Eclectic Interactions

So I did something this week.

I took some time for me.

Ever since my mom had her stroke, I’ve been her full time wingman –err, wingwoman — by her side, helping her out.

And this past week, was our scheduled family vacation, and due to obvious reasons, only myself, and my older brother and his wife went. It was already all paid for, and my dad really encouraged me to go.

So I did.

I went skiing and enjoyed the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.


It was hard to be away, if I’m being completely honest. My body was in Utah, but my heart and mind were back home in Ohio.

But I ended up having a blast. I am really lucky to have such incredible siblings.

But while I was away, I ended up having one of those conversations that just stick with you.

We were sharing a ride into town with this fascinating woman. She was very eclectic. Flowing gray hair that was elegant, yet slightly wild; thick-rimmed, circular tortoise glasses, and a felt, lime green trench coat that rivaled her hair in “strikingness.”

She was the essence of all things artistic and original.

And I ended up talking to this woman about my blog.

To be honest, I never really know what to say when people ask me what it’s about.

I always come up with something “safe” like, It’s a ‘self love blog,’ or ‘it’s a blog that covers my journey to living an abundant life.’

I dunno, there’s just something about saying “an eating disorder recovery blog” that doesn’t really quite roll off the tongue. You can’t really save the conversation after dropping a bomb like that on a new acquaintance.

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But I did say that it had “inspirational content.”

And without skipping a beat, this woman affirms, “That’s so great and needed. Gotta put on your own oxygen mask first, right? Where can you find that?

Gotta put on your own oxygen mask first…

I found my mind replaying that over and over for the rest of the night.

Your own oxygen mask.

This has been a rather different – and difficult – season on life, here recently, after everything with my mom.

Moving back home –albeit temporarily- as a young adult, it is…well, there are truthfully, a lot of emotions attached to it.

But I kept thinking about that oxygen mask.

That saying has always been a little morbid for my taste….you’re going to give some cheeky analogy about helping yourself by relating it to an airplane in distress about to crash?! Sensitive much?

But I digress.

We can’t help others unless we ourselves are secure, receiving the necessary sustenance.

Living in New York, there are so many sources to find those “sustainabilities” – that oxygen if you will.

I have a great life in NYC with all my friends, and I know they “fill me up.” But then there’s shopping, great food, incredible live music, night life, dance clubs, cultural happenings – there is so much to make your soul come alive. Not to mention my acting career and opportunities to write and express myself creatively.

And to put it nicely, Ohio is…well, not able to match that.

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But I’ve just been thrust into this situation where, whether I have my oxygen mask on or not, I have to help my mom get her oxygen mask on first.

And I realized that I am kind of in a waste land when it comes to sources of oxygen for myself here. I don’t have to fully get into it, but coming home is always difficult, with a past full of “emotional misdemeanors” and scathing memories that are lurking around every corner. But regardless of the dearth of O2 sources, here I am, finding myself doing what needs to be done, surviving the chaos, and being strong.

I think in times like this, our oxygen mask is overtaken by Jesus. And He supplies our sustenance even without our knowing.

“Gotta put on your own oxygen mask first…”

I can’t stop thinking about that exchange with that interesting woman in the car. And how, after hearing that my blog offered “inspirational content,” her mind immediately drew the connection between that, and a source of oxygen for her oxygen mask.

And it got me thinking because it revealed something pretty powerful….we are all searching.

We are all looking for that source to sustain us.

Being out in Utah, skiing in the 2 ½ foot fresh powder, surrounded by the magnificent, sweeping views of the mountains, soaring pines and crystal blue skies…that was really renewing for my spirit. I always feel close to the Creator when I am out in nature, but this was a deeper renewal- More than just a superficial “getaway.”

This was a soul renewal. A time of repair. A time of true sustainability.

If I’m being really honest, this is going to be a difficult journey for me. I, for one, tend to disregard my own oxygen mask when these times of need arise. I want to be there, fully, unencumbered.

An oxygen mask is more that just the spiritual component. Jesus is our oxygen, yes, and that is the spiritual aspect of our total wellbeing. There is also the physical, the mental, social – those all need to work together with the spiritual. And in truth, all of those are gifts to us from Jesus for our wellbeing.

And all of those things were “fed” this weekend.

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That woman was absolutely right – we cannot help another person to our fullest capacity without putting our own oxygen mask on first.

I need to not neglect my own oxygen mask. Jesus can put it on for me, but I’m the only one who can make myself actually take a breath.

And that full inhalation will sustain me: mind, body and spirit.

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280 thoughts on “Eclectic Interactions

  1. Thank you so much for this post! Sometimes, it is hard to put yourself first when you want to and feel like you need to help or support your family or friends. Sometimes, you, yourself gets lost in the mix. But, as the lady said, “You need to put your own oxygen mask on first.” It was something that you said in this post about helping yourslef, before helping someone else that really stuck with me. I do the same exactaly thing, allways trying to be there for friends, and family, work, and everything else that you hit an “emotional wall” Thank God for His love and that even when we are weak, He can give us strength to get through. Just wanted to say Thank you for such an amazing post, keep writing and telling your story.

    Alicia

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Minor theological contrariness (for which I will accept your rebuke, as appropriate): Jesus taught humanity to breathe, but the love (oxygen) comes from the Father. Ultimately, we receive it to the degree that we believe that we are worthy of receiving it. So when Peter fell in the water, it was lack of faith in himself that Jesus protested.

    I think that there is gratitude in love itself (which is the Father) that we allow love into our lives. We don’t have to. Just to have that much faith – that we can receive healing for the sin in us – seems to encounter so many psychological barriers. But that is the sole purpose of love – to effect that healing! I wish that we would stop worrying about “being worthy.”

    Have you thought about this forum as “a blog about the healing that love is working in my life?”

    Like

  3. You were in Utah?! In the “Greatest snow on Earth”? Are you still here? How great is that? You were probably just an hour away from me. ☺ I’m glad you breathed in the cool mountain air…and not the virus that’s been floating in my house and vacationing in my family this past month! It would be great to meet you.

    You are right: each one of us is searching…hungry for something. There’s a yearning that’s planted deep within us. It’s by design. There’s a reason for it. And it’s there for those who are sensitive enough in heart, mind, and spirit to start asking…searching…and once you find the answer, you’ll recognize it…and be filled. That seed is from the Father of us all…to get us to look for Him again…because He wants us Home. And you’re picking up the signal. *That* is good. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH YES! The *greatest* snow on earth bar none!! haha yeah it was pretty outrageous. Thanks so much 🙂 oh no! I’m so sorry your family has been sick! that’s never fun. Amen to that – He does want us to come home 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and encouragement! This was a breath of fresh oxygen for me tonight 🙂 hehe hugs xo

      Like

  4. That’s right, and Jesus is our oxygen, the breath which sustains our real life in Him. Nice article. 🙂 Steve

    On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 5:00 PM, BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “So I did something this week. I took some time > for me. Ever since my mom had her stroke, I’ve been her full time wingman > –err, wingwoman — by her side, helping her out. And this past week, was > our scheduled family vacation, and due to obvious reasons” >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I once worked with a nurse who would grab you by the hand, slap it and tell you “don’t say that”! So, I’m going to virtually do the same to you. If you feel you have to try to save the conversation after exposing anything that you are passionate about, then that’s a bullet worth dodging! After alln your blogging experience not only helps others but it’s also Chicken Soup for your soul. And yes, the more secure you are the more you can and will help others!. So grab that oxygen mask in your favorite color and step out like a model!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! I once worked for the nurse who would grab you by the hand, slap it and tell you “don’t say that”! So, I’m going to virtually do the same to you. If you feel you have to try to save a conversation after exposing something that you are passionate about then that’s a bullet worth dodging! After all, your blogging experience not only helps others but it’s chicken soup for your soul as well. And yes, the more secure you are the more you can and will help others. So grab that off oxygen mask in your favorite color and step out like a model!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Caralyn,

    None of us can see ahead of us what today’s circumstances are preparing us to face, deal with and be a blessing in. If we could, we would have long escaped out of God’s loving plans and purposes, because we would never have had the liver to go through them!

    Yes, you’ve got to go through some things, sometimes again and again, because it’s a loving Dad who is giving us the chance to make a different response each time, and each time He waits and longs expectantly for us to make those small critical changes in our thoughts and actions.

    In my country, we lack many of the opportunities to have personal space, and with a lack of a social security system, and a mindset which on one hand, venerates the elderly, but on the other, does little practically to look after them, life can be dreadful for older people, especially widows and the poor. You’ve just got to sit one time in a hand-drawn rickshaw pulled by a man in his fifties or sixties, to know how the skin crawls and you wish you had never climbed aboard, but for the fact that if you didn’t he wouldn’t earn that tiny bit of money with which he’s supporting his family. Sites of pilgrimage are often places where the elderly are left (conveniently) in ‘God’s lap’ by families who don’t want to be burdened by them. The Bible is, however, really clear about families looking after their own vulnerable, and what you’re doing is right and very, very good, the equivalent of the sons of Noah who covered his shame instead of despising it like their brother. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    No moments are slipping by being lost, especially when you are co-heir with Christ to everything. 1 Corinthians 3:22 – all things are yours! All of time is yours. ‘Either you run the day, or the day runs you.’ That was the title of my last post, and I had been reflecting on what moving ahead in 2017 meant. So many of us are in situations where we are hemmed in and the only recourse is to look to God, and be fruitful where He’s placed us. It’s by far the best place to be in.

    Praying for you and your family, and your future.

    Many regards,
    Indi

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Indi, thank you so much for this. You’re so right. Our Father is loving and has such patience for His children. Wow, what a powerful perspective you shared about the conditions in your country. Gosh, my heart just goes out to those hard working individuals. You’re right- all we can do is look to God. Because He will keep us in the palm of His hand. Thanks for your continued prayers, Indi. You and your family are in mine as well. Big big big hugs xox

      Like

  8. Great post! I love you you mentioned that your trip was not just a ‘superficial getaway’ but a soul renewal! I think that it’s so important for people to look at traveling more in this light. I believe that in this way, our minds and hearts are open, and we can truly take the most out of our experience.

    Peace and love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s funny, I’ve been kind of in the same mental place myself the last couple weeks. Though, for me, the last 3 years have been crazy trying to get everyone else oxygen and not being able to get any myself. And now, finally, I’m really feeling like God wants me to slow down and start figuring out what a healthy life actually looks like where everyone I love is taken care, but also where I’m taking care of myself, too. I pray you find that equilibrium in your life, especially with the needs of your mom right now. I’m so sorry to hear about what she’s going through. My prayers are with you and your family. Pray for me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey RCC! Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. I’m so glad you’ve entered a season where you can take care of yourself too:) thanks for the prayers. It means the world. Know that you and yours are in mine too. Hugs and love xox

      Like

  10. Computer access issues have kept me off for a bit….but I’m glad you’ve taken care of yourself. YES, you need to put your own mask on first! I know, you think it’s counterintuitive, but it is needed. You are worthy in His mind (and many others) of being taken care of, of being refreshed, of getting oxygen. Maybe you can help your mom with her oxygen by giving her yours….but it won’t last long, or end well. So breath the Breath and take care
    xoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh gosh, I hope your computer issues have been all fixed up! Thanks so much for this encouragement. You’re right – He deemed us all worthy when He took up the cross. And I love that — I *am* worth getting oxygen. I’ll have to remember that the next time I want to say no to doing so. thanks for stopping by! have a great rest of your week! hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to my part of the country! I’d almost swear, based on your description, that I have met that woman you described. If it’s who I’m thinking of, she’s been an angel in the lives of many women who have had to push through some really hard things. And if she’s not the person I’m thinking of, she was at least an angel to you. I love your idea that Jesus puts on our mask for us, but we have to take the breath ourselves. It’s a good thing for anyone in a caregiver position, or any stressful situation, to remember. It reminds me of how in the book of Isaiah, God tells his people over and over, “I wanted to protect you, if you would come when I called, but you wouldn’t.” (okay, that’s paraphrasing) But then he reassures them that his arm is stretched out to them still. He is always there, waiting to lift and help us, but he won’t force us to take his help. We have to remember and accept the help he sends – like a vibrant woman with gray hair.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh really! Wouldn’t that be wild if we were thinking of the same woman! She was a gem. 🙂 thanks so much for this thoughtful response. You’re right- we’ve got to accept the help He sends, however she sends it:) glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi BBB,

    Isn’t it funny who the Lord brings in our path? It is often the people who are different and odd, but who unlike most people want to really talk. I guess the Lord slows us down enough on our normal routine to not miss those moments. Have a great day,

    Gary On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 4:01 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “So I did something this week. I took some time > for me. Ever since my mom had her stroke, I’ve been her full time wingman > –err, wingwoman — by her side, helping her out. And this past week, was > our scheduled family vacation, and due to obvious reasons” >

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I enjoyed reading this peace and i totally agree with you when you say we are all searching. Am in that place where, there’s a deep hunger to know the reason of my existance and why i have been put on this earth. So this is refreshing and reassuring that, all of us, human beings are interconnected in this journey of life. I’m definitely going to put my oxygen mask on. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oxygen comes in many forms and times, as you have listed some of yours in NYC. My post last night (Friday) presents some oxygen for me, where I live, in regard to being connected with other people (specifically hiring a local farmer to help him with cash-flow through winter months, and giving away firewood to keep other neighbors warm during those same months). Inspiration, though we may initially think of in terms of some idea that inspires us and other, is actually the word for breathing in. Nice metaphor, regardless of whether you had intended it.
    Oscar

    Liked by 1 person

  15. That is a lesson learned that my therapist hit me hard with repeatedly last year. I cannot take care of my family and be there for them if I do not take care of myself first. I love the O2 analogy. Because when I am not on metaphorical O2 then my life does become a plane crash waiting to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m just catching up on my posts and I love this. A woman said that about my post this weekend. It really started to weigh in my spirit because I ended a friendship on Saturday and I realized that I was putting on my own oxygen mask first. I’ve been reading a lot of bloggers talking about this same thing and it got me to think that I must need to pay attention. Happy you had a great time!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. “An oxygen mask is more that just the spiritual component. Jesus is our oxygen, yes, and that is the spiritual aspect of our total wellbeing. There is also the physical, the mental, social – those all need to work together with the spiritual. And in truth, all of those are gifts to us from Jesus for our wellbeing.”

    Ive found that writing has always been my oxygen since I don’t always have the opportunity for the physical, mental and social outlets. Sometimes, it seems we are so scheduled, so full, so distracted and there for others, we forget we need to unplug. Sometimes, this carries over into my sleep patterns -my husband works 12 hour nights, I work 10 hour days plus a 3 year old. Yep, I believe that Jesus has been sustaining us. But even he had to send Elijah the Prophet out into the desert to get some downtime. We’ve both cut back a lot, and it seems this is the time for being still, to make time to have time.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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