FEAR

photo by Patricia

What is the fear erupting each day crackling just below the surface- ruminating, festering, and growing instead of abating? Talk yourself out of it. Calm the anxiety even if it can’t be named.

Carrying it with me, because there is no ridding myself of it, the sharp buzz lessons with familiarity. The fear sometimes rises, sometimes diminishes, but is always there.  

If only it could be named. When standing at the cusp of change, a shift in growth can cause unease. Dare to put one foot forward. But what if I fall? Perhaps, just perhaps, let deep whispers flow, and quiet the mind. The directives rising from the source defy logic authenticating my being.  Listen. Pay attention. And trust it.

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You Are Not Alone

There is a place inside called home. A place you can rely on. A place to go when scared, and everyday I’m scared. Scared of living? Or dying? Or not fully living, and becoming all I can be?

You are the container; the plant, the soil, the root, and you can blossom. You need air, sustenance, and sunshine. That is all you need. Sometimes it is fulfilling to breeze against others, but sometimes that only causes further damage.

The branches of pines, like fingers brushing my arm walking by, caress a hello, greeting me with snow-tipped arms. There, you are not alone, your friends touch their cold pointy tips with a warm embrace. A smile erupts while passing by… each one brushing a light hello.

                                                                 web photo 

 

SKIPPY

It feels like the dead of winter, and it isn’t officially winter yet. 3 AM. The usual work of trying to stay in bed waiting for sleep to come again just wasn’t working. Sipping decaf, staring at the TV, finally I give in making a pot of regular. No way would sleep return with a head full of thoughts about the present, past, and future.

My grasp at sanity feels a moment away from gone. But you’ve been through much worse. This is only the usual insomnia. It makes no sense because the exercise yesterday was double the usual. Walking the mall took twice as long as walking laps in the meadow. And since energy still buzzed after returning home, why not mop the kitchen floor, and vacuum?

Too much blood pumping excites my easily over excitable senses. Or what? Sleeping well one night, yet not the next with no discernible reason might just be something to accept. Checking the newest piece in the studio, telling myself beforehand not to be too harsh when looking at the finished product, my decision was that it didn’t look half bad.

Stroking the ‘fur’ I began to like it. Samuel gave me the rock, saying it was shaped like a dog so I’d have to make one. Having someone tell me what to make in my own studio raises my hackles. I tried to make it work but gave up. There the rock sat for months. 

It began to speak to me. I thought… maybe. You don’t have to be too literal, just have fun with it. She unfolded in one sitting. The grout is applied the day after so the caulk has time to dry. I am reminded of our childhood pet Skippy, so dearly loved. 

While rocking by the fire with Samuel, I told him the story of Skippy. Mom gave the dog away due to the doctor saying it was the cause of my scalp condition. But Skippy found her way home from many miles away. The new owners agreed to let her stay after Mom relayed to them our joy at having her back; our little group that clung together because that was all we had until going our separate ways just trying to survive.

 

The Great Outdoors

 

‘Practice what you preach,’ words chastising in my head while dragging my body to the door pulling on snow pants, a brightly colored coat so the hunters won’t shoot me, then a hat, scarf and gloves. It is like walking through water getting to the door, my mood making me sluggish but also with the knowledge that this is the time when exercise is most needed and helpful.

Once opening the door to the frosty air my mood refreshed instantly with uplift. Though my body took the laps slowly, my heart happily pumped as aches eased with the movement. It is essential, even in winter, to keep moving. Mother brings such pleasure, peace and ease, her tranquility a healing balm every time.

The last lap earns a rest in the Adirondack chair. The latest melt has caused the creek to rise. In the distance my ears discern the rushing of water over the beaver dam not far away. Various prints in the light snow paint trails of rabbit, squirrel and deer activity crisscrossing like delicate embroidery.

Feeling full, satisfied and plied with more vigor, I tramp back puffing uphill to the house. The cat awaits my return, curled up high on the closet shelf in the mitten box where she can keep an eye on me lap after lap. Winter weariness needs to be attacked every day, but is so worth the work… Sometimes the relief is immediate, other times it takes a while.

 

Alone yet Connected

You are alone, and you are connected to the universe and all living things. It doesn’t feel that way sometimes. During darkness the aloneness is all there is. Sometimes, day, after day, after day. The thought that feelings come and go does not comfort nor help to brush away the hellish hole.

Then glimmer, by glimmer, hope returns as the body heals the latest health or emotional upheaval. Like coming out of battle, weary, mud-stained, and weak, strength slowly returns rejuvenating the spirit to its proper norm.

The stars were aligned. Sleep slowly was restored and the coughing cleared. I took up my sister-in-law’s offer to attend the little gathering yesterday which had bloomed to a few more family members from long ago; one who I embraced warmly, the other with a cool hello.

Brothers were barely embraced, it was enough to attend.

“What is wrong?” one asked after a brief, lackluster hug of hello walking on after.

I ignored him.

“That was hardly a hug!” another one said, pulling me close for another one that I barely responded to.

I kept connected to my insides without parts flying from me, which would be my usual course. Instead of giving everything away to others, I kept myself.  

What do you expect, I thought, and walked on toward the door without acknowledging his comment. You- who cannot email, call, or visit? You- who I don’t hear a word from for over a year, but you interact frequently with the others?

I owe nothing. I did not look at them directly. You will not invade my interior and hurt me more than you already have. I was there, that was enough. You don’t want to know me, you don’t see me, nor want to. You can’t have the fake me you seem to want.

You want the pretend me who nods, smiles and says nothing. I stayed aloof, yet connected within. Nothing would change anyway. Each would still clique together and talk about how queerly I acted, or something else other than anything real, and I’d still be alone.

A good deed was accomplished, maybe not to your liking, but to mine. 

Growth doesn’t occur in chaos, it comes in the quiet places. I am alone, yet connected to every living thing.

 

Moments of Love

Like a fist shut tight, or a bud unwilling to open to the elements, my heart is a cavern to explore, but when hurting boulders are in the way. Holding in feelings stresses the heart as surely as medical conditions do. More tears were needed, the wound was not fully washed, let them flow.

Resistance to this is incredibly high. I don’t see Samuel cry, except once or twice in his life. Others, if they do cry, hide it. Avoiding tears comes first bringing with it a closed heart  putting my health at risk due to the grasp clenched around it. I need to own my feelings, and let them out. Only then can reaching out to others feel full and authentic.  

This morning while stroking my cat, after an evening prior with grand-kids at an outdoor Christmas festival, the warmth of love opened. After the long shut-down, the glimmer was brief— but real. Those children love me as they wrapped their arms around me saying, “Na Na, Na Na.”  The ice that made me cold began to melt. 

Loving openly does come easily, if at all, but more readily with children and animals. The lesson learned very early was to protect what was left, because if that was taken too there would nothing left, nothing to live for, no meaning in life… no me.

I accept that I am like this, very cold unless feeling safe. Others may not, nor understand, but there are those who do stick by me through it all, and those are the ones safe to love… sometimes. The love is always there, but too risky to feel except in some moments. I treasure those moments, they make it all worthwhile.