Bonnie Mayotai Trease. What makes it so cool are the daily prompts. The journal breaks up the year into seasons. Obviously, we are in Winter, so I decided to kick off the journal on Sunday in the section titled accordingly.

The theme of this week is carrying extra baggage in your life and how to let go of that which weighs you down. Coincidentally, I am doing this course on happiness in the Calm app and today’s lesson was about letting go.

Not an easy task, depending on what it is you are carrying around.

According to “A Year of Zen,” winter is a time to shake off the leaves, allow the snow to fall on the ground and wipe the slate clean. It is a shedding of sorts and baring your branches (soul) and creating a new you. I like the idea of shedding the old and starting anew.

The past few mornings, I’ve kicked the morning off with stretching, meditation and a walk, or like today, a walk in the afternoon. I’m learning to be quiet with my thoughts and honestly, to allow myself not to think.

This is something I struggled with up until my experience this past summer in North Carolina. I attended this retreat for healers in Hot Springs and had a very transformative experience. I went deeper than I have ever gone spiritually, and I came out on the other side with an incredible sense of peace. Sure, as time went on, I sort of lost my way again, but with this past week of relaxation at home, it seems I have found my center… hence the journal prompts.

Laughing Heart Lodge, Hot Springs, NC

The picture above is of the labyrinth at the Laughing Heart Lodge in Hot Springs, NC. I took this photo just before the morning meditation. I still remember how panicked I got as I walked through the labyrinth, trying to calm my mind or repeat a mantra. My anxiety took over and I almost bolted in front of the group. But somehow, as I got closer to the center, the heart center, I began to slow my breathing and focus. As I exited the labyrinth and began the journey back through, I was in a new space. I let go of the control. I released my worry.

It wasn’t serving me.

What are you carrying around right now that is not serving you?