Monday, May 28, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: Immerse Yourself in the Future

I was listening to the radio on my way up to visit with my mom and stepfather today, and NPR was running a feature by Adam Piore called "We've Never Been the Same: A War Story," about a company of soldiers in Vietnam who suffered through an incredibly traumatic experience, and how they dealt with the PTSD later. It was compelling, so much so that I found it later this evening to listen to the whole thing.

One quote in particular from a veteran named Jeff Wishik struck me: "Immerse yourself in the world in front of you, rather than the one behind you...Immerse yourself in the future, not in the past." 

This is a tricky thing, because for me the things in my past have contributed to the person I am now -- all the good, all the bad, all the ugly rolled up into everything that is my story. I don't think that I can totally let go of of the world in the past, but I don't think that's what he's saying. 

Immerse is the key word -- you can visit, you can reflect, but you can't be a functioning, forward-thinking, forward-planning person if you are forever immersed in the events of your past. 

Memorial Day weekend marks the last of the anniversaries regarding our decision to end our parenting journey, and since the spring is so very chock full of anniversaries that could easily turn me into partial goo, I feel like I have grief fatigue to a point. This is the weekend where we got all our nursery stuff into the living room so that I could help load it into the woman's car who came to pick it up for her organization. This is when we no longer had a nursery or any of the trappings necessary to have a baby, and so it was utterly, painfully clear that the decision was made and there was no going back. It was done. 

Although this was the hardest of the days last year, it was an anniversary time that did not make me feel horrid. And I think that is because we spent this weekend immersing ourselves in the world and life that is in front of us, and not what it feels like to carry bits and pieces of the life you thought you'd have out to someone's Buick to drive it all away. 

We went for a walk around the Memorial Art Gallery. We walked around Highland Park, and enjoyed the tree peonies, and locust trees, and what's left of the lilacs. I edited Bryce's qual exam paper (no easy feat as it is full of Fromm's paraboloids and photonic waveguides and eigenvalues, but I did it and we sat on a bench by a sculpture to finish going over the changes after starting the project over sushi lunch. I went nuts in the garden and weeded, planted, potted, and just made everything as beautiful as I could. I spent an inordinate amount of time hand-stamping the ASL alphabet typeface onto index cards to serve as bookmarks for my students when we start "The Miracle Worker" this week. 

I immersed myself in the future, and that made me less able to be wallowy and sad. Not that there's anything wrong with being wallowy and sad, but sometimes you just want to celebrate the life you have and not the one you were denied for inexplicable reasons. 

The end of the podcast spoke to me too: when they talk about how sharing stories helps to lessen PTSD, helps you to process traumas of many kinds, and makes it so that you aren't holding your pain alone. I so appreciate this community for those shared stories, for the communal holding of the pain (and the joy). 

Inside this incredible allee of trees at the art gallery

Our gorgeous art gallery castle

So much in bloom!

Home sweet home

My chair in with all the plants about to explode!

Pretty tree peony at Highland Park

Sunny yellow tree peonies

Gorgeous pink locust tree, like a sweet pea tree!

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!


  1. This is so so so beautiful. Happy, sad, lovely. I love this post!

  2. I love this post. I have truly felt the connections and therapy of sharing stories - both for myself and for others reading them - and that's why I still blog. And the focus for the future - for me, that was survival. Better than survival - it was to prosper. As you are doing. I'm glad that the final of your awful anniversaries was, in fact, holding hope as well.

    I love your spring/summer photos, and your focus on the future.

    And one sentence has got me thinking, and a blog post may come of it.

    1. Thank you so much! And hoo, huzzah for the end of the awful anniversaries. I loved your blog post!

  3. Immerse. Yes, that rings true for all you've been doing and all you've been focusing on. I don't see you sitting in the past, Jess. Remembering and reflecting, sure, but sitting there hasn't been what you've been focusing on. Instead you've been creating and building, focusing on the future and what is in front of you. It's inspirational and beautiful. With all the emotions mixed in with it, but that's what life is, isn't it?

    I love the image of that tree. Makes me feel like I'm laying on my back, looking up into the canopy, breathing in the Spring-turn-Summer air and enjoying the moment.

    1. Thank you! Some days it feels like immerse, but then I guess if you can pull yourself out you're still moving forward, even if your ankles are covered in the muck. And yes, life is a mucky swamp, but teeming with wild irises and singing frogs. :)

      Glad you love the tree! It was so cool in there. It would be a great meditation image to conjure up, right?

  4. What a brilliant word to mark the start of this next cycle.

    I love the look of your home (no secret there) and I really want to visit that purple chair.

    1. Thank you! I loved that word, and the quote, and it all came at just the right time. And come over anytime! That chair is waiting for you, and there's a spot on the couch with your name on it!

  5. Immersion in the present is a beautiful concept and realization. It's also so hard to do when coming from a place of trauma. I think you've been doing an amazing job, and this post really caps that off.

    Hoping your future stays as beautiful as the photos you've shared, so immersion is a bit easier!

    1. Thank you! It is SO hard to do when the trauma clings to you. But little by little, I find that it's possible to see the good things about my life as is, to look forward to all the possibilities, and take the edge off all the losses that I can do absolutely nothing to remedy. And thanks, I love those photos, they make me so happy. Spring is such a hopeful time!

  6. Oh, this is lovely. I'd never thought about the difference between immersion vs visiting when it comes to traumas and the past. Such a good distinction - the past is still there and can be considered and honored as such, but it's not a place to live. May the future be a place of beauty and peace.

    Also, your house/photos are just gorgeous.

  7. "Immerse yourself in the world in front of you... Immerse yourself in the future, not in the past." This makes sense to me. Maybe this is what I have been doing in 2018 to survive and thrive. I've been working so hard toward my future these past five months and it has left me little time to dwell on the past. Of course, I visit the past every day (and all of the associated thoughts and feelings that come with not realizing my lifelong dream of being a mother), but I spend my energy these days immersing myself in the here and now and the what it is to come. <3 Thank you for this post!

  8. Beautiful photos -- I've always loved Cape Cod houses. :) I do think it's somewhat easier to immerse yourself in what's in front of you when what's in front of you is so beautiful. ;)

  9. Your garden is...
    Just like you!

  10. Your garden looks great!

    I think that the immersion quote is so key for our community! Sharing my story and being able to read about other's stories has been so important for me and my sanity.

    I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy yourself during a tough anniversary time.

  11. "Immerse Yourself in the Future" is a great quote. Sort of like "don't live in the past". Yes, you can visit the past and remember of course, but it's definitely better to focus on the future and good things ahead when possible. Your house and garden are so pretty!