I think we can all pretty much agree that, just when we get familiar with a situation, a task, a device, a program, or even a person, things seem to change.
…no matter how much we stonewall and try to push away change…it arrives anyway, and sometimes, consequently, flattens us with its overwhelming presence. It is not enough that we resist change for it to disappear. It is a repeating pattern of the universe, best received with open arms than with back turned. Change can be difficult to receive with open arms. By shifting our perspective, however, and welcoming change, we can be change agents, bringing about good in our lives and the lives of others.
I am constantly reminded that the journey through life is not a race to face all challenges and move through them quickly. The point is not to reach the finish line so that we can skate through the rest of our lives. The plateaus between the uphill climbs are resting places, times when we can digest what we have just experienced so that it can be integrated into our beings.
Facing change successfully requires courage and time to consider our choices carefully, deliberately – rather than acting out of impulse just to get it over with. Taking time to make decisions (especially important ones) can keep us from stepping into doo-doo. Learning to trust ourselves and our ability to digest, integrate, process, and then decide is essential.
Understanding the importance of rest and integration is a crucial part of being able to grasp the essence of life experience. It takes time to absorb, reorganize and restructure the repository of our minds and the energy of our spirits, and we cannot do it well when we are constantly on the move. Pausing helps us to assimilate, both physically and spiritually, the purpose for struggles, as necessary in our evolution. It’s the process that helps us expand our awareness of our incarnation’s objective, bit by bit.
This is what life here on earth is about – experience, pause, integrate, receive enlightenment, repeat.
As I read through the next section of the draft of my memoir, I was flooded by memories of a big move my parents made when I was eight years old. We were leaving the home I had known all my short life. When I heard the news of this move, I felt that the life I had been living so far – the walls of which I had built within my young mind – was being threatened by demolition. I felt more vulnerable than I had ever felt before in my short eight years. An intense despair flooded over me; my demeanor became sullen and pouty. I couldn’t smile, and I had difficulty looking people in the eye. This need to withdraw from others lasted well into my adulthood.
As I look back, I realize that my rigidity and resistance to change only made things more difficult for me. In reviewing my previous writing, a recurring pattern emerged, one I hadn’t paid attention to in detail, until now.
I was not cognizant of just how often this pattern had surfaced in my life. But as I read my memoir, I saw it clearly manifesting itself in my past life – and in the present, the here and now, not only within me, but all around me. Suddenly, I was very mindful that current world events related to the viral pandemic were driving old fears within me to the surface, forcing me to pay attention, examine them thoroughly, and lift them toward the light. This was another opportunity for me to acknowledge my fears so that I could gain a deeper understanding of them and integrate them into my present life, offering myself another opportunity to be healed.
Reading the draft of my memoir showed me how my individual fear parallels the world’s fear and paranoia. It allowed me to see that my fellow beings and I really do experience life’s lessons collectively. And we cannot, must not, turn away.
Fear keeps us separated from God, separated from our intuition, separated from knowing and trusting that all is exactly as it should be. Everything happening around us at this time is for the greatest benefit of all and is being carried out by the Divine Beings who govern creation, and believe me, these Beings know what they are doing!
The world tells us a completely different story. Who will you believe?
Now, what did this pandemic mean for my familiar routines and the rhythm my life had taken on in recent years? What was being pointed out to me about my perception of a safety net that I could see I was still clinging to? My personal experience of the pandemic made me feel the way I had back when I was eight years old and facing that big move my family was making without my input or say-so. Once again, my life was being turned upside down. My old archenemy, Change, had arrived again, along with its companion, The Unknown. The two of them were churning up the entire planet, and I was feeling it!
My sense is that something much bigger is going on behind the viral pandemic curtain, that the timing of this pandemic is no accident. I can see the intervention of the Divine to reset the devastation Mother Earth and humanity have endured for so long. We have all been forced to pause, and the awake among us can feel the urging of the universe to surrender to the changes. When we are awake and aware of the necessity of Change, we can embrace it as important for all of us – not simply to survive, but to thrive!
The way in which this planet has been run for decades is disintegrating. The dark is being overcome and driven out by the light.
The pandemic is turning out to be the perfect cover for actions that are advancing humankind in a safe and positive direction toward equality and balance. This almost biblical event is urging us all toward an equalizing of the energies of the masculine with the feminine, monetary wealth with spiritual resources, political power with social justice. The freedom to make choices that affect our lives is coming to all of us, personally and in the aggregate.
Through this seeming catastrophe comes the opportunity for us all to do one of two mutually exclusive things: surrender to fear or embrace the elements of curiosity and surprise as we become part of the actions that are changing the direction of the universe.
Mother Earth is beckoning us to embrace this time as the world works together, bringing forth truths that have been hidden behind a manipulated reality. It’s time to establish an equalization of the earth’s resources – making them available to all. This is truly a time of creating acceptance of everyone, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, and beliefs and ushering in the frequencies of peace and harmony and the real presence of a far-off heaven come to earth in the here and now.
And now, another excerpt from my memoir…
***Back to almost the beginning***
Being the youngest sibling for at least “a little while” had, for the most part, been working out for me. I had three older siblings with whom I shared my mother’s time and attention. Then, my younger sister was born, followed by another brother shortly thereafter. This reduced the amount of attention I could expect to be allotted and shifted it to my younger siblings. I began to feel more like a number. Even at that young age, I felt the undertow of something not quite right with this family I had been born into. We all looked alike, but I didn’t feel as though I had been delivered to the correct parents or the right planet, for that matter.
***My feeling about this now***
Years later, I have concluded that my perception of my supposed insignificance and my need to be noticed and understood was one of my most troublesome lessons-to-learn. I have become attuned to this propensity of mine, and while I feel much less needy than I used to, I understand that I am forever a work-in-progress. I am now more likely to catch myself in the act of expecting attention, and when this happens, even if I have already acted out, I have learned to practice more kindness and compassion toward myself by remembering that awareness is the beginning of change.
Each layer of our emotional self takes consistent work. Removing the outer layers to discover what’s hidden beneath is the way to self-discovery and ultimately to healing the deepest of our wounds.
Because my birthday is in late October, I don’t start kindergarten until I am almost six. I am already overly sensitive to how others see me and obsessed about what they think of me. I am not in for a smooth ride through school…and kindergarten is just the beginning.
I remember sitting at one of several small round tables, scattered throughout my classroom. As I am sitting in the chair, a very strange sensation comes over me. I feel as though I am six feet tall, making my knees too close to my face as I sit in this child-sized chair. My hands feel much larger than they look. I am a giant and wonder why I am here with all these children.
As I sense this “other version” of myself, I experience myself as being much older than the kids in my classroom. Now I am so out of place, I don’t have the capacity to process what is going on. Have you ever tried to stuff a too-big pillow into a tiny pillowcase? That’s sort of like what it was like to be me back then.
I don’t realize that no one else can see me the way I see myself, so I am even more self-conscious. It doesn’t occur to me to share this experience with my parents. Instead, I am angry with them for holding me back, thinking this is the reason I feel so strange. It’s because I am much too old and too big to be in kindergarten.
This experience deeply affects my perception of myself for many years to come. I know other, similar things happened, but I kept them to myself because I didn’t know how to describe them. Maybe, I even thought they were normal but way too weird to share with anyone.
***On to my next school adventure(s)***
Whew! I am so relieved and happy that I made it through kindergarten and excited for the summer. Starting school in the fall seems so far away, and all I can think of is being home without the worry of interacting with the teachers and kids at my school.
During the summer, my parents buy a piece of property near friends of theirs who live in the mountains above the University of Utah. A house on the property is uninhabitable – no lights and the bathtub was completely rusted out and black with grime.
My parents’ plan was to build a house that would be big enough to accommodate our growing family. My mother was excited to plant a garden and have space where we kids could spend time outdoors. As the plan was put into place, and even before we had moved, my parents decided to transfer all of us kids to the school in the appropriate district we would be in, once the move was complete.
We were about halfway through the year, at our then-current school, when we were transferred to this new school in the district where we would soon be living, quite far from where we had been living. My mother had to drive us to and from every day because we were not eligible to take the bus! This was school number 2 for us.
Well, the plans came to a halt when the purchase of the property fell through because my father didn’t make the payments (much to my mother’s chagrin), and we never ended up moving after all.
A short time before the end of the school year, my father announced that he had a business trip to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, coming up, and he wanted the entire family to come along. Now this was more my style…getting out of school early and heading to a beach!
I was overflowing with excitement!
All eight of us, plus suitcases, loaded into the car, pulling a trailer behind, and drove across the country from Utah to Florida. Every night, we camped out in our trailer in a different part of the country.
***All I can say is, “My poor mother!!”***
The two-bedroom apartment that backed up to the beach is a child’s fantasy. Six kids, ranging in age from 2 to 10, plus my parents, are crammed into this tiny space, which is our new home for the next six weeks. However, the miles of white sandy beach and the varied-blue ocean are where we spend most of our time.
This beach wonderland is likely the only reason we all don’t end up killing each other.
Just when my siblings and I are getting comfortable with hanging out for the summer in this paradise (my mother’s plan is to homeschool us, so we don’t get behind), my father springs another surprise on us. We will not only be finishing out the year at the local elementary school in Ft. Walton Beach, but we will also be attending the local Mormon church every Sunday as well.
When I hear this news, I instantly go from bliss to panic as the joy drains from my body. Gripped with fear at being separated from my mother in this unfamiliar school with nothing but strangers surrounding me, I pray with all my heart that my parents will allow me to stay at home. I beg and plead, but it is not to be. My prayers (also in the form of begging and pleading) go unanswered and, unwillingly, I stand at the bus stop with my other siblings, every day, crying hysterically. This school to which we are being ferried is number 3.
From the time I arrive at school until my return home, I feel as though I am holding my breath. Not until the bell rings, and I am on the bus ride home, can I allow myself to breathe freely. Ah, I am, once again, safe with my mother!
Despite the trauma of attending school number 3, I survive our trip to Florida. Warm sunshine, sandcastle building, seashell collecting and family BBQs with my father’s co-workers and their families were the highlights of the trip. Boat rides, a visit from my grammee (my father’s mother who lived in Clearwater), and many trips to the complex’s swimming pool complete what I experience as idyllic.
Clinging to the side of the pool, I would make my way around the entire circumference. I had taken many swimming lessons but was terrified of letting go. I can still see myself happily inching my way across the pool’s sides. As long as my hands were in constant contact with the concrete, I felt safe. I was simply too scared to release my grip and trust my ability to stay afloat.
One of my fondest memories of my father was his ability to switch from the strict and unyielding disciplinarian to a patient, supportive swim instructor. He would coax me to the end of the diving board as he treaded water below and tell me he would catch me, and he always did!
After we returned to Utah from Florida, my parents shared news that they would become founding members of a new school that would be based on the teachings of the Mormon religion. We kids would be attending this school starting in late August. This school was a ninety-mile round trip from where we were living (Salt Lake) to the school’s location (Pleasant Grove, Utah). We would be making this trip five days a week…my mother at the helm. In addition to her driving all of us, she would be involved in some of the school’s administrative duties, as well as teaching English and music. And there went my anxiety levels again, straight through the roof of School Number 4, where I was entering second grade!
***American Heritage School through my mother’s eyes***
In the early 1960s, my second oldest son was having difficulties in school. We didn’t know it at the time, but he was on the Autism Spectrum, and to make matters worse, he was left-handed. His teacher was going to fail him unless he learned to write with his right hand.
I had a neighbor who taught reading and writing in a private school, so I asked her if she had any ideas about how I could help my son. She introduced me to the administrator of this private school where she taught. This is when I met the owner and founder, Donna Peterson. I found her teaching methods quite impressive, and they gave me hope. When she met my son for the first time, I could see that she had a kind and patient way about her. I decided to take my son out of public school and enroll him in this private school, immediately.
As my husband and I got to know Donna and her husband, they shared that they had been meeting with several people who wanted to establish a Christian elementary school. One of the group members had recently bought an old church that sat on a large lot in Pleasant Grove. Donna and her husband were a part of this group, and they invited us to join them. The school was going to be based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, and we would be teaching the 10 commandments and the New Testament and important parts of our country’s history.
My husband and I joined the group and helped write the curriculum for grades K through 6, and it was decided that I would be teaching English, drama, and music the first year. My husband and I were a part of the organizational meetings, and his role in this venture was to support the family financially and contribute his musical talents for special programs at the school when he was able.
American Heritage School opened its doors with approximately 30 students in the fall of 1970. I started the day by transporting my six children and my sister’s daughter 45 miles to the south. In addition to this daily ninety-mile round trip, I helped my two oldest sons with a paper route that paid for my new car and gas. And, on top of that, I still had the responsibilities associated with being a housewife and mother.
I was surprised to find this whole experience very fulfilling. I would spend two hours a day in the car talking, laughing, and singing with my kids. I also really loved teaching. To entice my students to study for their spelling tests, I would reward them with a Texas Donut if they got 100%.
So, you don’t know what a Texas Donut is? It’s a giant-sized, deep-fried, glazed pastry I would purchase from the local Mr. G’s Gas and Goodies on the way to school every Friday morning. My kids and I, as well as my students, became addicted to these tasty treats and the many other sugary snacks we purchased from this gas station – all things we rarely ever had at home. Fridays became that special day we all looked forward to.
One would think that a person who was doing all these things would be completely exhausted, but the changes in my students’ growth and their interest and engagement energized me. My passion was what kept me alive.
In January of 1971, I became pregnant with my seventh child.
***My mother’s review of past events and her thoughts about them now***
As I am thinking about this stressful but mostly happy time, I realize my perspective as a parent in the church had made a radical shift. I think this shift can be illustrated by what the church was saying about being a parent.
It goes like this: Members of the priesthood, the “worthy” males of the church over the age of eighteen who had returned from a two-year mission to spread the gospel, are encouraged to marry and have as many children as they can, often more than they can afford.
In my days of bearing and rearing children, we were charged with taking our kids to church meetings and teaching them in our “Evenings at Home” meetings to obey the 10 commandments and choose The Right!
I have since learned that the President of the Mormon Church has now emphasized that parents should teach their children how to make choices and to be responsible for those choices. This seems to be a positive change and one I can see could have saved us all a lot of grief back in my day.
I have thought that judging kids when they made mistakes undermines the process of learning how to make choices and take responsibility for them. Learning to make choices, in my mind, leads to becoming a mature adult; whereas, the other way of raising kids often leads to them feeling guilty and filled with shame when they make a choice that doesn’t lead to a positive outcome. Guilt and shame are two of the worst crosses to bear and can result in negative self-talk, self-deprecation, and depression.
As my daughter and I are co-writing her book and revisiting these old memories, we realize that her father and I gave her and the other children little opportunity to be a part of the decision-making process. We didn’t sit them down and explain plans we had made; the plans were simply spouted out as a fait accompli. This gave my kids no time to brace themselves for what was coming. They were unable to prepare for changes that were about to occur, nor were they permitted to feel empowered by being included in the choices their father and I were making on their behalf.
As Lynnie and I discuss this, I can now see the reason she has had such difficulty facing change. She has felt a lack of control in many parts of her life. This lack of choice drove her to try to control all things outside of her, even those things not naturally under her control. Thus, change has caused her great distress!
What I have also heard Lynnie say is that she felt she was never given the opportunity to share her voice or develop her own opinions. The process of decision-making had been, for her, circumvented. She did not develop the ability to make good decisions or feel as though her opinion mattered. This resulted in her making many impulsive decisions that caused her grief and got her into some real trouble when she couldn’t say, “NO!”
I see this very same struggle to make clear, informed decisions played out in my own life in the early days of my marriage. I, too, often found myself unable to say “NO!” I, too, felt unheard when important decisions were being made. This had me feeling powerless and the victim in many situations throughout my life.
Lynzie here: As you can see, for my mother and me, writing is a way of flushing out patterns normally invisible, especially when we are in the midst of them. In co-writing this book, my mother and I have come to a valuable understanding of the other’s experiences and are healing in the process!
***And the move goes on***
My home isn’t elaborate or fancy. In fact, it isn’t even finished. But, it is the place I am most comfortable and where I feel safe. Our family’s routines are what make me feel this way. I know my parent’s friends, the church members, the other children I attend Sunday School with, and the acquaintances I have made growing up in the neighborhood. And while things are not even close to being normal and perfect, which is what I crave, it is what I know.
The pressure of the drive back and forth to school was getting to all of us, but I didn’t have any idea that the rug was about to be pulled out from beneath me. I don’t remember if I knew a move was coming, but it was happening, nevertheless, and there was nothing I could say or do about it. I resisted, with all of my small might, but to no avail.
As I said earlier, I wasn’t exactly in love with this house we were living in. My room was in the basement, and I shared it with my two sisters, one older, one younger. But, it was home. Most of the basement was unfinished, and the floors were concrete. The bathroom shower seemed to be a host for Daddy Longlegs, but it was familiar. I knew my way around the house and the neighborhood, including the aisles of the Five and Dime down the street where we kids would buy penny candy. I remember Laird Park, where my mother played softball, and I swung high in the air and rode the merry-go-round. I had my routines, and I didn’t want anything to change!
And…I was finding out: I was not in charge! I cried a lot!
***A thought on this subject now***
I was often puzzled about why things had to be a certain way because I was positively not a “go with the flow” kind of gal. I would plan things out in my mind to go a certain way, and then when they didn’t (which was most of the time), I would be caught off guard. I would get angry and fearful. I would be dragged through Change…clawing, scratching, biting, whining, crying, and holding on so tightly, my hands would bleed (metaphorically speaking).
I used to spend so much time obsessing over things that “might have or might not have been true” that I was probably the unwitting author of my negative outcomes. These behaviors were not pretty! They did not serve me in the past, and they certainly did not serve me well as I got older. And these actions of my own choosing have also been exceptionally difficult to overcome. But, I have come a long way, and I can honestly say, “If I can do it, anyone can.”
All around me are boxes filled with what were once the contents of our home. Unhappy, I am gingerly stepping around the boxes as are my siblings. Funny, though, my sisters and brothers don’t seem upset about this move…why was it causing me so much turmoil?
My parents are much too preoccupied and busy running through their lists of things to do to pay much attention to my neediness, except for a sharp barking order to get a move on and to stop my whining.
Just before we leave this house forever, my parents have bookshelves built that flank the fireplace. They replace the carpet in the living room and hang new curtains. For the first time since I can remember, the living room looks really warm and inviting, and now we have to leave!
A few nights before the move takes place, I am lying in my bottom bunk whispering to my sisters, who share my room, and something falls into my eye from the top bunk. I immediately start rubbing my eyes, making them water. I am hollering for my sisters to get up and turn on the light. They aren’t much help, and now my eye is bloodshot and puffy from all my rubbing.
My eye continues to hurt, so I make my way upstairs where my parents are already in bed. They get up, turn on all the lights, and with a flashlight to guide him, my father starts poking and prodding my already red, puffy, sore eye. He finds nothing.
The next morning, I am barely able to open my eye and lie in the back of the car as my mother drives us to our new home. I am crying from the pain but also because no one seems to care what I am feeling. I am grieving the loss of my routines, and I am terrified because I cannot see what is coming. I am scared of not knowing whether things are going to be better, or worse. I feel completely out of control and I am miserable.
***Our temporary landing place***
For whatever reason, we end up moving into a two-bedroom apartment in a four-plex located near downtown Pleasant Grove, Utah. It is very crowded with all eight of us here, and now my mother is seven months pregnant.
I am having great difficulty settling into this cramped and unfamiliar place. The neighbors all seem to smoke cigarettes, which I have been taught are very bad! The first few weeks we are here, I start to sleep-walk, something I have never done before. I am trying to find my way back to the only home I know. My mother is so concerned that I might make my way out the door, she has to lock the doors with hooks high enough so that I can’t reach them. This phenomenon eventually passes as I begin to settle in and make friends. We end up moving to a much larger house within a few months, where my baby sister is born.
This is where things start to go terribly wrong!
***Back to the May 2020 blog article***
I have often wondered why we ever had to leave that home in Salt Lake City, Utah. When I go back to visit, I usually make a trip to my old neighborhood to remind myself that, at one time in my life, things were a lot more “normal”. And maybe that’s it: I wanted things to be normal; I wanted to be like everyone else because I felt so ab-normal. But, it wasn’t to be.
I told my mother that, as I was writing about that time, the sense that we were not ever meant to stay in that house came over me. Had we stayed, we would not have learned the lessons we needed to learn.
As I got a little bit older, my mother and I became estranged for many years. I never really had a great relationship with my father, and that relationship, too, continued to get worse as I got older. For many years, I thought (or barely thought) that I would ever have any kind of relationship with either of my parents. But, somehow, the way to a more enlightened relationship was carved out for me and them. I now have the most surprising connection with my parents, one I never thought possible. All three of us have gone on the journey and have learned some powerful and valuable lessons. And through some of the most damaging and traumatic events, we have come together!
I have come to be much less fearful of Change and to surrender to what is. When I feel that fear surface, I do my best to surrender my will to the Divine Will. I am reminded that each one of us is watched over. Instead of resisting Change, we must let go and allow ourselves to be shown the way through. It makes things so much simpler when we don’t try to control what is happening.
My experience in doing this surrender thing has shown me that I couldn’t possibly dream up the things that the Divine can. The Divine knows us better than we know ourselves and can gently bring us into situations that are absolutely perfect!
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