I have been trying to keep my eyes open lately in more ways than one. My efforts to stay in the moment and steer clear of my autopilot. My newfound sense of trauma exposure response and attempts to understand, and stop, some of the ways I deal with trauma. This includes ‘numbing out’, which completely blurs my vision. Sometimes I have just ‘seen enough’ and I want to look away. I have tried to look at myself and understand why I behave the way I do, think my thoughts, feel my feelings.
We miss so much when we get into the habit of closing our eyes. I know it is healthy to ‘check out’ once in awhile with a good book or a silly sitcom. Just be sure that you are doing so consciously. That you are not just frantically searching for something else to ‘see’ so that you don’t have to look at an unpleasant reality.
Last week, shortly after posting my blog, I received a text from a dear friend. It said, “Thump! (That was the sound of me jumping onto the other end of your teeter-totter) Love you!” It was a perfect message and it worked. That ‘thump’ lifted me a bit and caught me off guard just enough to make me open up my eyes.
I have a story for you: Imagine for a moment that you are driving down a road in the middle of Kansas and for two hours you have seen nothing but cows and smelled nothing but the ripe scent of CAFO’s. You may be tempted to stop looking around and keep your eyes firmly on the road in front of you. If you are the passenger it’s a good time to take a nap.
Now imagine that 30 minutes into the drive, a bright orange sports car came cruising up behind you. You look in the rearview mirror and are surprised to see that the car is driven by a woman who looks to be in her mid-60’s. As the tangerine car passes, you glance over and see an elderly wee, white-haired woman, easily into her ‘80’s, grinning at you from the passenger seat. She gives a little wave and off they go. You might spend the next hour imagining what those women were up to, what is their ‘story’? You would scan each side road and rest stop, hoping for a glimpse of the colorful ladies. If it were me, I would probably keep a watchful eye on the rearview mirror. Why? Because I love the unexpected! I love a mystery, an incongruity, an interesting juxtaposition. And if it can happen once, it can happen again! It’s important to remember this about the lovely moments in life, not just the scary and frightening. “If it can happen once, it can happen again”.
You may be wondering why I chose such an odd metaphor to encourage you to keep your eyes open? Here’s the surprise…it is and it is not a metaphor. In honor of Mother’s Day, I am sharing my mother and my grandmother with you. They are not in Kansas, Dorothy…but they are, in fact, somewhere in the United States, in a bright orange sports car, cruising down an interstate. I only know this because my 68 year-old mother ‘texted’ me a photo of my grandma next to the car! It is fun and fantastic. Keep your eyes open this weekend and you just might see them!Keep your eyes open and you never know what you might see. Close your eyes to sleep. The rest of the time, keep looking. Looking for...Thump!