Pain and Pleasure

The joy of life sprinkles its way from my toes on up. Though the meadow now holds many dangers after the killer bird attack, and its constant stand on the rooftop or garden arch, my footfalls feel more peaceful further on down the path.

Each entry into the war zone makes me alert, but my fight with water ammo has kept him respectful. My water bottle is carried in my arm like a rifle. Laps resume happily. New shoots on the pines are brighter green as a whiff of pine sends shivers of pleasure within.

Confetti drops from the trees that leaf out after blossoms fall making it feel like a party of celebration on this simple joyful walk. A sheen of sweat erupts even though the day is cool, which makes the respite of sitting by the creek after the last lap even more a pleasure as it’s earned.

When my interior is able to make room for all that life presents, including grief, loss, terror, and beauty, acceptance makes the joy of being come alive. The earth vibrates with energy filling me with hope and peace.

 

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WORTH

Thoughts swirling about this and that, all about others and how they feel, what they might think. The old ways grab at me pecking away. Then the voice of reason which abandoned me all those years of suffering over others that came with feelings of wrongness and badness in every encounter and situation.

You have a right to feel your feelings, but first you must find them. After a childhood where my body was not mine, and certainly not my feelings or anything else, at this late stage of my life the search goes on. Centering into my core by meditation is not just helpful, it is necessity. Otherwise I go blithering off the stratosphere, thinking I’m grounded but being anything but.

You have a right to feel your own unique feelings and own them. Be brave and live your life. It is easy to sink into another’s perceptions because I had none— no center, no core, no me. There is a me, and there is beauty there. Go there, find her, be her.

FRIENDS

Tinted, like looking at the world with dark glasses. When the growth of a personality is embedded with feelings of ‘badness,’ feeling abnormal, even dirty, it separates a being from others in so many ways… emotionally, spiritually, and intimately. Closeness is feared.

Anxiety arises. Any interaction with another human makes it pop like hot mercury. Though much of that has lessened, anxiety and the customary feeling of wrongness, or badness, are still issues dealt with daily. 

Living in a bubble is not my desire, but my needs require an environment that includes a great deal of solitude that is steadily familiar. Upsets in equilibrium interfere with my health setting off a reaction that is out of my control. But outings are still pleasurable.

A friendly gathering offered a place to really talk. Later at home the harsh voice began banging, “You monopolized the conversation. Can’t you see what they have been going through?”

Then a softer voice quietly budged in, “Give yourself a break. It’s OK to share. It doesn’t mean you aren’t aware of their struggles or pain, or that you don’t care. Let yourself off the hook. Think of the supportive things that were said, like, you are a good friend. Remember that?”

Remember that.

The Beast of Anxiety

photo by Patricia

Now I lay me down sleep, my childhood prayer erupts. Asking god to guide me, reminding myself there are no worries, no one that I’ve injured or need to fret over; not at this time anyway. Sleep does comes, as she watches above hearing my prayers.

Such little things can interject into my mind and cause havoc. But not this lull from repetitive negative thinking. And with sleep comes calmer days with enough energy to exercise my body by walking the meadow with the luxury of resting by the creek. Oh, the quiet, balanced by bird twittering with frogs in the background like drums to the melodies.

Flowers are abundant everywhere, evidence of my earlier work. Blues, yellows, and white, like stars shining their happy faces up at me. Mosaics sparkle at every step, some by the creek, and others in every garden around the house. They shimmer so grand it makes me squint as cascades of rainbow prisms explode.

It comes, that all together feeling of wholeness, calm, and having it be OK to be here. In spring there is a leap between the dead zone and peaceful living. It is difficult to be conscious, wondering how others do it. Because for me, fear rules, anxiety a beast with claws puncturing my chest furling its claws around my heart, squeezing it.

Mornings, once my best time, are spent easing anxiety. Breathe. Slow down. Be in the moment, stop racing. Feel the metal pan as your hand smooths the soap off. Why are you hurrying? Where are you going? This is where you are going…now.

This IS your life, each moment, and you are OK. Yes, you are as special and important as any other. If you choose to, and need to live a quiet, solitary life, it is OK. If you come from a family of ten, but have none of them, that is OK too.

You haven’t failed. You have chosen to live authentically. It may feel wrong, to do what is right for you, but it is the most right thing you have ever done. You are OK, you are OK.

You have chosen your family—Samuel, my sons, grand-children, and friends. It is more than enough. You owe nothing but loyalty to yourself. It is OK. You are OK. It is during these peaceful times that the studio beckons which makes the cat happy as she curls up next to my work on the studio bench.

As the day yawns before me, anxiety is quelled, and the work of living goes on…

SPRING

What was left out from the above definition is that for some this condition becomes permanent because trauma early on went unprocessed. With age some aspects are greatly relieved, while others become more challenging . 

The rattle of others around me shakes me to my core,. With spring’s awakening the solace of nature is needed, but there’s no time for that. I arranged for my women’s group to meet the same weekend as my birthday, which also means a celebration with son Shane, and grand-kids. At my insistence both were at my house. Of course that is too much, will I never learn? Or more true, will I ever accept my limitations? 

My harsh voice says, “Leave it to me to make happy events into a problem.”

The gentler more accurate voice says, My life, my body, my easily overstimulated being cannot handle things like others do. It is medical condition, not a reflection on you. Yet feelings of inadequacy, and being different take hold.

A well of sad defeat rises as my eyes mist. You must accept your limits and needs. But how does one do that when trained to stay mute about them because it pleases others not to hear? That challenge is accompanied by the driving, continual desire to do what others so seemingly easily do.  

Spring itself has caused upheaval in my ability to sleep, as all the seasons do. Tiredness mucks up all else disconnecting me sharply from my body. Today, recovery from a system overloaded and overwhelmed. No pushing, just being; puttering around the house, a slow walk to the water after the rains, meditation, and perhaps more laps later. Quiet the critic who says do more. 

 

TRANSITION

photo by Patricia

As the criticizer comes crashing down, coming to a head as the joy of spring meets the depression of winter, I choose gratitude and to look upon my life as one of success; not the critic’s choice… a stain of regret and failure. What a see-saw time of emotion, which is indicative of much of my life; two opposing events, emotions, or ways of looking at things.

Love and hate. Joy and sorrow. How to make room for both in one being, and feeling them, one then the other, or both at once. I loved my mother, and hated her. Sometimes moments of appreciation occur for a life lived with persistence and hard work, but then a bat towards myself about failed relationships, regrets and what if’s.

My heart feels as if physically wrapped in barbs ready to break free or be punctured. A prayer to the universe, Please let go of the wires , Release the strictures, let my heart pump freely.  

Joy and hope burst forth when sprouts rise from the brown earth, joy that suppressed itself all through the difficult winter keeping my flagging spirit up enough to face each day. With more light comes an appetite for pleasures, wanting to do more, see more, be with others more.

The critic needs knocking down, and the soft voice of acceptance reminding me of successes wants voice, and must be given room to speak with an amplifier to hear the whispers of truth.

Yes mistakes were made, be prepared to make more, but look at all you have, and all you have done. As daylight lengthens, so does my ability to see things more beautiful. Food tastes better, scents are noticed more deeply, and stunted feelings open up to possibilities.

 

Intimate Friend

Waking in the dark, first thoughts gather in my belly as a feeling of want, a yearning for a close woman friend. A loss that has been there for a very long time. One who knows. One who has suffered deeply, yet the time spent together isn’t about the long gone past, but dealing with now. A relationship of depth.

This closeness is now found only on-line. With those I can’t hug, sit and have tea with, or go for a walk with. An emptiness yawns open with the loss of my friend who died, and the one who moved to another state. We still email occasionally, checking in on each other, but it’s not the same as sitting with her around the warm stove, or down by the creek.

Friends don’t arrive by stork. One must seek them out by going into the world, a place still found to be inhospitable. Solace is found more easily at home where a safer world opens wide at the end of my finger-tips on the keyboard to all countries.

Though grateful for that in all ways, still, a need unfilled calls out in the quiet moments before dawn dispels the shadows of want with light.