Thanksgiving just passed and my energy is pulled toward considerations of the latter part of the word.
What do I give? Is it what I should be giving? Are my motivations clean and clear? What is my impact?
I have given large parts of myself to bringing up others. It seems selfless looking at it from certain angles, but looking from the portal of my own heart’s truthful acknowledgment I see it has been earnest, and intentioned from love, but flawed. Because I am flawed.
Giving is not pure. It is complicated and nuanced and sometimes it is harmful.
It is important to acknowledge harm we have done when we get clear vision to see it, or it is told to us. We must learn to soften around being people who do harm even in our best intentioned giving.
Forgiveness is not easy and sometimes not possible. The healing power of forgiveness requires the vulnerability to be honest and know none of us are innocent of doing harm.
Perhaps the best giving I can do right now is this acceptance and statement of being both someone who gives and loves, as well as being someone who does harm intentionally and unintentionally, and seek a way to forgive myself.
My guest is gone and boys are still asleep.
The familiar quiet permeates this house.
My dog gets up. I hear his paws on wood floor, his breath, he is drinking water noisily.
His sounds come warm to my ears, soothing. The quiet is less dense, lighter.
I take a deep breathe myself.
I heard so many positive and loving things about myself as a teacher this past week.
I know they are true and real, but here I am back in this new place, quiet house, stripped bare of identity.
Anything could happen, but I am having trouble making out the first step.
Or I hesitate for fear of a first misstep.
It is cold outside now. I remind myself that this is the season of turning in and gathering.
It is ok to pause, to not know, to take time.
Quiet is still a gift. Still a gift.
I have missed writing this week.
I was away doing work that uplifts and sustains me.
Sustenance and nourishment is something we all seek and deserve on all levels.
I have found it challenging to acheive a state of consistent nourishment, resulting in episodes of sharp discontentment and depression.
The reasons why this happens are many and complex. Some are beyond my control, but others like not believing in my own worthiness, and acts of self sabotage are mine and mine alone.
I have a frequent intense inner ache, a painful unsettled feeling that something vital is missing.
In those moments what I am missing is myself. My true, bright, shining, fully expressed self.
I will continue steadfastly and relentlessly to claim her, love her, be her.
I refuse to go missing.
I am hurrying to pack up and get on the road.
Five and a half hours to my son’s dorm.
I did not drive in Asia. I liked not driving, but I didn’t like not driving.
Relationships, even with things as mundane as driving, are complicated.
I am most prone to panic attacks while driving, especially on high overpasses and bridges. This drive has three bridges, big bridges.
I remember my breathing exercise and affirmation to stop panic attacks.
I breathe slowly and sigh out softly on the exhale, I tell myself, “This is not real.”
It mostly works.
I look out the window and it is raining leaves, yellow and rust color.
They twirl and glide as they descend. So graceful, a dance.
Language is limited. I can’t fully describe the beauty of this rain of leaves.
A photo or video would fail too.
Experience is a true wonder.
If all of us looked out my window right now and then wrote a poem, we would have as many unique poems as people.
We are a wonder just like those leaves dancing and twirling, separately but together.
We would do well to walk through the world and remember that.
I will try.
Yesterday I noticed a big groundhog curled up in a ball in my yard. I tried to rouse him, stomping, clapping.
I got close enough to see the rise and fall of breath. He was curled into himself, on the way out of this world.
Yellow leaves falling around him.
Today he is fallen over, laid out on the ground. Gone.
My girls are sad. The youngest wonders why I didn’t do something or call someone to save him.
These things do not get easier. I asked myself the same question. Why can’t I rescue things?
Death and loss are not things I have matured into being at ease with, even though I contemplate it as much as I do.
Honestly, I am afraid. Terrified.
This need to examine dying is a fundamental piece of me. I am pulled toward relationship with it. I have sought extended forms of support around it. It has my name on it.
I wish it didn’t.
I have a little plastic porpoise on my altar.
A dear friend gave it to me one summer on retreat. He smiled and said, “I heard you are trying to find your life porpoise.”
We laughed. But it was true. A deep cutting truth.
Purpose. What is it?
I have four beautiful children.
I have done other things, but motherhood has been my vocation, and I have done it pretty well. I have made mistakes and done harm, but if we are honest we all do.
It should be enough. I tell myself that.
But I remain hungry, unsettled.
Haunted by things that might have been. Hunted by what the world seems hell bent on having me believe.
I should have done that. I should be doing this.
Get followers, make a brand, market and package and push.
I have swallowed these messages, even though they hurt me. I do not judge myself for that.
That same friend also drew an angel for me. The angel of discernment. This angel is stark, shadowed, and weilds a mighty sword.
I call on that angel. He sits on my altar and holds my little plastic porpoise.
To live in a body. We all do.
These bodies of pleasure and pain.
These bodies of lost and found.
These bodies of light and shadow.
These bodies of smooth and scarred skin.
These bodies that hold our secrets.
What we hide the body keeps, loyally, dedicated.
Sometimes some of us hate our bodies. I do sometimes.
I get claustrophobic in my own skin. I want to claw my way out.
I love my body when I let go of fear and take her as my one true love.
We dance, we run, we play. I am lucky to have this body.
I think about her death. I look at my feet and imagine them lifeless. I grieve myself.
The loss of me already well on its way.
Is that morbid? Unseemly?
I think it is essential.
I am not so good at parties.
My small talk escalates too quickly to things that are not small at all, and if there is a dance floor me and my body take it by storm. Unabashedly embodied and fully alive.
Mondays come and bring with them an empty house. A blanket of quiet.
I eat my breakfast. I notice the sound of knife and fork on plate, the hum of the refrigerator, my dog snoring, a crow outside.
I am tempted to turn the television on to add a layer of human presence into the space.
I decide not to. I stay with the quiet.
I probably will not speak out loud to another person until the middle school bus pulls up.
That is not a very long time, but quiet stirs my impatient nature, rubs up against the raw skin of my insecurity. I get agitated at the space.
I sip my coffee and consider the gift of space to feel. To sense. To experience. The discomfort of being with myself. A great gift.
I go back to unwrapping it.
It was not supposed to rain today, but it is.
We went running anyway.
An older man came down his driveway, he grinned and said, “Hey it’s raining!”, he finished his proclamation with a chuckle.
We chuckled back and said, “It is?!”
I need to run most on days like this one. It keeps the dark, the chill, the heavy energy from sinking through my body and settling into my spirit.
I am running away from things, literally.
Running from depression, from anxiety, from these internal foes that seem committed to pursuing me.
I may be outnumbered, but I have stamina.