The JOY of BEING

Stopping at Seth’s after buying a supply of pot oil, he invites us in. Donning masks we sit chatting in his living room for over an hour. But afterwards, even though it seemed like a lovely visit, confusion sets in.

It takes a few days before feeling centered, and this seems to happen after any interaction with one of the three brothers that have formed some semblance of family.

There is love for them, but not an ability to be with any of them. A lack of trust prevails. The pleaser comes forth, the one my mother honed to fake perfection that says one thing but means another.

The chatter box comes out of my mouth happily flitting from one subject to another, when what I really want to say is, “Why did you make a life of being a close buddy to a person who abused me so horribly? Then spent the rest of his life making me pay for it? Why did you buddy up against me?”

Let them have their little group, and I can partake when or if I want, but decline when I want to without excuse, regret, or guilt. It took a few days for my internal world to become a kinder place to be.

Inside felt like a wasteland, no kindness fostered, just the critic. Being around any one of them brings out the plastic doll my mother created that fakes everything, smiling as you wrong me.

Quietly my soul came back. Quietly my life returns. Quietly the joy of living fills me bringing warmth where coldness had frozen all kindness.

BEATING CABIN FEVER

When Covid boxed me in, the outdoors revived, refreshed, and enlivened me. When the temps dipped uninvitingly low, the boxed in feeling quadrupled. Brrr… staying in with hot coffee and laziness won out. The elliptical trainer in the dark basement was used, but didn’t replace the curative effects of fresh air.

Trekking out finally to beat noxious cabin fever, plodding through knee deep snow, fluffy, brilliantly white, and oh so much like moving through water, my heart pounded needing several breaks to calm it down.

My boots sunk to the bottom of the heavy white stuff making each step difficult. Perhaps it is time for snow shoes. After the first sweaty lap, they were donned. The next lap went smoother, my feet going only half-way down, my heart still loudly pumping with the effort.

Though the sun shone down happily, two laps did me in. The unexpected pleasure of sunshine soaked in thoroughly, the Vitamin D nourishing every pore and tired brain cell.

The sluggish feeling dissipated— hope, vitality, and freshness taking its place. Exercise beats depression, but one has to do it for the release to occur. Oh, how I love it, just someone please, push me out the door?

ACCEPTANCE

PHOTOS BY PATRICIA

Nights roll on one after the other sleeping like a hibernating bear. And that brings a day of gratitude, relief, and a whole lot of energy that had been lacking for years during so many bouts with sleepless nights. The pot oil has to be the cure, because no amount of meditation worked to help sleep occur.

Still, during the day in the midst of winter, my feet drag as if lifting 2,000 pounds, wondering what in the world is wrong. Nothing, nothing except no matter how hard positivity is reinforced, winters do affect my brain chemicals dramatically turning me to stone even when fighting hard for that not to happen.

Though this winter is the best ever, it is not without challenges. Accepting the why helped my shoulders come down from the crunch of wondering, accepting my fate which makes it easier to bear. So the puzzle, always calming, is worked on to completion, along with other pleasant past times not amounting to much, but do pass the time.

It is not about changing the world, but myself. It is about finding the joy in each day because it could be my last, one never knows. It is about feeding my soul with uplift and belief in my own power, goodness, and abilities. To work on faith within myself which can then extend to others…

It is about happiness and peace in the face of an unimaginable storm as the virus takes hold with more virulent and deadly strains. Please keep my loved ones safe, please…

GROWTH, RENEWAL and PEACE

The challenge of facing ongoing anxiety happens throughout the day and even nights. If waking there arises a sudden urgency needing calmness to quell in order for sleep to return. Scary thoughts invade, like why didn’t you do this, that, or the other thing, because it couldn’t be that whatever way my life was handled might just be the best that could be done.

Because in the light of day, that is fact. Yet even days take me away from myself with negative thoughts needing harnessing in with more accurate truths.

The encouraging voice that previously was found with therapists, is now found within with a little searching diving deep. It is there, it is real, and can counted on if allowed to blossom with acknowledgement. The struggle for life during all those years raising sons was also real.

The depression was sometimes staved off, other times it sunk me into dullness and despair threatening to drown me altogether. As much as life now is loved, there is no desire to go back to such difficult times.

Sons made me work all the harder. Sons made life worth living, giving me purpose, hope, and daily goals. It is OK to believe that there is goodness in me, despite living a life believing there was none. It is a new way of being taking time to sink in, develop, and work on.

A soft voice to feed my soul rather than the one stripping all goodness away. It is a time for growth, renewal, and peace.

MAKE MY DAY

Paper poppies for girl-friend project.

Say good-bye to the old (me), say hello to the new. What can be done to make today fun? It isn’t set in stone that winters must depress me, though they often do threaten to sink my thoughts and spirit. This is one is different, something has unhooked from the rock shedding its need to stay stuck finding freedom.

A craft for my grand-daughter to do virtually since she is off from school all week. I miss her so much. She loved to spend the night, play house, and do crafts. So more crafting is in order. An easy project was found on-line, and the day was spent preparing her box of goodies to work on with me.

And then too, a craft project for my women friends, some of who professed not enjoying being together on-line, preferring the togetherness of sitting around a table. Who doesn’t? I miss that too, yet we find ways of joining anyway. Perhaps they will participate, but if not the others enjoy being together even if not in person.

The day passed so quickly, but still time to walk my heart out, the air frigid, the first breath settling me bringing a smile to my face. Oh the outdoors and its wonder… Make a day best you can.

Yarn around cardboard cut0out, a craft for grand-daughter.

Be ME

Oddly, this past summer was perhaps the best summer of my life, even while the pandemic raged on. Maybe its coincidence, or maybe it’s knowing that most folks feel as restricted as much of my life was. That comforted in that now there was a link between me and other people.

Though unsure what the reason, it just might be that over the decades I’ve worked my ass off trying to heal and recover what’s mine. It’s not possible to gain back all that was lost. The little girl I was is no longer, and that happened early on.

But it is possible to feel happy, be at peace, and welcome joy. But it has taken a lifetime and the courage of a lion, or a pride of them. To go against family? Because that is the tension and kickback that occurs when speaking truths.

When breaking the silence in any way? Because society doesn’t want to know either. But for me it took repeated telling of a story no one wanted to hear. Over and over again the details rang out that as a child were held in. Once the dam burst no one could quiet me, no one ever should have.

Freedom to be just me.

LOVE ME?

Witchy pumpkin by Patricia

It’s in the moments between activities that self-talk is so important. Time to just be is so hard, as doing replaces being. But being with oneself and being OK in stillness… that is the key and the path to joy.

With a life spent running this solitude is much like pre-Covid solitude. The difference? Happiness which equates to peace. Anxiety once making staying in my skin impossible, now calmed internally invites. With trepidation, then without reservation I go deeper.

Opening arms a little to oneself after a life of self-rejection is quite a miracle. Working through child-hood issues after being gagged from expelling them, took time. Time and repeated retelling of the very worst that as a child was forced to stay inside me, just as I was forced.

It took time, and it took brave courage unfettered because no one, especially the family I came from, wanted to hear—and still don’t hear. And I don’t care. (I do, but have learned to manage with what never will come) I don’t need them.

I need me, and those around me who truly support without fear. Not using silencing tactics, rejection, or suppressing my light in any way. I am the one that lives with me and will die with me. I am the one who needs to like me, and am learning to love all that I am.

Fear of Living

Fear of living creeps in as the days grow shorter. Thoughts of talking to someone routinely on-line in terms of a therapist comes to mind also, though the struggle to find a suitable fit keeps me from it unless real depression sinks in.

It won’t. Yes, a few over the years required talk therapy, which helped greatly. But this kind of depression is seasonal, happens every year, and can be coped with. No, not my choice. My choice would be nice long sunny days when the change of light won’t drag my mood and thoughts down.

But life isn’t about always getting my own way, nature’s way takes precedence.  Making magic is still possible, because it isn’t only when things are easy. The challenge is when things feel harder.

The studio calls easing that cooped in feeling. Walks rev up the blood causing happy chemicals to flow. Sitting by the creek and staying, as I did in the summer months, brings balance and satisfaction to my core, awakening the magical feeling of being alive.

FLY SOUTH?

along the meadow path

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,” (The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe) OK, it’s 6 AM, not midnight, but it looks it. Perhaps my history goes back to Poe? Or perhaps the dark mornings are just depressing. How to keep happy, well-adjusted, and don’t go crazy.

A video call from our grand-daughter in Massachusetts always brightens our days. She loves to have us join her while she’s scooping up spoonfuls of oatmeal, and we love being invited. It’s as if we are sitting next to her at the island sipping coffee while she eats.

The colors are changing and fast. The setting sun vibrantly lights up the back hill. Walks cause a crunch underfoot. But short days and dark mornings? Oh why didn’t we leave with the birds? Because this is home…

A successful patio party for our grand-daughter who lives down the road; pumpkin painting, fresh cider and home-made grape juice with breakfast.

WHOLE

photos by Patricia

Rather morbid thoughts invade my brain, chased away by simple projects that bring childish excitement, even an over-sized card for my grand-daughter’s birthday. Or puzzles that sit on the table most of the summer untouched. Working on one now lowers anxiety that creeps in as the days grow darker and colder settling the ragged places that threaten tranquility.

Some who grow older wish for youth, not me. No way would living my life over be tenable. It was hard enough the first time separated from myself like super-charged electrons buzzing around my body. My soul in shattered pieces making each decision the wrong one, causing more pain not less. How could one make a decision when disconnected from oneself?

And how can one be connected when taught to act and behave in opposition to the truth of their existence? That those I loved sexually attacked me with violence and malevolence. But Mom wouldn’t have it. You are to love your family. Broken, never to be whole again… but I wouldn’t have that either and worked hard life-long to have a life.

To have the zillions of pieces come home and stay is a revelation that most others take for granted. Whole, at peace, and happy, because feeling peaceful is happiness. That is how my life finally evolved after decades of fracture before piecing back together.