My life is quiet in many ways others might judge as boring. Sometimes it feels restraining and a yearning arises for travel farther than the grocery store or mall and a larger circle of acquaintances. Then the reality of my challenges along with the freedom and ability to face them gently quickly dissipates the moments of despondence. And maybe it’s not others who judge, but me.
Push, push, push, do, do, do. There are things in a day to get done. Yet my body on some days resists and hurts. So disconnected to it and annoyed with its frailties, the tendency is to ignore it. Pushing through leaves me more disconnected by day’s end, confused, ungrounded and bereft. A great need swallows me voraciously looking for something to fill the holes where I’ve left myself.
Coming back to the moment and to myself is so simple and sounds easy yet for a person who has a lived her life with great disconnect it takes effort every time, and in every moment. Where are the eyes full of love and grace?
In the mirror there is only a tired ghost of a hard edged woman. When connections are made to the pathways of spirit, soul, body and mind, the reflection softens. The person looking back emits a light that is inviting, fluid and likable.
The tendency is to run, the work is always to stay.
As dawn approaches, only a soft haze in the horizon beyond the hill while all else is still and dark, the thought arises that you do deserve to have a day without self punishment even in spite of yesterday’s failures and flaws. More so, you need your own compassion holding mistakes in your hand like sea worn pebbles, investigating each one gently with curiosity and tenderness.
The heart constricts banded by a tightness learned in childhood. How does one go back and unwrap the wires that cut so deep? Embedded into the vessel they will bleed if removed. As each attack happened with no recourse of protection or love, the child decides she is to blame. As she grows so does the blame she takes upon herself. Her heart constricts with self-loathing not love. She extends softness to others but for herself…contempt.
It is a process, this practice of self love.
Fall has come and gone, the trees are bare as wind whistles through the branches. Sitting by the fire cozily with the cat by my feet, thick fog fills the back hillside while the hickory trees nearby in the hedgerow sway dancing like black lacy tendrils entwined together. The bareness seemed to happen overnight but it really took weeks. Perhaps night winds took the last leaves. Dawn comes in a steely grey gloom, the sun cast away behind the smoky carpet.
Days like this tend to be more common than sunny ones in NE America during the long months of winter. One must make their own joy. Dragging the six foot fake Christmas tree up from the basement, a day is spent decorating the house with strings of lights a week earlier than usual. The brightness of color and sparkle lift the dreariness. As the gold shimmery tree skirt is gently tucked around the tree base, Molly the cat curls up under it in her favorite resting place, the echo of purring floating up to my ears.
Hunting season has begun, so bright red is added to outdoor gear for the usual meadow walks. And unless it is raining, the walks continue to boost my moral, invigorate the senses and keep my heart healthy. Keeping attuned to the needs of the heart- spiritual, emotional and physical, are what makes a day fulfilling and sustaining.
You are OK just as you are. Breathe. Slow down. Moving into the next moment before living the present one makes me hurried when there’s no need to. That is the injured brain operating from years of unprocessed trauma. Don’t judge it, befriend it.
You are a child of the Universe. You DO have a right to be here; and not by other’s standards but by your own. Remember what you have suffered, because it is with accepting the truth of your past that you can offer gentle kindness, patience and loving support to yourself now.
With relief the weariness has lifted. Falling into a funk emotionally makes it an easy place to stay, the power of inertia or lack of it. A bit of sunshine does the body good too. So the meadow is now brown, dead and drab. It doesn’t mean I have to be too.
“Make your own light,” a friend suggests.
Yes, make my own light. Find it within, enjoy it, and it radiates outward naturally. A tendency to compare myself to others leaves me consistently lacking. Following my own instincts and needs is authenticity. Have the bravery and courage to discover that uniqueness and provide for its fruition.
Running from dis-ease unconsciously by becoming busier or feeding it with food which is how my mother mothered me, are only ways to worsen an illness, discomfort or even emotional pain. Becoming aware one is doing it is the first step.
It catches up to you and hits hard. Self-care was not taught, self-loathing was. The silence demanded that the horrors committed against my body not be spoken taught unworthiness. If any spark came forward it was extinguished easily with a look or a word. The child born with a strong sense of justice and speaking out against wrongs was choked silent and twisted into a malcontent for even trying.
It was necessary to disconnect from the body as a child. With no intervention provided to release the suffering from repeated trauma disconnecting became a way of life. My body did one thing, my mind another. There was no cohesiveness or synchrony between the two which would encourage wholeness, health or well-being.
As those miracles enter my life today, such things that one usually possesses after leaving childhood that remain intact, going backwards is a jolt to hard won peacefulness. Sometimes it takes a jolt like a racing heart to make me pay attention to my own needs.
Where once the good excuse of feeling ill gave me license to take to the couch and gorge on movies doing not much of anything now makes me restless. Depression was also part of my existence so any reason to languish in it was a good reason.
But the trees beacon with their burning reds, oranges and gold as fall excursions such as bike rides, ferry rides and trips to the Cider Shed are put on hold. Wistful while gazing at the trees in the hedgerow as they dance in the breeze, the sound of their rustling skirts will have to do.
So is the cup half empty or full? What shines is the growth one is able to achieve by enduring whatever comes in her path.
It is so far below beneath the noise it is hard to hear.
A scent wafting into consciousness that wasn’t discerned because of the clatter. The nuances in the hues of daybreak or the colors at sunset. Are you too preoccupied with the clamor in your head to notice? Can you free yourself from the grips of your past, at least for a moment, and take a breath in the present?
Nature’s free gifts fill a hungry soul. But life’s challenges can interfere with absorbing her wonders; the rustle of a leaf falling, the bird chirping near-by, the locusts still humming in the distance, a tree frog who nestled next to my coffee cup on the deck…
Find ways to come out of the din to the light of the present. Do it over and over and again. The whispering’s of the soul will be heard…