A Letter to My Son

 

Dear Mike,

You’re in my thoughts this morning. I want to apologize for teaching you to be a stress monkey. I didn’t know any better  and I think I learned it from my dad because he didn’t know any different.

Most mornings when I wake up my mind habitually wants to kick into full gear. “What time is it? Check your email! Did I pay Com ed? Where did I park the car? I need to finish that mailing. What if no one comes to my show?” You get the idea.

B/W portrait of a stressed woman lying in bed

To what end? I used to think that if I wasn’t stressing I wasn’t  being diligent, or I must be “loafing”. Your grandparents were highly effective and productive people. So how could I possibly know any different? It worked for them. Right?

In the end, no. It didn’t. Because alcohol eventually played a big role in their lives. Once that monkey has you in it’s grips, you’re in deep shit because it’s really tough to break free. Depending on how far into it you get,  you may have to spend the rest of your life trying to make sure it never has you in it’s grips again. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy on a bad day.

Whether they wish to emulate their parents or be the exact opposite of them,  kids learn by example. I think that’s how most of us learn. Whether it’s making a pizza, fixing a carburetor or writing a paper.

This is my long winded way of saying I want to try and show you another way.

As you know, my life has been more uncertain in the last couple of years than ever before. (At least ,that’s how it appears.) There were times when it’s taken me a great deal of will power and inner strength to not completely cave. So many of the things I took for granted, I rarely even think about anymore, like going shopping just for fun. Granted, there are things I miss, but all in all, I can’t complain.

The thing is, I don’t see my life as  being uncertain, because I know I’m on this path for a reason. It’s not uncertain to me at all, because I believe in my heart that one day things will come together for me as an artist, just as they did in business.

No doubt, most people reading this will think I’m nuts. Luckily I have the love and support of you, Beth and Mike. (Without Mike’s support I don’t know where I’d be. But I believe that Mike’s love and support is also part of the plan. How random is it that my soul mate appears after 37 years absence? It isn’t random.)

My point is, learning to quiet my mind, (particularly first thing in the morning) through some form of meditation, is how I’ve been able to live so long “on the edge”. Funny thing is,  I actually feel less on the edge than I did when I had money in the bank. In fact,  I don’t feel like I’m on the edge most of the time.

When I speak of meditation, I’m not talking about using a mantra. (Although it’s a good option I suppose.) I’m talking about, before you get out of bed in the morning, pause, look around at all you have, enjoy your good health, (you can breathe freely, your limbs and mind are in tact etc, you have a beautiful loving young woman lying next to you) take it all in. You have this beautiful moment with so, so  many blessings,  wonderful friends, a Fantastic girlfriend, all who think the world of you, love you so much and want great things for you ! How wonderful is THAT?

Take all that in and breathe a GIANT “Thank you” to the universe or God, whichever works for you. You’ll be amazed at how it changes your perspective. Fear and anxiety can’t reach you in this state. And isn’t that our biggest cause of stress?

In the  beginning, (and even still for me sometimes) it’s like trying to bend a fork. If someone challenges you to bend a fork in the opposite direction the prongs may get in the way. But you know it can be done. You may find it confusing to  navigate the prongs at  first,  but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

I know I have a long way to go. But my resolve to find and embrace the moments and the silence is even greater now because I want to lead by example.

You have an amazing future ahead of you. I know you will succeed if you embrace the moments. You are exactly where you’re meant to be. Enjoy and be grateful for the moments. When you feel yourself being poked with the fork in the shape of voices telling you that “You’re not good enough”, or “You don’t deserve this”, or “You’re gonna fail”, bend it backwards with your power to embrace a sense of peace and gratitude. Like everything else in life, if you keep it up, eventually you’ll far surpass me. And that’s just as it should be. I love you.

Mom

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