To Catch What People Throw At You, Give a Little or You’ll Drop It

Football: Jets-v-Eagles, Sep 2009 - 16

Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Sometimes it doesn’t serve us well to follow our instincts.

When I was little, I don’t know, maybe nine, I remember one of the many times Dad tried to teach me how to throw and catch a football on our front lawn, under the huge tree that seemed to always block me. Dad had played college-ball on scholarship at Duke University where he promptly blew out his knee; one of the many orthopedic problems he’s known. However, he still had his arm and his gentle way of making me feel like he really enjoyed lopping the ball over short distances with me and my awkward hands.

Catch the ball right here, into your arm like you’d cradle a baby.

Nobody needs to try that many times before learning that footballs are hard and pointy and hurt a lot when we catch them wrong. Purposefully putting my body in front of that spinning high-speed object didn’t feel safe.

Get in there and watch it the whole way make contact with you as you catch it.

My eyes were still shut when he said that. I was trying not to cry but I was pretty sure my fingers were going to look differently when I opened them.

Here came more less obvious instruction,

Let your arms and hands give a little, while you catch, closing down on the ball as you let it push you.

People throw all sorts of things at us in the space between “me and thee.” It can hurt to catch and even physically damaging. But counterintuitively, we need to catch like we are cradling a baby, get in there, and give way a little.

This isn’t always advisable but it refers to opportunities to practice presence. Not every interpersonal moment is such an opportunity. Nor will each true opportunity be received naturally or effectively. Those will improve with practice, or perhaps coaching or medical intervention.

The other day, Frida told me with some self-satisfaction about the long hoped for day when she stayed with her daughter during her daughter’s anger, rather than escaping. She gave space for her daughter to throw her pain around. Frida cradled her in her personal space long enough to receive and throw back. For Frida, what she threw back was the next effort of growth. That day we celebrated the presence she was able to offer her daughter and herself.

Now get in there Frida, let it come into you. Give way to some of the momentum or you’ll drop it, and cradle what you catch.

For Frida to do this, she owned her choice to find the presence and to do the work to gain the skill. As I am a medical physician of the brain, you might guess we worked on her illnesses. Frida stayed, received her presence in the company of her daughter – and we celebrated.

Self-Care Tip #284 – Give way to some of the momentum and cradle what you want to be present with.

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What Comes To Me From Others Is a Gift

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Image by krystal.pritchett via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #246 – Take care of yourself and expect that what comes from others is a gift.

Do you ever ask,

Why does drama follow me?!

It is just darn hard taking care of ourselves (including taking psychotropic medication.)  Much of the rest of the world has difficulty with it too.  Despite our best efforts to go towards what is friendly, we might decide that choosing the company of un-self-cared-for loved ones is more friendly to ourselves than cutting them off.  That is our choice.  If we want them in our lives, we are not able to just take the bits that are friendly.

Some of us are more dramatically affected by this than others.  Wonder about why that is.  I’m wondering if it has to do with our different perspectives of who will take care of us.

Feeling like someone else is going to take care of Me is a trap.  Expecting someone else to find us for love, to expect leadership, to follow without accounting for our steps, to decide without knowing we decided, thinking someone else decided for us – these are traps.

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Image via Wikipedia

What do we expect other people to be for us?  We will interpret the drama we encounter differently when we are our own leader.  If we take care of ourselves and if we come in a state of readiness then we can offer more of these gifts and visa versa.  Gifts are free and as free of agenda as our flawed selves can give.

We embrace our emotional self, our thinking self, our judgmental self, our sensory self, embrace and live ourselves up most fully, and we are most friendly when we do it with the freedom our lives were designed for.

Drama will always come up as long as we think that someone is worth being in our lives.  We will remember that we chose them and can choose quantity of time, the volume, the reception and the degree of connection.  We can choose freely what we will do or not do with them and live and die surrounded inside of ourselves and outside of ourselves by the connections we fought hard for.

Questions:  Why do you think drama is in your life from the perspective of self-care?  Since you’ve been more in tune to being a friend to yourself, has anything happened to the drama in your life?  Please tell me your story.